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by Daniel Gloade on July 29, 2013

In the case of N.S. v. C.N., 2013 ONSC 486 the Honourable Mr. Justice P. H. Howden dealt with a novel situation.  The Mother accused the Father of alienating her from their children.  She enrolled the children in a special program that was designed to de-program the children from their hatred of the Mother.

The Mother claimed that the special program required her to have interim custody for an indeterminate time.  The special program administrators wanted to ensure that both the 4 day summer camp and the subsequent therapy would have a chance to “stick”.  The program administrators also wanted complete discretion with regard to the children’s therapy.

Justice Howden declined.  He reasoned that the applicable statutes charged the court with the responsibility of determining the best interests of the child.  He could not transfer this discretion to another, even if they are psychologists.  Justice Howden added that the merits of the program would have to be reviewed by independent expert evidence from the program administrator’s peers.

The Mother stated that the psychologists treating the children wanted her to have custody of the children during the summer while the Father had no access.  Justice Howden refused this request because there was no proper motion before the court.  The Father needed a chance to make submissions regarding this request.

The children’s best interests are still decided by judges in an adversarial system.  

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