Under the Children’s Law Reform Act, both parents have equal rights to be involved in the decisions for the care of their children after separation, particularly as it relates to the significant issues of education, religion, and health.
The management of these decisions, as well as parental rights and obligations, can be shared or divided in various ways. It is always best when the parents can agree on how or who will make decisions for the child between themselves.
There are times when parents are incapable of agreeing on custody and access, leading to court intervention, where a Judge will decide what should be done based upon the best interests of your child.
Upon separation one of the most critical decisions to make is with who the child will live, and which parent will have decision making authority for the child. Residence of the child and decision-making authority are two distinct concepts.
Custody refers to the decision-making authority for the children. Sole custody is when sole decision-making authority is granted to one parent, where-as joint custody is when both parents equally share in the decision-making process.
Under a joint custody arrangement, the children may live with one parent primarily, share their residence equally, or follow another schedule for care.
It is possible to allocate certain types of decisions to one parent, for example, education, while the other parent is responsible for different kinds of decisions, like religion.
If the primary residence of the child is not shared equally, the other parent is entitled to access to the child. This access is usually on a fixed schedule for a liberal and generous amount of time with each other.
If you do not have joint custody, you are still entitled to be given information and to make inquiries about the health, education, and welfare of your child.
Grandparents may also have access rights to the grandchildren if they can show it is in the child’s best interest.