Custody and Access
Learn more about Custody and Access from our lawyers in Vaughan, ON. Contact Ciccone Law for more details.
If your separation agreement or a court order gives you custody of your children, the children will live with you.
You have the right to make important decisions about their care, their education, their religious instruction and their welfare — unless the agreement or court order says otherwise.
Parents who have joint custody of their children share the right to make important decisions about their care.
The children may spend half the time with one parent and half the time with the other or they may spend more time living with one parent than with the other. Both parents remain involved in making decisions about the children. For joint custody to work, parents have to be able to communicate with each other and to co-operate even though they are not living together.
If you do not have custody of your children, you have a right to spend time with them unless the court decides that this is not in their best interests. Access arrangements can be written out in detail in a parenting plan, separation agreement or court order. The plan, agreement or order could say, for example, that the children would be with you every other weekend.
Or, your access arrangements could be open, letting you work out arrangements with the other parent in a more flexible way. It is difficult to enforce this kind of access arrangement.
You also have the right to receive information about your children’s health, education and general situation. You do not have a right to be part of the decision-making about these things, unless you have joint custody of your children or your separation agreement or court order says that you will share in making decisions.
A court may refuse you access to your children if there is a fear that you will harm them or harm the parent with custody, or if there is a fear that you will not return the children to the parent with custody.
Where there are concerns for the safety of the children, and/or a parent, the parents can agree, or the court can require, that access visits with children be supervised. This means that someone else must be present when you visit with your children. Sometimes the parents can agree on a friend or relative who can supervise visits. Parents can also pay a professional, such as a social worker, to supervise visits. In most communities across Ontario, there are government funded Supervised Access Centres staffed by trained professionals and volunteers. On arrangement with Supervised Access Centre staff, families can attend the centre for supervised visits or for supervised drop off and/or pickup of the children for access visits.
This is not legal advice. For legal advice, please contact Ciccone Law.