“Are the courts still reluctant to grant sole custody to fathers? How can I increase my chances of getting full custody of my boys?”
Custody means the right to make major decisions about the best interests of a child. A parent who has sole or full custody of a child is usually the primary caregiver for that child and usually lives with that child for the majority of the time.
Generally, courts will award sole custody to the parent who is more closely connected with the day to day care of a child and who is more child-focused. A father who takes an active role in the raising of a child, and who has a work schedule that permits him time to look after the child on a day-to-day basis, has an excellent chance of obtaining sole custody of the child.
In order to increase your chances of getting sole custody of your boys, be sure to be involved in all aspects of their lives — from school, to medical and dental care, to extracurricular activities. Put the children’s needs ahead of your own, and adapt your schedule to theirs, as much as possible.
Finally, be sure to recognize the importance of the boys’ mother in their lives, and encourage the boys to have a healthy relationship with her. Courts recognize the importance of both parents in a child’s life and will likely not grant custody to a father or mother who prevents a child from having a meaningful relationship with the other parent.
Ken Nathens is a partner in the law firm of Nathens Siegel, a Toronto firm that restricts its practice to divorce and family-law issues. Ken has experience in all aspects of divorce and Ontario family law and devotes much of his time to assisting clients with custody and access disputes.