Who Gets Child Custody in Divorce?

Who Gets Child Custody in Divorce

The determination of child custody in the event of a divorce or separation is governed by the best interests of the child principle. Upon the filing of a divorce or separation application, the court may make temporary orders for custody and access, pending the final determination of the matter. 

The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem, who shall investigate and report to the court on the child’s situation, including interviewing the child, the parents, and any other individuals involved in the child’s life, as well as reviewing relevant documents.

The parties may be ordered to attend mediation or counseling in order to attempt to amicably resolve custody and access issues. In the event that an agreement is not reached through mediation, the court shall make a final determination based on the evidence presented and the best interests of the child.

Factors Considered by Courts

In determining child custody and access, courts in Canada will consider a variety of factors, with the primary consideration being the best interests of the child. A few factors that courts may consider include:

  • The child’s relationship with both the parent, including their emotional and physical needs, as well as the stability and continuity of care.
  • The child’s home environment, including factors such as safety, stability, and appropriate care.
  • The child’s needs, including their emotional, physical, and educational needs, as well as any special needs the child may have.
  • The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs, including their parenting skills, their willingness to cooperate with the other parent, and their ability to provide a stable and appropriate home environment.
  • Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent, as well as any history of substance abuse or domestic violence.
  • The child’s cultural, ethnic, and religious background, if it is relevant to the child’s best interests.
  • The child’s relationship with siblings, grandparents, and other extended family members, if it is relevant to the child’s best interests.
  • The child’s geographical proximity to each parent, if it is relevant to the child’s best interests.

It’s also important to note that parents have a legal responsibility to support their children financially, regardless of whether they have custody or access, and courts will take into account the financial situation of both parents as well.

Visitation Rights & Obligations

Visitation rights, also known as access rights, are the rights of a parent who does not have the child’s  physical custody. It allows him/her  to spend time with the child. This means that the parent who does not have the child living with them will be able to visit the child at certain times and days, as determined by the court or agreed upon by both parents.

When deciding on the visiting schedule, the court will consider what is best for the child, taking into account factors such as the child’s age, the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s needs, etc.

It’s important for both parents to encourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, and they should not interfere with the other parent’s visitation rights or use it as a way to control or manipulate the situation.

If the child needs to travel with the parent during their access time, the parents should make sure that the necessary documents are in order and inform the other parent of the travel itinerary to make sure that both the parents are on the same page and do not invite anything unnecessary.

Who Gets Child Custody in Divorce



In conclusion,the decision of who gets child custody in a divorce is not to be taken lightly. It is important to understand the legal rights of both parents and the court’s mandate to consider the best interests of the child when making a decision. When the parties involved are unable to come to an agreement, the court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Ultimately, it is up to both parents to make sure that the best plan for their children is created and implemented. It is essential to hire a good attorney and compassionate mediator who can help guide you through the child custody process. Both parents should work together cooperatively in order to ensure that their children remain safe and happy throughout the process. 

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