An uncontested trial in 2011 led to a final order that gave the mother sole custody (as it was known then) of the child (2 years old at the time, 13 now). The father was to have no parenting time until he completed an anger management course, and then his access would be at the mother’s discretion.
In November 2020, the father brought a motion to change the final order.
The Office of the Children’s Lawyer (“OCL”) represented the child.
Eventually, the matter was scheduled for trial in January 2023 but was then adjourned to April 2023 to accommodate the OCL.
The father now brought a motion to adjourn the trial again. The mother and OCL both opposed this motion.
Should the trial be adjourned?
The father claimed he did not have sufficient disclosure from the mother in order to calculate the arrears owing for section 7 expenses. However, some of the disclosure he requested was deemed irrelevant now since the mother had already withdrawn her claim for contribution to section 7 expenses.
The father’s main reason for requesting the adjournment was that he was struggling to find employment and claimed that potential employers were not looking to hire someone who would need to take leave for a family court trial. However, he had quit his previous employment prior to the scheduling of the trial and the court found that he had had ample time to find a new job.
The court was not satisfied that there would be no effect on the child if an adjournment was granted, as the father alleged. An adjournment would require the OCL to conduct additional interviews with the child. It was in the child’s best interests to resolve the case as soon as possible as he, along with the parties, needed closure.
The court noted that children’s issues always take priority in family court and that they should not be left to linger on the trial list. As such, the parties were urged to resolve the parenting issues as quickly as possible before the trial.
The father’s motion was dismissed. Costs were awarded to the mother, though the court did not require the father to pay prior to the trial so as not to jeopardize the trial.