A Guide to Father's Rights and Child Custody - Zukerman Law

A Guide to Father’s Rights and Child Custody

Dads are an essential part of a child’s life, offering love, support, and guidance. In Canada, fathers have equal rights to child custody arrangements, despite misconceptions that mothers are automatically favored.
This blog is here to empower fathers. We will explore your rights in child custody cases, different custody arrangements, and the factors courts consider when making decisions. We’ll also highlight the importance of legal representation in navigating the child custody process.
Whether you’re facing separation or considering future arrangements, understanding your rights and having strong legal support can make all the difference.

What Are Father’s Rights for Child Custody?

What Are Father’s Rights for Child Custody?

In British Columbia, men are granted equal parenting and parental responsibility rights with their children following a separation or divorce. This is known as father’s rights to child custody.
Our courts gave mothers greater rights to children, particularly young ones, until recently. Fathers have the right to be treated equally with mothers in their children’s lives, and the fathers’ rights movement began with a few caring fathers who wanted the courts and judges to understand this.
In Canada, the law prioritizes the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. This means that both mothers and fathers have equal rights to seek custody or joint custody agreements. There’s no presumption that one parent is automatically better suited than the other.

Types of Custody Arrangements

There are various custody arrangements courts can establish, depending on the specific situation:

  • Sole Custody: One parent has primary responsibility for the child’s care, while the other parent may have visitation rights.
  • Joint Custody: Both parents share decision-making and parenting responsibilities. This can involve variations like:
  • Shared Parenting: A more balanced arrangement where the child spends significant time with both parents, often in alternating weeks or bi-weekly schedules.
  • Visitation Rights: Even if one parent has sole custody, the other parent usually has visitation rights to maintain a relationship with the child.
How Are Custody Decisions Made in BC?

How Are Custody Decisions Made in BC?

The father of a child born within a marriage is presumed to be the mother’s spouse.
Before making custody decisions, paternity may need to be established for children born out of marriage. Once the question of paternity has been resolved, the courts may need to determine the following:
Legal custody: this refers to the decision-making responsibilities for the child. All major life decisions for children, including those on school, religion, health care, etc., should be made by the parent who has sole legal custody of the child. In Vancouver, the mother and father share decision-making in most situations.
Parenting (sometimes called “physical custody”): In cases when the courts decide that parenting should be shared, a parenting plan must be developed because a child can rarely spend precisely equal time with both parents.
According to statistics, there is a significant chance that a father may need to follow a parenting schedule while the child is under the mother’s physical custody.
It is generally preferred by BC courts that the mother and father contribute equally to the child’s upbringing, but this does not imply that they will share equal time with the child.
In making custody decisions, judges consider a host of factors, including the child’s relationship with both parents, the child’s custody preferences (if mature enough to express an opinion), each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs, any history of abuse/criminal behavior, and so on.

Father’s Rights in BC

Father’s Rights in BC

In British Columbia, fathers and mothers have equal rights to child custody, but this doesn’t always lead to 50/50 parenting arrangements. Parents’ rights diminish if there’s doubt about one parent’s fitness to care for the child. In theory, both parents have the same right to look after a child, but arguments often favor the father.
If the father’s parenting skills aren’t questioned, the arrangement should be as close as possible to 50/50. If a mother can prove the child’s best interests are served by spending more time with her, the court may agree.
A 50/50 parenting arrangement may not always be in the best interests of the child, and fathers may agree to less than 50/50 parenting time. It’s important to prioritize the child’s best interests over parental rights. The child may benefit from spending more time with the mother, which may be necessary. A mother may cling to the child and make it difficult for you to see your child, but your best option is to be patient and unemotional as you consider what is best.

Essential Guidelines for Fathers to Navigate Child Custody Disputes

Essential Guidelines for Fathers to Navigate Child Custody Disputes

Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged situations, but by prioritizing your children’s well-being and following some key guidelines, you can navigate this challenging process effectively. Here are some essential tips for fathers:

  • Avoid dwelling on the past; instead, put the child’s future happiness, health, and welfare first when making decisions. This should take priority over identifying blame.
  • Provide the judge with a realistic parenting plan that gives the child enough time with each parent.
  • Avoid dating anyone else and don’t introduce your kids to the “new woman in your life.”
  • Avoid accusing the mother of any wrongdoing in front of the court or your child.
  • As the case progresses through the BC court system, try to make time for your child and stay involved in their relationship.
  • Take parenting lessons to show how serious you are about raising your children and to enhance your parenting abilities.
  • Pay more attention to your child’s needs than to the mother’s attitude toward you.


In conclusion, it is vital to underscore the significance of fathers in the lives of their children and advocate for their right to equitable custody arrangements. Fathers play a crucial role in nurturing and supporting their children’s development, and they deserve fair consideration in custody decisions.
Consulting with Highly Experienced family law attorneys can provide invaluable support and ensure that fathers’ rights are protected throughout the custody process.
For Professional assistance and personalized legal advice, reach out to Zukerman Law Group. They specialize in family law matters, including custody arrangements, and are committed to advocating for fathers’ rights. Contact Zukerman Law Group today for a consultation to discuss your case and explore your options.


What rights does the father have in child custody in Canada?

When it comes to their children, mothers and fathers in Canada have equal legal rights and responsibilities. Under Canadian law, both parents are entitled to make decisions on the welfare and upbringing of their children as well as the financial responsibilities on their behalf.

Who wins most custody battles?

Due to traditional responsibilities and the belief that women should be the primary caregivers, mothers have traditionally won in more custody battles.


Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.