The parties in this matter had been in a relationship from 2016 to mid-2022, though they remained in the same home post-separation until a physical altercation at the end of 2022. This incident led to the mother being charged with assault on the father, a no-contact order being put in place, and the children residing with the father since then. The mother brought this urgent motion following this incident.
She sought a parenting schedule where the children, aged 6 and 3 ½, resided with her for five nights a week at the home of two community members who were willing to provide the mother with temporary accommodation. The father would have parenting time on the weekends.
The father, on the other hand, submitted that this matter was not urgent and brought a cross-motion proposing a parenting schedule that allowed for more equitable time for both parties.
Is the motion urgent?
What parenting schedule is in the children’s best interests?
In the case of Rosen v. Rosen (2005), ONCJ sets out the test for urgent motions, which aim to deal with issues such as abduction, threats of harm, and dire financial circumstances – none of which applied here. Accordingly, the Court found that this matter was not urgent.
Regarding the parenting schedule, the Court considered the factors listed under section 24(3) of the Children’s Law Reform Act (that is, the list of best interests factors to be considered in making a parenting or contact order).
Taking into account that the children were very young and, thus, required stability in their care and emotional support, the Court considered the fact that the children would need to adjust to the move with their mother to the new community in which she had secured temporary accommodation.
The parents’ decision-making history was noted – both had been involved in the children’s care. But, the Court also took note of the maternal grandmother’s affidavit that expressed concern over the mother’s ability to care for the children over the last few months. Furthermore, there were concerns pertaining to the mother’s ability to communicate and cooperate with the father.
The Court found that the children should continue to have meaningful time with other family members, as could be accommodated in the parenting schedule. The father’s proposal allowed for such time with the children’s grandmothers.
An interim order was made, holding the father’s schedule proposal to be in the children’s best interests, though it needed to be tweaked to more closely resemble the status quo schedule.
The parties were encouraged to negotiate via a third party in order to address the no-contact order in place so as to allow both parents to fully participate in the children’s schooling / extracurricular activities.
The father was held to be the successful party on the motion and was presumptively entitled to costs.