What Is Residential Custody Of A Child?

When there are children in a marriage that is getting terminated, an agreement regarding who gets custody of the children must be reached. In a situation when it cannot be easily agreed upon, a court intervention would be required according to family law. Given this, the court would decide who gets the residential custody of the child. However, it is crucial to understand what the residential custody of a child entails. Read more. 

What Is Residential Custody Of A Child?

The parent given the residential custody is the parent with whom the child spends most of their time – the parent has sole and physical custody of the child or children. Usually, the parents would agree on which of them should have residential custody of the children or the court would help them decide. 

According to family law, residential custody is usually given to the mother but may vary sometimes. This decision is reached in the best interest of the children. The other parent will, however, be given visitation time to visit the children and bond with them. This is referred to as parenting time, and the time that can be spent with the children and the place of meeting will be determined. 

Joint residential custody arrangements were common several years ago when the time of the child would be split in half between the parents. In view of this, the parents would be required to maintain a civil relationship because of the child and they would need to be interacting frequently. 

However, the arrangement was considered too disruptive for the child’s growth and emotional and mental wellness. Given that, judges believe that giving the sole residential custody of the children to one of the parents, especially the mother, would be better and more beneficial to the children. This decision is arrived at to prevent the children from moving back and forth from one parent to the other, which could be very stressful and chaotic.


It is important to know that the parent given the residential custody of the child deserves to be supported by the other parent, according to family law. However, the child support agreement must be consented to by both parents to avoid conflicts. This is to ensure that the parent that gives time to care for the children receives adequate financial support to cater to the children’s needs. 

The court may have to resolve how much is sufficient as child support, which the other parent must pay. Residential custody of children and child support will be considered and decided in reference to family law in Ontario.