Monday, July 15, 2013

Custody arrangements of children cannot be used to punish contempt

Chan v. Town, 2013 ONCA 478 holds:

[6]          We therefore set aside the finding of contempt. It is nevertheless necessary to state that the remedy imposed by the motion judge was not an available remedy under rule 31(5) of the Family Law Rules. Custodial arrangements of children cannot be used as a punishment for contempt. That is not to say that there may not be a circumstance where a change in custodial arrangements would be in the best interests of the child, but this is not that case. There was no motion to vary the final order for custody based on a material change in circumstances. The motion judge's rationale was that he hoped that this would bring peace to warring parents, although he said he recognized that it could make matters worse. Finally, we do not see the basis on which the motion judge purported to retain jurisdiction, presumably to revisit in August the custodial arrangements.

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