Denial or Termination of Child Access – Toronto Family Lawyer

A parent could be denied access if he or she is alienating children from the other parent, exposing the children to violence, failing to establish a relationship with the child, neglecting or abusing the children while in his/her care.

Once the court has determined that child access is in the child’s best interest, a parent will likely be found in contempt of a court order if he or she leaves the decision to comply with the access order up to the child. A parent has some positive obligation to ensure a child who allegedly resists contact with the access parent complies with the access order, Godard v Gordard, [2015] ONCA 568 (Ont. C.A.).

In Godard, the appeal court held in paragraph 13 and 14 as follows:

[13] Although the motion judge gave the appellant “the benefit of the doubt that she is trying to encourage the child to visit with her father”, the motion judge found that the appellant had left it up to S. to decide whether or not she would attend the visits with the respondent, and in addition noted that S.’s refusal to visit the respondent had sometimes resulted in positive consequences for her. The motion judge found that the appellant “has effectively abdicated her parental authority on the issue of access” (paras. 36, 38, 49), and concluded that he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellant was in contempt of the access order.

[14]      The motion judge noted that there were many avenues available to the appellant, short of physical force, to encourage her daughter to comply with the access order and stated: “Had these measures been utilized and proved unsuccessful, the mother would likely not have been found in contempt of the court order

An example for alienation leading to access being terminated was successfully argued by the custodial parent in Zanewycz v Manryk, 2010 ONSC 2827 (Ont. S.C.J.). In this case, father’s continued campaign of parental alienation against the mother resulted in termination of access for him to the children.

In Alexander v. Creary, [1995] access was denied to the father due his history of violence and conviction of assaulting mother. The child had no relationship with the father and would not benefit from parental conflict. Father failed to take full advantage of supervised access to create a relationship with the child.

After the parties’ separation, despite his conviction for threatening her and term of probation to keep away from her the father continued to harass the mother.  Pursuant to consent temporary order, the father was allowed weekly visits with child at supervised facility but exercised only a meniscal of 5 times in about one year time frame. The child did not know the father and regarded the mother’s current boyfriend as the father. In giving his evidence at trial, the judge found that the father was evasive, conveniently forgetful and accusing mother of being vengeful and pathological liar, but offering no evidence to support those allegations. The court found that father’s past conduct of his inability or unwillingness to control his anger, his hostile attitude toward the mother and his indifference to access was relevant in determining whether it was in the child’s best interest to expose the father to the child. It was held that access would not be in the best interest of the child but rather will expose the child to anxiety, accusations and acrimony that characterized high-conflict relationship between parents.   Supervised access should shield the child from these problems, however, the father refused to take advantage of it given that supervised access is intended as short-term remedy, not as permanent solution.