A Quick overview of Child Custody, Child Abduction and Getting the Child Returned to the Jurisdiction

A Quick overview of Child Custody, Child Abduction, and Getting the Child Returned to the Jurisdiction

Child Custody

Parental rights of custody is about who makes decisions for their children. There are two types of custody, joint and sole.

Joint custody enables both parents to make major decisions about their child’s life together. This often requires an extensive amount of co-operation. Sole custody enables only one parent to make the major decisions for the child. 

Parental Child Abduction

Canadian statistics reveal that parental child abduction is more likely to occur than a stranger child abduction. Parental child abduction occurs when one parent takes the other parent’s child without permission. This abduction may occur domestically or internationally.

Parental child abduction may not always physically harm the child, but it will change their quality of life. This is where the importance of the custodial arrangement comes into play. The Criminal Code of Canada urges parents to take care of their custody and access issues in court. 

Civil enforcement is the only option available when criminal charges are not applicable. These two regulation types are referred to on a case-by-case basis:

  • Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act
  • Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

The Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act lays out the processes regarding matters between parents and children, such as custody orders.


The first two steps that a parent must take following the realization of their child’s abduction are: first, contacting the police enforcement and then reaching out to their family lawyer in order to assess how the court may be of assistance. There are two circumstances that may apply in such a situation, either the parent already has a custody order, or they do not.

Parents who are splitting up must find the closest family court to their child and file for custody, obligating the other parent to return with that child.

If the divorce process has already begun, then a parent must seek an order under the Divorce Act. If it hasn’t, they may instead apply for one of the Ontario Children’s Law Reform Act. 

For further guidance on child support or more information on parental child abduction, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm at 905-366-0202, or visit our website here.

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