Mother Doesn't Always Know Best

William and Candy no longer live together, but they did have a three-year-old daughter who lived with Candy. William had bi-weekly access to his daughter by a court order.

In addition to the three-year-old girl, Candy also had two older children from a previous relationship. The two children, the three year old girl, and Candy all lived with Candy's aunt.

At the end of April 2013 Candy's boyfriend, Josh, with whom she had lived for two years, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting his ex-wife's 12-year-old daughter. Candy did not disclose this fact to William. He found out about it from Josh's ex-wife. (This is not good.)

From time to time, Candy and the children visited Candy's mother and her mother's partner. These two (Candy's mother and her partner) had, over the past few months, been the subject of police investigation for domestic violence by the partner against Candy's mother. The partner had been in custody at least once for that reason. (Not good.)

In addition to all of that, the two older children had been given counselling by the Children's Aid Society because of problems they had with Candy's boyfriend. (Not good.)

After Candy's boyfriend had been charged with sexually assaulting the 12-year-old girl Candy had supported his bail process. Bail was granted to Josh but one of the conditions of Josh's bail was that he was prohibited from being in the presence of any child unless his surety or the child's parent was present. Also, Candy testified at the hearing that the relationship between her and Josh was over.

Based on all of that, William brought an emergency motion in family court, in which he asked the court to take custody of his three year old daughter away from Candy and give custody of his young daughter to him.

So, what do you think?  Should the court take the child away from its mother? After all:

• the child had lived with its mother since birth;

• there was a court order that Josh could never be left alone with a child so long as he was on bail; and

• Candy had told the court that "....the relationship is over".

So, why remove the child from the life the three year old has always known, and turn her over to the father?

The judge had his own view.  At the conclusion of the hearing he found:

1)  The respondent (Candy) did not put her child first when she omitted to tell the child's father (William) about Josh's arrest.

2)  The mother was more interested in her own position than in the welfare of her daughter.

3)  She (Candy) put her relationship with Josh before the needs of her other children.

4)  Candy thought that Josh presented no threat to her child and she had not given serious consideration to the objective evidence to the contrary.

Not surprisingly, given those findings, custody was granted to William, and Candy was given bi-weekly supervised access for three hours.

Lessons to be learned:

  • A good family law lawyer can give invaluable advice in situations where custody is at issue.

  • Children deserve to be protected. A court order is never final where the rights of children are concerned.

At The Ross Firm, we have lawyers whose practice focus is Family Law.

Give us a call.

Talk to us.

We can help.

Note: the names used in this article have been changed to protect the identity of the child.

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