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Child Custody and Access

At Pace Family Law, we have extensive knowledge and experience in child custody and access matters. Our family 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.

what is child custody

Sole custody vs. Joint custody

The custodial arrangement agreed to by the parties or mandated by the court is unaffected by shared custody. Instead, it’s about child support, therefore “sharing” custody with your ex-spouse/partner won’t affect the custodial parent’s ability to make final decisions. Instead, if the access parent can establish that the child spends at least 40% of his or her time with him or her, shared custody may allow him or her to pay less child support. Weekends, overnights, and portions of vacations can all be counted toward the 40 percent requirement.

Split custody is another (more uncommon) form of custody arrangement. Parents with split custody have more than one child together, and each parent has one or more children who live with him or her primarily.

access

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.