No Overnight Access for Jesse James' Ex-Wife
Jesse James' ex-wife, Janine Lindemulder, applied for overnight visits with the parties' five-year-old daughter, Sunny. This request was denied, with the exception that Sunny could stay overnight with her mother on Christmas Eve. The Orange County Family Court ordered that Lindemulder's husband, Jeremy Aikman, a twice convicted felon, could not be present during access times. Lindemulder is no stranger to prison either. In 2008 she was sentenced to serve six months in a federal prison for tax evasion.
Would Ontario Courts have made a similar decision?
In Ontario, access decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. Parental hostility is one of the factors that Ontario Courts recognize as having an effect on the best interests of the child. In a recent interview with Howard Stern, Lindemulder explained that she has a voodoo doll of Jesse James' current wife, actor Sandra Bullock. This clearly shows hostility towards Bullock, who has been helping James care for Sunny. Ontario Courts would likely view this hostility for Bullock as contrary to Sunny's best interest and this might encourage an Ontario Judge to deny Lindemulder's request for overnight access.
It is possible that Ontario Courts would also stop Lindemulder's husband from spending time with the child, depending on the reason why he was sent to jail. If he was convicted for abuse or violent crimes, his presence could be considered contrary to Sunny's best interests, especially considering that Aikman is not biologically related to Sunny.
In James' court papers, he accuses Lindemulder of being an unfit mother. Ontario Courts tend to abide by a 'do no harm' principle that encourages the avoidance any situation which may have a harmful effect on the child. Depending on James' credibility and the nature of the allegation, an Ontario Judge might abide by this principle and limit Lindemulder's access with Sunny to avoid any harm that may result from overnight visits until Lindemulder's fitness as a parent is determined.
It is important to note that the fact that Lindemulder was sent to prison does not make her an unfit mother according to Ontario Family Law. In Ontario, misconduct of anyone applying for access is only relevant to the extent that it affects that person's ability to parent. As it is unlikely that cheating on your taxes will inhibit your ability to parent, Ontario Judges would probably not allow Lindemulder's conviction to affect their access decision. Although, if it is likely that Lindemulder will reoffend, this may affect the stability of the family unit, which is a factor that Ontario Judges can consider.