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Posts tagged ‘access’

What is the Resolution Evolution – the Path to Peace?

What is the Resolution Evolution – the Path to Peace?

The Resolution Evolution – the Path to Peace is an OCLF/OAFM Conference and your opportunity to take advantage of world-class training close to home, to meet and network with other collaborative professionals, and to socialize with our professional colleagues.

The conference will run May 2, 3 & 4, 2019 at the Brookstreet Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario.

To register or learn more, click here.

Child Support & Access Rights in Ontario – video

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Child Support & Access Rights

In this video we examine child support in relationship to access rights. A parent cannot cut off contact to a child simply because child support is not being paid.

Is Collaborative Practice Right for You? – video


Wednesday’s Video Clip: Ontario Divorce Law, Is Collaborative Practice Right for You?

Collaborative Practice is a way for you to resolve disputes respectfully — without going to court — while working with trained professionals who are important to all areas of your life.

In this video, Abi Adeusi, introduces us to concepts of collaborative practice and many of the benefits this process offers couples going through a separation and divorce in Ontario.

Summer Holidays – Top Three Custody/Access Tips to Consider


Summer Holidays – Top Three Custody/Access Tips to Consider

When you are the separated or divorced parents of children, the task of juggling custody can be difficult at the best of times. But the summer holidays – with the absence of school routines, the desire to maximize the time off, and the impetus to travel and enjoy the nice weather – can add further unpredictability to the situation.

Here are some timely tips to consider, when arranging summer custody schedules:

1. Always consider what’s best for the children.

This principle is certainly not limited to summer planning, but the desire to maximize travel and holiday opportunities can obscure its importance somewhat. Always keep in mind that switching between homes and travelling long distances can be hard on children any time of the year, but during the added free time of summer the inconvenience and stress can multiply.

2. Take into account the nature of your parenting relationship.

If you and the child’s other parent are in a high-conflict situation, and have difficulty achieving a successful day-to-day arrangement for custody and access, then it will come as no surprise that planning for the summer may be equally if not more challenging. Assuming that the arrangements are not already covered in a formalized parenting schedule, it may be worthwhile for you and the other parent to craft a separate negotiated agreement; it should ideally cover how custody, access, travel, camps, and other activities during the summer months will be handled, and how any desired changes are to be communicated to each other.

3. Plan well ahead.

Most separated and divorced parents have full-time jobs. This means that it will take some pre-planning and advance requests for vacation time from an employer so that you and your child’s other parent can each maximize the time you can spend quality time with your child over summer. This is especially true for parents of older children, who may be at the age that they are making some plans with friends in their own peer group. It may mean that you, the other parent, and the children have to sit down with a calendar early in the season and figure out what arrangements are feasible for the coming months.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at

Ontario Custody & Access: Who’s Is Entitled To The Child?

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Ontario Custody and Access Who’s Is Entitled To The Child?

There is a general misconception that when a couple separates, the children must automatically stay with their mother. But in Ontario, the mother and father are equally entitled to custody of the child.

In this video divorce lawyer Abi Adeusi discusses who is entitled to custody of the child, defacto custody, and mistake parents, often fathers, make regarding custody and the establishment of a status quo. She also explains the difference between custody and access.

Wednesday’s Video Clip: The Need for a Support System


Wednesday’s Video Clip: The Need for a Support System

In this short video Russell Alexander discusses the importance of having a support system in place when you go through a divorce.
At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. 
For more information, visit us at

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Whether a parent has a right to move with a child – the concept of “mobility” in family law



Whether a parent has a right to move with a child – the concept of “mobility” in family law

The moment that the parents of a child separate, everyone’s life circumstances change immediately: there are usually new living arrangements and a custody and access schedule put in place.

But as time passes, there may be other developments as well; for example the parents may embark on new relationships with new partners, or may change jobs.

The potential impact on any court-ordered support, custody or specific access arrangement, and the effect on each parent’s rights must be assessed and weighed.

In cases where one parent’s new relationships or new jobs require a move to another city or province, the concern is even greater. This is because such scenarios give rise the a legal issue of whether the circumstances and preferences of the parents should be allowed to dictate the child’s living circumstances, whether such moves should be allowed and by whom, and – if so – what happens to the custody and access arrangements that are in place.

In family law, this is known as a “mobility” issue.

In Canada, courts generally recognize that the well-being of a child is fundamentally interrelated with the well-being of the custodial parent; indeed, a 1996 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in a case called Gordon v. Goertz established conclusively that judges must apply the “best interests of the child” test in making decisions about whether a parent should be allowed to relocate with a child, which in turn requires an individual, fact-specific assessment. As the court put it:
“The focus is on the best interests of the child, not the interests and rights of the parents.”

Courts are required to make a “full and sensitive” inquiry. This means that they are obliged to take into consideration a vast array of factors, including:

• the existing custody arrangement and relationship between the child and the custodial parent;

• the existing access arrangement and the relationship between the child and the access parent;

• the desirability of maximizing contact between the child and both parents;

• the views of the child;

• the custodial parent’s reason for moving, only in the exceptional case where it is relevant to that parent’s ability to meet the needs of the child;

• the disruption to the child of a change in custody; and

• the disruption to the child consequent on removal from family, schools, and the community he or she has come to know.

It is worth pointing out that in making this assessment, there is no presumption in favour of either parent (whether the custodial parent or otherwise).

