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Child Custody Lawyer Edmonton

What is Child Custody?

Having a child can be one of the most rewarding times of your life, however, sometimes the relationship between the parents doesn’t work out and leads to a divorce, separation, or child custody arrangements.  Child custody is the legal term used to describe the legal relationship between a parent or guardian and the child in the person’s care.  With custody, both parents want the best interest of the child, and so do the courts.  In the event that both parents want full custody of their child, there are specific procedures and steps in place that need to be followed.  and there are certain processes that need to be taken in Alberta to make that happen.

 

Child Custody Laws in Canada

In Alberta, there are various kinds of child custody, including joint custody, shared custody, shared parenting, and split custody; it all depends on what is in the best interest of the child.  Unless the parents come up with an agreeable custody arrangement, the courts will decide on which parent should have custody of the child.  The courts take several things into consideration when determining child custody to include the parent who is the most responsible for the children.  It can be difficult to give custody to the opposite parent who has not been fully involved and caring for the child 100% of the time.

 

How to get child custody in Alberta

Child custody can occur in several ways in Alberta.  Sole custody in Alberta occurs when the children live with one parent that is able to make the day-to-day decisions and major decisions in the best interest of the children.  With sole custody, the other parent would be given visitation, contact, and access and will need to pay child support to the opposite parent. 

 

How to get full custody of the child

To go the full custody route, one must fill out the required form Family Law Act (0.1 MB) Affidavit of Service – Applicant (0.1 MB).  The forms include the family law application for custody and access, affidavit-custody and access, and affidavit of personal service.  The forms should be filled out according to your situation and the responsibility you would like for the child.  Once the form is complete, file the form with the court; all the paperwork you file regarding child custody should be filed at the same court.  You will receive a court date and will be required to show up to the court to present your case in front of the judge.  If you do not show up, the judge may make an order in your absence that may not be the outcome you wish for.

The next option is shared custody and this occurs when the children live with both parents equally.   With split custody, this means the children are separated from their siblings and one child lives with one parent and the other child lives with the other parent.  By sharing custody with the opposite parent, can help reduce the amount of child support between the parents.

There are certain steps you should take when trying to get full custody to improve your chances of a positive outcome.  It’s important to remember, the court wants what is in the best interest of the child, and being prepared is key to a good outcome.  Having clear reasons why you need sole custody compared to joint custody is crucial as your ex-partner will also have their reasons. 

How you present yourself in court may play a role in the outcome of the custody.  Dressing casually such as jeans and a t-shirt should be avoided and dark suits, skirts, and blouses will have a positive impact on how the court looks at you as a parent. Ensure you arrive at court well-groomed and your clothes are ironed and not wrinkly.

The court will look at how well you have prepared for court such as getting an attorney, retrieving documentation, and how well your paperwork is filled out for full custody.  Showing up unprepared and will not have a positive outcome and could potentially tell the judge to give full custody to the opposite party.

 

What Does the Court Look For?

The court will also look at whether either parent has any behavior or problems that could interfere with them properly caring for the children.  Mental instability, alcohol and drug use, or prior criminal activity can play a huge role in child custody arrangements.  The court wants to know who will serve as the best role model for the child.  The court will further look at the environment the parent proposes for the child such as the type of housing and school district the child would be in.  The courts will also look at new relationships and the character and history of the new person to ensure the child’s safety when appointing custody of the child to that parent.  Many times with child custody, the parents can’t agree on certain decisions and the courts will look at parental cooperation when deciding custody such as the parent refusing to let the other parent see the child.  If the parent is constantly putting the other parent down, the court will look at this.  If the child is much older and able to make sound decisions, the court may take into consideration where and who the child wants to live with.  This usually occurs if the child is around 12 or 13 years old and up, they will be part of the decision-making process.  When there are multiple children involved in a custody dispute, the court will keep the siblings together unless there is a good reason to separate them.

With child custody, once the decision is made by the court, it’s important to keep the arrangement.  In the event you want to change child custody, you must file a motion in court to have it changed.

 

What if Both Parents Agree to the Custody?

If both parties agree with the custody arrangement, then a consent order can be filled out.  This is equal to a parenting agreement that demonstrates to both parents how to deal with situations such as custody, parenting time, and child support.  This agreement can come in several ways such as a verbal, written, informal, or formal agreement.  It’s important to attach an affidavit or statement to the agreement and have it notarized.  Agreements between the parties can’t be used to change an existing court order and they can’t be filed on their own with the court.

 

What About Child Support?

When it comes to child custody, sometimes child support is involved to help offset the cost of raising the child.  You can apply for child support after you have care and control of the child.  The child support will depend on several factors to include the income of each parent and the needs of the child.  Several forms will be needed to determine the amount of child support the other parent gets such as the last three years’ tax return, a notice of assessment for the prior three years, pay stubs and proof of income, and a list of special expenses and receipts.

 

How to calculate child custody in Alberta

If you’re looking to calculate the approximate cost of what you would get or receive for child support, our online calculator is designed to determine the basic amount of child support you will be paying.  This online child support calculator can be used to determine the basic amount of support to pay for solo, shared, and split custody.  The judge will take all of your income and expenses into consideration as well as the expenses of the spouse when making a determination.

 

Contact us for Edmonton Child Support Lawyer

Establishing child custody in Alberta can be stressful and time-consuming.  The best interest of the child is always the priority of the court system and in the event, you’re interested in obtaining full custody, taking the necessary steps for a positive outcome is pertinent.  Call us now by dialing at (780) 757-6400 or email or book an appointment now with our Edmonton child support lawyer for legal assistance. 

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