When a couple gets divorced, deciding how to split their accumulated assets can be a difficult process. However, deciding how best to provide a home or homes for children might be the hardest part of all. A protracted child custody case that was contested in two countries separated by an ocean recently came to a close after a ruling from a court here in Canada.
The man and woman at the centre of the dispute are Canadian citizens. They married in Toronto in 2000 and then moved abroad in 2001. Children were born to the couple in 2002 and 2005, and though both kids were born overseas, they only have citizenship in Canada. The couple split in 2011, and the kids remained abroad with their father.
With the blessing of their father, both children came to Canada with their mother to attend school in 2013. Temporary custody was granted to the woman, and they left most of their personal possessions in Germany. In 2014, despite the father's insistence, the mother refused to bring the children back to Germany. A Superior Court judge in Ontario ordered the children be returned to their father in Germany at that time.
An appeal to the Divisional Court resulted in the reversal of that decision, with the court determining that the children's usual home was now in Canada, not Germany. Remarkably, an Appeals Court has just overturned the Divisional Court ruling. In its decision, the court ruled the visit to Canada had been intended to be temporary, and that the children belonged in Germany, despite having been here for the past three years.
Changes to child custody arrangements may continue long after a divorce has ended. They can be emotionally draining for both parents, and for the children caught in the middle. A mother or father dealing with a custody dispute might benefit from the advocacy of a family law practitioner.
Source: Global News, "Ontario court rules Canadian children must return to father in Germany - Toronto", Colin Perkel, Sept. 13, 2016