Free information about
Children and Divorce in Canada
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Child custody, access and support
In Canada, the federal government shares
responsibility with the provinces and territories for family law
matters. When making decisions about children after separation and
divorce, the federal Divorce Act applies to parents who were married and
are now divorced or are planning to divorce. Provincial or territorial
laws apply to parents who were never married or are not planning to
Through Separation and Divorce
be such a painful experience that many parents find it difficult to
respond to the needs of their children just when they need extra
emotional support and attention. To help your children cope with
divorce, you need to learn to manage your own feelings and new
circumstances. This section focuses on some of the challenges that you
may face as you go through the process of separation and divorce, and
how you can build a support network to help yourself manage better. Like
many other parents in similar circumstances, you can move on and help
your children move on too.
not a single event, but a process that unfolds over time. It involves a
series of family changes and reorganizations that may take several
years. The events and emotions that accompany these changes cannot be
dealt with overnight. It takes time for everyone in the family to adapt.
and divorce can be an emotional roller coaster. You may experience
feelings of anger, isolation, anxiety, euphoria, depression, guilt, loss
of control, fear, incompetence and insecurity. You may doubt your
ability to deal with the needs of your children because you also face
pressing needs of your own. Sometimes parents may feel that they have
failed their children, and may doubt their own worth. These emotions and
difficulties are a natural part of getting through separation and
There is no
doubt that the process of separation and divorce is one of the most
difficult experiences in an adult's life - socially, emotionally and
financially. Most parents are ill-prepared for all of the challenges and
adjustments they may face, including:
homes, neighbourhoods and schools, which may lead to a sense of
instability and the loss of relationships and support systems.
Economic changes - two households cost more to
maintain than one. Some parents may face a sudden financial crisis.
information on how to get financial assistance.)
Difficulty in concentrating on your job. Or you may immerse yourself
in work, especially if you are no longer living with your children.
are not living with your children, you may feel as if you've been
cut off from their lives.
have increased demands and responsibilities if you have the major
role in caring for the children. It may seem that you don't have
enough hours in the day to spend time with your children, and still
find any time for yourself.
surprising that with all the pressures of divorce, parents are under
even greater stress. That's why it's so important for you to carve out
some time to take care of your own needs. Try to schedule time for
activities that help you get in touch with yourself, whether through a
hobby, physical activity or simply relaxing quietly. Allowing yourself
occasions to break away from the momentum of "doing" and simply "be",
even for a few minutes, will help you regain your balance. It will give
you a better sense of perspective and will help you stay on top of the
day-to-day stress of work, children, and the separation or divorce.
and Building a Support Network
All of us
need "emotional" support as well as "practical" support. Family and
friends, support groups, professionals, as well as other support
services in your community, can all help you adjust to the changes in
your life. It is important to reach out for advice, encouragement and
understanding to help reduce tension and the feelings of isolation and
depression that often go along with separation and divorce.
reaching out to other adults, you are teaching your children a very
valuable lesson in life: we all need help from time to time, and
learning from - and leaning on - others is an important part of living
that parents make during the process of separation and divorce are
important and have long-term consequences. Family law is complicated,
and everyone benefits from sound legal advice in this situation. There
are a lot of family lawyers in Canada who can inform you of your rights
and responsibilities. How much you must rely on your lawyer depends on
your individual situation and on how you decide to approach it.
If you and
your spouse can agree to all of the issues related to your divorce,
including how you divide your property and debt, and issues about child
custody, access and support, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars
on legal fees by utilizing a service that helps you
prepare and file your own simple or joint divorce
Yourself Helps Your Children
for support for your personal needs during separation and divorce will
make you better able to respond to the needs of your children. Knowing
more about how children, at each stage and age of development,
experience separation and divorce will help too.
information ,see the
Public Health Agency of Canada website.
link for free information about
child custody, access and support