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Do Not Breach Court Orders and Do Not Overhold Children



This is the lesson given loud and clear in Beaulieu v. Diotte, 2020 ONSC 6787 by Justice Mackinnon.


The respondent unilaterally overheld the children from July 18 forward with the result that the applicant did not see her children from July 4 until August 26. The applicant unnecessarily incurred legal fees through his resistance to service, the need to argue his adjournment request, which she had offered to agree to if he would return the children to her, and his failure to comply with a scheduling order which required her to obtain an extension of time to respond to his late coming material. When she attended his home on August 26 to pick up the children in compliance with the court order allowing her to do so, he did not comply with the order. Instead he called the police. Only later that day did he comply with the order, but by then the applicant had already incurred further costs in preparation to enforce the order.


The Judge concluded -

[6] This unreasonable litigation conduct warrants a significant costs sanction.

[7] The applicant was also successful on the merits. The order made was for the children to reside with their mother for two weeks, then with their father for one week, and so on. The respondent did not obtain the relief he sought. Although successful, the applicant did not obtain the primary relief she advanced at the motion. The order made falls somewhere between the two alternative heads of relief she put forward in her Notice of Motion.

The respondent’s conduct and lack of success are such that costs should be fixed and payable now. Nor is this a case where he has established inability to pay. Assertions made in costs submissions will rarely, if ever, be sufficient. And, difficult financial circumstances are a factor but not are always a reason to deprive a successful party of costs or to reduce the amount of costs.


Conclusion:

Do not disobey court orders; do not overhold children against a Court order. The above situation is something we see very often in family court litigation. Here is a solid example and how to prevent it or at least ensure that such behavior does not persist.


At Shankar Law, we are happy to assist and guide you through whatever challenges you have in your spousal life. We work all over Ontario, but primarily in three counties: Huron, Bruce, and Grey and span several cities (Southampton, Kincardine, Goderich, Wiarton, Hanover, Dundalk, Walkerton, Meaford, Markdale, Chatsworth), through our two locations in Port Elgin and in Owen Sound.

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