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Child custody: What are the options for access arrangements?

When Ontario parents divorce, there are different options when it comes to access. Parents who can keep their relationship amicable may agree to reasonable access. This will allow them to make informal arrangements for child custody that could be modified to suit changing circumstances. If their relationship does not allow this, the more formal option of fixed access may be ordered.

Fixed access involves a schedule with detailed access terms, including specific arrangements for holidays, birthdays, religious occasions and more. It will also include details about the collection and dropping off of the children. If the parent who has access has a problem with substance or alcohol abuse, domestic violence or threatens to remove the child from the other parent's care, the court may order supervised access, which will only allow visitation in the presence of an authorized adult.

An authorized adult could be a friend, family member, a children's aid or a social worker, or an employee of a supervised access centre. In cases in which there is proof that a child was subjected to severe abuse or neglect, or if a child's safety cannot be assured, the court may issue an order of no access. Whatever the type of access allowed, the best interests of the child will always be the primary concern.

An Ontario parent who is in the throes of a divorce -- or considering such action -- may have questions about child custody and the available access options. A consultation with a lawyer who is experienced in all aspects of family law can provide the answers. Support and guidance on all legal issues related to divorce and separation are available.

Source:, "What are some of the different types of access?", Accessed on Dec. 29, 2017

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