Information about Custody and Access

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What is Custody/Access?

Children's Bill of Rights

Things I Wish My Parents Knew

Custody and access refers to the parenting arrangements made for the children, when their parents are not together. There are different types of custody and access. Custody looks at where the children live, and also who makes major decisions about the children. Access is also called ‘visitation’ or ‘parenting time’, and refers to the time the children spend with the parent that they do not live with.

Usually when you are applying to the court to get a court order for child custody or access, you must apply to the court closest to where the children are living. For example, if you live in Sydney, but the children live in Yarmouth, you will likely have to contact the court in Yarmouth to make your application. If you are dealing with custody and access as part of a divorce proceeding, though, this may work differently. If you are not sure where to file your application for custody or access, you should speak with a lawyer or court officer.

You can click on any of the topics on the left-hand side of this page for more information on child custody and access. Frequently asked questions, or ‘FAQs,’ are where you will find answers to the questions people ask most about these topics.

For general information on custody and access, click here.

For information on how to get or change a custody or access order, click here.

If you are a grandparent, click here.

Making plans: A guide to parenting arrangements after separation or divorce - How to put your children first

This guide is published by the Department of Justice Canada, and provides information about parenting after separation and divorce, including:

  • how to decide on the best parenting arrangement for your children
  • what processes you can use to come to a parenting arrangement
  • what you (parents) may be feeling
  • what your children may be feeling

To complete a short survey about the Making Plans tool, click here.