In Ontario, parents who have a custody agreement in place may need to modify it due to a change in circumstances. This agreement outlines the legal custody and physical care and control of a child, and it is an important document that governs the relationship between parents and their children after separation or divorce. Here are the steps parents can take to modify a custody agreement:
1. Determine if a Material Change in Circumstances Has Occurred
Before seeking a modification, parents should determine if a material change in circumstances has occurred. A material change is a significant change that affects the best interests of the child. Examples of material changes may include a parent’s relocation, a significant change in the child’s needs, or a parent’s inability to provide proper care for the child.
2. Attempt to Resolve the Issue through Negotiation
Parents should attempt to resolve the issue through negotiation and communication. If the parties can agree on a modification, they can file a consent motion to change with the court, which will then become a court order. If the parties cannot agree, they will need to file a motion to change.
3. File a Motion to Change
To file a motion to change, a parent must prepare a sworn affidavit setting out the material change in circumstances and the relief sought. The parent must serve the other parent with the motion and supporting documents. Once the motion is filed, a court date will be set for a hearing.
4. Attend the Hearing
Both parents are required to attend the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will consider the evidence presented by both parties and will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
5. Factors Considered by the Court
When considering a motion to change, the court will consider the best interests of the child. The court will also consider any evidence presented by both parties, such as the child’s needs and the ability of each parent to care for the child. The court will also consider the existing agreement and any previous court orders or agreements.
6. Comply with the New Order
If the court grants the motion to change, the new custody arrangement will become a court order, and both parents will be required to comply with it. If a parent does not comply with the new order, the other parent may seek enforcement through the court. Under the Divorce Act , It is important for parents to comply with the new order to ensure that their children’s best interests are protected and to avoid any legal consequences.
It is important to note that modifying a custody agreement can be a complex process, and it is recommended that parents seek the assistance of lawyer to ensure that their rights and interests are protected. TCZ Lawyer Eric Zhao can help parents navigate the legal process and advocate on their behalf to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome.