Child Custody &
There are two types of child custody in Ontario. As of March 2021, the term is no longer referred to as “custody” and has been changed to “decision-making”. You and the other parent can either have joint decision-making over your children or sole decision-making over your children. Decision-making means one of you or both of you will make all major decisions for the children as it relates to education, medical or religious decisions. Day-to-day decisions will be made by the parent who is with the children that particular day. However, decision-making arrangements do not have to fit perfectly into one of these models. There is room to negotiate and find a solution that fits your individual circumstances, especially if the parties agree to mediate or resolve their matter in the collaborative law process.
Custody or decision-making is completely different from “access” which is now referred to as parenting-time.
Courts look at what is in the best interests of the child when determining decision-making. Joint decision-making works well for parents that can communicate effectively together and cooperate with each other. On the other hand, joint decision-making would be very difficult if your former spouse is abusive and controlling or you and your former spouse were poor communicators.
We recommend that you and the other parent create a parenting plan having your child’s best interests in mind. It reduces conflict and is a good roadmap for each parent to refer back to when issues arise. A well-prepared parenting plan contemplates both the current and future needs of the children, along with methods to resolve conflict post-separation.
An experienced lawyer can prepare a parenting plan for you that will be a legally binding document. The parenting plan can include how decisions about a child’s health, education and wellbeing will be made, have a specific schedule detailing where the child will reside on any given day, how the parents will communicate with each other about parenting issues, what they expect from each other, and how they will resolve their future disagreements about parenting. These are just some examples of what can be included in a parenting plan. We are able to tailor it specifically to your family situation.
Contact us if you would like to speak to us about child custody and/or preparing a detailed parenting plan.