Kailyn Lowry: Step-Parent Access Rights Post-Separation
Teen Mom 2 Star Kailyn Lowry announced her divorce from husband Javi Marroquin in May of 2016, but many people are now wondering what the custody and access arrangements will be for the children. Kailyn has a child from a previous relationship, and Javi has taken on the role of step-father throughout the couple's 4 year marriage, while the child's biological father maintained an active role in the child's life. However, after Kailyn and Javi's separation, as reported by Radar Online, Kailyn has not been allowing her eldest son to visit with Javi, and is only permitting access with the couple's biological child. The older child has reportedly indicated that he misses Javi, and is upset that his younger brother goes for access visits without him.
In Ontario, section 21(1) of the Children's Law Reform Act ("CLRA") provides that a parent of a child "or any other person" may apply to a court for an order respecting custody of or access to the child. As such, Javi would be entitled to bring a claim for custody or access in respect of Kailyn's eldest child, however, this does not necessarily mean he would be successful.
Determination of custody and access in Ontario are governed by the best interests of the child, which is set out at section 24 of the CLRA. Section 24 of the CLRA provides that the Court should consider the child's needs and circumstances, and lists a number of factors relevant to the determination of same, including but not limited to the following:
- love, affection, and emotional ties between the child and each person claiming custody of or access to the child
- the child's views and preferences, if they can be ascertained
- the length of time the child has lived in a stable home environment
- the ability and willingness of each person applying for custody to provide the child with guidance, education, and necessaries of life
- the plan proposed by each person applying for custody or access for the child's care and upbringing
- the permanence and stability of the family unit within which it is proposed the child will live
- the ability of each person applying for custody of or access to the child to act as a parent; and
- any familial relationship between the child and the person applying for custody or access
It is reported that Javi and Kailyn's older child share a close relationship, and the child has articulated a desire to continue seeing Javi. As the child is seven years old, Javi has been involved with the child for most of his life. However, there is already a parenting plan in place between Kailyn and the child's father, which has established a status quo.
If Javi were to bring a claim for custody of or access to the child, the rights of the child's father, as well as Kailyn's, will need to be considered, along with the risk posed by the disruption of the established parenting plan. It appears that the child is upset with the recent changes he has observed, and as such, all parties in this matter should consider his best interests as paramount during any further discussions regarding parenting arrangements.