Toronto Family Law Blog

Using the best interests of the child standard in child custody

What is in the best interests of the child is the standard that is used to make child custody decisions. The best interests of the child standard is the guiding standard when decisions impacting children, such as the custody of a child, are considered.

In the most basics terms, the best interests of the child standard is a legal test that evaluates what will have the most positive impact on the child's physical, psychological and emotional safety, as well as the child's overall well-being and security. Different factors are considered to determine what would be best for the child such as what would be the best child custody arrangement for the child and the child's well-being.

Parental alienation can have damaging effects on children

When parents separate or divorce, it can be challenging for the children involved to adjust to their new circumstances. Children will already be trying to understand and accept any new living arrangements, visitation schedules, and the idea that their parents are no longer together.

By itself, this can be difficult for children of all ages to accept, from toddlers to teenagers. Parents will also be dealing with this new arrangement as well, which they may find just as challenging as their children do.

What to expect from property division during divorce

The divorce process can feel overwhelming, and divorcing couples likely have a long list of priorities and concerns they want to address during the divorce process. It is important for divorcing spouses to understand how to protect their interests and the wealth they have accumulated during their marriage, especially in circumstances of a high asset divorce.

Property division concerns that divorcing spouses may have include financial accounts, real estate or business interests. It is valuable for divorcing couples to know how family law statutes and rules work and impact property division. Property division is conducted by valuing assets and liabilities at the date the couple marries and the at the date the couple separates and the increased wealth accumulated during the marriage is either shared or equalized.

Dad cuts access to grandma: Ontario Superior Court says NO

This 2019 child custody/access grandparent case - Ninkovic v. Utjesinovic - comes from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The case is a good example of how the court may overturn a parent's decision and allow access to a grandparent.

If I don’t get custody, will I get to see my child?

Depending on the parenting agreement and best interests of the child, the answer could be yes. Custody does not prohibit a parent from seeing a child. Custody is about who gets to make decisions about raising the child.

Child-raising decisions include items like education and religion. It does not include the living arrangements of the child. It’s possible for one parent to have sole custody, but the child is allowed to split time living with both parents.


In Part 1, I applauded the positive measures in this new government initiative - Bill C-78.  Unfortunately, there are a number of serious deficits in this proposed reform of child custody legislation. I believe that there are tenable solutions available to signficantly improve Bill C-78.


Good Tune-up, But Still Driving With Square Wheels

Child Custody law needs reform! The Family Rights Movement in Canada has long been advocating for real change in our broken child custody system. In 2014, Bill C-560 was voted down at 2nd Reading in Parliament, even though the then ruling Conservative Party officially supported Equal Shared Parenting. Now, the majority Liberal Government has introduced Bill C-78. It is an admirable "first move". It is not enough.


By Jenny Kirshen of the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre

At the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre we are very attuned to the struggles that Dads go through in attempting to gain parenting time access rights to their children (although we would prefer to characterize this as children's rights to having a relationship with their fathers). Especially when the child is very young, Dads experience exquisite challenges when faced with the issue of the breastfeeding bond. The exceptional circumstances of breastfeeding pose unique challenges for Dads when attempting to secure contact (get access) to their infant children. At the Gene. C. Colman Family Law Centre we understand these unique challenges and the corresponding struggles that Dads face in the family law system.


Back in 1997 I wrote an article for this web site where I addressed the question: Can child support arrears be cancelled?"  I have now updated that article.  It is interesting that the 1996 Ontario Court of Appeal case that I cited back then, is still referred to in the more recent cases.  If changing child support is of interest to you, then click here for quick transport to the now revised and updated page at my web site.


Many thanks to my esteemed colleague, Philip Epstein, for granting permission to publish here his report with respect to the expected expansion of unified family courts in Canada and particularly in Ontario.  Published with permission from Westlaw's "Epstein's This Week in Family Law, Fam. L. News. 2018-13 [copyright Thomson Reuters Canada Limited]: 

The call for a Unified Family Court in Canada has gone on for more than 30 years. Federal and provincial governments have in the past moved very slowly in establishing Unified Family Courts throughout the country, even in places where there is an obvious demand and need. A myriad of cases that have been canvassed in the Newsletter over the last decade has demonstrated the problems that the lack of a Unified Family Court system has caused to unfortunate litigants. At long last we are beginning to see some progress. 

Contact Gene C. Colman for a customized legal strategy today.




Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre
25 Bowring Walk
Toronto, Ontario M3H 5Z8

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