Child Custody

"Parents settle 90% of child custody cases without a judge’s ruling.”

- Marija Lazic R

Child Custody Specialist In Edmonton

  • What are Child Custody Laws
  • How can I get sole custody of my child?
  • What is shared parenting?
  • What are joint custody problems?
  • What to consider when considering getting custody of your child?
  • Getting custody of your child without going to a family court
  • How do you go about getting custody of your child if the other parent is not agreeable?
  • Getting custody of your child where you are a father
  • Getting custody of your child where you are abroad in another country to the child
  • Getting custody of your child where you are a grandparent
  • In what situations can a step parent obtain child custody?
  • When can grandparents secure grandchild access
  • Parental responsibility

At MD Family Law, our child custody specialists understand how hard a divorce can be on the kids caught in the middle. The children will be affected emotionally as well as having a new living adjustment.

As guardians, you may want to arrange which spouse has custody of any children involved. It is desirable to reach an agreement between the parents to consist of how much time the child will spend with each parent. Nonetheless, it may be difficult to reach such an arrangement especially when there are circumstances such as separation or divorce which could make discussions and negotiations difficult. Our child custody lawyers can assist you with advising on your child custody rights.

What are Child Custody Laws

Child custody laws determine which parent has responsibility for the well-being of a child in Canada and how a non-resident parent can maintain contact with their child.

Our child custody law specialists are at hand to advise on possibilities of securing sole custody or even assist with solving any joint custody problems including any specific issues or child arrangements. 

Our child law specialists are able to advise you on not only securing child custody whether you are seeking sole or joint child custody but on how to conclude any specific issues that cannot be agreed on.

How can I get sole custody of my child?

One of the most frequently asked issues is how can I get sole custody of my child?

Sole custody is where one parent is equipped with physical and legal custody of the child. The parent who is awarded sole custody is responsible for the child’s physical needs as well as making legal decisions on behalf of the child. As a starting point, securing sole custody of a child can be difficult and depend on a number of factors.

In considering whether to award full custody of a child the courts will consider the welfare and interests of the child which is the paramount factor. If you are looking to obtain sole custody of a child, you must be able to satisfy the courts that it is in the best interests of the child for joint custody not to be awarded.

It can therefore be helpful to secure early legal advice on assisting you with mounting the strongest possible case.

Obtaining full custody can be quite challenging given that the courts and child custody laws look to promote joint custody however that said it is not impossible. It is widely acknowledged that following a separation an innocent child should be able to reside with both parents and maintain their relationship with both the mother and father.

The following examples may support your application for full custody of the child:

  • The other parent is not able to raise or supervise the child to an adequate standard
  • The other parent has neglected, abandoned or abused the child
  • Your working arrangements are better placed to provide better care and supervision to the child
  • You have been the primary carer in the relationship and have bonded well with the child. It would not be in the best interests of the child should you not be able to remain as the primary carer.
  • The other parent has issues such as drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence issues or mental health issues which will negatively impact a child.

If the above scenarios are applicable to you or you want to explore whether you have valid grounds then please do not hesitate to contact our child custody law specialists who can assist you in your application for sole custody.

What is shared parenting?

Shared parenting is also known as joint custody and concerns both parents having the responsibility and chance to equally care for their child. This normally means the child lives with both parents who have joint custody.

Either parents will hence be able to make choices regarding the child. Child custody in Canada promotes shared parenting as it is widely accepted that both parents should be able to bring up their children.

Shared parenting has a number of advantages which include the children having two homes that provide them with more security. The children also continue to have the involvement of both parents in their life and this also allows both parents to carry out their parenting responsibility.

What are joint custody problems?

Although joint custody has many advantages issues can still arise that provide for difficulties.

Our child custody law specialists understand that social, lifestyle, or even work changes can impact an equal quality of care being provided to children. A few examples from the experience of helping parents are:

  • One parent engages in drugs or has a partner that takes drugs and there is a risk of the child being exposed to this
  • One parent may lack quality time and commitment to the child which has in turn impacted the child’s wishes and feelings to spend as much time
  • One parent intends to relocate due to work or personal commitments. Joint custody imposes an obligation for both co-parents to live within close proximity of each other. Shared custody does not take in to account the fact that one parent may want to move to a different part of the city to advance their career to ensure they are able to provide a better future for their child.

