Click and here you are. You’re thinking about Separation. Or, you’re in the middle of a Divorce. Either way, you’re all here to end your relationship. And, in order to do so, it’s a good idea that you inform yourselves of your rights and obligations. After all, you can’t go into battle without knowing the rules of engagement.
Family breakup is devastating to children. If anything will screw them up, having their world fall apart will likely do it. You may have tried marital counselling, meditation, and maybe even medication but nothing seems to stop the arguing or the paralyzing ambivalence. You know what that means, right? You’re in neutral and can’t get into gear.
If you have children and haven’t tried everything to save the relationship, you should. Put your pencil down. Stop what you’re doing. Make an appointment right now to see a family therapist. If therapy or medication doesn’t work, you can always consider separation or divorce as a final option.
Now, for those of you still here, we know what you have been going through. You’ve tried everything to save the family unit, all to no avail. You have children who are now screwed up (or will be).
They will survive. You will survive. Some may learn from the experience. Some may not. Whatever happens, the decision of who is to have custody of the children and what the access arrangements will be are two of the most important and difficult issues to resolve following a relationship breakdown.
Both parents presumably love their children a great deal and want to spend as much time with their children as possible. Some of you may not. For you, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime to offload your god-given responsibilities to your children on your spouse. The goal is always to achieve a custody and access arrangement which is in the best interests of the children and which is mutually agreeable and satisfactory for both parents.
Let’s explore sole custody in Ontario vs. joint custody in Ontario.
Sole custody means that one parent has the authority to make all of the decisions with respect to the children, including important decisions affecting their welfare. When a parent has sole custody, the children also typically reside primarily with that parent.
Many people have heard of the term “joint custody” but don’t realize that it doesn’t mean an equal sharing of time with the children. What it actually means is that both parents will have equal decision-making authority with respect to major decisions affecting the children.
Joint custody arrangements require a considerable amount of flexibility and cooperation on the part of parents. Guess what? You and your ex are going to have to communicate. That’s right…I said the “C” word. If you don’t communicate or there’s been a history of conflict or abuse, forget about joint custody. Children benefit from having two parents that act together to further their best interests. When joint custody works, your children are the beneficiaries. They may even learn how to talk and listen to others as a result of modeling your behaviour. Think about this option carefully. Before either of you dismiss it as an impossibility try consulting a social worker or child psychologist to see if the two of you can make it work. Either way, your custody arrangement should be appropriate in light of your and your spouse’s relationship with each other and with your children.
For more valuable information about parental custody visit www.myontariodivorce.com.