Child Custody in Canada, by Lawyer Paul McInnis When couples divorce, one of the biggest issues is who obtains custody of the children. The primary concern in awarding child custody is what will be in the best interest of the youths. Judges look at access to medical treatment, education, religion, living conditions of the parents, and other elements when making their choice. Moreover, they can require a child custody assessment wherein a specialist interviews the parents to evaluate their skills and personality. Assessors may also contact teachers, doctors, friends, and the children to reach their conclusion. Following this process, Canadian courts will choose among four types of custody. Sole custody provides one parent with complete custody of the youths, although the other parent may obtain visitation rights. Joint custody and shared custody are similar in that both parents acquire some custody over the children, but in the latter version, each adult spends at least 40% of the year with them. Finally, the rare split custody divides siblings between parents. About the Author: A graduate of Queen’s University Faculty of Law, Paul McInnis has served as a lawyer in Toronto for more than three decades. The Co-Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Family Law Summit for four years, McInnis provides legal counsel in many aspects of family law, including child custody.
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