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Custody And Access Contract

Child Custody and access in family law refer to the rights and responsibilities of parents or guardians towards their children. In Canada, the Divorce Act governs custody and access in cases where the parents are separating or getting a divorce. The act applies to married parents, while each province has its own legislation for unmarried parents. Child custody lawyer can help in Custody and access arrangements are often a significant part of divorce proceedings and require careful consideration to ensure the well-being of the children.

A child custody and access contract is a legal document that outlines the terms of custody and visitation arrangements for children whose parents have separated or divorced. It typically includes details such as where the child will live, when each parent will have access to the child, and who will make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.

In order to ensure that the contract is fair and in the best interests of the child, it’s important to work with child custody lawyers. They can help you negotiate the terms of the contract with the other parent and ensure that your rights and the child’s rights are protected. They can also help you understand the legal implications of the contract and provide guidance on how to enforce it if necessary.

Additionally, child custody lawyers can provide valuable advice on how to handle any disputes that may arise regarding the custody and access arrangements. They can represent you in court if needed and help you navigate the complex legal system to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.

Custody Arrangements

Child Custody arrangements refer to the decision-making powers and responsibilities of the parents towards their children. Custody is often mistakenly assumed to refer to which parent has primary physical custody of the child. However, in legal terms, child custody solely pertains to the parent who will make significant decisions concerning the child, such as healthcare and education. The parent with whom the child resides is known as the primary residential parent or the parent of the primary residence. It’s important to understand the distinction between the two terms in family law matters.

It is common for the term “shared custody” to be mistakenly used to refer to joint decision-making responsibility. However, it is important to understand that shared custody is a distinct parenting arrangement that does not necessarily involve decision-making power. Shared child custody is established when each parent spends at least 40% of the time with the child, resulting in a roughly equal split of parenting time. This type of arrangement can exist regardless of whether the parents share joint decision-making responsibility. It is worth noting that shared custody can affect child support arrangements, as it is treated differently under the Child Support Guidelines. 

There are three types of child custody arrangements: sole custody, joint custody, and split custody.

Sole Custody

In family law matters, it’s not uncommon for parents to have conflicting ideas regarding their children’s upbringing. When joint decision-making becomes difficult, Child, Youth and Family Services Act state that one parent may be granted sole child custody, meaning that they have the final say in significant decisions about their child’s life. While the child will primarily reside with the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent remains involved in the child’s life and may provide input on important decisions. However, the custodial parent holds the ultimate responsibility for making decisions on matters such as health, education, and religion. 

Contrary to popular belief, the death of the parent with sole custody does not automatically grant custody to the other parent. In fact, the parent with sole custody can choose who will have custody of their child for the first 90 days following their death. After that period, the chosen person can apply to the court for child custody. It is important to note that this is not the same as the other parent automatically receiving child custody in the event of the sole custodial parent’s death.

Joint Custody

When it comes to child custody arrangements, joint custody is a common arrangement that allows both parents to share responsibility for their child’s upbringing. Joint custody typically involves joint decision-making between the parents regarding important matters like religion, health, and education.

In Ontario, there are two types of joint custody arrangements available to parents:

  • Joint legal custody: This form of child custody involves both parents having a say in significant decisions affecting their child’s life, such as healthcare and education. The children’s residence and visitation arrangements may vary under this custody arrangement.
  • Joint physical custody or shared custody: In this type of joint custody, both parents spend a minimum of 40% of their time with their children. This arrangement is suitable for parents who are willing and able to cooperate in sharing the care of their children.

Split Custody

split custody is a term used to describe a situation where one parent has custody of some of the children, while the other parent has custody of the remaining children. It’s important to note that splitting younger children from their siblings is typically not recommended, as it can negatively impact their emotional well-being. However, in cases involving pre-teens and teenagers, it’s not uncommon for them to express a desire to live with different parents.

In family law, the primary concern is always the best interests of the child. Child custody lawyers who specialize in family law have extensive knowledge and experience in negotiating, drafting, and enforcing child custody and access contracts. They can also help parents resolve any conflicts or disputes that may arise in the future.

In addition, family law lawyers can assist with other legal issues related to family matters, such as divorce, adoption, and child support. They provide legal guidance and representation to their clients throughout the legal process, ensuring that their rights are protected and their interests are served.

Access Arrangements

In family law, it is important to distinguish between two related but distinct concepts: Child Custody and access. While custody refers to the legal responsibility of a parent or guardian to make decisions for a child related to health, education, and religion, access refers to the amount of time a parent or guardian spends with the child. The parent with whom the child primarily resides is often referred to as the custodial parent, while the other parent is the access parent. 

Child custody agreement and arrangements can be supervised or unsupervised. In some cases, there may be concerns regarding a parent’s ability to care for their child, particularly if the child is young. When this happens, the parties involved may choose, or the court may order, supervised access for the parent. This means that the parent can only have access to the child while under supervision by a mutually agreed-upon person, or at a Supervised Access Centre.

