Parents in British Columbia who are divorcing may need to negotiate child custody as covered by the Divorce Act. The guiding principle for a judge hearing a child custody case is the best interests of the child.
An individual with custody has the child living with them at least part of the time and is also able to make decisions regarding the child. One parent may have sole custody of the child, and this means that the child lives with only one parent. That parent is also the only one who can make decisions about the child.
Parents might also have joint custody, and this includes a type of joint custody known as shared custody. In joint custody, both parents can make decisions about the children. The child may live part of the time with each parent, but if each parent has the child at least 40 percent of the time, this is shared custody. Split custody is also a possibility. For example, when there are two children, one may live with one parent and the other child may live with the second parent.
As part of child custody negotiations, parents may also need to discuss support, which is money paid by one parent to the other. Because such arrangements might affect a family’s financial situation and the development of any involved children, a parent may want to work with a lawyer during child custody and support negotiations. Even in an amicable divorce, a lawyer may be helpful in working out compromises and helping to ensure that the needs and wants of parents and children are considered.