Who Gets Child Custody After A Divorce?

Going through a divorce can be really difficult – you’re through a stressful period. You’ll also be leaving your partner with whom you’ve spent a considerable amount of time together. This time of your life can be very challenging; both mentally and physically. Along with your mental stress and constant hustle to get the divorce done, it’ll be a difficult time on your children as well.

They’re seeing their parents separate; this can be mentally challenging for them. This is why even though you and your partner are separating, you must cooperate and work together to help your children adjust to the divorce. Also, you’ll have to decide on your child’s custody. In order to secure a better future for your children, you must give the custody to the one who’ll be a better parent.

So, how do you determine who gets the child custody after filing for divorce? Before diving deep into this question, we must know what child custody means. So, without further ado, let’s get to know what is child custody.

What Is Child Custody

To simplify, Child Custody is to care, control and maintain a child. Generally, the biological parents reserve the legal right to make decisions regarding their child’s welfare. The decisions include the residence, education, religious upbringing, lifestyle, etc. This means that the parents have the child custody predetermined.

If there’s a dispute between parents, the child custody will be given to the parent that has the best interests of the child in mind. This means that the child will face no negative consequences in the upbringing.

Two Types Of Child Custody

The Common Law Alberta states that there are two types of child custody. This includes:

  • Joint Custody
  • Sole Custody
  • Shared Custody
  • Split Custody

Having a joint custody over the children means that both the parents can make major decisions for the children’s well-being. A decision made should be made with mutual agreement with the other parent.

A parent given the sole custody of the children means that the other parent reserves no right to make decisions in the children’s life. Consequently, the parent with the custody can make decisions without letting the other parent know. The latter is usually given access to visit the children and will be able to know about the children’s wellbeing, health, education, etc.

If you or the other parent are given sole custody of the children, then this means that one of you can make all the important decisions for them even if the other parent disagrees. The parent that is not given sole custody will usually still be given access to visit their children and be given information about the children’s wellbeing, health, education, and more.

However, the parent will be subjected to different levels of access depending upon the family history, character and level of responsibility.

The Child Custody in Canada also has a law in which parents can have joint custody of the children. However, to attain this the parents must spend at least 40% of the time with the children.

If the parents have multiple children, the court may also decide on split custody. In this case, one parent gets the child custody of some children while the other parent gets the remaining children. This is often done to ensure no parents are having extra responsibilities. However, children are often allowed to choose with whom they want to live.

Who Gets The Child Custody After A Divorce

Who Gets The Child Custody After A Divorce?

Up until now, we’ve gone through a detailed explanation of what’s child custody in Canada. Now let’s come to the important question – who gets the child custody after a divorce?

Well, whenever the court decides the child custody under the Common Law Alberta, it takes the child’s best interests into consideration.

In most cases, the parents can mutually decide on the child custody before the divorce. In this case, the agreements must be properly documented in a legally binding separation agreement. This must be presented before the court in Alberta.

In the majority of cases, parents decide on having a joint custody over the children. However, sometimes a parent may want sole custody of the child. This may be if a parent has not been involved in the upbringing of the children, or when a parent wants to leave the country permanently. The court will then decide if the reasons are strong enough to grant sole custody after a divorce.

What If Mutual Decision Is Not Possible?

If a mutual agreement on the child’s custody in Canada is not possible, it will be then determined by the local court. The expert divorce lawyers will help the parents represent their case to the court, and the parent with the best claim gets the custody of children.

In such cases, the court determines the child custody in Canada through aspects like:

  • The best interests of the children
  • Parent’s mental, physical and emotional health
  • The relationship and bonding between the parent and children
  • Parenting abilities of the individuals
  • Characteristics and family background
  • Typical schedule for both the  parents and children
  • Support for the children that’s available
  • Primary care giving abilities
  • The intent by the children

Child Support

In family law, parents may be required to give out periodic payments to the other parent taking care of the child after divorce. This is known as child support, and it is given out to help the other parent financially to take care of the child.

Once the decision for Child Custody is made, the court usually defines the responsibility of each parent. If a parent if unwilling or fails to take care of the child after divorce, he/she is required to pay child support on a regular basis until the child is of earning age. Expert family lawyers in Alberta can help you determine a suitable child support that helps in raising the children.


Divorce is a difficult time for both parents and children. There’s a lot going through each individual, and the complexities of separation add up to the difficulty. There’s another confusion too – who’ll get to have the children after the divorce! Child custody laws in Canada are in place to give the custody to the most deserving parents.

The child custody in Canada are of four main types – Joint Custody, Sole Custody, Shared Custody and Split Custody. Parents most often choose to have joint custody over the children, which means that they both share the children at certain time.

The child custody can be decided either by a mutual consent of the parents or by the court, depending upon the situation. If the parents agree on the child custody, they have to legally present their decision at court. After that, the court helps in the process of divorce and child custody in Canada.

If there’s no mutual consent between the parents, the court decides on who gets the children. This decision is determined by a few factors, which include the parent’s characteristics and level of responsibility.
We hope that you’ve got a better knowledge of who gets child custody after a divorce. If you’re interested in knowing more about the Common Law in Alberta, and other legal issues in Alberta, do check out our blogs!