What types of custodial access are there?

When determining child custody cases, the Ontario courts have many options available to them regarding parental access to the child. Below are described some of the possible types of custodial access.

— Reasonable access. The Court might order this when the parents get along well enough to work out the specifics themselves. Basically, one parent will have custody of the child and the other has reasonable access to which both parents agree.

— Limited or fixed access. This is more common with parents who cannot reach accord on their own, as the Court will specify the terms of one parent’s access visits: the length, time and frequency.

— Graduated access. Circumstances may indicate this type of access when one parent has spent little or no time with the child in the past. This allows the parent and child to get to know one another better over time and to develop a trusting relationship. As the relationship develops, more access will be granted in increments.

— Supervised access. If the Court has concerns about the safety of the child when he is she is with the access parent, and sometimes when the two have not spent a significant amount of time together, supervised access might be appropriate. Under these terms, the access parent can’t be left alone with the child. A family member or another party may be ordered to supervise the visits. These visits might also take place at supervised access centres monitored by staff.

— No access. Courts do not deny access frequently, but if there are concerns that a parent will cause emotional or physical harm to the child, access can be denied completely.

If you are struggling with custody issues of your children, it may be appropriate to seek out professional guidance in the matter.

Source: Family Law Education for Women, “Child Custody and Access,” accessed March 31, 2016

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