This 2019 child custody/access grandparent case – Ninkovic v. Utjesinovic – comes from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The case is a good example of how the court may overturn a parent’s decision and allow access to a grandparent.
While each child custody/access case certainly turns on its own facts, this case can provide some encouragement to ostracized grandparents. Parental autonomy is still a strong principle in Ontario’s law. However, where there are appropriate facts, a court will restore the grandchild/grandparent relationship.
In this case the judge determined that the custodial father’s decision to deny all contact was not reasonable at all. On the face of it, the father certainly had his reasons. One reason was that the grandmother had earlier refused to return the child to the father at the conclusion of her visit. She had no right to do that. From that date forward, the father cut all contact. While the over holding surely had to be addressed, the father went overboard in not considering his son’s relationship with grandma. These cases must be approached from the grandchild’s perspective. Once the grandparent is able to jurisdictionally get his/her foot in the door, then the question must be asked: Will the access benefit the child?
I bring this case to the attention of my readers since the case has a good summary of the law as it now stands in Ontario. This case should be required reading for any lawyer or grandparent who is contemplating bringing the dispute to court.