When Parents Break Up: Living Arrangements for Children

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Your parents break up and both want custody. Custody refers to your living arrangements. How does the judge decide who you’re going to live with?

What’s the difference between joint custody and sole custody?

Sole custody: living with one parent more than 60% of the time

Joint custody: living with each parent between 40% and 60% of the time

Who will you live with?

Maybe your parents agree on who will have custody. But if they don’t agree, a judge will decide who you will live with. She makes this decision with your best interests in mind.

The judge will consider these things when deciding who you’ll live with:

  • your needs
  • how each parent is able to meet your needs
  • your relationship with each parent
  • your relationship with the other members of your family
  • keeping stability in your life
  • your physical and mental health and your parents’ physical and mental health
  • how much time each parent has to take care of you
  • your parents’ lifestyle, if this has a direct effect on you
  • it’s best to keep brothers and sisters together
  • how willing each parent is to stay on friendly terms with the other
  • your age
  • your opinion

For you to live with each parent under a joint custody arrangement, your parents must

  • provide stability,
  • be able to take good care of you,
  • be able to talk to each other without arguing every time, and
  • live close to each other.

Are you afraid of being separated from one of your parents?

You are allowed to have as much contact as possible with each parent, as long as this is good for you.

So, even if you live with only one of your parents, you are allowed to see the other parent. This is called “access rights” or visiting rights.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.