This matter dealt with parenting time issues. The parties were married on May 14, 2017 and separated on May 24, 2022, when the mother left the Brampton home with the parties’ 5 year old daughter. There was a no-contact order in place against the father, subsequent to the police having been called by the parties’ neighbors that same day.
Mother and child now resided in Scarborough, and the father had not seen the child since May 24, 2022. He now sought regular parenting time, which the mother opposed.
What parenting time should the father be awarded?
Should an order that the father not attend the child’s school be awarded, as requested by the mother?
The father had a criminal conviction in his past and there was evidence of “episodes of violence”. Nonetheless, the Court found that both parents cared deeply for their daughter and the Court took care to highlight that the criminal justice system should not be weaponized in family law proceedings. However, in this matter, the father’s behavior was relevant to the proceedings at hand as his daughter had witnessed some of his violent conduct.
The mother alleged that the father had advised the school that he would take the daughter out of school without the mother’s consent. The mother then removed her daughter from school in October 2022, and the child had not been in school since this time. This, of course, was not in the child’s best interests – the only consideration when resolving the issues.
The father relied on a previous order and prior Minutes of Settlement in the matter to argue that the status quo had been equal parenting time. However, since Minutes of Settlement, the parties had reconciled and then separated again. So, the Court found that these orders simply showed the parties’ views before the final separation.
Citing section 16 of the Divorce Act (factors to be considered when determining a child’s best interests), the Court found the child should return to school and should have “a loving relationship” with her father and paternal grandparents. Furthermore, she should not be exposed to aggression or violence.
Accordingly, the father was awarded parenting time every other weekend that would be supervised by his parents, and virtual parenting time three nights a week for 20 minutes each session. Overnights with the father on weeknights were not awarded as he resided in Brampton, and the daughter’s school was in Scarborough.
The father was ordered not to attend at the daughter’s school, save for days when he was to pick her up for his parenting time.