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Divorce and separation are emotional, complex matters, especially when there are children involved. In the best-case scenario, both parents are caring and responsible and make all their decisions with the child’s best interests at heart. But of course, that isn’t always the case. Let’s go over some of the things that could go wrong when it comes to Child Custody arrangements, and how to best deal with them.
A Note About Child Custody Law in Canada
Changes to the Divorce Act came into effect on March 1, 2021. The Act now refers to “custody and access” as “parenting arrangements” and divides these arrangements into two parts:
- Parenting time: Whose home the child lives in, and how much time the child spends with each parent.
- Decision-making responsibility: Who will have the responsibility for decisions about important matters such as the child’s health, education, and religious upbringing.
Keep these two elements in mind as you go through the process of setting up a parenting arrangement, and if you run into problems with it after the arrangement is in place.
Making a Parenting Arrangement
A couple can make an arrangement between themselves, or with the help of a professional or professional body. In amicable separations, a collaborative family lawyer helps determine what’s reasonable and fair for everyone involved. In more contentious situations, a mediator helps couples reach a non-binding agreement, whereas an arbitrator makes a binding decision. If none of these avenues help to reach an agreement, the case goes to court and a judge issues a parenting order that’s binding and enforceable.
Potential Problems with your Parenting Arrangement
Whether it’s before your parenting arrangement is finalized or after it comes into effect, you may have concerns about your child’s wellbeing and care, your access to them, or your child’s experiences when they’re not with you. Some common issues you may have are:
- Uncertainty about who is supervising your child:
You might be concerned that your former partner is leaving the child alone or with a person you didn’t approve. If your child is being left with their elderly grandparents or great-grandparents, you may not be confident in their ability to properly care for your child. Your former partner may also have roommates or a new partner that you don’t know or don’t trust.
- Concerns about your child’s safety:
You may know or suspect that your former partner has habits that could put your child at risk, such as drug or alcohol abuse, or that your former partner is exposing your child to people or situations that aren’t safe.
- Your former partner making decisions that violate your parenting arrangement:
Let’s say you’ve agreed to make joint decisions about your child’s religious education, and you discover that your former partner has enrolled your child in Catholic Sunday School classes without consulting you. That could be grounds for changing the parenting agreement so that you’re the only one making these decisions in the future.
- Suspecting that your former partner is turning your child against you:
If your child suddenly starts to reject you, your former partner may be manipulating your child into choosing them over you. This is clearly not in the best interests of your child, and you can use this in court to argue for changes to your parenting arrangement. See our blog about Parental Alienation for more information.
How a Private Investigator Can Help
Ideally, you’ll be able to talk to your former partner about your concerns and you can and resolve them together. But in some cases, you’ll need to take action. Here’s what a Private Investigator can do, whether you just want to ensure that your child is safe, or you intend to take your case to court:
- Background checks on your former partner and any people they associate with
- Welfare checks if your child is left with an elderly relative
- Surveille your former partner when they’re out in public, collecting time-stamped 4K photo and video evidence, and tracking their movements via GPS
- Surveille your former partner when they are with your child
- Identify witnesses and secure their testimony
- Help you arrange your own evidence in a way that strengthens your case
If your case does wind up in court, the more objective evidence you have, the stronger your case will be. At Star Quality Private Investigations, we have decades of experience in custody and family law-related investigations, and we have the experience, skill, equipment, and resources to get the type of evidence that has the most impact in court. We are proud to work closely with some of the country’s top Family Law Attorneys, so you can benefit from their expertise and knowledge during your case.
Like you, we want what’s in the best interests of your child, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to help you get it.
For more information on our unique and effective approach to Child Custody Investigations, reach out to Toronto’s Family Law Investigation Experts at Star Quality Private Investigations; let us help uncover the answers you need, want, and deserve.