Who will my child live with?

As of March 1, 2021, the term  has changed to . And in most situations, the term  has changed to . Now, all parents usually have parenting time.

Also, a person who isn’t a parent or step-parent may get a to spend time with a child. For example a grandparent can get this order.

You and your partner have to decide who your child lives with after you separate or . This is called deciding your child’s residence.

Deciding your child’s residence is different from decision-making responsibility and parenting time.

Decision-making responsibility used to be called custody. It means having the legal right to make major decisions about how to care for and raise your child. Decision-making responsibility is not about who your child lives with or how much time your child spends with each of you.

Parenting time is the time that a child spends in the care of a parent or a person who stands in the place of a parent, such as a step-parent. Parenting time used to be called access for the parent who didn’t have any decision-making responsibility. Now all parents usually have parenting time.

For example, even if you have the right to make all decisions about your child, your child might spend equal amounts of time with you and your partner. Or, your child might live mainly with you, but you and your partner have share decision-making responsibility.

Wherever a child lives most of the time is called their . If a parent has the right to make all the decisions for a child, that parent’s home is usually the child’s primary residence. And the other parent usually has parenting time.

Shared residence is when a child lives mostly equal amounts of time with each parent. One home may still be considered the primary residence with the other being the secondary residence.

If you and your partner agree on where your child lives, you can put what you agree on in an agreement.

If you can’t agree, you must think about using (ADR) or a family dispute resolution process to resolve your issues out of court if it’s suitable for you. Step 3 has more information on ADR. 

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