Supervised Access Centre is typically run by government agencies and is available at minimal or no cost. The Centre is staffed by social workers who observe the parent-child interaction discretely. Supervised access is generally intended as a short-term solution. If the access goes well at the Supervised Access Centre, it may eventually be expanded to unsupervised access. 

Supervised Access

Supervised access is when the access parent is allowed to spend time with the child, but the visits are supervised by a third party. This can be a professional supervisor or a family member agreed upon by both parties. Supervised access is typically used in cases where there are concerns about the child’s safety or well-being.

Supervised access is a form of child visitation where a parent is only allowed to visit their child in the presence of a third-party supervisor. This type of visitation is often ordered by family courts when there are concerns about the safety and well-being of the child during unsupervised visits.

In family law rules, supervised access is governed by the Children’s Law Reform Act, which outlines the legal rights and obligations of parents with respect to their children. The act provides guidance on matters such as child custody, access, and support, and sets out the principles that courts must consider when making decisions related to children.

Overall, supervised access can be a valuable tool for ensuring the safety and well-being of children in family law matters. With the guidance of a skilled family lawyer, parents can work towards creating a visitation plan that meets the best interests of their child while complying with the Children’s Law Reform Act.

Unsupervised Access

Unsupervised access is when the access parent is allowed to spend time with the child without supervision. Unsupervised access is the norm unless there are concerns about the child’s safety or well-being.

Unsupervised access is another important aspect of family law, particularly in child custody cases where parents have the right to spend time with their children without supervision. It is a legal right that is governed by the Children’s Law Reform Act, which sets out the legal rights and obligations of parents with respect to their children.

When it comes to divorce and child custody cases, a divorce lawyer can help parents understand their rights and obligations under the Children’s Law Reform Act with respect to unsupervised access. They can also help parents negotiate the terms of an access order that is in the best interests of the child.

In summary, unsupervised access is an important legal right for parents in family law, particularly in child custody cases. Working with an experienced firm can help parents understand their rights and obligations under the Children’s Law Reform Act and negotiate an access order that is in the best interests of their child.

Factors Considered in Custody Arrangements

When deciding on a Child Custody arrangement, the court takes into account several factors, including:

  • The child’s needs: The court considers the child’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs when deciding on custody arrangements. The primary concern is the interests of the child.
  • The child’s wishes: If the child is of sufficient age and maturity, the court may consider their preferences when making custody decisions.
  • Child’s age and sex.
  • The parents’ ability to care for the child: The court considers the parents’ ability to meet the child’s needs, including their emotional and physical well-being.
  • The parents’ living arrangements: The court considers the parents’ living arrangements and their proximity to the child’s school, friends, and community.
  • The parents’ relationship with the child: The court considers the nature of the parents’ relationship with the child and their ability to provide a stable and loving environment.

Challenges in Custody and Access Cases

Custody and access cases can be emotionally charged and challenging for all parties involved. Parents may have different views on what is best for their child, and disputes can arise over custody and access arrangements. In some cases, domestic violence may be a factor, which further complicates the situation.

Father's Rights

Father’s rights have become a significant issue in custody and access cases. Historically, mothers were often awarded primary custody, while fathers had limited access to their children. However, the courts now recognize that the involvement of both parents is essential for the well-being of the child. As such, the courts consider the best interests of the child when determining custody and access arrangements, rather than gender.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can have a significant impact on custody and access cases. The safety and well-being of the child are of paramount concern, and the courts take allegations of domestic violence seriously. In cases where there are concerns about domestic violence, the court may order supervised access or limit the access of the abusive parent.

The Process

The process of determining custody and access arrangements can be complex and emotionally draining. It is recommended that parties seek the advice of a child custody lawyers to guide them through the process. The first step in the process is to attempt to negotiate a settlement between the parties. If a settlement cannot be reached, the parties may need to attend mediation or go to court.

  • In mediation, a neutral third party helps the parties reach an child custody agreement. Mediation is often less adversarial than going to court and allows the parties to have more control over the outcome. If mediation is not successful, the parties may need to go to court.
  • In Family court, the judge hears evidence from both parties and makes a decision on custody and access arrangements. Going to court can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining, and it is recommended that parties attempt to reach a settlement before going to court.


Privacy is an essential consideration in custody and access cases. The parties’ personal information and sensitive details of their family life may be discussed in court or in mediation. As such, it is recommended that parties seek the advice of child custody lawyers to ensure their privacy is protected.

Child custody agreement has important aspects of divorce proceedings. The primary concern is the well-being of the child, and the court considers several factors when making decisions. Custody arrangements refer to decision-making powers and responsibilities, while access arrangements refer to the time a parent spends with their child. Custody and access cases can be emotionally charged and complex, and it is recommended that parties seek the advice of a child custody lawyer lawyer. Domestic violence and father’s rights are two significant issues that can arise in custody and access cases. Mediation and court are two options available to parties, and privacy is an important consideration in custody and access cases. 

In summary, custody and access cases are complex and require careful consideration of interests of the child. TCZ Lawyer Eric Zhao can provide guidance on all aspects of shared custody and child support to help ensure that you achieve a fair and appropriate outcome for you and your children.