When a family unit is broken up due to separation or divorce, the split can be hard on every member of the family, especially children. Their home life is about to change, and depending on their age they may not have any say on where and with whom the will live. Both parents have the same rights and responsibilities when it comes to the upbringing of their children, regardless if the parents are together or not.

When both parents are not able to agree on a child custody plan, it can lead to a long and stressful dispute. Quite often in these situations, one of the parents will feel that they are at a disadvantage based on the parenting role they played when they were a family unit. Before signing a child custody agreement that may limit or hinder your rights as a parent, consider consulting and building a team of professionals that can help you maintain your parenting rights and time with your children.

A family lawyer is a great place to start. Family lawyers are well acquainted with provincial child custody laws and know how to interpret provincial family laws to better help your case. Your lawyer’s role will be to help guide and advise you through the child custody process as well as protect your interests and ensure your approach will not further complicate the scenario.

Other professionals to consult when fighting for child custody include:

Private Evaluator

Some parents choose to have a private evaluation completed. These assessments include interviews with the parents, the children and in many cases other individuals that know the family. They also evaluate living conditions, health, income and psychological state to build a report and make their suggestions on child custody matters based on the best interest of the children. You do not need to follow the suggestions of the evaluation and they are in no way legally binding, but if your child custody battle does go to court, a judge will likely put a lot of faith in these evaluations.

Mediators

Even though a mediator is not able to create a compulsory parenting arrangement, they can suggest a child custody plan. This can include where the children will live, the amount of time spent with each parent and who has the ability to make certain key decisions on the children’s behalf. The mediator in these cases is looking out for the children’s best interests.

The Children

In a child custody dispute, the child’s or children’s preference on where they would like to live is sometimes overlooked or even dismissed. However, depending on their age their preference can be extremely important in any court proceedings. Understanding your children’s wishes and feelings is important to take into consideration. To get a child’s true feelings, having a counsellor speak to the children is always a good idea.

When it comes to fighting for child custody and your parenting rights, you never have to go at it alone. There are many individuals that are able to help you with these challenges.
At AGS Law we offer comprehensive family law services in Barrie and South Eastern Ontario, our team will assist you with building a child custody agreement and ensure your rights are protected in any family law proceeding. Please give us a call today 705-735-0003 and let us help you.