Amongst other joint custody problems is the emotional effect of the child. If one parent decides to move on in life with another partner and decides to move away this could cause emotional stress to the child who would have developed a strong emotional bond with both parents.

Many mothers believe that a father’s decision to obtain shared parenting may be motivated economically as they would pay lower child support payments. If you believe that joint custody results in your child suffering over financial benefit then our child custody experts would be happy to speak with you confidentially so they provide a solution that is in your child’s best interests.

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What to consider when considering getting custody of your child?

You should carefully consider before looking to get custody of your child. Many parents can amicably agree between themselves as to who will have custody. It could be possible through discussion to decide on how custody is shared. Parents can decide on share custody. This does not necessarily mean the child spending equal times. But shared custody determines the time the child will spend with each parent.

If arrangements can be agreed upon this will save on time and legal fees. Quite often lawyers can promote negotiation between parents. If this does not work then mediation can also be arranged to try and resolve the matter.

If the matter proceeds to court, it is important to note that the law does not favor any parent. Providing that it is in the child’s best interests and welfare, custody can be awarded to any parent. Where there are concerns regarding one parent’s ability to look after a child these should be noted early. Evidence will need to be gathered to prove to the court how you are best placed to care for your child.

Separating parents should not oppose custody simply for their personal difficulties. It is important to note that it is the right of the child to have access to both parents. The law recognizes this and hence focuses on the child’s best interests.

Getting custody of your child without going to a family court

Not all disputes concerning children have to be tackled in the courtroom. Parents are able to get custody of their child without going to a family court. A simple discussion between parents may be able to resolve child custody issues. This is providing both parents are on good terms.

Before deciding on taking action through the court, our family lawyers recommend one parent discussing their issues with the other parent. This course of action can be both time and cost-effective. Parents can often avoid the fees associated with court applications and legal representation.


How do you go about getting custody of your child if the other parent is not agreeable?

If parents are unable to reach an agreement advice and assistance from family lawyers should be sought. Family lawyers can often attempt to speak to the other parent to prompt negotiations and identify reasons why the other parent is refusing child custody. This will enable a parent to prepare ahead if the matter proceeds to a family court.

Family lawyers can organize independent mediation for parents to try and reach an amicable solution, failing which family lawyers can assist in completing child custody application forms and assist parents in preparing for family court hearings.

Getting custody of your child through a family court

Getting custody of your child through a family court can often be time-consuming and can be an expensive process. However, this may be the last resort where the other parent is not readily agreeing to your requests.

In order to obtain child custody through a family court, a child custody form needs to be completed. This needs to be accurately completed by ensuring the child’s details, as well as your and the other parent’s details, are entered. Our team of specialists at MD Family Law can assist you with completing the form and provide guidance where needed.

Following this, the courts will usually list the matter for a dispute resolution hearing. This again can be used to see if an agreement can be reached between the parents. It also allows the parents to provide evidence in support of the application and their stance.

If an agreement can still not be reached, then the courts will list the matter for a final hearing. At this hearing, the courts will consider all the evidence before them and reach a decision on child custody. This decision will be recorded in a court order and will be binding upon the parents.

If you are considering proceeding through the family court for your child custody or are already involved in court proceedings, then contact us today for a free initial consultation. Our family lawyers can assist you in any stage of your child custody matter.


Getting custody of your child where you are a father

Getting custody of your child where you are a father is possible if it can be shown that they are best placed in your care. The court does not favor mothers when it comes to child custody. Providing that it is in the child’s best interests a father can successfully obtain child custody.

Fathers will need to prove that they have a strong loving bond with their children. This is further supported by the previous contact which benefits the child. If a child was previously residing with the mother, the courts will need to be satisfied that a father can look after the child better. Despite the many hurdles it is not possible for fathers to obtain child custody. Fathers can also obtain joint custody as well as full custody.

Getting custody of your child where you are abroad in another country to the child

A family’s circumstances often change once parents have divorced or separated. One parent may have moved on in their life and settled abroad. In such circumstances can a parent who is settled abroad obtain custody of their child?

The answer to this is yes. A parent who lives abroad can still obtain custody of their child. As with all family matters, parents can amicably try and reach an agreement between them. Mediation is always an option worth considering, given that if an application is made to a family court you will need to satisfy the courts that mediation has been attempted.

If parents are unable to amicably agree on child custody and specifically allowing a child to move abroad in another country with a parent then an application can be made. This order relates to a specific dispute on which the parents cannot agree. 

