Child Custody in Ontario: Know Where to Begin and How To Seek Legal Counsel
When a marriage breaks down, the children often end up splitting their time between two different households. How long the child spends at each house is usually determined by a court of law and custody agreement. There are, however, many cases when a child will decide that they wish to spend more of their time, or all of it, with one parent over the other.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an incredible strain on many parents, slowly deteriorating the physical and mental health of many Ontarians. As a result, many marriages have been impacted. This may lead to an increase in divorces in Ontario, creating potentially complicated child custody cases. During these difficult times, the guidance of a family lawyer can help make these decisions easier.
If you get divorced, it’s important to consider the impacts the child custody agreement may have on your children. By speaking with a family lawyer or mediator, they can help ensure your children’s voice is heard throughout the process.
Child Custody in Ontario: Understanding Ontario Family Law
The psychological effects of divorce on a child can be very serious. They can have long-lasting impacts. Should you choose to divorce, it’s important to take extra steps to ensure all parties are satisfied with the child custody arrangements. This includes your children.
Child custody cases are complex. This is especially true if the child has differing opinions regarding their parent’s divorce or custody arrangements. At times, a child may wish to live with one parent over the other one full-time, which can create complications.
But the truth is that according to Ontario Family Law, a child cannot determine their own custody until the age of majority, which is 18. However, there are some cases where a judge will take into account a child’s preference. The closer a child is to 18, the more likely a judge will be to take their opinion into consideration when deciding custody.
Child Custody In Ontario: Determining the Best Interests of the Child
When custody arrangements are determined by a judge, they will outline custody arrangements that speak to the best interests of the child. Even if a child has strong preferences on who they wish to spend their time with, Ontario Family Law will consider much more than just the opinions of the child.
When determining child custody in Ontario, Judges will consider:
- The child’s preferences.
- The child’s needs and living circumstances.
- The emotional ties between the child and their other family members including siblings, parents, and grandparents.
- A parent’s ability to provide the child with guidance, education, and the necessities of life.
- A parent’s ability to address any of the child’s special needs.
Child Custody In Ontario: How To Ease Your Children Into Divorce
Divorce can be especially hard on your children. As they face their own emotional challenges, leaving them unaddressed can prompt feelings of stress, confusion, and guilt.
There are many negative impacts a traumatic divorce can have on your children. Without the proper steps and preparation, your children could be facing several issues, such as:
- Struggling in school due to embarrassment or other emotional complications due to parents ending their relationship.
- Loss of interest in sports, hobbies, or other extracurricular activities.
- Issues managing emotions throughout life including anger, grief, and sadness.
- Self-destructive behaviors that can have long-lasting developmental complications.
- Slow developing mental health problems including PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
- Developing antisocial or other behavioral problems that could grow into larger problems later in life.
- Developing severe alcohol or drug problems including addiction.
- Creating unhealthy relationships or other behavioral or romantic patterns later in life.
Child Custody In Ontario: How Parents Can Support Their Children During Divorce
There are several ways parents can ease their children through the process of divorce. The support systems you can create for your children can help to ensure their well-being after the divorce has been completed.
These avenues of supporting your children through a divorce include:
- Creating open dialogue between parent and child. This means inviting children to ask any questions regarding the divorce. While parents might be struggling emotionally during the divorce, it’s important to offer the children emotional support and explanations as to what will happen next.
- Exploring therapy for your child along with yourself. Speaking to a professional can help children navigate the emotions they are feeling and guide them on how they can explain the divorce to their friends.
- Take steps to ensure that your child understands that they do not need to choose sides. Divorce shouldn’t be viewed as a battle. Your child does not need to view one parent as the “bad” parent, and one as the “good” parent.
- Ensure your child understands that they are just a kid and not your confidant, mediator, messenger, or therapist. Never enlist your children to send messages to another parent, or emotionally unload on them as you would on a therapist or friend.
Child Custody in Ontario: Family Law Services Offered By De Rose Lawyers
The family lawyers of De Rose can help draft up a custody agreement that works best for all parties involved, including your children. Family lawyers are highly effective at reducing conflict and stress. We help to manage the emotions that can arise from a divorce.
Divorce is never easy. Anyone considering a divorce should enlist family lawyers that can guide you through the process and navigate its complexities. Lean on those who specialize in family law to make both divorce and custody agreements as easy as possible.
You are not alone during a divorce in Ontario. Contact De Rose Lawyers and inquire about all family law matters that you may be facing. Find legal guidance that can make the process of divorce in Ontario as simple as possible.