The authority for a court to make such a determination on behalf of parents and children is set out in various provincial and federal family-legislation.

The federal Divorce Act, for example, provides that if a court gives one parent custody of a child, the court may also require that parent to give at least 30 days’ notice to the other parent of any planned change of residence of the child (although practically speaking, most orders specify a 60-day period).

The access parent, upon receiving such notice, can apply to the court to challenge the proposed change of residence, or seek a variation of the custody or access arrangements; this notice period also afford the parents the chance to negotiate acceptable relocation terms, before it happens.

When mobility issues arise, it is important to get experienced and competent legal advice, to ensure that the best interests of all parties – particularly the children of the relationship – are safeguarded.

We hope you have found this video helpful.  If you require further information about mobility issues and family law please give us a call or visit our website at

Mother Oblivious to Father’s Rights: Court Awards Him Custody of Child

Mother Oblivious to Father’s Rights: Court Awards Him Custody of Child

In our  recent article, Put the Batman Costume Away: Dad’s Poor Conduct Foils Custody Bid,  we wrote about a case in which the parties’ egregious behaviour –particularly that of the father – had been instrumental in the court’s decision as to which of the two parents should be awarded custody of the children of the marriage. Unfortunately, these kinds of scenarios are all-too-common; this week’s other Blog is in a similar vein.

The parents in his case were married only 21 months, and had a daughter who was 20 months old when the relationship fell apart. The separation involved the mother leaving the family home with the daughter, and refusing to disclose her new address to the father. Effectively, this prevented the father from contacting or participating in his daughter’s life for more than a year, until he was able to obtain court orders for visitation and periods during which he could exercise parenting rights.

About this tactic on the part of the mother, the court wrote:

Cecilia was wrongfully removed from her home in circumstances which approach that of an abduction. Her mother changed her familiar name, replaced the people with whom she had lived and changed her community. She was hidden. The effect of her unilateral removal ought not be minimized. From January 10, 2009 to April 10 2010 the father did not see his infant daughter. More importantly, for over a year, Cecilia was taken away from two significant caregivers in her life: her father and her grandmother.
When he mother reluctantly appeared in court to answer the father’s claims for custody and access, the court found that her conduct continued to be self-serving: her oral testimony differed significantly from her written materials, her evidence displayed several troubling inconsistencies, and she professed not to understand even basic concepts or to be aware of even the most rudimentary legal obligations in connection with keeping the father informed. Even taking into account that the mother required the assistance of an interpreter to give evidence, the court concluded the mother’s evidence was “generally unreliable.”

Even more troubling were the mother’s unsubstantiated allegations against the father, including very serious allegations of child sexual abuse and spousal violence, together with what the court described as “a number of nonsensical allegations.” All of these turned out to be unfounded. Furthermore, the mother had displayed a wholesale unwillingness to include the father in their daughter’s life. The court wrote:

During the father’s direct testimony on November 25, 2011 he stated that he had yet to be informed of his daughter’s school, teacher or any details of her education. On my direction, that information was finally made available to him in the first week of December 2011.

The mother attached a letter from Kathy Noh to her December 4, 2011 Parenting Affidavit. The letter supports the mother’s claim for custody. In the course of the letter it states that Ms. Noh recently attended Cecilia’s baptism mass and was named her godmother. This was a surprise to the father as his daughter was baptized in 2007 at the Anglican Church in Mount Forrest.

When questioned on this point, the mother confirmed that Cecilia had been baptized at Han Ma Um Catholic Church in August of 2011, and that she knew that she was previously baptized in Mount Forest. … The mother displayed no concern with having wholly disregarded any involvement by the father in the Catholic Baptism. She testified,

“I didn’t know I had to give father that information. If you give me a list of what to do I will abide by it.”

 The mother testified on December 15 to a number of persons who provided care for Cecilia, none of who were previously named or made available to speak to the father. None were listed in her Parenting Affidavit. The mother provided an insufficient answer to the father’s question as to the name of the individual whom Cecilia refers to as her “House Daddy.”

Overall, and in light of this kind of conduct, the court concluded:

I have no confidence that the mother can support the father’s relationship with Cecilia. When the father pressed for information and contact with Cecilia in 2009, the mother threw up a screen of horrific sexual child abuse and domestic violence allegations. None of those allegations were established at trial. Almost none were even raised. At no time has the mother demonstrated any remorse for the effects of those allegations on the father, or insight into the potential affect of those claims on her daughter, and her daughter’s relationship with her father.
The mother demonstrates no insight into her daughter’s need for a relationship with her father. The court’s observation during the trial is that the mother was irritated by the father and dismissive of his role as a parent. I find that the mother is unable to support a relationship between the father and daughter.

In contrast, the court assessed the father’s parenting approach as follows:

I do find that the father can support a relationship between the mother and daughter. He accepts that the mother wants little to no communication with him, but is nonetheless optimistic. His intention is to fully consult with the mother and make as many decisions together as possible, recognizing that it may not always be possible.

The father does have a concern that the mother could remove Cecilia from Canada. The mother has a Korean passport. She has no property, employment or family in Canada. South Korea is not a Hague Convention State member.
In light of all the above, the court granted sole custody to the father, with specific orders for access by the mother.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Hong v. Rooney, 2012 ONSC 120

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at

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