What is Sole Custody In BC? When and Where to Get it

What is Sole Custody In BC? When and Where to Get it

Having sole custody in BC means that you have exclusive rights to make decisions for your children. Sole custody in BC also means that the children primarily reside with the person who has sole custody and the other parent may have some visitation rights or contact with the children. Read more about your rights and obligations when you have sole custody in BC here:

How To Get Sole Custody in BC

To get sole custody in BC, you will have to apply to the Court to get a declaration that you will be the only parent making decisions for the children and the parent the children will primarily reside with. Under the BC Family Law Act, the birth parents are assumed the guardians of the child and are expected to share parental responsibilities. If you want sole custody, you must get an Order where the court makes an exception to the default rule.

Being a mother will not give you a free ticket to get sole custody of children in BC. In BC, the courts recognize that children deserve the love and care of both parents, and equally as long as both parents are relatively decent. Many custody cases resolve around the mother wanting sole custody because she thinks the children need her more than the father and that she can provide better for the children.

I do not blame any mother for thinking she is the best parent and should have sole custody. Having a child grow in your belly for 9 months and then taking care of that child every second of everyday, protecting that child and having him/her drink the juice out of your body to calm down and feed must be a feeling unmatched by any other feeling in life.

BUT the type of connection you have with your child is not more important that the connection your child can have with his/her father. A father is a beautiful, loving and caring addition to any child’s life and the lessons he can teach your child are just as valuable as the lessons you will teach him/her. Also, fathers expose children to different sides and angles of life so they help the child understand options, life styles and senses much better when exposed to so much choice.

So when you go to ask about sole custody, make sure you do it for the right reasons. These reasons are stated below.

Reasons to Ask for Sole Custody in BC

In some situations, obtaining sole custody is to the best interests of your child. These situations include:

  • Parents living in different countries and children living with one parent;
  • One parent becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs;
  • One parent abandons his/her children;
  • One parent physically or emotionally abuses children (very high bar to prove this – you must have evidence);
  • One parent alienates children (alienation has a very high test legally so don’t use this word lightly or casually);
  • One parent becomes incapable of caring for children due to physical or emotional illness; or
  • One parent dies;

When Should You Apply for Sole Custody in BC?

You can apply for Sole Custody in BC at any point after separation. But the timing is dependent on your situation. Let’s look at some examples:

  • At the time of separation, the mother or father leaves the home and abandons everyone: in this situation you can immediately apply to the BC Supreme Court or the Provincial Court for an Order for sole custody. The order will allow you to make decisions for the children and have them live with you;
  • After separation, you and the other parent share the custody, but shared custody no longer works: In these situations, something changes that makes shared parenting impossible or not to the best interests of the children. These situations include one parent becoming a drug addict, abusive, alienating or moving to another town or country.
  • From the time of separation, there is dispute over who should care for the children:  in these situations you can apply for sole custody but you will likely need a trial to figure out whether you can get sole or shared custody. You do have the option of asking for an interim or temporary custody pending trial. Learn all about that here.

What to Prove for Getting Sole Custody in BC?

To prove that you should get sole custody of children in BC, you need to show that a sole custody situation is to the best interests of your children. The court will only consider the best interests of your children and not the parents. You have to prove evidence satisfying the following criteria:

  • You are a good parent;
  • You are the primary parent to the children or you should be;
  • The other parent is unable or incapable of sharing custody or having custody of the children;
  • You children want to live with you full time (for children over the age of 12);
  • Sole custody will provide stability and routine for your children and this more important than having an equal bond with the other parent;
  • It is impracticable or impossible to share custody ( i.e. for parents living in different countries”;

What Rights Will You Have When You Get Sole Custody in BC?

As a parent who has sole custody of your children, you will have the following rights:

  1. The right to decide where your children will reside;
  2. The right to what religion or cultural upbringing the children will have;
  3. The right to provide medical and dental health help to your children;
  4. The right to make day to day decisions for your children such as what to eat and where to play;
  5. The right to apply for passports or licenses for your children;
  6. The right to sue others on behalf of your children;
  7. The right to obtain third party information relating to your children such as medical, doctor or dental notes;
  8. The right decide where your children go to school or what activities they can participate in;
  9. The right to have children reside with you;

Obtaining sole custody in BC is an exemption to the general rule that children should share their time with their parents. It is always best to discuss the unique facts of your situation with a family lawyer to find out what your chances or strategies are when applying for sole custody in BC. Call us at 604-974-9529 or get in touch.