When assessing a custody claim for couples residing together before separation, a judge will likely award you one form of custody of your child (sole custody, joint custody, shared custody or parallel parenting) if you present evidence that meet elements of section 24 of the Children’s Law Reform Act.

Here is a summary of what you need to do:

  1. Start parenting before the child is born by participating in pre-natal classes and supporting the pregnant partner with the pregnancy i.e. accompanying her to all doctors’ appointments and being present when the child is being born.
  2. Once the child is born, bond with the child by being fully involved in the day to day care of the child in order to establish strong love, affection and emotional ties with the child.
  3. Get known by the child service providers by actively participating in the child’s day care, health, education or religion.
  4. Avoid exposing the child to conflict, including violence.
  5. Provide the child with a stable home environment.
  6. Propose a good plan of care for the child’s care and upbringing, one that will, for example, incorporate the other parent in raising the child, maintain the child’s stability etc.

Jane Mukongolo is a Divorce Lawyer practising law in Toronto, Ontario.