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Custody & Parenting Agreements

‘Child Custody’ refers to…

a concept under the Federal Divorce Act.  If sole custody is granted, the child will reside with one parent who will provide daily care. In cases of shared custody, a wider variety of arrangements can exist. Fleetwood Family Law focuses on negotiating an arrangement that will best serve the interest of the client’s relationship with their child.

When children are involved in a couple’s separation or divorce, a parenting agreement becomes a
crucial issue for the family to discuss. This plan is the legal negotiation that separating parents agree
upon in terms of child support and custody. As a highly emotional life event, separating spouses may
benefit from amicable terms for the sake of their children.

If children are involved in your divorce or separation, consider seeking professional advice from
seasoned child custody and parenting agreement lawyers. At Fleetwood Family Law, we focus on
negotiating arrangements that best serve your interests in your relationship with your child. Allow us
to find the most suitable arrangements for your unique case.

Child Support in British Columbia

A lot of child support cases in BC may not require court proceedings. We must clarify this reality
since many Canadians believe that child support always requires extensive court arguments. These
legal battles exist only in intractable cases where one party refuses to earnestly attempt to attain reasonable arrangements. 

Child support refers to the payments a parent makes upon separation, for their child’s financial
benefit. These payments are gradual and ongoing. The amount of money a parent pays in child
support depends on several factors, including:

  • Parent’s Income:   How much you earn will determine how much you pay for your child or children’s financial benefit. The parent earning more may have to pay the other more for child support. In some cases, a parent’s educational background would factor into their child support order. A person’s educational attainment can determine the level of payment they receive.
  • Children’s Residency Arrangements:   Where your child or children will live factors into how
    much they must receive. Depending on your agreement with your former spouse, your child
    or children may reside with only one parent. In this case, the other parent may have to pay a
    higher amount in child support. If both parents decide to share their time with the children, the child support amount payable may be affected.
  •  Number of Children Involved:   The court will calculate a child support order based on how
    many children would require support from each parent. Generally, a parent must pay child
    support to the other parent until children reach the age of majority and become independent.
    In some cases, a parent may have to continue paying child support even when a child
    reaches the age of majority. The age of majority in British Columbia is 19. If children are
    attending school or university, or if they have a medical condition/disability, they may
    continue to be dependent even after turning 19.
  •  Your Province:   The territory where you live may have unique laws that apply to child
    support orders. At Fleetwood Family Law, we have federal law expertise and can determine a
    suitable amount for child support payments while complying with provincial and territorial law.
    Our seasoned counsel adjust their advice to the facts of your matter and to region specific guidelines for proper compensation.

Child Custody in Canada

Canadian child custody refers to a parent’s legal authority to make decisions on behalf of their child
or children. This decision-making includes determining a child’s residence, educational matters,
medical treatments, and religious alignments.
Separating parents can decide on custody terms amicably. Still, they would need proper
documentation to bind their agreements legally.

Types of child custody include:

 

  •  Full Custody:  Also called sole custody, only one parent would be responsible for all
    decisions affecting a child. The other parent can still access the information relating to the
    decisions that the parent with full custody has made for the child.
  •  Joint Custody:  Both parents can agree to make decisions on behalf of their children.
    Parents who earn joint custody must be able to cooperate on parenting matters. Joint custody does not require alternating periods of residence with each parent. Consider advice from custody experts to determine the best arrangements for everyone involved.
  • Shared Custody:  This type of joint custody involves both parents spending at least 40% of the time with their children. Some provinces or territories may refer to shared custody as joint physical custody.
  • Split Custody:  Courts can decide for parents to have custody over different children. In other words, one parent can have custody of some children, while the other parent will have custody over the remaining children. However, courts rarely separate children from their siblings. Regardless, older children may choose the parent with whom they live.

Factors That May Be Considered

 

Although this is not an exhaustive list, Canadian judges will also consider the following factors when determining child custody:

 

  • Children’s Wellbeing: The children’s best interest always comes first. At the same time, the court will honour a child’s wishes. A child may wish to live with one parent or another, which will help determine the court’s decision.
  • Parent-Child Relationship: The bond between each parent and child involved will factor into the kind of custody a parent earns.
  • Parenting Skills: Courts will favour the most capable parent when deciding custody. A judge
    may also consider each parent’s emotional, mental, and physical health to determine their
    parenting abilities.
  • Parent Schedule: A parent whose work schedule requires them to leave their children
    unattended may involve an arrangement that brings in the other parent. Custody lawyers can
    help iron out the particulars with a parent and child’s schedule to help find a suitable
    arrangement. 
  • Relatives: One parent may have available support systems with their children’s
    grandparents. These close relatives can determine the type of custody a parent earns.
  • Siblings: Sometimes, children involved may have issues with their siblings. The court may
    order them separated if it proves better for their wellbeing. Allowing a child the opportunity to
    live and interact with a sibling may also be a factor that is considered. However, where there
    is an age gap, keeping siblings together may be less of a concern.
  • Prior Care Arrangements: Before separation or divorce, the children’s primary caregiver
    will determine who would spend more time caring for the children involved.

Why Choose Us?

At Fleetwood Family Law, we are professional custody and child support lawyers who can
represent your best interests in – and outside of – a BC court. We work with you to determine the best parenting arrangements for the children involved.
Our years of experience have prepared us to face the legal processes confidently while guiding our
clients through the entire process. We make sure you understand the steps to grant you the child
support and custody you deserve.
Get in touch with our seasoned attorneys. Fleetwood Family Law has valuable experience in settling
child support and custody cases. These issues are necessary factors to discuss during a divorce.
We can help the separating spouses agree upon terms most suited to their situation while ensuring
the best arrangement for their children. Here is the link if you are interested in taking BC’s course about Parenting After Separation.

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