Thursday, August 6, 2015

Parents must take steps to ensure access orders are complied with

Godard v. Godard, 2015 ONCA 568:

[28]       Although a child's wishes, particularly the wishes of a child of S.'s age, should certainly be considered by a court prior to making an access order, once the court has determined that access is in the child's best interests a parent cannot leave the decision to comply with the access order up to the child. As stated by the motion judge, Ontario courts have held consistently that a parent "has some positive obligation to ensure a child who allegedly resists contact with the access parent complies with the access order": Quaresma v. Bathurst, (2008), O.J. NO. 4734 (Ont. S.C.J.) at para.8. See also Campo v. Campo, 2015 ONSC 1349; Stuyt v. Stuyt, 2009 CanLII 43948 (Ont. S.C.); Stuyt v. Stuyt, 2009 CanLII 43948 (Ont. S.C.); and Hatcher v. Hatcher, [2009] O.J. No. 1343 (Ont. Sup.Ct.).

[29]       No doubt, it may be difficult to comply with an access order, especially as children get older. Parents are not required to do the impossible in order to avoid a contempt finding. They are, however, required to do all that they reasonably can. In this case, the motion judge inferred deliberate and wilful disobedience of the order from the appellant's failure to do do all that she reasonably could: she failed to "take concrete measures to apply normal parental authority to have the child comply with the access order".

No comments: