Smith v. Sieger: Motion for an Immediate Return of a Child Living Abroad
This urgent motion was brought by the Applicant Father in the unique circumstances of the impending border closure between Canada and the United States as a result of COVID-19.
The parties have a 16-year old son who is enrolled in an educational and therapeutic program in Utah on the mutual consent of both parties. The urgency of the matter was predicated upon the announcements of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump regarding the imminent closures of the border shared by the two countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Applicant Father sought an immediate return of their son to Canada, as it was uncertain when the borders would close. He claimed that the Respondent mother agreed to an arrangement whereby she would consent to the return of the child from Utah provided that she be the sole decision-maker with respect to the child’s health and education, but now that both parties were having doubts about this arrangement, the court’s intervention was required to bring the child back from the United States.
The Court recognized that the matter is urgent as the situation is changing every single day and that a decision needs to be made in the child’s best interests. Given the advice from public health professionals and government authorities, the relief sought by the Applicant Father was granted in its entirety. As such, the parties were to cooperate in providing the necessary consents to enable the child to return to Canada and the Respondent Mother was to turn over the child’s passport to the Applicant Father until further court order.
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