Father’s rights is a blanket term that is used to refer to the rights fathers have to see their children. It has been used by some family law groups in relation to the idea that it is harder for fathers to get sole or equal joint custody of their children than it is for mothers. However, Ontario doesn’t officially have any kind of legal father’s rights. Instead, the family courts here operate under the assumption that both parents have equal rights to the children unless there are exceptional circumstances—such as abuse—that indicate otherwise.
If you’re a father who is fighting for custody or more visitation, it’s important to understand how parental rights work in Ontario and what your options are. Our law firm has experience with these types of cases and can help you form a strategy to pursue your case through the family courts.
Can the Mother Deny the Father Access to the Children?
In Ontario, the courts recognize that children have a right to have a relationship with both parents. This means that one parent cannot deny the other parent access to the children unless there is a court order specifically allowing this. Both parents must abide by any court order in effect regarding custody or visitation rights, and this includes providing access to the children as well as exercising any given visitation rights.
How Can a Father Get Increased Visitation Rights?
The primary way to get increased visitation rights is to petition the courts either to issue a child custody order with visitation if there isn’t one established already or to modify an order already in place. If there is already a custody order, it’s important to be able to show the courts that the children would benefit from having more time with you and that you have been an active, involved part of their lives thus far.
What is Involved in Changing a Custody Agreement?
To alter a custody agreement already in place, you will need to file a petition with the courts. These petitions need to show that there is a reason for the proposed change and that the change would be in the best interests of the children. This is an important distinction to note because many parents try to focus on why they should have access to the children instead of why the children should have access to–and a relationship with–them.
Navigating the family court system can be challenging, but it helps if you have an experienced family lawyer by your side. Call our office today at 647-933-2397 to find out more about how we can help with these cases.