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Divorce and Children: Your Legal Obligations and Rights

Every parent has certain legal obligations and rights they should be aware of when applying for a divorce. Even though a couple has decided to legally end their marriage, by no means does this entitle the parent to sever responsibility for, and end a relationship with his or her children.

The matrimonial home

Some people also have the misconception that once they file for a divorce, the other person will have to vacate the family home. This is not entirely true. It has to be determined in Court by a judge that one of the parties should move out. It is important to remember that the Court will always try to determine what is in the children’s best interests.

Thus, it is entirely possible, if the home has sufficient space that both parties could remain in the matrimonial home with the children until the divorce is finalized or other living arrangements are made. For instance, some couples cannot afford to continue to contribute their share of household expenses and establish a second residence on their own, so there could be an agreement between both parties to remain in the home until they can decide on a solution.

In cases where a party can afford to keep the matrimonial home after the divorce, the Court often will allow the custodial parent to remain in the home with the children as it may help them to adjust to their new family dynamic in a place they are already familiar with and comfortable in. However, the custodial parent cannot lease, rent or sell the home without the permission of the other parent or a court order.

Financial Support of Your Children

Both parties are financially and legally responsible for the support of their children. This includes providing sufficient housing, food, clothing, and medical care. Just because the parents are no longer living together and married, they are not excused from this responsibility.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the Court will generally expect both parents to contribute based upon their income. The non-custodial parent provides their portion of the financial support for their children in the form of child support payments made to the custodial parent.

Care for Your Children

Both parents are equally responsible to ensure their children are properly cared for in a stable and loving environment. When couples separate and divorce and one parent moves out, that parent needs to make arrangements with the other parent for the care of the children. Typically, this is when child access, custody and visitation schedules and agreements are worked out.

In amicable situations, the parents will normally come to a mutually agreed-upon custody, access, and visitation schedule, where both parents get equal time to care for their children. However, in contentious situations, even if the Courts still prefer to award shared custody with access and visitation being split equally, if it is clear that the relationship between the parties is toxic, and co-parenting unworkable, a Court may award custody to one parent.

Unfortunately, in the real world, not all parents are willing to come to mutually acceptable arrangements in regards to their children and some even fail to adhere to the original agreement. When these types of situations arise, it is best to contact an experienced family law lawyer, like here at Davies Law Firm, for assistance and advice. To schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your family law matter in greater detail, call (613) 688-0462 now!

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