In Family Law, the term “custody” refers to parental decision-making and authority respecting a child. In 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that “…the custodial parent is responsible for the care and upbringing of the child, including decisions concerning the education, religion, health and well-being of the child.” (Young v. Young)
There are several types of custody arrangements that separated or divorced parents can enter into: Sole, Joint, Shared, Parallel, and Split.
Let’s take a closer look at joint custody.
Joint Custody gives both parents full decision-making authority and responsibility in all areas respecting the child. Essentially what that means is that major decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and well-being are made together. Small, every day decisions, such as the decision to give a child medicine for a cold, or figuring out his or her Grade 6 speech topic, do not require consultation with the other parent.
Many people erroneously believe that joint custody means that the child spends equal time with both parents. It does not. The amount of time the child spends at their mother’s house versus their father’s house is a separate issue.
In what circumstances would joint custody be a good idea?
When should joint custody be off the table?
Child custody is a complex issue. You want the best for your child, especially in the context of a split from his or her other parent, but it may not be easy to co-parent post-separation. Be honest with yourself about your ability to cooperate and communicate effectively with your ex, and think carefully about issues such as power imbalances and abusive and/or controlling behaviour before agreeing to a joint custody arrangement.
For answers to all your questions about child custody or any other family law issue, call Gelman & Associates at (416) 736-0200 or 1-844-742-0200 or contact us online for a confidential initial consultation.
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