Calgary SW Child Custody Lawyer


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    Need help with a child custody case? The team at Merchant Law can help you pursue a custody arrangement that is truly within the best interests of your child. We have helped many people handle extremely difficult custody cases, and we can help you and your children as well.

    Keep in mind that custody cases don’t play out in real life like they play out on television. Unless one partner is engaging in domestic violence, alcoholism, drug use, or has severe mental health issues it is unlikely that either spouse will end up cut off from their children entirely. Here’s what you need to know.

    How do I get sole custody in Calgary?

    It is very difficult to get “sole custody” as many people understand the term, because these arrangements are rare. Sole custody would mean that the child lives with you, and also that you are the only parent with any right to make any medical, educational, religious, or legal decisions for the child.

    The right to make decisions on the child’s behalf is called “guardianship,” and only parents who have been deemed unfit ever lose these rights.

    It is possible to be the parent with primary care and control of the child…that is, the child lives with you most of the time. Yet even this is a bit of a misnomer as courts prefer the child to have something close to 50/50 time with each parent. While the terms for each parent are different…the parent the child does not live with most of the time is said to have “access,” for example…the reality is the same. Courts prefer a child to have a relationship with both parents wherever and whenever possible.

    What is an “unfit parent” in Calgary?

    An unfit parent is a parent who presents a danger to the child because they are unwilling or incapable of providing children with what they need. This could be because the parent is an alcoholic, because they have a history of domestic violence, because they have a drug problem, or because they have severe mental health issues.

    A parent may also be unfit if they fail to set age-appropriate limits for the child, are not responsive to the child’s needs, are unwilling to be engaged in the business of parenting the child.

    Be aware that some courts have named some parents unfit because they have proven themselves unwilling to help foster a relationship between the child and the other parent. You should resign yourself to doing this unless the other parent is truly a danger to your child.

    Can my child decide which parent to live with?

    No. While the courts will take the child’s preference into account it is only one of many factors they will consider when trying to determine what is in the child’s best interests.

    There is no age where this changes. A judge will quietly hear what both a four year-old and a fourteen year-old have to say. They’ll also try to stay aware of what factors may be driving the child’s thought process. Children might well prefer to live with the parent who lets them stay up all night watching television, but that doesn’t mean that’s what’s best for them.

    Why Merchant Law?

    Decades of experience. Publication in prestigious family law journals on the subject of child custody. A caring, responsive team who keeps the needs of your child front and center. That’s what you get when you trust Merchant Law with your child custody case.

    Get started today by scheduling a consultation. Call (403) 237-7777 today.