What to expect from custody court?

The term custody court really means “family court”, but in a custody case. It is very much preferable if custody issues can be resolved outside of course, for example, through a collaborative divorce process. Sometimes, however, custody court intervention is required.

In simple terms, it is the job of the custody court to work out what custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. They have four options from which to choose. These are joint custody, shared custody, sole custody and split custody.

Joint custody gives each parent a 50/50 split of responsibilities and access, whereas shared custody typically will give parents unequal shares. Sole custody gives one parent full responsibility for a child and split custody only applies where there are two or more children and each parent always has custody of at least one child. This is highly unusual but legal possible.

In all cases, the law differentiates between physical custody (the practicalities of childcare) and legal custody (the right to be involved in decisions relating to the child). It is perfectly common for courts to have different arrangements for physical and legal custody.

For the sake of completeness, although custody courts generally resolve custody disputes between parents, other parties can be involved, for example, if one parent dies, then their parents may wish to have custody of their grandchildren or to share it with the surviving partner.

If you need to progress an issue in custody court, you will need a good family lawyer on your side. Check out Lawyer match for a curated selection of family law firms in the Toronto, VA area.