When a long time relationship ends by divorce or separation, the terms of custody and access to children not only become a priority for parents, but can become a part of the dispute. This can be in relation to decisions about where children should live and time with spent with each parent as well as important decisions about the children’s education, activities, health, and wellbeing.
In most cases, both parents wish to be loving and devoted. Both parents deserve to have appropriate and adequate time with their children. Both parents might be well-intentioned, but nevertheless they may disagree about child care and other decision making.
Many other potentially interested parties can bring custody and access applications before the courts in Saskatchewan. Grandparents for example may be granted visitation or parenting time.
You may be a grandparent or someone with close ties to the child. The courts have authority to order joint custody, shared parenting, nesting orders, and a wide variety of remedies whereby both parents can have the right to see the child on the most appropriate basis always based upon the best interests of the child for their own safety, happiness and development.
To arrive at any conclusion in a case where the issue of custody and access is in dispute, all relevant facts of the case have to be assessed by the court. Facts such as:
- What is in the best interests of the child with respect to his or her psychological, emotional and physical well-being, first and foremost;
- Next, what is the nature, length and history of the applicant’s relationship with the child and how would it serve the child’s best interests to continue the custody or access type relationship
- Next, how the applicant’s relationship with the child’s parents may impact the child, as this can be a big factor in the child’s overall happiness.
It is possible to improve your chances of being awarded child custody or access. Without a doubt the quality of your Moose Jaw child custody lawyers can make an enormous difference. We will explain to you clearly what are the court’s expectations with respect to your custody and access responsibilities, which will include amongst other things the welfare of the child, educational support, medical care, and religion.
In order to maximize your chances of winning custody and access, our Moose Jaw child custody lawyers team can advise as to the best approach. These things if done right and in advance can build up the evidentiary quiver full of arrows we will want to have on your side. These steps need to be done before you make an application for child custody. Or else to defend if you have been served with an application.
Moose Jaw child custody lawyers – What is Child Custody and Child Access?
By definition having “custody” of anything implies actual physical custody. But when we are talking about children, legal custody means a person’s authority to make major decisions regarding the overall welfare of the child. Such decisions include the child’s education, choice of medical care, doctors, and treatments, religious schooling, mental health services, and types of activities in which the child is permitted to engage like sports or music.
When we talk about parenting time, access and visitation, in relation to a child or children what these terms mean, distinct from actual “custody” per se, is your right to spend time with that child under your direct care and supervision.
The court has authority to order sole or joint legal custody of children. One problem when you have joint custody and equal decision-making authority arises when the parties cannot agree and you do not want to end up in court every time one of you wants to change swimming coaches, sole custody can be preferable. In a sole custody scenario there is no requirement to consult the other parent.
In Saskatchewan, the term “access” means the right of a child to visit or spend time with each parent. Depending on the province, access may also be referred to as “parenting time”, “contact time”, or “interaction”.
The test that the court uses is the same as for custody: “the best interests of the child” test.
It is often up to the skilled Moose Jaw child custody lawyers to make a winning proposal to the court which will be favoured by the judge deciding the case. The judge needs to be persuaded that one side’s proposal is more favourable to the other’s.
Putting the facts together in a coherent and persuasive manner and pointing out or highlighting certain facts and details can win the day for what the court ultimately decides is tips the scales in terms of where the best interests of the children lie.
The judge must decide what is the best for the children, and not what is the best for one or other or both of the parents.
It may be that the circumstances of your case have changed significantly and you wish to alter or vary an existing court order or custody and access arrangement. If either yours or your ex-souse’s circumstances have changed significantly, then you can use the expert services of a qualified Moose Jaw child custody lawyer.
For example, if either you or your spouse may be remarrying, or just cohabiting with a new partner, relocating to a new city or a new province, it could well be that you have a good case to make to change an existing order to make it more favourable to you.
I don’t want my ex to see the children at all – What can I do?
An “unfit mother” or “unfit father” might have no parenting time at all. In any of these situations one of our experienced Moose Jaw child custody lawyers can help you.
Sometimes these types of applications of “unfit parents” can be fruitless as judges generally speaking will encourage involvement by both willing parents. That said, if you think your children may be in physical danger, the urgency is much greater and you would be well advised to seek and receive qualified legal representation from our experienced Moose Jaw child custody lawyers.
It may be appropriate to call 911 if the matter is more urgent and you believe your children are in immediate danger. In this type of situation, you should also consider getting a restraining order, additionally. If you have any concerns about potential repercussions, you should share those concerns with your Moose Jaw child custody lawyer.
Can I move away with my children to another city, province, or country?
Moving to another city or province within Canada, or indeed leaving Canada altogether, can be another challenge where children are involved. Our skilled Moose Jaw child custody lawyers can help with these challenges. Seeking legal counsel to represent your interests is certainly recommended for inter-provincial and inter-national cases.
We will be able to help build up a good case with solid evidence to persuade the court that the best interests of the child are in line with what you desire. The law generally is that the custodial guardian of the children is usually able to move away but we still need to show with evidence that the children’s best interests are being served.
My ex is not letting me see my kids what can I do?
