Child Custody (Decision Making) In Ontario

Child Custody Explained

Child Custody & Access

If you are a parent who is going through a separation, whether married or not or whether you lived with the other parent you may be wondering what your options are when it comes to child custody (decision making) and access (parenting time) in Ontario.

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What is Child Custody and Access?

In Ontario, the term “custody” refers to the legal right to make major decisions about a child. The term “access” refers to the right to spend time with a child. Parents can have either joint custody (both parents share in the decision-making) or sole custody (one parent has the sole right to make decisions). Parents can also have joint physical custody (the child spends time with both parents) or sole physical custody (the child lives with one parent and visits the other).

Custody and access can be ordered by a court or agreed upon by the parents. If the parents cannot agree on a custody and access arrangement, they can ask a court to decide for them.

There are many factors that a court will consider when making a decision about custody and access, including:

– the child’s age and stage of development;
– the child’s physical and emotional needs;
– the ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs;
– the relationships that the child has with each parent and other important people in their life;
– each parent’s ability to provide stability and consistency for the child;

What Does a Child Custody and Access Order Mean?

The child custody and access order is a court order that determines the legal rights and responsibilities of the parents with respect to their children. The order can be made by a judge or, in some cases, by an agreement between the parents. The order sets out the terms of custody, including who will have primary responsibility for the child’s care and how much time the child will spend with each parent. It also sets out the terms of access, which is the right of a parent to spend time with their child. The order may also specify how decisions about the child’s care will be made, such as which parent has the final say in matters relating to education, health care, religion and extracurricular activities.

How to Determine the Best Interests of the Child

The best interests of the child are always the paramount concern of the courts when making custody and access determinations. In Ontario, the Courts use a two-step analysis to determine what is in the best interests of the child. The first step is to look at the factors that are set out in section 24 of the Children’s Law Reform Act. These factors include:

-The love, affection and emotional ties between the child and each parent
-The ability of each parent to provide the child with guidance and education, including religious and cultural upbringing
-The ability of each parent to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs
-The stability of each home environment
-The quality of the relationships between each parent and other members of the household
-Each parent’s past conduct, including any history of abuse or neglect

After considering these factors, the court will then look at any other relevant factors that may be pertinent to the particular case. These could include things like:

-The wishes of the child, if he or she is considered to be old enough and mature enough to express a preference
-The impact of any change in custody or access arrangements on the child’s ability to adjust to his or her new surroundings

The Different Types of Child Custody

There are different types of child custody, and each type of custody has its own set of rules and regulations. The different types of child custody are: physical custody, legal custody, and joint custody. Each type of child custody has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the type of child custody that is right for your family.

Factors Considered When Making a Child Custody Decision

The best interests of the child are always the top priority when making a child custody decision. The court will consider a variety of factors when making a custody determination, including:

-The child’s age and physical and mental health
-The child’s relationship with each parent and other important people in the child’s life
-The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs
-The child’s views and preferences, if the child is old enough to express them
-The parents’ ability to communicate and co-parent effectively
-The parents’ employment situation and parenting schedule
-Any history of abuse or violence in the home

In some cases, one parent may be granted primary custody while the other parent is given visitation rights. In other cases, both parents may share joint legal and physical custody of the child. The court will always strive to make a custody determination that is in the best interests of the child.

Making a Parenting Plan

Making a parenting plan is an important step in ensuring that children maintain relationships with both parents following a divorce or separation. Parenting plans can help to avoid conflict and provide stability for children.

There are many factors to consider when creating a parenting plan, such as which parent will have primary custody, how much time the child will spend with each parent, how decisions will be made about the child’s education and medical care, and how holidays and special occasions will be handled. It is important to tailor the parenting plan to the specific needs of the child and the family.

Some parents decide to create their own parenting plan, while others work with a mediator or lawyer to develop a plan. Once the parenting plan is created, it should be signed by both parents and filed with the court.

The Consequences of Violating a Child Custody Order

If you have been ordered by the court to have custody of or access to your child, and you violate that order, there can be some serious consequences. The court may find you in contempt of court, and you could be fined or even jailed. The other parent could also take you back to court to try and get the order changed.

If you are found in contempt of court, the judge may order you to pay a fine or even go to jail. The other parent could also ask the court to change the custody or access order.

It is important to obey any custody or access order that is in place, as violating it can have serious consequences. If you have any questions about your order, or need help enforcing it, speak to a lawyer or your local child support agency.

Getting Help with Your Child Custody Case

The Ontario government provides a number of resources to help parents who are dealing with child custody and access issues. The Ministry of the Attorney General has a website that provides information on the law, including the Children’s Law Reform Act. The website also has a list of legal services that can help you with your case.

The Ontario Court of Justice also has a website that provides information on child custody and access cases. The website includes information on how to prepare for a court case, what to expect during a court case, and how to appeal a decision.

There are also a number of private organizations that provide legal services and information on child custody and access issues in Ontario. These organizations include:

– The Canadian Centre for Men and Families
– The Family Law Information Centre
– The Ontario Association for Family Conciliation Courts

You will obtain the best advice and strategy for your case from a qualified lawyer. Most parties in court are represented by lawyers and generally are much more successful in a case with a qualified lawyer.

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