The Legal Perspective on Child Support in Calgary Divorces: Part 2
January 23, 2017
In Part 1 of this article, you learned that Canada's Divorce Act spells out one sole consideration when it comes to determining custody in a Calgary divorce: the welfare of the child(ren) involved. Judges will consider health, emotional support, education, and a range of other factors related to a child's needs and circumstances in determining an appropriate custody arrangement.
Not only are the needs and conditions of the child(ren) specifically spelled out in the Divorce Act as the only considerations a judge should have in mind when determining custody, but the law also specifically prohibits considering most of each ex-spouse's behavior—real or alleged—in determining custody. Infidelity, financial behaviors, and all other conduct is specifically ignored by the Court when deciding the best possible custody arrangement for the child. Calgary divorces all proceed as "no fault" divorces in the first place, meaning that the law is not concerned with assigning blame or deciding who is "at fault" for a divorce, and this perspective is emphasized when it comes to determining custody.
The only behaviors that may be considered when awarding custody in a Calgary divorce are those that directly reflect on an individual's skill as a parent. This can include both positive and negative behaviors.
These behavioral considerations all lead back to the primary consideration in custody decisions: whatever serves the best interests of the child(ren) is what should determine custody. It's a simple concept with frequently complex outcomes.
Shared Custody, Sole Custody, and Access in Calgary Divorces
Though the Divorce Act does not actually define the terms "shared custody" (also often called ("joint custody") and "sole custody," it does lay out the basic provisions for these arrangements in Section 16, subsection 4:
"The court may make an order under this section granting custody of, or access to, any or all children of the marriage to any one or more persons."
"Custody" means the basic rights and responsibilities of any parent, including feeding, housing, and making decisions for underaged children. In most Calgary divorces, judges will award some form of shared custody to the two parents, though one parent might be granted custody for a larger portion of time than the other. If parents come to an agreement regarding custody outside of Court, the precise custody split may not be a part of the official divorce decree, however an application for a change to custody orders can be made if problems arise.
An individual who is awarded "access," according to subsection 5, "has the right to make inquiries, and to be given information, as to the health, education and welfare of the child." This may or may not include direct contact with the child(ren).
Talk to a Calgary Divorce Lawyer About Custody Today
We'll review some custody information and look at child support in Calgary divorce cases in Part 3 of this article. In the meantime, if you are going through or considering a divorce and have children still living at home, it is in your best interest to call an experienced divorce lawyer immediately to protect your rights and your children. Please contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
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