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Everything About You Should Know About Joint Custody

Everything About You Should Know About Joint Custody

If you’ve recently divorced or separated, you may be wondering about the custody of your child. The legal and physical interaction between a parent and their child is referred to as custody. It includes the authority to decide for the child and the child’s presence at the parent’s house.

When parents split in the past, the child’s mother was usually given physical custody. “Maternal presumption” was the term for the favour of the mother. But there is another term called Joint Custody.

What Is Joint Custody?

The quality of co-parenting relationships influences the emotional and mental well-being of a child. Anxiety and depression also have a co-relation with them.

Both parents have legal rights to make key choices for the child if they have joint custody. These decisions include those related to education, healthcare, religion, and the overall upbringing of the child. Legal custody differs from physical custody. Saying differently, co-parents can split legal custody but not physical custody.

The alternative to joint child custody is sole legal custody. In sole custody, the parent has complete authority over the child’s major decisions.

How Joint Custody Works in Canada

Joint legal custody is always the best option. It is allowed unless there is domestic abuse in the home, a special-needs child, significant and unusual circumstances, or a considerable distance between the parents’ residences.

The following are some of the general elements that go into establishing the best interests of a child in joint custody:

  • The parents’ moral code, attitude, and activities
  • Which parent will be more likely to give the child relatively constant interaction with the other parent?
  • How the parents have acted in the past in the child’s best interests
  • The quality of a parent’s relationship with their child.

2 Types of Joint Custody

A decision of shared legal custody should not be interpreted as a guarantee of joint physical custody by the court.

Courts can issue several forms of custody and visitation. Joint and sole physical examinations are the most common.

Even if the child lives predominantly with one parent and visits the other regularly, it is normal for parents to split legal custody.

Joint legal and joint physical

The child lives in two homes and gets equal time with each parent in this arrangement. When both parents live in the same city or region, shared physical custody generally works well.

Both parents make significant decisions about their children and collaborate on important matters like education, religion, upbringing, healthcare, etc. For this type of system to function, communication between the parents must be highlighted.

Joint legal and sole physical

The child will spend a lot more time with one of the parents in this situation. Both parents, however, play a vital role in their child’s life.

Even if the child lives in one particular residence, the parents must decide their child’s upbringing together. It’s worth noting that one parent may be designated as the “tiebreaker” in circumstances of conflict, or both parents can get decision-making power in specific areas or situations.

Shared Custody vs Joint Custody

Many people mistakenly use the terms “shared custody” and “joint custody” interchangeably. These two are distinct types of custody. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that some provinces use the terms interchangeably. Thus, you must recognize these two different types of custody arrangements.

The primary goal of joint custody child support is to allow both parents equal influence over decisions about a kid’s upbringing and allocate the child’s time with each parent equally.

Shared custody is concerned with the amount of time a kid spends with each parent. In essence, shared custody aims to provide the parents as close to a 50/50 split as possible in terms of physical custody of their children.

If these definitions sound familiar, shared custody can be considered a subset of joint custody. To recall the difference between the two, keep in mind that joint custody is concerned with making legal choices for the child. Whereas shared custody is concerned with the amount of time, both parents and children spend with each other.


Joint legal custody is best for parents who have shown a willingness to collaborate on important decisions for their children. It’s also ideal if neither parent harbours resentment toward the other or refuses to communicate, which unfortunately happens.

When one parent is unstable or has a record of ‘checking out’ and disappearing for multiple days, courts are sometimes wary of awarding shared legal custody.

However, putting relationship issues aside and agreeing to joint custody is frequently easier said than done, especially after a contentious divorce. Thus, it is important to know everything about joint custody before filing the custody plan to the court.


What is the most common custody arrangement in Canada?

Only a small percentage of cases now contains the classic “custody to the mother and access to the father” arrangement. Co-parenting (shared custody or joint legal custody) is the most prevalent.

What percentage of fathers get full custody in Canada?

As of recent statistics, only 7% of children are entrusted to their fathers as guardians. And their mother is in charge of approximately 80% of them.

When should I fight for sole custody?

The most compelling reason to seek sole custody is to safeguard your child’s potential danger, particularly if one of the parents has a record of physical or sexual abuse and mental instability.

Is joint custody a good idea for my child?

Children in joint custody see both parents regularly. They hear from both parents that they are loved and desired. Thus, the child grows up in a loving environment despite the separation of its parents.

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