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While it’s true that most decisions related to custody and access of children involve one of the children’s parents, there are sometimes other parties who may pursue access to a child through the courts despite not being a parent. In some cases, this can be a child’s grandparents. However, success in such a pursuit can be difficult to come by, especially if a significant amount of time has passed without interaction between the child and the grandparent. This is demonstrated in a recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Mother stops allowing grandmother to see child

The issue arose when the mother stopped allowing the grandmother to see this child. At the time, the child was three-years-old. The parties disputed the facts leading the revocation of access. The grandmother told the court that there were some misunderstandings between her and the mother. However, the mother’s position was that the grandmother did not honour the agreements she had made for the terms of the grandmother’s contact with the child, and that the grandmother had asked the child to keep these acts of noncompliance secret.

The court found that this issue was important because it could demonstrate whether the mother acted with good cause, as well as whether the grandmother is likely to comply with further court orders.

Case conference allows grandmother to pursue motion

The parties were involved in a case conference on July 7, 2020. The result of the conference was that the grandmother was authorized to bring the motion. However, she failed to do so. As a result, the judge presiding over the matter completed the process, allowing a further 45 days for the motion to be brought.

However, the motion materials were only delivered 48 days after the permission was granted. The grandmother asked for interim access while she waited for the matter to proceed to court.

Should an extension be granted?

The court noted that in most cases, a three day lapse would be excused. However, in this case the permission given was described as “exceptional” in that it allowed a motion for temporary relief to be brought after a settlement conference had completed. When granting the time, the judge provided strict time limits.

In addition to this, the court also discussed the amount of time that had passed between the grandmother last seeing the daughter and the motion being brought. The child was three-years-old when she last saw the grandmother, and is currently five. The court found that “given the duration of time without contact it is not in the child’s best interests in the short time before trial to order contact to resume when the potential outcome of that trial may be that contact is again terminated.”

However, the grandmother was not entirely cut off from the child. The mother had advised the court that she had no objection to the grandmother joining the father’s supervised parenting time on the condition that she it not the supervisor.

Contact Gelman & Associates to learn how knowledgeable family law lawyers can protect your custody and access rights. We strive to provide you with the information and resources necessary to make informed decisions about family law matters. To help you maintain positive mental health during a difficult period, we also offer our clients a free consultation with a psychological professional. Call us at 1-844-736-0200 or contact us online for an initial consultation.

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