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Child Custody Laws in Canada

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When a person thinks of divorce or separation, there are many extremely significant issues that s/he needs to consider. Here, one of the major and challenging concerns is children because they are surely the utmost affected party of the separation. Who will live with the children, who gets full custody, and many other considerations are involved there. In Canada, there are many laws regarding these issues. In this article, we will discuss the child custody laws in Canada and all other significant issues which are relevant to this topic. In Canada, if you are thinking of divorce and having children, you must obey the rules and regulations and have to do everything according to these laws. So, read on for having all the information about this.

What Child Custody Means

The right to take care of the children after the separation is referred to as child custody. It ensures the power of controlling and maintaining children and making all decisions regarding them. In general, children have all right to keep a relationship with both parents. But legally, when you are going through a divorce, you have to make sure that who gets full custody after separation. It is mandatory in Canada. Here, if both parents want to take custody of the children, the court will only consider the child’s best interest.

If they prefer a father, then the father will get the custody, or if they want a mother, then she will get it. In these types of cases, for resolving all the problems, the best solution is to make an agreement before the separation regarding child custody. The custody arrangement can be legally clarified. The parent who gets the child custody possesses the right to make all the significant decisions on behalf of the children. Here another consideration is to make sure you consult with your family lawyer regarding these issues. S/he can give you the best solution there as s/he know all the legal factor about you and your family.

Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody

Before knowing the different types of Canadian child custody arrangements, you need to know physical and legal custody first. There are four types of child custody arrangements in Canada, which can combine legal custody and physical custody. That is why it is important to understand these custodies as well.

Well, physical custody refers to the right to live with the children and take regular care of them. That means the parent who has physical custody will easily be able to keep in touch with the children and be responsible for their proper care. On the other hand, the parent who has legal custody will possess the right to make all the significant decisions like healthcare, education, religion, etc. But this parent will not be able to live with the children according to the child custody law of Canada. In most cases, both parents share legal custody, but they don’t want to share the physical custody of the children.

Types of Child Custody Arrangements in Canada

For the convenience of both child and parents, child custody is divided into four sections. Each type is significant in different circumstances. So, let’s discuss all the types of child custody one by one:

Sole Custody or Full Custody

Sole custody or full custody refers to the possession of the right to make all the decisions concerned with the children and take full care of the children by only one parent. The parent having full or sole custody lives with the children permanently. Here, the other parent can visit the children sometimes, but it is fully considered to have sole custody.

Joint Custody

Joint custody means having the right to take care of the children and make all the decisions jointly. Both parents get child custody here, and their rights and responsibilities are the same. In sole custody, full rights and responsibilities go to the one parent. On the other hand, in joint custody, it goes to both of the parents in fifty-fifty proportion. Here everything regarding the child is shared between the parents, and they equally take care of their children for their welfare. However, here both of the parents have to be agreed with the schedules, decision making, and all other activities. Here, the schedule means the time of visiting the children, which is rotating like one parent after another. In joint custody, child support is calculated in fifty-fifty proportion.

Shared Custody

Shared custody is almost the same as joint custody. Here, both parents get custody of the child. Both of the parents have equal rights, but responsibilities are not in the same proportion. This custody is required when one parent has a huge time out of the home, one parent is not financially stable, and one parent cannot physically take care of the children. Here, child support is also determined in a different way. In shared custody, the financially more established parent provides more money as child support and is physically more capable of taking more care of the children.

Split Custody

Split custody is also almost the same kind of custody as joint custody, which is split between the two parents. Here, one parent takes custody of one or some children, and another parent takes custody of the rest of the children. In most cases, courts don’t split children between the parent if they are younger. So, this custody is only applicable if you have elder children because they are mentally strong enough to be divided and stay with different parents.

Child Custody Laws in Canada

In Canada, child custody laws are a combination of provincial custody laws and the federal divorce act. That means, in different provinces, the law can be slightly different. However, one thing will be a priority: the child’s best interest. It is mandatory and constant no matter in which province you live. The child’s best interest will be on top of the court’s priority.

Another significant term is parens patriae, which is used in Canadian courts for making sure the best jurisdiction. Parens patriae refers that the state has the authority and power to protect the parties who don’t have the ability to act on behalf of their own. In simple words, it means that the court of Canada has the power to do anything and any necessary action to protect children. So, from the above discussion, it is clear that regarding the child custody issues, three custody laws can be applied to you, which are as follows:

  • The Federal Divorce Act;
  • Provincial Custody Law; (The Specific Custody Law of All Provinces)
  • The Parens Patriae Jurisdiction of the Court.

Wrapping Up

Child custody is a very significant issue in every country, and in Canada, it is handled very carefully as the law of Canada is one of the most sophisticated and strictest laws in the world. Here, three distinct laws are concerned with child custody issues. This article has conducted a detailed discussion on child custody laws in Canada and all the related issues. Hopefully, you have got all the information that you were searching for.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

There are some frequently asked questions regarding these child custody laws in Canada. Here the answer to the most significant question which most people ask is given below:

Can a father take a child away from the mother in Canada?

According to Canada’s child custody law and divorce act, if a father has sole physical custody, he can take the child away from the mother. Otherwise, taking a child away from any custodial parent like the mother is legally restricted.

Do mothers have more rights than fathers in Canada?

According to the law of Canada, the answer is no. If a mother has custody of the children, then she will get all the rights and responsibilities of them. Otherwise, she will not even have the right to visit her children without the court’s permission. In Canada, the power of father and mother is exactly the same.

What is the most common custody arrangement in Canada?

According to the latest research by the “Department of Justice,” 80% of the children are given custody of their mother. On the other hand, only 7% of the children are given to their father’s custody. This report is fully authentic, and we can easily say that most commonly, the mother gets custody of their children.

What percentage of mothers get custody in Canada?

In Canada, 80% of mother gets custody of their children. This report is fully authentic and updated, provided by the “Department of Justice.” However, custody is always given as per the children’s best interest.

Who has more rights, the mother or father?

According to the Divorce Act of Canada, legally, the father and the mother both have an equal right to their child. If the court gives the child’s custody to the father, then the father possesses all the rights and responsibilities of the children, and if it is given to the mother, then the mother has the most rights.