Child Access in Family Law – All You Need To Know

June 16, 2021

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Child custody and access are perhaps the biggest concerns for any couple separating or divorcing. In this article, we’re going to provide the right information with regards to child custody & access in family law, so let’s scroll down and find out:-

What is Child Custody?

Child custody is the legal right given to one parent to take all the necessary decisions for the kid. In some instances, the decisions can be made amicably by both the parents at the time of separation. 

Who will get the child custody, and will the other partner get the access? All so these aspects are determined by the courts. The judge often look-into the below aspects before ordering anything concerning child custody:-

  • The kid’s best interest.
  • The parent-child relationship.
  • The parenting abilities of each parent.
  • Each parent’s physical, mental & emotional health.
  • Care arrangements before the separation. 
  • And, finally, the child’s wishes.

When deciding on child custody, the past behaviour doesn’t count unless it hinders their ability to be a good parent. 

In Canada, one parent is awarded custody, and the other parent granted access, known as visitation. A parent with access status is given the right to visit their child. Sometimes, the access parent is entitled to make certain key decisions about their child concerning health, welfare, and education. In Canadian courts, the judge encourages the child to enjoy the love & care of both the parents for mental growth.

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In case if the court has concerns regarding the parenting abilities of one parent, supervised access is granted to the parent. It means all the visits will happen when the child is being supervised by social workers to have no chance of child abuse or abduction. 

One thing to note here, the needs of a child change from time to time; their best interest no longer remains the same. So, each parent has the right to move to the court to get the child custody and access arrangements changed. 

Deciding on Child Access Without Going to Court

Going to trial over child custody and access could prove to be costly & time-consuming. Below are ways how both the parents can reach an arrangement without the interference of the order:-

Family Mediator:-

An individual with legal & social background is known as a mediator. They have special training on how to help people resolve complicated disputes. For example, a mediator can work out arrangements on child access so that both the parents are satisfied.


Another option to deal with child access without knocking on the doors of the court is to have a lawyer-to-lawyer session. Lawyers of both spouses will figure out the right plan in the best interest of the child with no conflicts. Here, both parents need to be a little flexible to make the session successful. 


Parents can use the counselling skills and knowledge of a qualified therapist on child access to help both the parents negotiate an arrangement. 

Parent-Education Session:-

In Canada, the courts organize parent-education sessions. These sessions are meant to guide parents who have issues on the subject of child custody & access.

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If possible, it is best not to head to the court over your child. This would have a griefing impact on the little minds. If the court is the only option, the judge will thoroughly analyze the case and make a decision that’s in line with the child’s best interest. 

Also read: How to Co-Parent With A Narcissist

What If the Other Parent is Denying Your Access?

In a perfect world, both parents put aside all conflicts and give the child the love he/she deserves. But, in the real world, disputes don’t go away quickly. If one parent denies access to the other parent, in that case, the access denied parent has the right to bring a motion seeking the order that had ordered the access. Courts in Canada impose hefty fines on a parent who had attempted to deny the access. What’s more, the court can even award several compensatory access to make up for all the restricted access. Further, the [aren’t who successfully won the motion to be monetary compensation for the costs involved by the other parent. 

In the worst case, one parent disrespects the court orders, willfully or deliberately or knowingly, the offending party is found guilty under the family law. A contempt could result in fines or even imprisonment. But, again, the best interest of the child is the priority. Therefore, judges are reluctant to fine or criminally charge the denying parent. 

If you need more information on child access laws in your state and how to proceed with your case, we suggest you consult a local attorney. They have years of practical industry experience and vast knowledge to answer all your doubts & queries and help you gain that much-needed edge in your child custody battle.

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