Skip to Main Content

Child Custody in Ontario

What you need to know about Child Custody in Ottawa

Anyone in Canada who is planning on a separation or a divorce and has minor children from their relationship will need to learn more about child custody and how it works. In Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General provides information about a range of issues pertaining to child custody, including the kinds of parenting arrangements that are possible and how to get a court-appointed lawyer for a child from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. Our Ottawa child custody lawyers can provide you with more information.

What is Child Custody in Canada?

Child custody in Canada involves parenting time, decision-making responsibility, and contact. While the terminology of “child custody” is not used as such, decisions concerning parenting time, decision-making responsibility, and contact will include some of the following issues:

  • Determining where the child will live;
  • Determining how much time a child will spend with each of their parents; and
  • Determining which parent will be responsible for making important decisions about the child, or whether the parents will share in making those decisions.

Many different types of parenting arrangements may be possible to suit a family’s circumstances and the child’s interests and needs.

What Are the Types of Parenting Arrangements in Ottawa?

Parenting time is the time a parent spends with the child, and parenting time is set out through a parenting plan, a separation agreement, or a court order. Parenting time can be shared, split, or supervised.

Decision-making responsibility concerns a parent’s ability to make significant decisions concerning the child’s upbringing and well-being in relation to the child’s education, health, and religion. Decision-making responsibility can be sole (one parent), joint (shared between the parents), or de facto (when your child lives full-time with you and your spouse has accepted the arrangement, but there is no legal agreement or order in place).

How to Get a Court-Appointed Attorney for Child Custody?

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) can get involved in family law cases that involve issues concerning minor children, including child custody and parenting time, contact, and decision-making responsibilities for the child. For a court-appointed lawyer for child custody from the OCL to get involved in a case, the court will typically need information about the child’s experiences and preferences in order to determine what kind of custody arrangement is best for the child. When an OCL lawyer is appointed, that lawyer will find out more about the child’s perspective and “will generally take a position that is consistent with a child’s views and preferences.” An OCL court-appointed lawyer will not be involved in every child custody case, but can be asked to get involved in cases where the child needs an advocate.

Contact an Ottawa Child Custody Lawyer for Assistance

If you are planning on a divorce or separation and share minor children with your partner, or if you have questions or concerns about a difficult or complicated child custody case, you should seek advice from one of our Ottawa child custody lawyers as soon as possible. We can assist you with all aspects of your child custody case. Contact RPB Family Law for more information about the family law services we provide in Ontario.