Ontario Civil

Contempt of Court

Contempt motion with respect to access orders was dismissed

Parties married in 2000, had two children, and separated in August 2012. Final consent order issued in 2013 provided for joint custody of children and that access would be shared in accordance with schedule. Parties returned to court requesting variation of joint custody order. Father alleged that mother was in contempt of court because she knowingly prevented his access with daughter. Contempt motion was dismissed, however, mother was to carefully consider Court of Appeal decision regarding contempt with respect to access orders. Mother clearly knew about consent order and that order was clear and unambiguous in terms of weekend access that it provided to father. It was not shown beyond reasonable doubt that mother intentionally did or failed to do something provided by that order. Mother believed that daughter could chart her own access terms once she reached certain age. Although this belief was not reasonable, it was not shown beyond reasonable doubt that mother’s belief was not reasonable. Father contributed in substantial way to problems in his relationship with daughter. There were complexities in custody and access issues relating to daughter and this was not clear cut case of parental alienation. Father contributed to problems by unilaterally changing access. Mother did not intend to completely remove access, and some attempts were made to try and restore access.

De Matos v. De Matos (Aug. 15, 2016, Ont. S.C.J., Lemay J., FS-12-76328-99) 270 A.C.W.S. (3d) 352.

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