If you are going through a separation or a divorce, you know that it can be a hard and stressful time for everyone involved, including your children.
When you’re separating, or divorcing, it’s essential to work together with your ex-spouse to help your children adjust to the new family situation. The question of who gets the kids in a divorce depends on many factors.
Any custody decision that is agreed upon, or made by a court, will consider the best interests of the child.
Is your relationship with your ex-spouse amicable? If so, then it may be worth sitting down with them to make a parenting plan. A parenting plan covers where your kids will live, how responsibilities will be shared and how this will fit into the family’s routines. There are some useful online tools you can use that may help to guide these critical discussions.
Are you having difficulty deciding on who gets the kids? Can you agree on a parenting plan? If a plan can’t be agreed upon without conflict arising, then it’s best to get help from a family law professional to advise you on the next steps.
Custody, within family law, refers to decision making on behalf of the children of the relationship. In Ontario, there are two types of child custody arrangements.
• Joint custody is when you and your ex must come to an agreement on big decisions for your kids and their well-being. You share the responsibilities. Neither parent can decide for the kids without agreement from the other.
• Sole custody is when one parent makes all the important decisions about the kids, even if the other does not agree. If you have sole custody of your kids, your ex is usually allowed to visit them – this is called ‘access’. The parent is also allowed to be given information on their wellbeing, health, and education of the kids.
There are several different types of access that one parent may have, depending on factors such as character, history, and level of responsibility.
• Reasonable access is when parents can co-operate and access to kids can be left open and flexible. Parents can informally make plans together that can be easily changed depending on whether it suits the family’s routine.
• Fixed access is when one parent needs to stick to a specific and detailed schedule to see the kids. Agreements decide where the kids will spend holidays, vacation, birthdays etc. The location of where the parent can see the children may also be included in this plan, as well as pick up and drop off details.
• Supervised access is when a parent’s time with the kids may need to be supervised by another person. If the parent has an addiction problem, previously abused the child or threatened to take the child out of the country for example. Supervision is usually a relative, friend or in some cases, a social worker or child’s aid representative. There are also agencies that provide these services. This is generally not a long term solution for a family.
• No access is when a parent does not have an opportunity to see the child. If there’s been severe abuse or neglect and the child’s safety is seriously threatened, a parent may not be given any access to the child.
Understand all your rights and options for family law is important. This is especially the case during a divorce and separation that involves your children. Speak to our experienced professionals who have navigated many families through the process.
Do you need a divorce lawyer in the Newmarket area?
Call Epstein & Associates at 1.866.938.4732 today.