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Child Custody and Access

At Pace Law, we have extensive knowledge and experience in child custody and access matters. Our lawyers and staff are committed to protecting your legal rights and getting you the most just and fair outcome possible.  Whatever your needs are we encourage you to contact us for a free, no obligation, confidential 30 minute in person or remote video consultation to discuss your matter.  We are here to help.

WHAT IS CUSTODY?

The term “custody” refers to decision making authority. Essentially, the parent who has custody of a child has the power to make important decisions in the child’s life.  Usually, these decisions relate to the child’s religion, school and educational programs, and health care.

Sole custody vs. Joint custody

Shared custody does not affect the custodial arrangement agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court.  Instead it relates to child support and so if you “share” custody with your former spouse/partner it will not affect the custodial parent’s power to make final decisions. Rather, shared custody may allow the access parent to pay less child support if he or she can show that the child spends at least 40% of the time with him or her.  The 40% time can be comprised of weekends, overnights, and parts of vacations.

Another type of custody arrangement is split custody. Although not very common, parents who have split custody have more than one child together and each parent has one or more child living primarily with him or her.

WHAT IS ACCESS?

When one parent is awarded custody of the children, the other parent is normally granted the right of access (visitation). Access visits can either be unsupervised or supervised, depending on what is felt to be in the best interests of the child.

Commonly access is unsupervised. This is where the child goes to visit the parent, and no-one else needs to be present while the child and parent are spending time together.

A typical access schedule involves the child spending alternate weekends and one or two nights per week with the parent who does not have primary care of the children. Typically, the access parent will also share holidays, including statutory holidays (i.e. long weekends), Christmas school break, March break, summer holidays and religious holidays etc.