Child Custody – How should you prepare?
Divorce is as unfortunate for children as it is for their parents. The worst thing about all divorces is the fight for child custody.
The last thing any child wants is to live with one parent and away from another one. Moreover, the entire divorce process and child custody battles can adversely impact a child’s mental health.
If you have decided to separate, but you cannot mutually agree on the child’s custody, you may need to sort it out with the court’s intervention.
Child Custody means taking the responsibility of the child. It refers to the care and maintenance of the child. If you both agree to share the child’s responsibilities and mutually decide on the terms and conditions, you don’t fight for it in the court. But, if you don’t come to a mutual agreement, you can apply to the local court for custody. And, you need to plan well if you want the case to turn on your favour.
Child custody has two aspects, Physical and Legal Custody. Physical custody determines who keeps the child, and Legal custody determines the parent’s responsibilities towards the child.
You can learn more about divorce and child custody laws by reading books and blogs written by lawyers such as Brian Ludmer and others.
There are different types of child custody:
Full custody: The child lives with a parent permanently if that parent has the child’s full custody. Under this arrangement, the winning parent takes 100% responsibility for the child.
Joint custody: Parents get equal custody of the child under this arrangement, and they share the child’s responsibilities equally.
Shared custody: Like joint custody, in shared custody, both parents get equal responsibilities of the child, but may not get equal decision-making rights. The court decides who gets the decision-making rights after carefully examining each parent’s capabilities.
Split custody: If a family has two children, they split custody of both children between the parents. Therefore, in this setup, each parent takes responsibility for one child. However, the court does not easily grant split custody of children, even if both parents demand it.
Canadian courts also have a ‘Parens Patriae’ arrangement which means that if the parents aren’t capable of deciding on the child custody, the court can act on their behalf. The court decides in the best interest of the children.
The court considers factors like a parent-child relationship, parenting abilities, mental and physical health of parents, their financial capabilities, and the child’s preferences before deciding in the child’s best interest.
How should you prepare for your child’s custody?
You can either mutually agree on the type of custody or go to the court where you can fight your case. But, the court proceedings are both financially and mentally draining for you, your partner and your child.
A better way to work this out is by hiring a divorce or family lawyer. Lawyers such as Brian Ludmer and others have experience in divorce cases and parental alienation. Understand your rights and responsibilities before applying for child custody to the court. Whatever process you may follow, it should be in your child’s best interest.