Roy v. Roy: Custodial Parent’s Unilateral Move
This case deals with the issue of the custodial parent’s ability to move with the children without the consent of the other parent. Both the mother and father were seeking interim custody of the two children of the marriage, ages 7 and 8. The parties cohabited for 6 years, and married for almost 1 year. The parties decided to separate as the mother developed an extra-martial relationship with another man. The father moved out and allowed the children to remain in the matrimonial home with the mother. The parenting arrangement was that each parent had the children on alternate weekends and some weeknights.
The matrimonial home is situated in London, Ontario. However, the mother unilaterally decided to take the children, leave their matrimonial home, and move to Kerwood, Ontario which is 45 minutes away from the matrimonial home. The mother’s reasoning for the move was that London lacked affordable accommodations. Since the matrimonial home became vacant, the father decided to move in the matrimonial home and the children continued the same parenting regime between London and Kerwood.
The mother contended that she left the matrimonial home because she was informed by the father that the matrimonial home was going to be sold and she would be forced to find alternate accommodations. Also, the mother mentioned she has a close friend nearby the new home in Kerwood. Conversely, the father stated that the mother was not paying for rent while in the matrimonial home as he paid the rent, and the father denied that he said the matrimonial home was being sold.
The Court had to decide what is in the best interests of the children. This means the Court attempts to preserve the status quo as much as possible in order to prevent any disruptions to the children’s daily lives. Although the mother claimed being the primary caregiver, the father also spent considerable time with the children and was capable of caring for them. The Court determined that the best interests of the children would be served if they lived in the London matrimonial home with their father. The children had their sports and school in London which showed their connection to that matrimonial home. Moreover, the father could rely on the support of the paternal grandparents. The mother’s proposed arrangement for the children was that she could rely on her aunt to care for the children. However, it was brought to the Court’s attention that the aunt was convicted of manslaughter and potentially an alcoholic. The Court decided that based on the acrimonious relationship between the parties, an order of interim joint custody would not be appropriate. Hence, the Court determined that it would be in the best interests of the children for the father to have interim custody and the mother would be the access parent.