How Is Child Custody Determined in Edmonton, Alberta?

When families go through a challenging time like divorce, one of the most crucial aspects that need careful consideration is child custody. Family Lawyers in Edmonton aim to ensure that the child’s best interests are put first when deciding on custody agreements.

In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of child custody, covering its different types and the factors that play a role in determining it. Additionally, we’ll discuss the concept of an unfit parent and examine whether a child can choose which parent they want to live with.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody refers to the legal arrangements made between parents or guardians regarding the care and upbringing of their children. When families go through significant changes like divorce or separation, determining child custody is important to ensure the well-being of the children involved.

There are two main aspects of child custody:

  1. Physical Custody
  • This involves where the child will live on a day-to-day basis.
  • It determines where the child will spend their time and dictates the time spent with each parent.
  1. Legal Custody
  • Legal custody refers to the authority to make decisions for the child.
  • It involves crucial aspects of the child’s life, such as religious upbringing, healthcare, education, and other important life choices.

Additionally, child custody arrangements can take different forms:

  1. Joint Custody
  • Decision-making authority and responsibilities are shared by both parents.
  • This can include both parents sharing where the child lives (joint physical custody) or making decisions together (joint legal custody).
  1. Sole Custody
  • One parent has primary responsibility for the child’s well-being.
  • The other parent may still have visitation rights, but they may not be involved in major decision-making.

What Is an Unfit Parent in Alberta?

Determining an unfit parent is a serious matter and requires evidence of actions that could harm the child’s health, well-being, or mental health. These include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Neglect
  • Mental illness
  • Domestic violence

Evidence supporting allegations of a dangerous environment or mistreatment can include photographs, witness testimony, or police reports. In urgent cases, a parent may seek emergency child custody based on preliminary evidence. 

A skilled Divorce Lawyer in Edmonton can help you collect compelling evidence. They have the expertise to guide you in gathering relevant documentation, understanding what kind of evidence holds legal weight, and ensuring that your case is presented convincingly in court.

However, it’s important to note that an emergency custody order doesn’t necessarily dictate the final custody arrangement. The court will conduct a thorough examination before making a final ruling.

Can I Get Full Custody of My Child?

Securing full custody in Alberta is challenging and is usually only granted when it is in the best interests of the child. Judges often consider several factors when assessing parental fitness. These can include:

  • The relationship each parent has with the child
  • The ability to provide a stable home environment
  • The child’s wishes (if they are of an appropriate age)
  • Is there a history of substance abuse or incarceration?
  • Is there evidence of a serious mental illness?
  • Will the parent harm the child physically or psychologically?
Can I Get Full Custody of My Child?

Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

While the child’s wishes are considered, they do not have the sole authority to decide which parent they will live with until they reach the age of majority. The court may take their preferences into account, especially if they are mature enough to express their opinions, but the final decision will be based on what is deemed in the child’s best interests.

Consult with an Edmonton Divorce Lawyer

Dealing with child custody matters in Edmonton isn’t always straightforward, and that’s where legal experts can make a significant difference. Family Lawyers in Edmonton, such as those at KBL Law, deal with family law matters, including divorce and child custody cases. Seeking professional advice can help you understand your rights, responsibilities, and legal options.


In Edmonton, Alberta, the child’s welfare is given the highest priority when deciding who gets to keep the child. If you are dealing with child custody issues, it’s crucial to seek guidance from experienced Family Lawyers in Edmonton. KBL Law is here to assist you through this challenging process. 

Contact our team of experienced lawyers today to ensure the best result for you and your child.

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