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What is custody? What is joint custody?

Contrary to the widespread misconception that custody is about which parent spends the most time with a child, custody is actually about having the legal right to make major decisions about your child’s care and lifestyle. The child still may spend quite a bit of time with both parents.

Children who are in the joint custody of both parents may not necessarily split their time equally between homes, and could still be in the primary care of one parent. Joint custody essentially means that both parents must agree on major decisions... MORE »

Most Recent FAQs

I’m afraid someone else may try to claim custody of my child. Is that possible?

In determining who gets custody of a child, the court considers the child’s “best interests”. Most often, the court will decide that it is in the child’s best interests to remain in the custody of one or both of their parents. Canadian law outlines that whenever possible, it is in the best interests of a child to reside with one of their parents.

In certain situations a child may be removed from the care of their parents, such as if they have acted poorly or neglected their child. In these cases,... MORE »

I think my spouse is hiding income in order to pay less child support. What can I do?

Child support is based on the total gross income of the payor parent. This means income before taxes are deducted. A parent must disclose detailed financial information to the court regarding their finances. However, in some situations (for example: if they work for cash, are underreporting income, or are not looking for a job despite the fact that they are employable) you may be able to ask the court to impute income to your spouse. This means that you are asking the court to attribute more income earnings to your... MORE »

What if my spouse and I agree on the amount of child support?

Canadian law says that child support is a child’s right, and this right cannot be altered by a parent. Legally, child support must be paid pursuant to the Federal Child Support Guidelines, and you cannot simply agree to a different amount without considering the following:

If the payor parent wishes to pay a smaller amount of child support than outlined by the Guidelines, they must show that they are supporting the child in another way. This substitution must be acceptable to the court, as well as the other parent. This could... MORE »

What do I do if child support isn’t being paid? Can access be refused?

In short, no. Limiting or denying the rights of the other parent is frowned upon by the courts, and should not be done without a court order. The law in Ontario holds that support and access/custody are not linked in this way, and does not look kindly on parents who attempt to exercise “revenge”.

However, if your child’s parent has not made their support payments as outlined in your separation agreement, you have the option of filing it with the family court. The family court will then forward your agreement to... MORE »