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Before you agree on a custody designation, please know that there are two. There is a Parent of Primary Residence and there is a Parent of Alternate Residence. Doesn’t mean that one parent is better than the other parent, but when you are the Parent of Primary Resident, you’re the parent who has the child on a day to day basis, and when we look to that we look to see where is the child going to go to school. So often times when one parent is designated as the PPR, the Parent of Primary Residence, you will then look to that is where that child is going to go to school.

So when you are deciding whether or not you want to be the PAR or the PPR, a lot of introspection has to be completed and you have to have an open dialogue with us, as to what you’re prepared to do with regards to your children.

How is child custody determined?

The main consideration of the court is to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Many factors are considered when making this determination. Some of the factors considered are:

  • Physical and emotional environment
  • Personal safety
  • Moral atmosphere
  • Mental and physical health of the parents
  • Age of the children
  • Preference of the children
  • Prior parental behavior, including any history of abuse
  • Ability of each parent to care for the child
  • Importance of religious upbringing within the family

How is custody determined in a case where the parties are not married?

When the parties are not married, it is referred to as a non-dissolution case. A custody dispute for people who are not married is treated the same way as it is for married couples. The parties are referred to custody mediation. The issue of paternity also frequently arises. In those cases, the father may be required to take a paternity test, which is a simple procedure.

How can a custody arrangement be modified?

Once a child custody arrangement is established, either party can make an application to modify the arrangement if a change of circumstances has occurred since the original custody decision.

The party applying for a change must prove that there has been sufficient change of circumstances to justify granting the application. This requires credible evidence proving to the court that something significant has happened that was not considered when the court made the original custody decision.