Date: 17 Nov, 2019| Author: Fred Streiman

Another example of the incredible difficulty of the Court managing access in the face of one or both difficult parents is outlined in the case of Elliott vs. Filipova.  In this Superior Court decision by Justice Abrahams, the relationship between the parents of two children aged 8 and 10 had deteriorated into complete chaos.  The children lived with the mother and the father desperately tried to get access in the face of the mother’s open hostility, not only towards the father but any Orders made by the Court. Irrespective of the Orders that had been made, the mother found some methodology by which to frustrate the father’s access.  Justice Abrahams notes exposure to conflict has been called the single most damaging factor for children in the face of divorce.  The mother’s behaviour became so bad that the father sought a change in custody based upon the mother’s inability to foster a positive relationship with both parents.  The mother’s lack of respect and the level of hostility that she showed to the father was such that the Court felt that it’s “visceral response would be to Order a change in custody based solely on the conduct of the mother”.  However, that is not the test but rather what is in the best interest of the children.  Justice Abrahams warned the mother repeatedly that he was close to making such a change and he adjourned the father’s motion seeking a change in temporary custody on very strict terms.  The Judge admonished the mother by warning her that failure to abide by any of the conditions he was now placing upon ongoing access and residence of the child on the part of the mother, may very well lead to such a temporary change in custody.  One of the children had their own mental health issues and a change in custody would have moved the children from Brockville to Ottawa.  Will the mother look at this as a warning bell to be heeded or will she continue to ignore yet another Order of the Court blinded by her hatred towards the father. Again, evidence of the difficulty in managing human contact by the judicial system.