Child custody is governed by the Divorce Act in Alberta, CA. A child custody agreement is essential to resolve your divorce claim. Getting a divorce is a heartbreaking incident, and you may not be in the proper mental condition to prepare for a custody agreement.
But don’t feel lost! You can take help from an expert family lawyer to prepare a custody agreement that ensures the child’s best interest.
In the article, you’ll know the following information:
- Child Custody (definition)
- Difference between child custody and access
- Three types of child custody
- Types of parental accesses
- The process to determine child custody in Canada
- Your guide to writing a child custody agreement
Understanding Child Custody
The issue of child custody arises when you or your spouse are filing a divorce to end your marriage. The court determines child custody based on the Canadian Divorce Act.
For that, both you and your spouse can apply for child custody to the court before the final verdict of your divorce application. Usually, you can claim child custody of your offspring below the age of majority according to Canadian provincial law.
If you get child custody, you decide the following factors for your child:
- The child’s primary residence
- Choose educational institution
- Response to medical options
- Make various decisions for welfare and wellbeing.
In addition to the rights mentioned above, you also have a set of responsibilities as a custodian parent. Namely, they provide safe housing, food, and nutrition for healthy growth, adequate apparel, educational expenses, proper recreations, and fulfilling other basic needs.
Now let’s know about the child custody agreement.
Child Custody Agreement
A child custody agreement is a written document prepared by you and/or your spouse. As a common practice for the child’s best interest, the court encourages you to take prepare the agreement under friendly negotiation with your other partner.
However, you and your partner are required to submit the child custody agreement as a mandatory part of the divorce processing.
According to provincial law in Alberta, you can prepare the custody agreement all by yourself. And there is no specific format for that. However, as per the Divorce Act guideline, you have covered a few insights. In a later section, you can find a solid guide to writing a child custody agreement.
Difference Between Child Custody and Access
When you are applying for child custody, you will either get custody or access. If you get custody, you’re a custodian parent. On the contrary, you are called an access parent when the court grants you access.
The difference between child custody and access is illustrated below:
|Major decision-making rights||Limited or no decision making rights|
|Authority of choosing the residence||No legal right to choose resident for the child|
|The flexibility of travelling with the child anywhere in or outside Canada||Tough procedure for permission to travel with the child|
|Primarily responsible for child’s parenting||Loosely accountable for child’s parenting|
|Influence on choosing religious belief||No legal right to influence religious belief|
In the following section, you can learn about different types of custody and access.
What Are The Three Types of Child Custody?
There are three main types of child custody in Alberta, Canada, as described below:
In sole custody, you get the main parenting responsibility. You can exercise the previously listed rights for the best interest of the child. In that case, you don’t need to consult the other parent.
In shared custody, you and the other parent will share the custody of the child. Both of you have to make major decisions for the child together. You and the other parent will get more or less equal duration to spend time with the child.
Besides, you and the other parent will share the custody in a cycle until the child reaches the majority age.
This is partially identical to shared custody. Split custody is common when the couple has more than one child. To lessen the parenting duty, you and the other parent will take the responsibility of one child each.
Split custody is usually a complex process. It is recommended to take legal assistance for preparing a split custody agreement.
Types of Parental Accesses
There are various parental accesses in Canada. Some common types of parental accesses are as follows:
Reasonable access is the most flexible parental access. If a court gives custody to the other parent, you might be granted reasonable access. Here, you and your former partner can fix visiting hours and parenting access informally by mutual discussion in reasonable access.
In limited or fixed access, you will have specific restrictions on visiting the child. This happens if you are not on good terms with the custodial parent. In most cases, you need to have permission from the court to visit or spend time with the child.
In graduated access, you will have very limited time to visit the child. Your access as a parent will be extended over time.
Court grants supervised access when it is concerned about the child’s safety from the access parent. As a supervised access parent, you can’t legally spend time with the child without a legal monitor’s presence. You have to usually go to the Supervised Access Centers to visit the child at a scheduled time.
If the court is highly concerned about the child’s safety and security, the non-custodial parent will have no access. To avoid facing any legal consequence, the no-access parent should refrain from visiting the child.
How is Child Custody Determined in Canada?
There are various parameters for determining child custody in Canada. Both parents can apply for child custody, but the court is the ultimate authority to decide. Naturally, a court looks into the following aspects when assigning child custody to the parent(s):
- Financial capability of the parent to fulfil various needs of the child
- Parent’s criminal record
- Child’s fondness with a particular parent
- Parent’s behavioural issue
- Parent’s sense of parenting responsibility
In addition to these, the court may ask for many supporting documents to back your claim for child custody.
How Do I write Custody Agreements?
Canadian law has flexibility regarding writing a child custody agreement. There is no specific child custody agreement form. You simply follow the court’s instructions to include compulsory points.
You have two options to prepare a custody agreement document.
Firstly, you can take the pressure to write it all by yourself. To do that, you have to complete some pre-study on this issue. This is not easy to write by yourself when you are getting a divorce. However, you have the liberty to write it by yourself.
Secondly, you can hire a divorce lawyer to prepare a child custody agreement on your behalf. It is the most feasible choice for you to gain child custody.
Why Should You Hire a Lawyer To Write a Custody Agreement Form
The reasons to hire a lawyer to write a child custody agreement are listed below:
- A lawyer can prepare a flawless child custody agreement.
- A professional lawyer can easily forecast future disputes over child custody.
- A lawyer can ensure that your contract covers a solid argument for the child support amount.
- Your agreement will have zero legal loopholes.
- It will enhance the chance of getting accepted for child custody.
- Your application will have no missing piece of information required by the court.
- That will significantly reduce the duration of your divorce verdict and child custody.
- A lawyer knows the best format for writing a child custody agreement.
- You won’t have to go through the extra mental burden of writing a top-quality custody agreement.
If you are getting a divorce (or separation), you are already going through enough emotional turmoil. First, you should take time to organize yourself mentally. However, you can easily get legal assistance for writing a child custody agreement in Alberta.
So, don’t hesitate anymore! Expert lawyers are just a click away from helping you.