Child custody is one of the most significant concerns whenever the couple is going through a divorce. Child custody means who will take care of the child after the separation of the couple. Moreover, it also decides who will make essential and legal decisions in the child’s life. Therefore, the determination of a proper child custody arrangement is necessary for a child’s life. This is because it will decide who will make all the significant decisions on behalf of the child. Also, it will determine with whom the child will live after the divorce. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with saying that a child’s life depends entirely on the divorce’s parenting arrangement.
There are four types of child custody arrangements which are:
- Sole Custody.
- Joint Custody.
- Shared Custody.
- Split Custody.
Moreover, each of these arrangements can be a part of physical and legal custody. Physical custody means with whom the child will live physically after the divorce. Meanwhile, legal custody means who will make all the crucial decisions for the child, like schooling, finances, religion, etc.
How will the court decide custody?
There are three significant acts by which the court decides child custody in Canada. These acts are the Divorce Act, Family Law Act, Children’s Law Reform Act. Moreover, the court looks at what is in the best interests of the child. There are various factors that the court looks at while deciding on child custody.
- Age of the child: The age of the child is a significant factor in determining child custody. If the child is tiny and needs to be breastfeeding, the court will most likely give custody to the mother. If the child is big enough to make some fundamental decisions, the court may provide joint or shared custody.
- Child’s relationship with the parent: Child-parent relationship is another significant determining factor. The court will look at whom the child is friendlier. Also, the comfort level of the child with each parent will be compared.
- The financial status of the parent: Every child has financial needs. The court will look at the financial situation of both parents. Therefore, the court will make sure that the child does not have any financial problems.
- The job of the parent: Some people have precarious jobs. The court does not want to give custody to anyone who may not have spent time with the child. Moreover, people in demanding jobs like armed forces, spies, etc., will have a significantly less chance of getting custody.
- Preferences of the child: If the child is 14 years and above, their choice is also considered while deciding the child custody. The intention is that your child can be a significant determining factor in child custody as courts always choose the child’s best interest.
The most common child custody arrangement
The most common child custody arrangement is ‘joint custody.’ Joint custody means both parents have equal physical and legal authority over the child. Moreover, both the parents equally share decision-making ability and parenting time. Both the parents create a rotating visiting schedule by which the child can spend time with both the parents. This type of arrangement is very beneficial for the child. Children need proper love, care, and attention from both parents. It is challenging for a single parent to give appropriate care and attention to the child. Some things always miss out. But in joint custody, the problem is not there. Both parents equally share responsibility for the child. Therefore, a child gets the proper love and care that they need. Moreover, it keeps a check on the poor decision-making of any of the parents.
Joint Legal Custody
Joint legal custody means that both parents share the authority to make crucial decisions for the child. These decisions can be on topics like education, religion, and healthcare. You should also be aware that joint legal custody is different from joint physical custody. It means that you may have the right to make decisions, but the child may not be physically living with you. It is very common for parents to share legal custody but not physical custody. The court will decide this after keeping the child’s best interests in mind.
Joint legal custody has many benefits. First, it is the best form of parenting arrangement for kids. Moreover, courts always try to grant joint legal custody in most divorce cases. But in divorce cases involving domestic violence or adultery, the court may not give joint legal custody. Moreover, both the spouses work together in making decisions for their child, which creates a feeling of unity among them, even after the divorce. Also, it is tough for a single parent to make decisions. So, when both the parents are involved, the decision-making becomes more accessible and more effective.
Sole Legal Custody
Unlike joint legal custody, in sole legal custody, only one parent has the legal right to make important decisions about the child’s life. For example, both parents may share physical custody but the
The legal authority to make decisions is in the hands of a single parent. This type of custody is granted in cases involving marital malpractices like domestic violence, adultery, etc. Also, if one partner is proven to be mentally or emotionally unfit, then the court may give sole legal custody to the other partner. However, the other partner has the right to inquire about the child’s life, but they can not make any decisions.
Sole legal custody also has many benefits. If one of the parents is mentally unstable or violent, it will be harmful to the child. In such cases, sole legal custody is the best option. Moreover, in some cases, parents can just work together. So involving both the parents in decision-making can be very problematic for the kids. It will create a very hostile environment even after the divorce. Another benefit of sole legal custody is consistency. There is no confusion about who will make which decision. Only a single parent is responsible for all the decisions for the child. It also saves the child from the conflicting beliefs of both parents.
Child support is the financial support given to the person who takes care of the child. When the court decides on child custody, the court grants one of the titles to both parents, i.e., Parent with care (PWC) or Non-resident parent (NRP). Parents with respect are the one who has child custody. At the same time, NRP is the parent who does not have child custody. Non-resident parent(NRP) pays the child support of the parent with care (PWC). Even if the court gives shared control to both the parents, the child support function still needs to provide the PWC and NRP titles. Moreover, it is not necessary to give child support directly to the parent. It can also be given to anyone living with the child, like a guardian or grandparents.
Child support is decided by the child support guidelines set by the government. Child support has two components, i.e., Table amount and special/extraordinary expenses. Table amount is an essential monthly amount that is fixed and depends on the income of the NRP parent. Also, it depends on the number of children that the couple has. At the same time, certain expenses include other fixed charges like school fees, medical insurance premiums, health care expenses, or other essential expenses. In most cases, both parents share the special costs.
When does a parent lose their right to receive child support payments from an ex-spouse who has remarried?
Generally, remarriage does not affect child support. Child support is an obligation by the court which needs to be paid at any cost. According to the law, child support is the responsibility of the legal parents, and remarriage does not affect child support. So you cannot lose the legal right to receive child support payments from your spouse even if they have remarried. Child support will be based on the spouse’s income. However, the only possible way the NRP can get away from child support is when they sign off their parental rights from the child. The NRP parent will also need the other spouse’s permission for the termination of their parental rights. Hence, you will lose the right to receive child support from that parent only after the termination of parental rights.
So, the most common type of child custody arrangement is joint custody. In joint custody, both parents have equal physical and legal custody of the child. This arrangement is very beneficial for kids. Kids can get the proper love and care that they need from both parents. Moreover, it also keeps a check on the decision-making ability of both parents. This ensures that the decisions which are made are best suited for the child. The court always decides the child’s custody by keeping the child’s best interests in front.
Moreover, to ensure that the child does not face any financial problems, the court also ensures that the child gets proper child support. A divorce severely affects the child, so all the laws are made to ensure that the child receives the best treatment and does not face any problems until the age of majority.