Court Cases & Orders

Indifferent Father Applies for Joint Custody So He Can Get a Student Loan


Indifferent Father Applies for Joint Custody So He Can Get a Student Loan

The parents were together for about six years and had three children together before they finally separated in 2008. Afterwards, the mother stayed in Toronto while the father moved 400 km away to Sudbury in to start an education program. He saw his children only about once a month while he embarked on his studies, and was ordered to pay support to the mother, who had been the primary caregiver for the children since they were born. But even before the move to Sudbury, the father had been in and out of the children’s lives for several years; the last time he had lived with any of the children for any period of time had been more than five years earlier.

However – several years after their split and rather out-of-the-blue – the father applied for joint custody of the children. His reason for doing so was not typical: he wanted additional funding from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), and if he was awarded joint custody of the children, he would be eligible to more money from that program. In fact, he had previously pressured the mother to sign an OSAP application that falsely stated he had joint custody of the children.

After considering the parties’ evidence the court was conclusive: this was simply not a case for joint custody.

Not only was it impractical and unrealistic for the father to have joint custody when he lived in Sudbury, but he had also been physically abusive and violent to the mother during the course of the marriage. Even now after they had been separated, their relationship was filled with conflict and volatility, and the police had been called several times.

(The court also observed that, in presenting their respective positions to the court, neither of the parties had focused their evidence on the needs of their children; the father, for example, kept referring to HIS so-called “need” to see the children.)

In deciding to pursue studies in Sudbury, the father had effectively chosen a long-term status quo that involved the children living with the mother while he lived far away. With that said, the court allowed him to have access on a specified schedule, while ordering that custody remain with the mother.

For the full text of the decision ,see:

Obodoechina v. Ayetor (2013), 2013 ONCJ 738, 2013 Carswell Ont 18556, Carole Curtis J. (Ont. C.J.) [Ontario]

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.