At MD Family Law our team of specialists possesses the skills and knowledge of dealing with international clients. We offer consultations via Zoom which ensures you always have the benefit of legal advice wherever you are. Our family lawyers work tirelessly around the clock which means we can provide you with advice at a time to best suit you regardless of the time difference.

You may be concerned that if your child law matter proceeds to a hearing you may not be able to attend. You can rest assured that we will provide a solution to your family issue wherever you are. We can arrange for representation at the hearings. Together we can select the barristers who are best suited to your needs to attend your hearing, which means you may not need to attend if you are unable to.

In what situations can a step parent obtain child custody?

Grandparents do not have automatic rights and neither do they have parental responsibility.

If you are seeking custody of your child where you are a grandparent then you have two options:

  • Grandparents can speak to the parents to see whether they can agree looking the children’s welfare. Quite often negotiating with parents may do wonders. Our family specialists can assist you in commencing negotiations with the parents.
  • If the above fails then grandparents will need permission from the court to apply for custody. Grandparents will need to satisfy the courts how they are best placed to look after the children with their parents still being around.

In any matter related to children, the courts will consider the welfare checklist. The paramount consideration for the court is the welfare and best interests of the child. If the court is satisfied that custody with the grandparents will benefit the child then they are likely to award this.

In what situations can a step parent obtain child custody?

A step-parent is a parent who has married a biological parent of the child. You cannot be a step-parent by simply being in a relationship with the biological parent. Step-parents do not have legal custody rights over children. Children quite often become closely attached to their stepparents. In the case of a separation step, parents can obtain custody of the child if an agreement can be reached with the biological parent.

If the biological parent does not agree to the custody then a step-parent will need to make an application to the court. As with grandparents, a stepparent does not have parental responsibility for a stepchild. Therefore permission will be needed from the court before applying for child custody.

A step-parent can apply for child custody when their relationship with the biological parent breaks down. In order to do so:

  • the step parent must have been married to the biological parent of the child
  • the step-parent has lived with the stepchild for at least three years
  • the step-parent has parental responsibility for the child by a court order or
  • The step parent has obtained the leave of the court to make an application for contact/residence.

If any of the above apply step parents can apply for child custody. Our child law specialists can assist you in making an application for child custody and guide you through the process. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

When can grandparents secure grandchild access

Usually, custody of children remains with the parents. However, where there is an issue with the parents looking after children, grandparents may look to obtain custody. The courts will need to satisfy that it is in the child’s best interests for them to remain with the grandparents. Hence securing custody for grandparents may be difficult.

Habitually, grandparents may apply for custody where the child is experiencing harm or there is a chance of harm. The grandparent will need to provide proof of the parents are unfit to continue looking after the child. It is for the grandparents to prove the child is suffering from harm. The courts will then decide whether awarding custody to the grandparents is in the child’s best interests.

In the case where one of the parents is dead custody would normally go to the other parent. However if the other parent is not fit for childcare, grandparents can step in for custody. This may apply where the other parent does not want custody or is unable to provide a safe home for the child. The process is the same where both parents are deceased.

The process for custody is quite complicated where grandparents are concerned. Our experts at MD Family Law are here to help. We have expertise in dealing with grandparents and custody. Contact us today to begin your custody process.

Parental responsibility

Our child custody specialists also have experience in dealing with father’s rights. Usually, fathers are not aware of their rights over a child and often may be subjected to receiving little or no custody of their child. MD Family Law can assist you in making sure your fathers understand their custody rights and our child law specialists can try and achieve, your right of seeing your child.

If an agreement cannot be reached between the parents in respect of child custody, the matter may need to be decided at court before a judge. Nothing within the law prevents any parent from having custody of a child. What the Courts will consider is the motive for the custody.

If you feel that the other parent may be more concerned with punishing you rather than concerned about the welfare of the child you can contact our team of child custody lawyers who can review the matter with you and assist you in preparing your matter to be considered before the court. Our family law specialists will also be able to assist if you feel the parent with whom the child is currently living is unfit to care for the child. Should any of the above apply please contact our experts for a consultation who would be happy to guide you.

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If you have any questions, contact our offices now so we can help address you or your loved one’s legal jeopardy. We are available 24/7. We are forceful advocates and we ensure that our clients throughout Alberta are provided with the best defence possible.