Are you a father worried about your child custody rights? Or want to know the grounds for losing child custody as a father? Then you are in the right place as this article will give you a comprehensive idea about child custody laws in Canada.
After divorce or separation, if you have children, child custody is the first point of contention between you two. If you cannot agree on custody arrangements for your child, the court will have to decide on custody.
Let’s know how can a father lose a custody battle.
What is Child Custody?
In legal terms, child custody refers to a parent’s right to control and care for a child. When a parent has custody of a child, they have the right to decide their rearing. The custody parent can decide on the residence, education, health care, and religious upbringing.
In the case of divorced parents, custody is a little more complicated. In such cases, there are multiple types of custody, and each style has its limitations regarding how much control parents have over their children’s upbringing.
Here are the four main types of custody:
If parents are cooperative, then the judge will grant them joint custody. This is where both parents have the legal right to care for the child and have an equal say in the important decisions of the child. The joint custody child can live with one parent, or both parents can share time.
If children live with each parent at least 40% of the time, they are said to be in shared custody. Child support in shared custody households depends on how much time the child spends with each parent.
If a parent is granted sole custody of a child, the child lives with them permanently. The other parent may have access rights, but the parent with sole custody has the right to make all the important decisions of the child’s life.
Although this is a recent concept and not too much in use, split custody occurs when the children are split amongst the parents if there are multiple children of the separating couple. This is rarely awarded as it is usually in the children’s best interests if they remain together.
How is Custody Decided?
Custody is decided in two ways, depending on the couple’s situation. If the couple is still in an amicable condition and can sit down and make a suitable agreement in writing, then the courts will not find it necessary to interfere.
This should be the best way forward for parents as it is the least disruptive and least expensive method to ensure a smooth transition for the children, but if the parents cannot agree, they must go to court or hire a mediator to resolve the issue.
If the court is asked to decide custody, the court will consider many factors, including the person’s past conduct, age, and relationship with the child, to determine custody.
Also, if the child is already living separately with a parent, the court will usually choose to keep the status quo to avoid disrupting the child’s life.
Read More: What is Child Custody and How it Works
How Can a Father Lose a Custody Battle?
As a father, there are many ways you can lose custody of your child, but none of them have to do with your gender. Your gender plays no part when the court decides the custody of your child. However, they mainly focus on the child’s best interest when determining whether to provide custody to a parent.
The following reasons can be taken by courts as not being in the child’s best interests and may lead to you losing custody of your children.
Abusing your child in any way, mentally or physically, can be reason enough for a father to lose custody. In many cases, physical child abuse is a symptom of the father’s underlying psychological problems.
Whatever the case, if the court finds you have physically harmed your child, it is a valid ground to take away custody.
Abuse can also extend to mental or emotional harm through gaslighting, yelling, discouraging behaviour, etc. Sexual abuse, whether overtly done or indecent exposure, is also grounds for losing custody.
If you, as a father, ever abducted or kidnapped your child, it can be a reason for you to lose custody. The severity of which depends on the judge and the severity of the abduction.
False allegations of child abuse
If you have made allegations that your spouse has committed acts of child abuse against your child and it is found to have been a fabrication, it can be enough grounds for you to lose custody of your child.
Neglecting a child is also viewed as a form of child abuse. If you, as a father, fail to care for your child by properly feeding, clothing, or grooming your child, you may be at risk of losing custody.
If you are found to have committed domestic violence, it can be taken into consideration by the courts when deciding custody. The court takes domestic violence matters seriously and will at first seek proof before deciding.
Violating custody orders
You may lose custody of your child if you violate a child custody order. However, this depends on the severity of your violation.
If it is a minor violation, it may not lead to a loss of custody. But if it is a major violation, such as making a big personal decision in the child’s life, it can lead to losing custody.
Although it is common to have issues arise while co-parenting, if you as a father are found to be a bad or unwilling co-parent, you may lose custody of your child. It is only if your actions are found to be detrimental to the best interests of the child.
Since the court will only take action for the child’s best interests, there needs to be sufficient proof against you for you to lose custody.
Losing child custody due to alienation depends on the extent of the alienation. Alienation is similar to neglect, but it is much harder to determine. If you are found manipulating the child against the other parent, it can also be grounds for losing custody.
If a father is found to be abusing drugs or alcohol, even smoking and vaping, it can be looked upon unfavourably by the courts.
If the abuse is only casual and does not affect your behaviour, it may not be enough. Still, if you are found to be officially charged with alcohol or drug-related charges, then it may be enough for you to lose custody.
Right to the first refusal
This is a clause where the parent must offer the other parent to look after their child before arranging a babysitter or a member of the family to look after the child. This can be for both pre-planned or last-minute activities.
If this clause is present in your custody arrangement and you fail to inform your child’s other parent before leaving the child in someone else’s care, it can be a ground for losing custody.
You must remember that raising a child is a team effort, and most people and courts will prefer to have both parents present in the child’s life. The child’s best interests must be considered regardless of whether the parents are separated or divorced.
If a father behaves or acts in a way that is detrimental to the best interests of a child, depending on the severity, the courts may find the course of action to be removing the child from your custody.
So, to ensure custody of your child, you always act in their best interests and abide by all relevant rules.
What percentage of fathers get custody in Canada?
Only about 7% of fathers in Canada get custody, while 80% of mothers get custody of the child.
Can a father take a child away from their mother in Canada?
The supreme court of Canada states that a parent cannot automatically move a child away from another parent without their consent.
What makes a parent unfit in Canada?
Abuse of alcohol or other drugs, Mental illness, Domestic abuse, Child abandonment or neglect can make a parent unfit.
Do mothers have more rights than fathers in Canada?
No. Parental rights in Canada are gender neutral, and no one parent has a stronger right to the child over others. In general, mothers are considered safe places for their children.
How can I get full custody of my child in Canada?
If you can prove to the courts that providing full custody is in the child's best interest or if the child's current situation is not up to par and the best alternative is living with you, you may be provided custody of the child.