Custody for a child is a complicated matter and depending on your current situation, you may need to fill out certain forms and follow certain steps to complete the process successfully. You may want to hire a lawyer specialized in this matter who can handle your divorce or custody papers for you, but not everyone can afford the expensive lawyers fees.
If affordability of lawyers fees is an issue and you want to go at it your own self, it is possible to do that with a bit of knowledge and information. There are a lot of information online on the internet, but it can be confusing and time consuming to understand those information because they can be very lengthy and boring to read through them all.
Before you proceed, you must understand the different types of custody you are seeking and based on your situation, you then choose the correct one.
1. SOLE CUSTODY:
As the name suggest, you alone as a parent are solely responsible for making any decisions and for caring about your children. Your other partner cannot be responsible or have the power to make decisions for your kids. Your other partner may or may not have access or visitation to the kids, depending on if you gave permission to him/her to do so.
2. JOINT CUSTODY:
With this custody, both you and your partner takes care of your kids and either of you or both can make decisions. You could be living separately or even in same house. Both of you have access to the kids based on your general agreement agreed upon.
3. SHARED CUSTODY:
This custody mainly deals with where the kids are going to be living. It also decides on who will be paying child support for raising the kids.
4. SPLIT CUSTODY:
If you have more than one children, you may have custody of one or more kids, while your partner will have custody of the remaining kids.
A brief steps to starting your custody process in Ontario:
1. FILL OUT TWO COURT APPLICATION FORMS:
* Form 8 application (General)
* Form 35.1 Affidavit in Support of Claim for Custody or Access
2. GET YOUR APPLICATION ISSUED:
* Take all your filled out forms and other documents to the court clerk and they will review your submitted documents. They will sign, date and stamp your application.
* You will be given a court file number and the first court date. You will also receive 2 notices (One for you and other for your partner) to a mandatory information program (MIP). You both will need to attend this information session but separately if required.
* You will be given some blank forms for your partner to fill out:
Form 10: Answer (http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/forms/family/10/FLR-10-Oct12.pdf)
Form 13: Financial Statement (http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/forms/family/13/FLR-13-Jan15.pdf) or Form 13.1: Financial Statement. (http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/forms/family/13.1/FLR-13-1-Jan15.pdf)
Form 13A: Certificate of Financial Disclosure (http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/forms/family/13a/FLR-13A-EN-aug15-fil.pdf)
Form 35.1: Affidavit in Support of a Claim for Custody or Access (http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/static/media/uploads/courtforms/family/35-1/flr-35-1-e.pdf)
* You can make 2 copies of all the documents you filled or submitted and give one copy to your partner.
3. SERVE YOUR APPLICATION:
In this step, you need to give the court issued documents to your partner. You cannot do this directly but rather you can have someone else deliver it on your behalf. It can be a friend or family member who is 18+ years old.
Don't forget to also include the blank forms given by the form for your partner to fill out. There is also the Mandatory Information Program (MIP) notice to be given to your partner.
4. COMPLETE PROOF OF SERVICE:
Complete the Form 6B: Affidavit of Service Sworn/Affirmed (http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/static/media/uploads/courtforms/family/06b/flr-6b-e-1016.pdf). This proof of service is called affidavit of service and it shows that you indeed did sent the required documents to your partner, to let him/her know your intentions of custody for the kids.
This affidavit will contain information on time, date of serving, how serving was done and who did it. This is important because it prevents the other partner from accusing you of not giving him/her any documents in the past.
Include any other proof such as payment receipt for mail courier or registered mail. You may have to notarize this document with a notary public or a commissioner for taking affidavits.
5. FILE YOUR DOCUMENTS IN COURT:
When you submit your documents to the family court clerk, a Continuing record will be created for you. This just ensures that any further documents you submitted, will be added to your previous ones in a continuing manner, making it easier for the courts to review them later.
6. GET YOUR PARTNER'S ANSWER:
Your partner has 30 days to respond by filling out, serving and filing his/her documents to the court. Any documents your partner submitted to court clerk, he/she will have to deliver them to you by registered mail or special service.
Depending on your partner's intentions, he/she may agree, disagree, or make new claims against you.