Cases & Decisions

NL v RRM [Custody and Withdrawal from Parental Control]

Court: Ontario Court of Appeal, 2016

This is a case where an Arbritator awarded RRM (the father) sole custody over DM and MM (the children) and, among other things, ordered that they all attend a parental alienation program together. MM was 17 years old at that time and was given the choice to go with his father and attend the program, he elected to do neither. DM was 15 years old at that time and was given no choice; however, he ran away and went into hiding until his 16th birthday and after turning 16, indicated that he was exercising his right to withdraw from parental control. NL is the mother.

The father applied to the Superior Court of Ontario for an order enforcing the Arbitrator’s award. JFCY represented DM and MM and sought, among other things, an order declaring that the children had exercised their right to withdraw from parental control and that no one could therefore have custody over them. The judge declined the father’s request and found that no person had custody over the children; however, he also found that the children had not withdrawn from the parental control of both parents.

The father appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal and asked that the court reinstate the Arbitrator’s order for sole custody over DM who was 17 years old at this time; MM was over 18 at this time and a custody order was no longer available. DM and MM cross-appealed on the grounds that they had withdrawn from the parental control from the only parent who had custody over them. The panel upheld the order of the Superior Court of Justice as outlined above.

Ontario Court of Appeal decision

Superior Court of Justice (lower court) decision

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