Joint Custody in Divorce
There had actually been a growing pattern, in Ontario, in family and divorce law, over the last few years, for family courts to buy joint custody of children. The hope, by some, was that the parenting skills of the parties might be improved with awards of joint custody. The current Ontario Court of Appeal choice of Kaplanis v. Kaplanis, has aimed to put this trend into perspective.
In this choice, the celebrations were married in 1998 and separated in January 2002. The parties had a daughter who was born in October 2001. At trial, the dad requested joint custody and the mom opposed the application, stating that the celebrations might not interact without shouting at each other. The trial judge gave the celebrations joint custody and the mom appealed the order. The appeal court reserved the order of joint custody and the mom was given sole custody.
The Appeal Court held that, for an award of joint custody to be granted, there have to be some proof that shows, that despite the moms and dad’s own strong dispute with each other, the celebrations can and have actually cooperated and interacted appropriately with one another. In this case there was proof to the contrary, there was no professional evidence to assist the trial judge figure out how a joint custody order would advance the kid’s emotional and psychological needs and the child was too young to communicate her own wishes.
Around the exact same time this case was decided, the Ontario Court of Appeal likewise ruled on the case of Ladisa v. Ladisa, where the appeal court supported the trial judge’s order of joint custody. In this case the trial judge had the advantage of hearing the proof of the Children’s Attorney who presented the children’s wishes and who advised joint custody. It was held that the trial judge had heard evidence from 3rd celebrations with regard to cooperation and suitable interaction between the parties. The trial judge also took a look at the history of co-parenting throughout the marital relationship which regardless of their extreme conflict, the celebrations could and had effectively interacted with each other and placed the interests of their kids ahead their own, when needed.
To sum up, in Ontario joint custody cases, it would appear that the courts will now be looking more closely for evidence from 3rd party and expert witnesses, which can show that the parties can and have complied and communicated appropriately and have actually had the ability to put aside their own distinctions and dispute, for the advantage of the children. The lack of historic cooperation and proper communication between the celebrations will considerably restrict the success of a joint custody application. The assumption by some, that the granting of joint custody will improve the parenting skills of the celebrations, will not be an adequate reason on it’s own to approve joint custody, in the absence of existing great cooperation and interaction in between the celebrations.