A father can be awarded custody (also referred to as the decision-making responsibilities of a child). The courts do not favour the mother or father in Ontario. Typically, judges determine custody cases based on the child’s best interests.
It can be challenging to achieve your desired outcome. You must meet specific requirements, such as proving paternity, to establish your rights to sole custody or decision-making rights. The courts often believe shared custody is beneficial and so you may have to show the other parent is unable to properly care for your child or poses a risk to their safety.
You should contact an experienced family lawyer Vaughan to learn how to get full custody in Ontario.
An Overview of Child Custody Arrangements
When one parent seeks full custody, they must prove another custody arrangement will negatively affect the child. You should understand each type of custody to determine whether pursuing sole custody is the best option for your child.
Physical Custody and Parenting Time
Physical custody involves a child living with one parent and is thereby referred to as ‘parenting time’. The court can award joint parenting time if the child spends significant time living with each parent. However, in cases where the parents live far from each other, the court might order that the child reside primarily with one parent, whilst having regular parenting time with the other.
H2: Legal Custody and Decision-Making Responsibility
Legal custody grants a parent the authority to make major decisions in their child’s life and is thereby referred to as ‘decision-making responsibility’. Decisions can include things like education, healthcare, and religion. The parent with legal custody or sole decision-making responsibility for a child can make decisions regarding any aspect of their child’s upbringing without discussing it with the other parent first.
Judges often award joint decision-making responsibility when two parents get divorced or separate as typically, it is beneficial for both parents to have a say in the child’s life. However, they base their decision on whether joint decision-making responsibility is in the best interests of the child.
Sole Custody or Decision-Making Responsibility
Sole custody is also called sole decision-making responsibility. Judges award sole decision-making responsibility if other decision-making arrangements can damage the child’s health and well-being. Proving your right to sole decision-making responsibility requires showing your ex isn’t fit to be a parent and make major decisions about the child.
A new romantic partner can also affect decision-making responsibility. The judge might determine sole decision-making responsibility is favorable if your ex’s new live-in partner seems unable to properly care for your child.
Joint Custody or Joint Decision-Making Responsibility
When two parents share joint custody or joint decision-making responsibility, they are both equally responsible for making major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing and future. Joint decision-making responsibility has become the norm in most situations, as it is generally believed that children benefit and thrive from having both parents involved in major decision-making; however, this is ordered only if it is determined to be in the particular child’s best interests.
Factors Determining a Child’s Best Interests
According to the Divorce Act, the court can determine a child’s best interests in custody cases by considering factors such as:
● The child’s needs, such as their need for stability based on their age and stage of development
● The strength and nature of the child’s relationship with each parent, sibling, grandparent, and other people who play an important role in their life
● Each parent’s willingness to support the child’s maintenance and development of a relationship with the other
● The history of care of the child
● The child’s preferences and views based on their maturity and age
● The child’s religious, cultural, spiritual, and linguistic heritage and upbringing
● Plans for the child’s care
● The willingness and ability of each parent to care for the child and meet their needs
● The ability and willingness of the parents to cooperate and communicate on circumstances affecting the child
● History of family violence and its effect on the person who engaged in family violence to meet the child’s needs and care for them
● Any criminal proceeding, measure, condition, or order relevant to the child’s safety, well-being, or security
How Can a Father Win Child Custody or Decision-Making Responsibility in Ontario?
Judges consider various factors when deciding on custody cases, such as:
● Each parent’s relationship with the child
● The distance between the parents’ residences
● The paternity of the child
● Prior instances of abuse or domestic violence
● Whether one parent is in prison
If you are seeking sole decision-making responsibility rights over your child, you will have to establish that such an arrangement is in your child’s best interests (that it is in your child’s best interests that their mother not be involved in or have decision-making rights).
Alternatively, a judge may approve sole decision-making in your favour if you and your ex can agree to the arrangement before presenting it.
However, you must allow your ex parenting time with the child even if the judge rules in your favor for sole decision-making responsibility. If you believe parenting time puts your child in harm’s way, you may seek supervised visits is possible. In extreme cases, the court may not grant parenting time if you prove your child’s well-being is at risk with their mother.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer Today
At GDH Family Law LLP, we have experience handling the most complex family law issues in Ontario. We understand the overwhelming process of pursuing custody of a child. It can cause significant emotional and financial strain. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Let us help you establish parental rights and protect your child’s future. Call us at (416) 535-6944 for a free consultation if you want to seek sole custody of your child.