Child Custody Canada

Child Custody Canada is based on the globally accepted principle is that "the child resides in accordance with the best interest of the child". Custody defines which of the parents have decision power over the lives of the children and about who will take care of them.

How to get Child Custody

Even if you try to get shared custody, your ex might be against it. Getting child custody can be hard. So, if you expect difficulties getting custody and you want to arm yourself against it, we recommend you to read this book: Child Custody Strategies. Somewhere in these 1200 pages you will find your strategy. There are separate versions for women and men.

The United Nations drew up the "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child". This convention specifies important basic rigthts for the children regarding separation of the parents and child custody Canada. Over 193 countries have ratified this Convention. Canada is one of them.

How Child Custody Canada works.

In Canada couples can make their own agreement on the custody of their children. The arrangement has to be included in the separation agreement and is legally binding. In Canada, most divorced couples choose for joint custody.

If you cannot work out a proper and satisfying parenting plan, you could hire a mediator, hire a lawyer to guide you through the process, go to a therapist or counselor or participate in so called parent education sessions organized by the Canadian courts.

If you and your ex partner cannot agree on the child custody canada, the court will decide for you. The court will evaluate a number of criteria:

Criteria for decision making by the court:

The most important criteria used by the court is "the interest of the child". This is totally in line with the "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child".
According to the courts, in the interest of the child includes such things as:

  • The wishes of the child (age depenant)
  • The relationships between the children and their parents
  • Parenting abilities of both of the parents. Situations like disability, alcoholism, drugs are considered.
  • Primary caregiver before the divorce, in most cases this is the mother, but sometimes it is the father or a grandparent.
  • The available time to care for the child: the working and non-working parent.
  • Practicalities like distance between the parents
  • Can the parent support the child emotionally and financially?

These are the 3 important aspects courts favor:

  • An arrangement between the parents that has already been put in place,
  • The full time "mother" (who could be the father too, of course)
  • The primary caregiver

The types of Child Custody Canada are:

Sole Custody

Only one parent has full custody. The other parent has no child custody rights. See Access below

Joint custody

The parents share the custody of the children.

Shared Custody

Is like joint custody, but in this case both parents spend 40% of the time or more with their child.

Split custody

The split concerns the children: some remain with the mother, others with the father. Courts do not like to split children of the same family. Usually the children do not like that either.


The non custodian parent gets usually visitation rights. Frequency, dates and times are usually defined. A court can deny access if there is a big risk of abuse or violence.

A parent with Access rights, automatically has the right to ask about the childs welfare, school results and health.

The Wish of the Child

Officially, the court decides on the custody arrangement. But in real life, the courts take the wish of the teenagers of divorce seriously into consideration.

Please tell your Story

You are welcome to share your child custody canada experience with our readers: Children Divorce Stories.

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