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Can You Lose Custody for not Co Parenting

Can You Lose Custody for not Co Parenting?

If a court finds a parent unwilling or unable to co-parent, it may lead to a reduction in their parenting time or even a loss of custody.

However, this would depend on the specific circumstances of the case, and the court would consider a range of factors, such as the parent’s reasons for not co-parenting and the impact it has on the child. As such, courts may view a parent’s unwillingness to co-parent as a negative factor when making custody decisions.

So, can you lose custody for not co parenting? 

Let’s find the answer in this blog.

When is It Considered Bad Co-parenting?

In Canada, co-parenting fails if you can’t prioritize the best interests of the children you two had together.

Specifically, the following behaviours or actions are signs of bad co-parenting:

  • Harm the child’s emotional or physical well-being
  • Hinder their development
  • Or fail to promote a healthy and positive relationship between the child and both parents

Here are some common instances that are considered bad co-parenting in Canada:

1. Failing to Communicate or Co-operate

Effective communication and co-operation are essential components of successful co-parenting. And failure to prioritize these can have negative consequences for the child’s emotional well-being and development.

When co-parents fail to communicate effectively, it can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and conflict, which can be detrimental to the child’s overall well-being.

Similarly, when co-parents are uncooperative, it can result in a lack of stability and predictability in the child’s life, leading to insecurity and anxiety.

Ultimately, co-parenting requires both parents to work together in a respectful and collaborative manner. Failure to do so can have long-lasting negative effects on the child.

2. Withholding or Manipulating Access for the Other Parent

Withholding or manipulating access to the child for the other parent is also considered bad co-parenting in Canada.

As the law says, both parents have a legal right to spend time with their children. So, failure to respect this right can harm the child’s emotional well-being and development.

Additionally, withholding or manipulating access can take many forms, including:

  • Refusing to follow the agreed-upon custody arrangement
  • Scheduling activities or events during the other parent’s designated time with the child
  • Making it difficult for the other parent to communicate with or see the child.

These actions can be detrimental to the child’s relationship with both parents and their overall well-being.

3. Using the Child as a Messenger or Weapon

Using the child as a messenger involves asking them to pass messages between the co-parents. This can place the child in a position of conflict and make them feel caught in the middle of the co-parents’ disagreements.

Likewise, using the child as a weapon involves making negative comments or sharing private information about the other parent with the child. Again, this can create discomfort or anxiety and harm the child’s relationship with both parents.

Co-parents struggling to work together in the child’s best interests should avoid using the child as a messenger or weapon and instead focus on finding respectful and effective ways to communicate.

4. Incapable of Co-parenting

One parent can be unable to co-operate with the other parent for different types of factors, including:

  • Mental health issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Or financial hardship

Considering that incapability of co-parenting is not always due to intentional behaviour on the part of one or both parents. The abovementioned issues make it challenging for a parent to prioritize co-parenting or communicate effectively.

In cases where one parent cannot co-parent, the other parent may need to take steps to prioritize the child’s well-being. This could include seeking legal assistance to modify custody arrangements or establishing clear boundaries for communication and co-parenting.

5. Criticizing the Other Parent

Criticizing or bad-mouthing the other parent can harm the child’s emotional well-being and create feelings of:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Guilt

Also, it can undermine the child’s relationship with both parents, as the child may feel caught in the co-parents’ disagreements.

Sometimes, criticism of the other parent may indicate deeper issues in the co-parenting relationship, such as unresolved conflict or resentment.

Co-parents should avoid criticizing each other in front of the child or using negative language or tone when discussing the other parent. Instead, they should focus on finding constructive ways to communicate and work together in the child’s best interests. 

6. Neglecting the Child’s Needs

Neglecting the child’s needs can take many forms, for example failing to provide:

  • Adequate supervision or care
  • Basic necessities such as food or clothing
  • Appropriate medical or educational support

This behaviour can seriously affect the child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

That’s why co-parents need to work together to ensure that the child’s needs are met and provided with a safe, stable, and nurturing environment.

What to Do If You Lose Parenting Rights for Bad Co-parenting?

If you have lost parenting rights due to bad co-parenting, there are several steps you can take to address the situation:

  • Identify areas where you need to improve your co-parenting behaviour and work to address any underlying issues.
  • Find out your legal options, including filing an appeal or seeking to modify custody arrangements.
  • Follow court orders
  • Keep a record of your efforts to improve your co-parenting behaviour and demonstrate to the court your progress.
  • Be patient and committed to improving your co-parenting behaviour and demonstrating your commitment to your child’s well-being.

Final Remarks

Bad co-parenting is any behaviour or action that harms the child’s emotional or physical well-being, hinders their development, or fails to promote a healthy and positive relationship between the child and both parents.

In Canada, custody and access decisions depend on the child’s best interests. Therefore, co-parenting after a divorce is seen as a way to promote the child’s well-being and provide stability and consistency in their lives.

Nevertheless, family courts consider the parent’s ability and willingness to co-parent when making custody decisions.

If you are co-parenting and are concerned about your ex-partner’s behaviour, it is important to seek advice from a family lawyer who can help you navigate the situation and protect your child’s well-being.


For further information, check the following questions

Can Parental Rights Get Terminated Without The Consent of Parents?

You can lose your parenting right in certain circumstances. In general, parental rights can only be terminated by court order, and this typically requires finding that it is in the child's best interests to do so. Some of the circumstances where courts terminate your parental rights without the consent of parents are: Abuse or neglect Abandonment Serious criminal behaviour Unable to care for the child

How Many Years of Separation is Considered as Divorce?

In Canada, the Divorce Act requires a separation period of at least one year before a divorce can be granted, regardless of whether it is a fault or no-fault divorce. However, there are exceptions to this requirement in cases of adultery, cruelty, or other forms of marital misconduct.

How Long Does a Father Have to Be Absent to Lose Co-parenting Rights?

A father will ultimately lose custody of his child if he is absent for at least 6 months and does not even speak to or see them once. Also, the determination of parental rights is based on what is in the best interests of the child, and this can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.

Can I Terminate My Parental Rights?

In Canada, a parent cannot terminate their rights unless another person is willing to assume those rights, such as a stepparent. Generally, the courts only allow for the termination of parental rights when it is in the child's best interests, and the parent is unfit, abusive, or neglectful.

Can an Absent Father Lose Parental Responsibility?

A father or any parent can lose parental responsibility in certain circumstances. If a father is absent from their child's life and fails to fulfil their parental responsibilities, such as providing financial support or maintaining contact with the child, a court may terminate or limit the father's parental responsibility.

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