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How can I get joint custody of my child?

Posted on September 11, 2019

When parents are separating, or divorcing, the biggest challenge they face typically is deciding upon child custody. When it comes to determining child custody, the courts ask one question: what are the best interests of the child?

Before any court decision, parents may discuss and consider sharing joint custody of their child or children. Joint custody is when parents share the decision making for their child. It requires parents to be able to cooperate and communicate on matters regarding the child. 

So how can you get joint custody of your child? Firstly, it’s important to understand that there are two forms of joint custody in Ontario. 

  1. Joint legal custody: each parent has input and shares major and important decisions concerning the child, including health, education and religious upbringing. Where the child lives and any visitation arrangements are considered separate to joint legal custody.
  2. Joint physical custody: each parent spends 50% of the time with the child; referred to as Shared Custody. 

Joint custody agreements take on many forms. Some agreements provide the child with a primary residence with one parent and with a secondary home with the other parent on weekends. In cooperation with the other parent, joint custody agreements can be tailored to the routines of families. 

In some cases, there’s split custody, where one parent has care of some of the children, and the other parent has custody of the others. While this is rare, older children are often able to choose which parent to live with.

What to consider in joint custody?

Before moving forward with any joint legal custody arrangements, parents should consider the tone of the relationship with each other. Is there good communication? Are you able to amicably discuss important issues impacting your child’s life? Do your work schedules and living arrangements compliment the custody you are seeking?

Before moving forward with joint physical custody, parents need to communicate and discuss openly and agree on living arrangements such as alternate weekends, vacations and holidays. 

 When contested, a family court will need to see that the custody arrangements work for both parents, as well as the child. Parents need to be able to determine and demonstrate how joint custody will be in the best interests of the child. An open and amicable relationship with the other parent is likely to provide a better transition for the child. 

Get the right advice

A family law expert is a parent’s best asset to win joint custody. Get in touch with Epstein & Associates for a free consultation on how we could help you get the right custody resolution for your family. 

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