Going through a divorce can be very difficult for the involved parties. In addition, things typically get even more difficult when a child or children are involved.
Parents want to stay involved in their children’s lives and they want to be involved in the important decisions regarding their children’s lives. As a result, reaching a compromise is not always easy.
At Galbraith Family Law, we understand the difficulty of the situation. Our owner, Brian Galbraith, went through a divorce in which three children were involved so he knows first-hand what is like to be in your shoes.
We understand how overwhelming the entire child custody (also known as parenting time) process can be. That is why we want to use our decades of experience and our knowledge of child custody law & parenting orders to help you get the best outcome for you and your children.
We can guide you through the process in an informed and strategic way, help minimize stress and uncertainty and achieve the best possible result for your family.
Call (705) 302-1102 (Barrie), (289) 802-2433 (Newmarket), or (647) 370-8965 (Toronto) or click here to schedule a consultation.
What Do You Need to Know About Child Custody Matters & Parenting Orders?
There are two main decisions that will impact your parenting: how will decisions be made and how much time will the children spend with each of you.
These can be complex issues to resolve. The court makes the decision based on the best interests of the children. This can vary from judge to judge because it is a subjective assessment. Most cases are negotiated instead of letting a judge decide. Parents generally want to maintain the power to make the decisions impacting their children. Nonetheless, sometimes you have to protect your rights by taking your case to court. We won’t hesitate to commence a court action if it is necessary in your case.
Ultimately, you need to decide how much time the children will spend with each parent on a regular basis and how holidays or special events will be shared. Regarding decision making, some parents share this role. Others divide up decision-making or one parent makes all the major decisions. It all depends on your circumstances as to which process is best. We can help sort this out with you.
At Galbraith Family Law, We Are Experts in All Matters Related to Child Custody & Parenting Orders Including:
- Child Custody / Parenting Time
- Parenting Orders
- Child Custody
- Family Law
- Child Support
- Child Support Enforcement
- Grandparent Rights
- Changes to Orders
- Parenting Plan
- Termination of Parental Rights
Who Has the Right to Custody / Parenting Time or Care of a Child in a Divorce?
Protect Your Child Visitation Rights and Parenting Time Arrangements Basically, until there is a written agreement or court order in place, both parents have equal custody rights.
It’s important, if you feel your parenting time (previously known as child custody) may be contested, to get a legal agreement or order as soon as possible. We can simplify and assist you so that you get an agreement or court order as fast as possible.
Under the law, neither parent gets preference and the best interests of the child guide decisions. To determine the best environment for the child, the court may consider testimony from witnesses like child psychologists, family members, teachers, and child custody evaluators.
In child custody or parenting order cases, children aren’t usually asked to provide testimony except in extreme cases, and many parents find it beneficial to shield them from this process.
Does My Child Custody / Parenting Order Have to be Resolved in Court?
At Galbraith Family Law, we realize the added stress and turmoil that court proceedings can add to a divorce and we will work hard to come to an agreement with the other party without going to trial.
Our experienced child custody lawyers will help you through the process of negotiating a parenting time agreement from beginning to end. This process, with our involvement, often produces more mutually beneficial arrangements that better suit everyone’s individual needs and protect the children from the conflict. It also allows you to settle your family issues privately rather than in a public court.
Of course, in some instances this is just not possible. If it comes to going to family court, then rest assured we are experts at advocating to the court that you, our client, can protect and ensure the best interests and welfare of your child.
What Factors are Important in Determining Child Custody / Parenting Orders?
You can expect the court to look at many different factors, such as:
- The parents' physical, mental and emotional well-being
- Each parent’s availability to the child and caretaking ability
- Both parents’ economic situation and earning potential
- Each parent’s home environment
- The child’s bonding with siblings
- The child’s preferences
- The role each parent has played in the past
How Do I Find an Affordable Child Custody Lawyer to Help Me?
It’s tough to find yourself in a position where you need an affordable child custody lawyer. As a parent, you want what’s best for your children, and you want to protect your right to care for them.
At this stage of the divorce process, a good lawyer is essential. The actions you take today will have an effect later on, and you don’t want to inadvertently damage your case. Be sure to retain counsel immediately so that you understand your rights and responsibilities, as well as how the family courts decide on custody issues.
To make sure you find the right lawyer for you and your situation, meet with a few different ones and ask some questions about their experience, approach, and values. This information will be vital when choosing the appropriate lawyer.
Don’t Assume that Hiring a Lawyer Will Lead to Family Court
Many people mistakenly assume that by hiring a lawyer, you’re committing to taking your ex to court. This is not the case at all! In fact, the legal system in Ontario is set up to provide you and your ex with plenty of opportunities to work things out without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom.
Family court is rarely used to decide on child custody, visitation rights, or support, unless the two parties absolutely cannot come to a decision through mediation, collaborative family practice, or arbitration. When you have a dispute with your ex over issues relating to your kids, try to keep the best interests of your children foremost in your mind. Educate yourself and be realistic about what you can expect. This will make the separation and divorce process much easier on the entire family.
Navigating Finances During Separation and Divorce
The added stress on your monthly budget can be challenging for anyone. Just tell yourself that you’re dealing with an unusual situation and allow yourself some latitude.
It’s helpful to talk with your kids about your current financial situation to make them aware that things might be different for a little while. Just helping them understand that this is a temporary situation and that you’re doing everything you can to keep things as normal as possible will help them a lot.
That said, be aware that you will need to make some changes to your spending habits, and that the cost of divorce involves more than your personal finances. Look for new ways to celebrate life’s milestones that involve spending less money, or even none at all. This will help your financial situation and is a great lesson to teach your kids as well.
Learn How Legal Costs are Calculated
It’s very common for people to make assumptions about how legal costs are worked out without really understanding the process, or what the options are. Learning about how this really works can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
There are a few different scenarios that can affect how much you end up paying your lawyer. For example, you can get coaching and advice from a lawyer, but handle things like filing paperwork and developing a legal argument yourself. This is a good option if you have some extra time to spend on your case but limited financial resources.
There are other ways legal fees can be handled as well. Usually, at your initial consultation, your lawyer will give you an estimate of how much time will be required for your case and ask for a retainer. There will also be costs for disbursements, and you can speak with your lawyer about how those costs can be mitigated.
Ask How Your Child Custody Lawyer Can Make Things More Affordable
Don’t assume that the legal fees are set in stone. Sometimes your lawyer will be willing to negotiate flexible payments or other arrangements, depending on your case and your financial situation. There are other things you can do to keep costs down as well. By organizing your paperwork in advance, you can reduce the amount of time your lawyer will need to spend helping you get everything together. Try to bundle your questions together into one email or save them for your scheduled meetings to avoid driving up the amount of time your legal team spends on your case. Finally, focus on the bigger issues such as child custody and child visitation arrangements, and be prepared to let the little things go.
Speak to Galbraith Family Law
Our lawyers can help, whether you’re trying to obtain sole custody, joint custody or regular access to see your child. If you are denied custody, then we’ll work with you to gain visitation rights, so you can have the quality parenting time you need with your child to allow your relationship to continue to grow.
To learn more about how we can help you resolve your child custody or parenting order issues, call (705) 230-2734 (Barrie), (289) 796-1196 (Newmarket), or (647) 370-8965 (Toronto) or click here to schedule a consultation.