In this case, the Ontario Court of Appeal affirmed the decisions reached at the Ontario Superior Court stemming from the dispute between the parties, C.S. and M.S., who were married in 1986 and separated in 2002.
At trial, Justice Perkins made the following orders:
- That the mother be granted full and sole custody of their youngest daughter, M, with no access to the father or the other three children of the marriage.
- That a restraining order be placed on the father forbidding him from making contact directly or indirectly with either his daughter or his wife, and
- That an award of costs be given to the mother in the amount of $320,198.85.
The Court of Appeal looked to the best interests of the child test in order to determine whether an order forbidding access to a father was justified. An overwhelming amount of evidence indicated that it was decidedly so. It was shown how the father, through his behavior, had been successful in alienating three children from their mother. The Court of Appeal was certain that if given the opportunity he would probably do the same with his youngest child. Therefore, it was stated that the extent of contact between father and daughter that would be in her best interests was “no contact”. However, it was mentioned, in paragraph 7 of this judgment, that the order for no access could be varied subject to a material change in circumstances.
As was previously noted the order regarding access to M was extended to cover the three older children as well. The father, through his persistent and aggressive conduct, had alienated the three older children from their mother to such an extent that allowing contact between all children could potentially expose M to negative influences and consequent estrangement from her mother. The three older children, together with their father, were seen as belonging to a “single camp” the goal of which was to do the bidding of their father and effectively remove the mother from their lives.
Beyond affirming the orders and awards made at trial, and dismissing the appeal in its entirety, the Court of Appeal also awarded costs of the appeal to the mother in the sum of $10,000.Post by Andrew Feldstein