Custody and access are some of the most misunderstood concepts of Family Law. Knowing the difference, and what is right for you and your child, is key.
Custody refers to who makes decisions for the child about important things like education, religion, and medical treatment. Joint custody is when both parents make decisions together. Sole custody is when one parent has the authority to make all decisions pertaining to the child without the input of the other parent.
Courts typically default to joint custody. But a different arrangement might be necessary when there is a lot of hostility between the parents and they cannot agree on issues, or if there is violence, or an imbalance of power.
Access refers to parenting time, and essentially the amount of time that the child spends with each parent. When the child lives primarily with one parent, and has scheduled visits with the other one, the home that they spend the majority of their time in is called the primary residence. While a child may reside with one parent primarily, it does not mean that the parent whom the child resides with has sole custody and all the decision-making authority. Primary residence is important because it determines which parent will pay child support and which parent will be the recipient of the child support. But we will leave the discussion of child support for our next article.
The decision whether to seek sole or joint custody and shaping your parenting time with your child are important ones with many considerations and consequences. These decisions are very fact driven and an experienced lawyer can help you through this process.
Geraldine Acosta is an experienced and knowledgeable Family Law lawyer. She has vast experience in dealing with high conflict custody and access matters.
Book your free 30-minute consultation with Geraldine at 905-448-1105. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.