What Does The “Best Interests” Test Mean For Getting Custody of Your Children?
Hi, my name is Thomas O’Malley. I’m an experienced family lawyer in Durham Region and the GTA.
Let’s face it. Every parent hears that custody and access court orders are based on the best interests of the children.
But what exactly does that mean?
Steve and Lisa have joint custody of their son, Nathan. However, they have been running into some serious problems in working together to raise Nathan.
Steve argued that Lisa was interfering with his access with his son. He argued that she was not making sure that his son completed his homework on time when he was in her care as well as not following the advice of medical professionals for treatment of their son.
Lisa argued that Steve was simply trying to get sole custody of Nathan and there was no basis for his arguments. She argued that she should now have sole custody of Nathan.
One thing that parents can learn from this situation with Lisa and Steve is…
But, before I explain what parents can learn, let me point out that the best interests test is the final test for determining issues of custody and access in Ontario family law.
The Ontario Family Law Act states that the court must examine a number of factors to determine what is in the best interests of a child. These factors include: the love, affection and emotional ties between the child and the parent, the child’s views and preferences, when they can reasonably be ascertained, the length of time the child has lived in a stable home environment, the ability and willingness of each parent to provide the child with guidance and educations, the necessaries of life and any special needs of the child, the plan of each parent for the child, and the permanence and stability of the family unit in which it is proposed that the child will live.
The Ontario family court will also take into account any parent’s violence or abuse against the other parent or the child.
The judge found that the best interests of Nathan required that both parents were equally involved in his life despite the arguments and differences between the parents.
The judge put into place a number of detailed orders to reduce the tension and friction between the parents, such as reducing the number of transitions from one parent to the other.
When you are having tension and friction with the other parent, you can still maximize the time that your child has with each parent by making a series of detailed order or terms in a written separation agreement to reduce this tension.
Often the best interests of your children require the equal involvement of both parents despite the problems between the parents.
Make sure you spend some time discussing this important issue with your family lawyer in your separation or divorce.
If you have any questions about your separation, divorce or family law case and you would like our help, there’s a few ways to contact our office. You can leave a message on my Facebook law office page, visit my website at www.canadiandivorcelegaladvice.com, or call me directly at 905-434-8837. We would be happy to speak to you.
Oh, by the way, did you know you can protect your family law rights and get essential information on settling your family law issues with your former spouse with the daily indispensable family law advice and tips at my FREE Facebook group?
Click here to find out more: Durham Region Separation and Divorce Legal Support Group