During separation or divorce where children are involved, one of the most critical matters to be decided is each parent’s decision-making responsibility.
Decision-making responsibility, formally known as child custody, is the ability of parents to make decisions regarding a child’s day-to-day life, well-being, education, healthcare, discipline and religious or spiritual upbringing.
Separating or divorcing parents may decide amongst themselves how responsibility is shared, opt for family arbitration or have the matter settled in court. Understandably, there is a significant strain on parents caused by disagreements over issues concerning a child and parenting time.
If you and your co-parent cannot agree on how decision-making responsibility will be shared, we can help at GDH Family Law.
What Are the Different Types of Decision-Making Responsibility?
Responsibility for essential child care decisions can be shared in several ways.
Joint Decision-Making Responsibility
With joint decision-making responsibility, parents have equal rights to decide child care matters. This form of custody is often the preferred parenting arrangement as it keeps both parents involved in caring for their children.
Sole Decision-Making Responsibility
Sole decision-making responsibility describes a situation where one parent makes decisions for the child.
Split Decision-Making Responsibility
A parenting arrangement with split or parallel decision-making responsibility is a plan where one parent is responsible for some decisions, and their co-parent is responsible for other decisions. For example, one parent may decide on matters relating to education, while the other determines the child’s cultural upbringing.
How Is Decision-Making Responsibility Decided?
Parenting arrangements should never be based on either parent’s desired outcome or feelings toward the other parent. In all circumstances, the child’s best interest should be the greatest concern.
If you and your co-parent cannot reach an agreement in the best interest of your child and the courts must intervene, the following factors will be considered.
- The child’s needs, whether emotional, financial or physica
- The nature and length of the relationship with each paren
- The history of the care of the child by both parent
- The ability and willingness of each parent to care for and meet the needs of the chil
- The ability of the parents to cooperate and communicate on matters affecting the chil
- Any history of domestic violence in the home
The child’s wishes may also be considered in assigning decision-making responsibility as long as they are of a certain age and display an appropriate level of maturity. To determine the child’s wishes, the court will rely on a Voice of the Child Report. This report is generally prepared for children ages seven or older following an interview with a lawyer or mental health professional.
How Can the Vaughan Child Custody Lawyers at GDH Family Law Help?
If you are dealing with a child custody matter in Vaughan, Ontario, contact us at GDH Family Law.
Our experienced team is well-versed in child custody matters and all other family law issues. We are ready to provide legal advice, negotiate and draft a parenting agreement, and represent you in court if necessary. We are results-driven and take pride in fighting to protect our clients’ parental rights while keeping open lines of communication and support through what is undeniably a difficult transition.
Call us today at (416) 535-6944 or use our contact form to request a consultation to discuss your case with one of our child custody lawyers.