Difference Between Joint Custody and Sole Custody

In Ontario, when it comes to considering arrangements for child custody, parents have two options to choose from: joint custody and sole custody. Each option offers different advantages and disadvantages that should be weighed carefully so that families can make an informed decision as to which arrangement might work best for them. This post outlines the upsides and downsides of both joint and sole custody so readers can make the best choice for their needs.


Joint Custody

This arrangement grants both parents legal authority over decision-making and parental responsibilities, with the child either residing with one parent or between the two of them.

Sole Custody

In this arrangement, only one parent is granted legal authority to make decisions and fulfill parental responsibilities while the child typically lives with them. However, visitation rights may vary depending on the situation.


Children’s Law Reform Act

Parents or guardians in Ontario have the right to take legal action when it comes to custody matters after a divorce or separation according to the Children’s Law Reform Act (CLRA). The CLRA also outlines how decisions are made regarding the care of children, including what happens if parents cannot agree. It is important for those exploring their options to understand their rights and responsibilities under the CLRA in order to make an educated decision.


Pros and Cons

Joint Custody

Pros: The child has access to both parents, which can offer great emotional benefits for them.

Overall decision-making is shared between parents, which can help ensure that decisions are fair and in the best interests of the child.

Cons: Communication between the parents is essential to make joint custody work, but this isn’t always easy if they don’t get along well.

Both parents need to be willing and able to cooperate when it comes to parenting decisions, which can be difficult if one parent is not involved or has different ideas.


Sole Custody

Pros: It can bring stability for a child if a single parent is better able to provide consistency and stability.

It eliminates the need for communication between two parents who may not get along well.

Cons: The child may not have access to resources from both parents, such as emotional support or financial assistance.

Without ongoing input from both sides, decisions about the child’s upbringing may be made unilaterally by one parent without input from another party.


How to Decide Between Sole and Joint Custody in Ontario

Choosing between sole and joint custody in Ontario can be an emotionally and legally involved process. While having just one parent may provide a more stable environment for the child, it also means less access to resources from both parents. Joint custody, on the other hand, can have numerous benefits for everyone involved; however, it can be difficult to manage when two parents don’t get along well or there’s conflict. Before deciding between sole and joint custody, it’s important to consider all potential challenges that could arise in either situation and make sure it takes into account the best interests of not just the parents but also the child.



In the case of custody in Ontario, no single arrangement will be the best for all families. It’s essential to consider both sole and joint custody options before deciding on the plan that works best for your family. Sole custody can provide more resources for children but may limit parental involvement; on the other hand, joint custody allows greater involvement from both parents but requires more coordination between them. Ultimately, both types of arrangements have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s worth taking time to talk to a Tailor Law divorce lawyer in Mississauga who can help you weigh these pros and cons before making a final decision.

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