Is your ex-spouse trying to prevent you from seeing your own children? If you find yourself in a situation where your ex may be attempting to limit your contact with your kids, is denying you visits , or may be trying to cancel at the last minute your visits and you begin to see a pattern, you should definitely think about hiring a Moose Jaw custody lawyer.
Any such kind of behaviour can be the first sign of worse things to come, and you do not want a pattern to develop where the ex-spouse can later say you were not interested in access so therefore you should get less access, and we do see this happen in countless cases we handle. You should hire a well-qualified, experienced Moose Jaw child custody lawyer to have on your side, fighting on your behalf, in court.
Another example where you might find yourself having difficulty getting access or visitation is where you have some issues with alcohol, drugs, gambling or other problems like anger management.
It may be that you have been to treatment, whether ordered by the court or not. It may be that the court is currently requiring you to take parenting classes or anger management classes or to enrol in alcohol or drug abuse treatment.
This will put you at a disadvantage right away before the court and you will need to really build up your case with sage legal advice from a highly experienced Moose Jaw child custody lawyer.
There are lots of little things that can be done, additional steps that can be taken, to build up more evidence and a stronger case to get you seeing your children for a maximum amount of time and without supervision, ideally.
If your ex-spouse already has a lawyer representing them, then it is almost always a good idea that you reciprocate in this respect and “lawyer up” as people say. Do not delay getting your own legal counsel to help you.
The last thing you want is to feel as though your case did not turn out the way you thought it should have because your ex got a very good lawyer who advocated very well on their behalf and you went to court without representation because you did not bother to hire your own Moose Jaw child custody lawyer in time.
If you are required to appear in court you should call and speak to a Moose Jaw child custody lawyer of your choosing and you can also ask the court for more time if you need extra time to hire a lawyer.
Moose Jaw Child Custody Lawyers for Fathers and Mothers
The single test for the court is “what is in the best interests of the child or children”.
It is wrong to conclude that mothers always win custody and fathers are always left paying child support and seeing the children rarely.
The job of a capable Moose Jaw child custody lawyer is to put all the relevant factors before the judge to persuade with evidence, advocacy and argument why the best interests of the child will be served through one outcome over another.
For instance, time with cousins or step siblings or other children around the same age, extended family and grandparents, opportunities for travel and expansion of horizons for the children, may all be relevant factors that the Moose Jaw child custody lawyer will want to have considered, to show what custody arrangement will ultimately be in the child’s best interests.
Certainly issues of alcohol, anger, neglect etc. will weigh heavily on any judge’s final analysis.
So as you can see these cases are evidence and argument driven. An experienced Moose Jaw child custody lawyer can make a huge difference to the result you get before the judges of the courts.
I get along well with my ex – Can we decide the custody and access arrangements ourselves with a separation agreement?
Parties can come to their own arrangements without having to fight it out in a court room. When the parties are able to reach an agreement in regards to child custody these are ordinarily respected by the courts unless they are shockingly unreasonable or palpably contrary to the best interests of the children involved.
Reasonable people can usually reach such a compromised solution taking into account each other’s rights and wishes and the best interests of the child which in an ordinary case should be for children to have maximum time with both parents.
Without question the psychological research indicates seeing both parents is best for the child. These agreements should still be put before the court for a binding court order that can then be subject to enforcement.
Where one or both of the parents simply cannot agree, then one or both will have to go to the court by way of an application to ask that a judge of the court decide the issues of custody, access and visitation.
The court can make an interim order to determine the issues of custody, access, and visitation of the children which interim order will remain in place until the parties can agree to a final order by consent. If the parties are still unable to agree upon custody, access and visitation, these issues can be decided finally by a judge at a full trial.
All families are different and may have unique needs when it comes to child custody and access. The important decisions in relation to a child’s upbringing which will include schooling and medical care, religion, sports and other activities can be equally shared between parents.
This may be the case even if the child lives primarily with only one parent. The parents have the ability to negotiate the most appropriate terms for co-parenting that will work best in practice for both their families and the children involved.
In Saskatchewan as elsewhere, separation agreements are sometimes sought to avoid the court process altogether, although they should still be put before the court for final approval, this can be done by the lawyers without a lot of the adversarial and confrontational aspects which can otherwise be involved in disputes of this nature over such issues as child custody, access, and visitation.
Moose Jaw child custody lawyers
Our Moose Jaw child custody lawyers have extensive experience successfully representing parents, grandparents, and other closely related third parties in custody cases.
We remain committed to providing affordable and comprehensive solutions for each and every client. Our Moose Jaw family law lawyers are skilled and experienced in all areas of divorce and separation including child custody, access, and visitation.
Whether you are the man (husband/father) or the woman (mother/wife), we can serve you to get a fair and just result.
Get in Touch
Call us now at 306-693-7777 to speak directly with one of our lawyers to see how we may be able to help you.
Or if you prefer, you can fill out the adjacent form to send us an email. We will get back to you within one business day.
Or else drop by our downtown Moose Jaw law offices during ordinary office hours but please make an appointment first. We are located at 310 Main Street N., Suite 306. We’ll be happy to help you.