The question that looms largest in the minds of most of the couples divorcing in Regina is: who gets the kids? And while both parents typically want to do what’s best for the children, emotions on both sides of a divorce action can make it difficult to get a clear picture of what “best” means.
Our skilled team of Regina child custody lawyers firm provides both the clear vision and the strong advocacy that will maximize your contact with your children. We can advise you on what the court is likely to order in your circumstances, and either guide you to a settlement where you work together to decide what makes sense for your family, or stand by you during custody hearings.
Joint legal custody is the default in Saskatchewan. If the parents lived together and raised the child together they both have a right to make legal, financial, medical, and educational decisions for their children, even if they were not married. The court seeks to preserve this right for both parents whenever possible.
Access refers to each parent’s right to spend time with the child. It is most commonly applied to the parent the child doesn’t live with, and is also known by the popular term, “visitation.”
Both parents have a right to access.
It is extremely rare for the Queen’s Bench to remove all access from any parent. Even if the parent has endangered the child in the past, specified access is more likely than total visitation denial. Under a specified access order, a parent may only be allowed to see his or her child under supervision from a third-party specialist.
Other specifications could apply. For example, in some high-conflict divorces it’s detrimental to the child for the parents to handle pickups and dropoffs. The court can order that a specialist be put in charge of the handoffs.
Physical custody refers to the parent who has the rights and responsibilities of the child’s everyday care. The child lives with the physical custodian and visits the other parent. Some custody arrangements offer joint physical custody; in this arrangement, the child lives with each parent on a roughly 50/50 basis.
Sole custody means you have exclusive physical and legal custody over the child. It’s most common in cases where the other parent is likely to endanger the child in some way, i.e. in cases where the other parent has a history of domestic violence, or has an active drug and alcohol problem. As noted, Saskatchewan will still make some provisions for parents to see their children.
How the Queen’s Bench Decides Custody in Saskatchewan
During a custody dispute, the Queen’s Bench evaluates 7 separate factors. These are:
- The quality of each parent’s relationship with the child.
- The personality, character, and emotional needs of the child.
- The psychological, physical, financial, and social needs of the child.
- The capacity of either parent to care for the child.
- Home environment.
- Plans for the child’s future.
- The child’s wishes, when the court considers the child mature enough to express these wishes in a mature way.
Keep in mind the court will also be watching how you conduct yourself in court, what you’ve done or failed to do to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent, and how you have conducted yourself outside of court to the extent the court is able to determine what you’re doing. For example, if you invite your boyfriend or girlfriend to live with you the court will consider that person’s character when evaluating the home environment.
In general, your best bet is to document what you do to parent your child. Do you drive the child to school? Get him or her dressed? Handle bedtime at night? Cook and serve meals? Do you take the child shopping for clothes, attend school appointments, baseball games, medical appointments? Records and documents supporting these activities will help show how you are meeting the child’s needs and the quality of your relationship with the child.
We can help you put your best foot forward. And if the other parent truly represents a danger to the child, we will fight hard to ensure the court both acknowledges and responds to this danger.
Child Custody Resources in Regina, SK
There are two major child custody resources Regina residents should know about.
The first is the Regina Supervised Access/Exchange Program. This program puts you in touch with social workers and trained observers who can carry out court orders regarding specified access.
You can reach out to the program by visiting the Family Justice Services – Regina Social Work Unit at 323-3085 Albert St., Regina, SK, S45 0B1, or by calling (306) 787-9416.
The second resource is the Parenting After Separation and Divorce Program. This program exists to “provide information that assists in consensual conflict resolution methods that lead to long-lasting resolution of issues; and reduce the number of family matters that return to the court for adjudication or variation.”
The theory behind this program is it’s the conflict between parents that hurts children the most, rather than the separation. By minimizing conflict the parents get a better grasp on how to help their children adjust. This program is usually mandatory for any parent involved in any sort of child custody action.
To register, call the Parent Education unit at (306) 787-9905, or toll-free at (888) 218-2822. You can also register via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting to Our Offices
Our offices address are located at 2401 Saskatchewan Dr., Regina, SK, S4P 4H8. For a free phone consultation, call (306) 359-7777 and one of our capable and caring Regina family law lawyers firm will be happy to help you.