MYTH #1.  ” Mothers always get custody of the children.”

TRUTH:  Joint Custody/Guardianship is the most common arrangement when the parents are separated.  This may not mean equal parenting time, but both parents will be involved in making major decisions for their children.

MYTH #2.  “I have to fight to protect my child.”

TRUTH:  In most cases, children will have a greater chance to thrive in an environment where they are not exposed to conflict between their parents.

MYTH #3.  “I’m going to get sole custody.” 

TRUTH:  Over half of agreements and orders are for joint child custody/guardianship.  Sole custody arrangements are become more rare over time.

MYTH #4. “When my children turn 12, they can decide who they want to live with – mom, or dad.”

TRUTH:  In child custody cases,there is no firm law setting a specific age when a child can decide where they would like to live. Judges take into account the wishes of the child, and that child’s age and maturity level.  Every case is unique.

MYTH #5.  “Once the divorce is final, I’m done with my ex.”

TRUTH:  Certain issues may be resolved when the divorce is final.  However, if you have children together, parenting issues will continue into your child’s adulthood.

The new B.C. Family Law Act  no longer refers to Child Custody in family law matters in B.C.  Instead, the act (as well as B.C. Judges and Lawyers) use the terms Guardianship and Parenting Time, to frame decision making, parenting responsibilities, and parenting time for separated and divorcing families.

The term Custody is still used in the Canada wide Divorce Act.  For the purposes of this article, the term “Child Custody” has been used, as it currently has more general familiarity in legal language across Canada.

SOURCE:  Family Matters, Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice.

Jayne Embree, M.A.

Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist.  She is currently working with the Administrative and Human Resources Departments of Butterfield Law.