One of the first cases to be decided under the new Divorce Act, which came into force as of March 1, 2021, was what the parties themselves described as a high conflict case. In Pereira  v. Ramos, the parents were married for about ten years and separated for two. They lived in separate homes after their separation, with their 3 children living with mom and having alternate weekend parenting time with dad.

There was no written (or even oral) consent to this arrangement, no agreement in writing, nor an Order – in fact, dad consistently sought more time with the children and, in his view, so did the kids.

The Children’s Lawyer eventually became involved and made a recommendation that the parents share parenting time with the children; but mother would not agree.  The trial was delayed due to Covid and, eventually, dad brought a motion seeking to increase the children’s time with him.

On a motion for a temporary order, arrangements that have been in place for some time are often not disturbed.  But the Court found, in this case, that the parenting arrangement had been “imposed” by mom and she could not, therefore, rely on that imposed “status quo” to keep the same arrangements in place until trial.  The test, as always, is the best interests of the children.  The Court exercised its “duty to intervene and change the parenting schedule if it is not satisfied that the current arrangements meet the children’s best interests.”

A shared parenting arrangement was ordered, taking into consideration the requirements of the new Divorce Act.

Stay tuned for a series of blogs about the recent changes to the Divorce Act and other legislation that impacts separating couples.

Author | Simonetta A. Lanzi | Family Lawyer
Simonetta practices family law, including matters regarding custody and access, child support, spousal support, property division and child protection, as well as uncontested divorces. Contact