4. Go to court

How do I change custody, access, and parenting arrangements in my agreement?
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4. Go to court

If you and your partner cannot agree on changing your custody and access arrangement, even with the help of a family law professional, or if that is not the right option for you, you can go to court and start a family court case.

Going to court can be a complicated process and it can take a lot of time. It can be stressful and expensive, but it is sometimes necessary to decide your issues. This family law court process flowchart explains each step in a family law court case.

A family court makes decisions using the family law rules and laws. A judge looks at your separation agreement and the best interests of the child test to make decisions about custody, access, and parenting. This test looks at things like:

  • the relationship between each parent and the child
  • the emotional ties between each parent and the child
  • how long the child has lived in a stable environment
  • each parent's plan for the child's care and upbringing
  • each parent's ability to care for the child
  • in some cases, the child's views and wishes
  • if there has been abuse against any family member or any child

You can talk to a lawyer who can explain what your existing separation agreement says you have to do. A lawyer can also tell you if there are facts that may convince a judge that the agreement should be changed or ended.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers provide "unbundled" or "limited scope" services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

You May Also Need

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario)
Reviewed: July 15, 2019

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