How Feuding Parents Should NOT Act: Court Limits Parties’ Communication
Dulude v Cordeiro, 2018 ONSC 1849
The parties were not married, but lived together for approximately 3 years.
The Mother had a son from a previous relationship, R. (15 years old). The parties agreed that the Father acted in loco parentissince R. was 3 years old.
The parties had two (2) children of their own, J. (10 years old) and A. (8 years old).
Since the parties’ separation in 2009, all three boys have resided with the Mother.
The parties were both employed at the time of separation; but the Mother was injured in 2014 and has since received insurance income replacement and disability payments.
Each of the parties entered into new relationships. Of most relevance is the fact that the Mother wanted to move and subsequently relocate the children from Orleans to Manotick (where her boyfriend resides).
The parties had been in and out of court several times, and both the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and the Children’s Aid Society had some involvement with the parties and their children.
Ryan expressed through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer that he does not want to move to Manotick, and such wishes to reside with the Father.
With respect to the Mother’s wanting to move to Manotick, the court noted that it is common for separated parents to move within larger communities. The court ordered that the Mother may move J. and A.’s residence to Manotick.
The court further ordered that the Mother shall have interim custody of J. and A., and interim custody of R. if and while he lives with her (R. shall decide which parent he will reside with). The court ordered that the Father shall have interim access with J. and A. (and R., if he resides with his Mother).
The court further made orders regarding child support and the children’s section expenses.
The biggest take-away from this case however is the court’s treatment of the parties’ conduct and communication. Each party alleged that the other engaged in parental misconduct. The court however concluded that both parties were at fault for improperly communicating their blame of the other parent to the children. The court further noted that both parties were guilty of parental misconduct, that which harms the children.
Given the above, the court limited how the parties should communicate with the children moving forward. For example, the parties are to respect the children’s relationship with the other parent, and are further prohibited from communicating their negative views or opinions about the other parent to the children. The court further ordered that the parties are to only communicate with one another via text message (and further indicated that their communications shall be polite, factual and short).
The court’s findings in this case serve as a reminder to all parents involved in family law matters: do not use your children as pawns or weapons, and ensure that you are respectful when you communicate with your former spouse.