Representing Fathers in Family Law

What Legal Rights Do Fathers in Ontario Have with Regard to Their Child?

There do not exist any actual “rights to a child” for mothers or fathers. Judges or collaborative law teams determine the best interests of a child in custody, access, and support cases. Historically, courts have assumed that it is better for children to live with their mothers. The Tender Years Doctrine was an assumption that children are better off living with their mothers.


If parents agree on custody of their kid, it indicates that both parents have equal authority over the child’s upbringing. This means that each parent has equal access to their child and that the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents.

Access to the child refers to the ability of a parent to spend time with his or her child. If the court believes that the non-custodial parent is a danger to the child, the court may award supervised, limited, or no access.



What about fathers who aren’t married to their children’s mothers?

Regardless of whether or not a father is or was married to his child’s mother, he can apply for sole or joint custody of the child. He has the same responsibilities to his child as if he were married to the child’s mother. This includes the responsibility of financially supporting his child, whether or not he has custody or access. Mothers who do not have custody of or access to their children are under the same support obligation.



What about adoptive fathers?

When a couple or single person adopts a child, they are responsible for the child’s physical well-being. Therefore, adoptive fathers have the same obligation to support their children as biological fathers. Child custody cases involving non-biological parents are handled similarly to those involving biological parents.



What are some of the obstacles they have to face in child custody or support disputes?

Many people feel that fathers who end up in family court are at a disadvantage, and generally end up getting the short end of the legal stick. Judges may feel that children are best off living with their mothers due to traditional gender roles.

Of course, in today’s world, we recognize that many fathers do take on the role of primary caregiver, or share childcare equally with their spouse. Fathers should be able to continue involvement in their children’s lives after separation unless there are valid reasons not to.


Some have even hypothesized that the establishment of equal parenting as the default arrangement will reduce adversarial legal battles, which will in turn reduce false allegations of abuse by mothers, and vengeful withholding of support by fathers.

Collaborative law is a way to resolve family law matters that avoids the adversarial process. Litigating family law issues in court can create more tension and conflict. 



How to find help

Do you need legal advice? Get help from our Toronto and Mississauga divorce lawyers who are trained to help you navigate through the whirlwind of paperwork and emotions that come with deciding how to proceed. Our lawyers can give you legal advice on separation agreements before you sign them.


Tailor Law Professional Corporation offers a free thirty-minute consultation during which you can speak to a lawyer about your situation. Our family law lawyers in Mississauga are happy to sit down with you and discuss your legal issue. We encourage you to meet with one of us, and we’ll see how we can help. This company offers free consultations to help people figure out their next steps. Give us a call at 905-366-0202 or book online.

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