Scott Stapp: The Issue of Custody

TMZ has reported that a Florida judge has ruled that Scott Stapp's spouse, Jaclyn, will have sole custody of their three children. TMZ further reported that the judge has also ruled that the "family home" is exclusively for Jaclyn and the children.

In Ontario, a spouse may bring an application for exclusive possession of the matrimonial home pursuant to section 24 of the Family Law Act. Regardless of whose name is registered as the titleholder of the matrimonial home, either spouse may bring an application for an order of exclusive possession.

Section 24(3) of the Family Law Act provides the following list of factors to be considered by the court in making any such order:

  1. the best interests of the children affected;
  2. any existing orders under Party I (Family Property) and any existing support orders;
  3. the financial position of both spouses;
  4. any written agreement between the parties;
  5. the availability of other suitable and affordable accommodation; and
  6. any violence committed by a spouse or the children.

After considering the above-mentioned factors a court may exercise its discretion and make such an Order. It is important to note, however, that onus is on the party who brings the motion and that party must present sufficient evidence to satisfy the court that such an order is to be made. If the matrimonial matter between Scott and Jaclyn were before an Ontario court, a judge would have considered all of the above factors.

An order that Jaclyn shall have sole custody of the three children means that she has the legal authority to make decisions concerning the children's health, education and welfare. The guiding principle in Ontario when making an Order for custody is "the best interests of the children". In the matrimonial matter of Jaclyn and Scott, TMZ has reported that Scott has been under the influence of a wide variety of drugs, and, as such, an Order for sole custody of the three children to Jaclyn would be a likely result in an Ontario court as well.

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