Understanding child custody laws is crucial for parents and guardians navigating the complex and emotionally charged terrain of family law. These laws provide a framework for how custody is determined. The law also outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent while prioritizing the best interests of the child. 

Whether you’re facing divorce, separation or other circumstances requiring custody considerations, it’s crucial to understand child custody laws clearly and consult an experienced Abbotsford family lawyer about your case. Here is what you should know about custody laws in order to safeguard the welfare of your child. 

Custody Agreements

An informal custody agreement has no bearing or impact on your legal status as a parent. Under the Family Law Act, where there is no formal custody agreement, each parent retains guardianship of the child in the home where they lived with the child. Only an official agreement or a court order can terminate guardianship rights. 

Where an informal agreement is in place, a parent cannot decide to change the arrangements independently. In cases where there is an informal agreement, either party can formalize custody arrangements through the court or family lawyers. A formal agreement can help resolve any disputes and provide stability for the child. 

Relocation and Custody

What happens when one parent wants to move? How will that impact the child or other guardian? In such cases, by court order, the parent who wishes to relocate must give 60 days written notice to the other guardian. Whether you intend to move with the child or not, you are required to provide this notice. However, there are cases in which an exception can be made by the court, namely when:

  • Providing this notice could provoke violence
  • There is no ongoing relationship between the child and the other parent or guardian

 If the other parent or guardian objects to the relocation, they can file an objection with the court. It is then up to the court to decide which option is best for the child. The judge will consider factors such as how the move will affect the relationship between the child and the other guardian and whether the move is in good faith. Relocation issues may be challenging to resolve, so it’s always best to seek legal advice from a family lawyer in Abbotsford. 

Denial of Contact 

When one parent does not comply with the agreed-upon custody arrangement or court-issued order for child contact, the court can intervene and take appropriate action. Under the Family Law Act, a parent is not allowed to withhold contact where the other parent has failed to pay – or is behind in – child support

However, there are situations where denial of contact is not considered wrong. When the child’s well-being will be negatively affected by contact with the parent or guardian, limiting contact may be the best option. For example, a parent may choose to deny contact where they believe there is a reasonable risk that the child will be exposed to physical violence. In any case, it is always a good idea to consult your Abbotsford family lawyer for guidance. 

Are You Looking for a Family Lawyer in Abbotsford?

Understanding child custody laws is essential for parents navigating the challenging family law system. However, you don’t have to do it alone. The experienced and capable team at ALG Lawyers can help you protect your parental rights and make informed decisions that support your child’s well-being. 

Call 604-337-6254 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.