When going to court to determine your parental rights regarding your child, after a divorce, you’re probably going to get custody rights or access rights. Though there are exceptions, the court usually prefers to have both parents remain involved in a child’s life, and these are the two main ways that it’s done.
Custody gives you more power and more involvement. Generally, the parent who has custody will have the child live with him or her in the home. That parent has more obligations and more rights. Decisions are typically made by the parent with custody. For example, that parent can decide:
— What religion the child is going to be raised with
— Where the child is going to go to school
— Where the child will get medical care and when it’s needed
Overall, the custodial parent is just making the decisions that the parents would make together if they were still married.
A parent with access rights still gets to be involved, though he or she may not make these big decisions or live with the child. Instead, the parent has the ability to visit the child, communicate with him or her, and spend time with the child on a regular basis.
That parent also can get information about the child, even if he or she can’t make decisions. For example, the parent may get to know where the child is going to school, even if that was decided upon by the other parent.
The courts do encourage parents to work together, and it’s important for them to know all of their legal rights and responsibilities in Ontario.
Source: Family Law Education for Women, “Child Custody and Access,” accessed July 01, 2016