Can my children choose which parent they wish to live with? How are parental responsibilities decided?

Not exactly. Decisions will be based on what’s in the best interest of the child and, depending on the age, your child may have some input for his/her preference. There is no specific age at which a child can choose the parent they live with. The BC Family Law Act and the federal Divorce Act state that a child’s relationships with both parents are important but that all decisions must only be made in your child’s best interests. 

Many considerations are taken into account including the need for stability, how well each parent cares for the child as well as safety and security issues are important factors. Parenting, or custody, arrangements can be flexible and cooperative for as long as it works for all concerned. Decision-making responsibilities, such as healthcare, education, religion can also be made collaboratively between parents. 

If parents can not agree on the details, you can ask a lawyer to help negotiate an agreement, use mediation or receive help through collaborative law.  Ultimately though, a court can decide where the child should live, how much time each parent will be granted and other important topics.

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