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Top 10 Blogs of 2016

Top 10 Blogs of 2016

As we celebrate the beginning of a new year, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank our readers for their continued support. We would also like to recap some of our most popular posts from yet another busy year.

Here are some of our top blogs from 2016:

Number 10: Man, Married 33 Years, Robs Bank Rather Than Spend Another Minute with Wife

This post recapped the sensational news headline from September of this year about the 70-year-old Kansas man named Lawrence John Ripple. Rather than have to spend any more time with his wife of 33 years, he decided to rob a bank and get himself thrown into jail.

Number 9: Does Callousness Amount to “Violence”?

In Ontario, the Family Law Act (the FLA) contains provisions that allow a court to consider whether one spouse has committed violence against another spouse or the children, specifically in the context of deciding whether to allow the victimized spouse to have exclusive possession of the matrimonial home.

In one recent case, a woman claimed that her divorce was causing her stress, and that the husband’s conduct was impinging on her already-fragile health which caused her stress and anxiety that amounted to an emotional condition. In this case, the court held that the wife’s evidence fell short of showing that the required statutory threshold had been met in her case, but conceded that “violence” under the FLA is not restricted to physical conduct or abuse (i.e. it can be achieved words and deeds in some cases).

Number 8: Wise Words from an Ontario Judge: A Custody Trial “Speaks Volumes About the Parents”

It’s common knowledge that there is no shortage of high-conflict family law disputes in our society, and not merely those that end up in court. In Jackson v. Mayerle, Justice Pazaratz described that acrimonious child custody litigation more about the parents, i.e. their own egos and latent agendas, rather than the best interests of the child.

Number 7: If Spouses Reach a Separation Agreement But Later Reconcile, Is the Agreement Still Good?

This post explores an interesting legal question arising from a not-uncommon scenario:

Two spouses decide mutually to separate. They negotiate and sign a separation agreement, and duly abide by its terms for a while. They later decide to reconcile, but the reconciliation doesn’t “stick” and they separate for a final time.

The question is this: Is their original separation agreement still good? Does the fact that they reconciled after making it affect its legal validity once they have separated a second time?

It turns out that just like many family law issues, this is yet another “it depends” answer.

Number 6: What Role for “Judicial Shaming” in Family Law?

Of all the courts that rule over matters in Ontario, Family Court Judges are arguably the most put-upon in terms of having to deal with a relentless parade of acrimony, poor judgment, steadfast unreasonableness, emotionality, confrontation, and strategic procedural wrangling. In the case of Yim v. Song the exasperated appeal judge commented that “no amount of judicial shaming” through the form of costs orders had worked to date. This post explored the question of to what extent can (or should) judicial admonishments and sanctions be used in Family Law hearings.

Number 5: Tempted to Post Some Revenge Porn? Read This.

For those embittered Ex’s who are tempted to wreak revenge on their former partners after a break-up, take note: the Ontario Courts have just expanded the realm of tort law to cover certain breaches and invasions of privacy. In one very recent case, it cost a disgruntled ex-boyfriend $100,000 in general, aggravated and punitive damages.

Number 4: Woman Liable to Neighbour for Almost $70,000 in Damages Because of Facebook Posts

Thinking about posting something mean about your no-good Ex on Facebook? The civil decision of Pritchard v. Van Nes has very broad – and potentially very serious – ramifications in all areas of the law, including Family Law.

The decision raises important issues of how to impose responsibility for defamation in a world dominated by social media, and calls into question the appropriate limits of responsibility where rapid (and sometimes careless) online dissemination of information is common.

The decision is also highly pertinent to Family Law situations, where the urge to vent one’s negative separation/divorce/custody stories on Facebook and other media platforms is compelling – and often it seems – both irresistible and irreversible.

Number 3: The “Toxicology of Conflict” and the Impact on Kids

Few would dispute that separation and divorce can be very hard on the kids. But when viewed from the vantage-point of a court trying to resolve the disputes between warring parents, the true toll that the parents’ conflict can take on children is something that courts have to consider in making their rulings.

For this reason, the 2013 decision in a case called Parham v. Jiang is particularly instructive, in that it details what the court calls the “toxicology of conflict” – and specifically the negative effect that exposure to their parents’ high level of acrimony can have on already-vulnerable children.

Number 2: Kids Live with Mom Their Whole Lives – But Her Alienation Efforts Prompts Court to Transfer Sole Custody to Dad

In this blog, we explored a case where the custody of two children went to the mother essentially by default. Following this, the court found that the mother began to make a concerted campaign to thwart the father’s every effort to see or maintain a relationship with them.

Despite the mother’s steadfast manoeuvers, the father persisted in asserting his legal rights over the years, culminating in a series of court orders and then eventually resulting in a successful application to have custody switched to him outright.

Number 1: Mother Tries to Alienate Child from Father – Court Cuts Off her Access Entirely

This post continues to be popular, and has been our most viewed blog entry this year. Similar our previous entry, in this post, we explored what can happen when a parent attempts to remove another parent from the life of their child. Parental alienation is taken seriously by the courts, and is very frowned upon. In the case of A.P.V v. J.L.R. the court emphasizes that the best interests of the child come first and foremost, and in some cases, this may result in cutting off access from a parent who is acting improperly.

And that’s a wrap of our most popular posts from 2016! From all of us at Russell Alexander Family Lawyers, have a safe and prosperous year!

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About the author

Russell Alexander

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