Understanding the Basics of Sole Custody in BC, Canada

mother and child

Understanding law terminologies can be complicated, but it is essential, especially for parents fighting child custody. If you consider acquiring exclusive rights to making decisions for your children, sole custody is something you need to know. This article will tell you what you need to understand about the basics of sole custody in BC. 

Important Note: The Divorce Act and Family Law Act in BC already forgo the use of the term “custody” when describing parenting arrangements. As of writing, it is referred to in its other names such as “parenting time,” “primary residence,” “guardianship,” and “parental responsibilities.”

How Does One Get Sole Custody or Parental Responsibilities in British Columbia

In BC, parents can acquire full custody rights and responsibilities under either of two scenarios:

Agreeing to it is the first thing you can do to acquire sole custody. In this case, you can make a joint parenting agreement that defines who makes the decisions for your children, how the parents can administer decisions, and how the children would spend the time between their homes.

Being granted sole custody by a court will mean you will decide on all your children’s vital issues without having to consult the other parent. However, before the court grants you sole custody, you, your child, and the other party will be assessed. This evaluation will help it decide whether you are fit to have sole custody or not. It will also consider the following factors in making a decision:

  • The best interest of the child
  • Whether the child is experiencing emotional harm
  • The relationship between the child and the other parent
  • If your spouse is a danger to your children
  • How effective you are in making decisions as a single parent
  • Other factors that may be present in your case

In cases where the court decides to terminate sole custody, the other parent will be granted full parental responsibilities.

Why Parents Request for Sole Custody

The most common reasons one parent may request sole custody are as follows:

  • Major Decisions: You may request to have sole custody because you believe you are better suited to make crucial decisions for your children. You may also have personal beliefs you want to instill in your children.
  • Better Chance to Relocate: If you plan to move, having sole custody will make it easy for you to relocate. That is because you are free to go anywhere you want without needing the other parent’s consent.
  • The Other Parent Is Unfit: When one parent is unfit to have custody, the other parent can request that they be granted sole custody.

What You Need to Prove to Acquire Sole Custody for Your Child

To acquire sole custody for your child, you will need to prove that:

  • You are a good parent who can make sound parenting decisions for your children.
  • The other parent is unfit or lacking in some vital aspect of the parenting.
  • The non-custodial parent has abandoned the child or children.
  • The child or children no longer have a relationship with the non-custodial parent.
  • The child or children have been in some form of abuse or neglect.
  • The child or children have a strong relationship with the other parent.
  • The child or children have a strong relationship with you, the parent seeking custody.
  • The child will have a good relationship with both parents if they have split custody.


Sole custody is reserved for parents who are best able to make important decisions for the children. To obtain sole custody, you will need to prove that you can be a great parent and that the children will be in good hands if you do. When deciding on custody, it is essential that you talk to your lawyer. Your lawyer will inform you of the crucial factors to bear in mind when making decisions for your children.

If you are looking for a child custody lawyer in Langley, contact us at Dreyer and Associates Lawyers. We are committed to preserving the best interests of families across the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland. We also have diverse experience across family law, wills and estates, and residential conveyancing.





Recent Posts