Factors Contributing to When Joint Custody Will Be Ordered in Canada
Splitting from a partner you have been seriously involved with is never an easy task. However, according to Statistics Canada, it is a common one. In 2017 alone, six percent of the approximately twenty million Canadians between the ages of 25 and 64 were reportedly separated or divorced.
Regardless of how common this scenario is, the difficulty of separating is heightened whenever you and your partner share a child. In that scenario, you will likely be facing many new questions concerning how and where your child will live, and most importantly, the role you will legally be able to continue to play in his or her life. Importantly, for many parents, this inquiry includes pondering the different forms of custody that a court can order, including sole custody and joint custody. And when it comes to joint custody, you should understand exactly what it is and what it isn’t – and what factors contribute to when a court feels like it’s the right choice.
What Exactly Does “Joint Custody” Mean?
While the terminology might imply otherwise, joint custody does not actually imply equal sharing of time. Instead, the most common form of joint custody is when one co-parent is awarded sole legal custody of the child and both co-parents share some form of physical custody of the child. Generally speaking, this means that one parent typically has day-to-day care and control of the child and the other parent has generous contact and the right to be involved in major decisions.
What Factors Does the Court Consider in Joint Custody Proceedings?
It is imperative that you understand that the court is not focused on your parental rights in a custody dispute. Instead, recognize that the court will be focused on a concept called the best interest of the child. This means that the decision of the court will be centered on whatever is deemed to be best for your child – and also note that this standard does not consider what is fair to you nor how much you may want to be in his or her life.
As was addressed in the recent case Pryce v. Pryce, the court considers several factors in determining what the best course of action is. These factors can include:
- A parent’s past conduct in regard to his or her ability to act as a parent
- Conflict between the parents, and if so, who/what is the source of it
- The willingness of parents to facilitate contact with each other
- Engaging in unreasonable conduct, cutting off access or otherwise marginalizing the other parent
Are You Struggling to Understand How a Court’s Joint Custody Decision May Affect Your Life?
How a court chooses to afford joint custody can have a substantial life-changing impact for both you and your child. For this reason, it is always better if you and your child’s other parent can come to a mutual agreement on your own that supports your child’s best interest. It is easier and more effective to pursue this type of agreement with the help of an experienced child custody lawyer who can help ensure that you continue to have access to the child that you love so much. Contact the Mississauga family lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP today to begin.