Check out this decision on CANLII – Ottewell v. Ottewell, 2012 ONSC 5201 (CanLII)
Justice J.R. McCarthy got it right. This child custody case addresses parental alienation. In the face of the alienating parent’s continuous and persistent campaign to undermine the other parent, the trial judge changed custody. It helped that there was convincing evidence placed before the court that proved the alienating mother’s actions. The fact that the Clinical Investigator for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer had previously recommended that the mother retain sole custody did not constitute an impediment to the trial judge doing what obviously had to be done.
Note in this decision how all of the witnesses (including the mother’s witnesses) acknowledged that the father was consistently polite and reasonable. Note that the parenting co-ordinator made a similar evaluation of the father while the mother was consistently unreasonable.
Parental coordination is a service that is being used more frequently in high conflict child custody and parental alienation cases. The evidence of the parenting co-ordinator is admissible at trial; it is objective and normally reliable. It is a great way to demonstrate to the judge through an objective and neutral third person that you have bent over backwards to be accommodating and reasonable and child focussed.
The trial judge’s discussion of the law of parental alienation is somewhat weak (paragraphs 58 – 61). There are now a number of much better and more recent case precedents where the court has changed primary residence or custody from the alienator to the target parent. The judge skimped on his legal analysis but he definitely got to the correct result!
If you are the target parent, read this case. Learn how to gather and present your evidence. Learn how to get that ultimate favourable result.