Best Interest of the Child
Child custody issues are always determined with one primary goal in mind, “what is in the best interest of the child?”.
Different Types of Child Custody
There are four different types of child custody in Canada. The first one is sole custody whereby one parent alone has custody of the child. Another type of custody, joint custody, is where both parents share custody of the child. A third type of custody is shared custody. In this case, both parents have joint custody of the child and each spends at least 40% of the time with their child. One final type of child custody is split custody. This is a rare type of custody. Split custody takes place when one parent has custody over some of the children while the other parent has custody over the others. Courts are quite hesitant to award custody in this manner as they don’t want to split up brothers and sister.
Access (also known as visitation) is the time the non custodial parent can spend with his or her children. Only in matters where there are serious concerns about abuse or parenting abilities will a Court refuse to allow visitation rights or limit access to the child. In such cases, the Court may decide that supervised access, which often occurs in the presence of a social worker, is the best thing to order.
Along with visitation rights to the child, the access parent is automatically allowed by law to inquire about their children’s health, education and welfare.
Primary or Principal Residence
The primary, or principal, residence is one where the child lives. In other words, this is where the child spends most of his/her time. For example, parents may have joint custody of the child but the child may spend the majority of the time with the mother or father, thereby having his/her primary residence with that parent.