How to Get Full Custody of a Child Without Going to Court - Zukerman Law

Sole Custody Without Court in BC: What You Need to Know

While litigation is necessary in some cases, many parents prefer a more friendly approach to obtaining child custody. This begs the question: Is it possible to achieve sole custody without going to court in BC?
The answer is yes, in certain circumstances. This blog post will explore the different scenarios where sole custody can be obtained outside of a courtroom setting.

How to Get Full Custody of a Child Without Going to Court in BC

How to Get Full Custody of a Child Without Going to Court in BC

British Columbia offers options beyond court to achieve sole custody. Here, we explore key steps for securing sole custody through amicable agreements:

#1 Collaborative Communication

Open and honest discussions with the other parent are the cornerstone of achieving an amicable agreement. Direct communication can be effective, or consider utilizing a mediator to facilitate a productive dialogue focusing on reaching a solution that prioritizes your child’s well-being.

#2 Mediation

A neutral third-party mediator can be invaluable in guiding discussions and fostering compromise between you and the other parent. Mediation offers a cost-effective and less confrontational approach compared to litigation, allowing you to work collaboratively toward a mutually beneficial custody arrangement.

#3 Consider Collaborative Law

Working with dedicated collaborative lawyers can prove highly beneficial. Their expertise lies in guiding both parties through a structured negotiation process aimed at reaching a custody agreement without resorting to court. This approach emphasizes finding a solution that serves the best interests of all parties involved.

#4 Arbitration as an Option

If negotiation or mediation efforts prove unsuccessful, arbitration offers an alternative. Here, a neutral third-party arbitrator, appointed by both parties, will hear arguments and ultimately make a binding decision regarding custody. While this approach provides a resolution, it’s still less formal and potentially faster than a full-blown court case.

#5 Formalize the Agreement

Once a custody arrangement is agreed upon, it’s crucial to solidify it in writing. This formal document, signed by both parties, can be a separation agreement or a parenting plan. It should clearly outline the terms of custody, including decision-making authority, parenting time schedules, and any other relevant details.

#6 Filing with the Court (Optional)

While not mandatory, filing your written agreement with the court offers an additional layer of security. The court will review it to ensure it aligns with the child’s best interests. Upon approval, it can be formally recognized as a court order.

Pros and Cons of Avoiding Court to Get Full Custody

Pros and Cons of Avoiding Court to Get Full Custody

While the prospect of resolving child custody matters outside of court can be appealing, it’s crucial to weigh this approach’s potential benefits and drawbacks before proceeding. Here’s a breakdown to help you make an informed decision:

Advantages of Avoiding Court

  • Reduced Conflict: A collaborative approach minimizes animosity and fosters a more amicable relationship between parents, which can benefit the child’s emotional well-being.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Court battles can be expensive. Negotiation, mediation, and collaborative law typically involve lower costs compared to litigation.
  • Faster Resolution: Reaching an agreement outside of court is often quicker than navigating the court system, which can be a lengthy process.
  • Greater Control: The agreement reached is a product of your and the other parent’s decisions, offering a greater sense of control over the outcome.
  • Focus on the Child: The emphasis remains on finding a solution that prioritizes the child’s best interests and minimizes disruption to their life.

Disadvantages of Avoiding Court

  • Uncertain Outcome: There’s no guarantee of reaching an agreement; the process might break down if cooperation is lacking.
  • Complexity of Issues: Sole custody arrangements can involve intricate details. Legal expertise might be necessary to ensure the agreement is comprehensive and effectively addresses all aspects.
  • Enforceability: While a written agreement can be filed with the court, enforcing its terms can be more challenging compared to a court-ordered custody arrangement.
  • Future Disagreements: If unforeseen circumstances arise in the future, disagreements regarding the interpretation or modification of the agreement might be difficult to resolve without court intervention.

Bottom Line

Navigating the complexities of child custody, especially when aiming for sole custody outside of court, requires careful consideration and legal expertise. Understanding the factors influencing the timing of a potential application and the various avenues available can empower you to make informed decisions.
If you’re considering sole custody in BC, our dedicated family law team at Zukerman Law in Surrey, BC, is here to guide you. We understand the emotional challenges involved in custody disputes and possess the experience to provide strategic legal advice tailored to your circumstances. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your situation.


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.