Children and Divorce: Child Custody, Access and Support
At Elliott & Hills, our lawyers help parents make important decisions about their own and their children's futures after a marriage ends. It is important to understand the legal issues involved in decisions about child custody, child support and access. We take the time to explain the issues involved and help clients develop workable solutions that put the best interests of the children first.
Child custody does not refer to which parent the child lives with, but rather, who has legal authority to make decisions about the child's education, medical care and religious upbringing. Joint custody means both parents have an equal voice in making those decisions. Sole custody means the custodial parent makes those decisions alone.
The Right to See Your Child: Access
Access is the right of the non-custodial parent to see the child. Depending on the residential arrangements, the parents may develop a plan that works for their unique needs. It is sometimes called visitation or child visitation. The children may spend one night a week and every-other weekend with the non-custodial parent. They may live with one parent during the school year and with the other during the summer and on school breaks. We encourage clients to be as specific as possible in developing their access plans to avoid potential disputes and the expensive trips to court required to resolve them.
In Ontario, child support is determined by a formula. As with any formula, the accuracy of the end result is determined by the accuracy of the numbers you enter into the formula. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the case law around how the court defines income and can advise you whether you should expect to be paying or receiving child support. In addition to providing for a child's basic need for food, clothing and housing, parents must consider how to pay for additional costs, including medical expenses, post-secondary educational expenses, costs for extracurricular activities and other expenses. We help clients develop child support plans and enforce court ordered child support through the Family Responsibility Office (FRO).
Each case is unique and requires the attention of a lawyer experienced in family law issues. To arrange a consultation, send us an e-mail or call 1 905-571-1774. From our offices in Oshawa we represent clients throughout the Durham Region of Ontario.