Procedural Fairness v. Procedural Anarchy: The Ontario Court of Appeal in Frick v. Frick 2016 ONCA 799 has attempted to promote procedural fairness. While partially successful in that endeavour, the court has unfortunately encouraged procedural anarchy.
by GLORIA ANTWI - Associate Counsel at the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre
The Christmas tree is overflowing with toys in two separate homes but who will determine where the children open their gifts this year?
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Justice Marvin Zuker of the Ontario Court of Justice noted mentally preparing himself every year for the onslaught of urgent motions. Since motions seem to be the litigants' tool of choice for last minute access, it is important to examine one's chances of success before filing an urgent motion.
Preparing the Child for the Parenting Time Access Exchange:
Children need predictability and assistance in preparation for transition between their two homes. Children need to hear each parent speak positively about the other parent and the other parent's extended family. Reminders should be given at appropriate intervals about the upcoming parenting time and a positive message about the other parent should be included.
Where there is a perceived threat to the health, safety or well being of a child, the Children's Aid Society (CAS) has the legal right to apprehend a child - ie. remove the child from the care of the parent or other guardian. If you are concerned about a possible apprehension, read the guidelines for apprehension management below and immediately contact a lawyer to obtain further guidance.
Disputes over child custody and access tend to consume inordinate amounts of court time, parents' scarce financial resources and these disputes cause parents and children untold harm on many levels. Such organizations as the Canadian Equal Parenting Council, Lawyers for Shared Parenting, and Leading Women for Shared Parenting amongst others, were in the forefront of the Canadian 2013-2014 campaign in support of a private member's Bill (C-560) that would have legislated a rebuttable presumption in favour equal shared parenting.
Due to the tremendous force of gender role expectations, it has been a struggle for divorced men to bring their personal struggles into the public sphere. On a chilly November evening, I headed downtown to attend a lecture on "Disappearing Dad's", hosted by the Canadian Association for Equality. The event was heavily protested. The irony of the backlash at this lecture was that we were joining together to discuss an issue that affects men and women alike.
Your income increased over the years. That does not mean that you will definitely be required to retroactively adjust upwards your child support payments. Many people believe that if your income has gone up, then a retroactive adjustment simplistically and automatically follows. Keown v. Mainer (Man. Q.B.) reminds us that the analysis here is much more nuanced. A careful reading of the Supreme Court of Canada decision of S. (D.B.) v. G. (S.R.) (known as "D.B.S." for short which is extensively referenced in Keown v. Mainer, assists in the analysis. To help one understand the factors at play, read Keown v. Mainer. If you are a really keen investigator, then try to read D.B.S.. This blog post can be your basic introduction to the retroactive child support issue.
I recently received some important feedback concerning a parental alienation case. The email was from the alienated child (now an adult). His point is that things are not always what they seem to be when we look only at a reported case decision. My response is that as adults we must be so very careful to never engage in behaviours that will damage a child. Here is our exchange (indentifying details have been redacted):
The international treaty known as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is part of the statutory framework in all Canadian jurisdictions as well as in over 75 countries. The Convention addresses the inter-jurisdictional legal conflicts when a parent or guardian removes a child from country "A" to country "B". Children wrongfully removed ought to have their residential status determined by the jurisdiction with which they have the closest connection. "Forum shopping" is discouraged.
Brown v. Lloyd was a motion by the dad to change the previous final order so as to increase his already liberal access time with his then 9 year old son to equal parenting time. The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed dad's appeal from the trial decision (five day trial) that had dismissed his motion for equal time. The appellate court reminds us that even before you can get to first base, you have to establish a "material change in circumstances".