How a Father Can Get Full Custody Of His Children
Divorce cases can be horrible, especially if both parents want full custody of their children. When children are involved, their rights and best interests must be considered in addition to the rights of each divorcing spouse. While the law may favour the mother when the child is very young, more fathers are being granted full custody. In order to apply for custody, it is important to understand a bit about Ontario’s Family Law Act as pertains to the care and welfare of children.
Sole Custody of Children
Full child custody, also known as sole custody, is where one parent is granted the right to make important decisions about the child’s life, such as regarding education, religion, and health matters. While the children usually reside with the parent who has sole custody, this is not always the situation. Other types of child custody arrangements include:
- Joint Custody—Both parents share the responsibility of making decisions regarding their children and must be capable of agreeing. The children do not necessarily divide their time equally between parents.
- Split Custody—A situation where the children reside with different parents. For example, one child might live with the mother while two other children live with the father.
- Shared Custody—The parents share the decision-making and the children spent at least 40% of their time with each parent.
If you and your former partner have discussed and agree on the custody arrangements for your children, you can have these terms outlined in a separation agreement or parenting plan.
But if no agreement is in sight, it could be necessary to file an application for custody. To claim custody of a child, a parent needs to file an affidavit outlining the reasons why he or she is best suited to provide a loving and stable environment for the child. This affidavit is a key document in a custody case. A father who wants to get full custody of his children will ensure that his affidavit outlines how he plans to care for his children and how those plans will benefit them. The plans must be focused on the future, not on what is wrong with or lacking in his ex-wife.
Keep in mind that child custody is a separate issue from child support. Under Federal and Provincial Family Law, parents are required to provide financial support to their children regardless of the marital status of the parents. When deciding about child support payments, the court uses Child Support Guidelines as applies to the specifics of the family’s situation.
What the Court Considers When Determining Custody
The welfare, best interests, and rights of the child are the most important factors the court takes into account when determining which parent will get custody. The ability of each parent to provide for and respond to the needs—physical and emotional as well as any special needs—of the child is also considered, as is the stability of the home environment. An individual parent’s financial resources are not a major factor when determining these cases. Past behavior of the parents is not part of the assessment, unless that behavior directly speaks to that person’s ability to care for the child. Other factors the court will consider include:
- The relationship between the child and each parent.
- The emotional, mental, and physical health of each parent.
- The type of support systems that each parent has, i.e. involvement of close relatives like grandparents.
- Care arrangements prior to separation.
- Sibling issues—while it is always good to keep siblings together, there are some special cases where siblings may need to be separated.
- The wishes of the child.
To determine the wishes of the child, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer is normally appointed by the court to offer assistance.
When Seeking Sole Custody, Get Advice from a Family Law Professional
Court hearings to determine custody can be very stressful for all the parties involved, especially the children. Furthermore, they can be quite costly. Therefore, it may be a good idea to consider an out-of-court settlement. Be sure to speak to a trusted family law professional who can help you negotiate for the best outcome for your children.
We specialize in helping our clients reach the child support and custody settlements that will protect their future. And we can help you, too. Fine & Associates Professional Corporation is a well-respected Toronto Law Firm that prides itself on providing quality personal service and favourable outcomes in Family Law and Divorce Law.
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