Case law: Withdrawal from parental control

Case law: Withdrawal from parental control

R.G. v. K.G. et al. [Indexed as: G. (R.) v. G. (K.)], 136 O.R. (3d) 689:  When they separated, the parents of G entered into an agreement that the father would have custody of her until her 18th birthday and the mother (who lived in Florida) would have access. That agreement was incorporated into a consent order.

G’s relationship with her father, which had been deteriorating for some time, worsened when he insisted on changing her school just as she was about to enter grade 11. She decided to increase her course load and apply to university a year early. She did so and obtained a scholarship to the University of Miami. When the father insisted that she return to grade 12, G decided to leave home and withdraw from parental control. When the University of Miami asked for proof that she was an independent minor, she applied for a declaration that she had withdrawn from parental control. The application was allowed.

The father then brought a motion to set aside the declaration and restore his sole custody of G on the basis that he was entitled to be a party to, or at least to have been given notice of, the application.

The application judge ruled that s. 62(3) of the CLRA (which provides that on an application under Part III about a child, the parties shall include the parents) did not apply as the hearing was not for “custody, access or guardianship”, and that the father was not entitled to be named as a party or to receive notice. The court retains discretion to direct the parents’ involvement and participation in the application.

While the application judge rejected the father’s submission that he should be a party, she permitted him to file material and make submissions, and she fully and thoroughly canvassed all the evidence before her and made findings based on that evidence.

The father appealed. He sought to introduce further evidence that G was the victim of a “trauma bond” imposed by the mother. He also appealed an order dismissing his motion for a declaration that the mother was in breach of the consent custody order. His appeal was dismissed because the proposed fresh evidence was not admissible as it was not “fresh,” but rather was the reiteration of a theory which had already been raised and rejected twice.

Whether the child has reached the age of 16 is not the sole issue for consideration on an application for a declaration that the child has withdrawn from parental control. The application judge properly considered G’s best interests, not those of her mother or father, and satisfied herself that the declaration was necessary and appropriate in all the circumstances.

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