Zanewycz v Manryk 2010 – Child Custody and Access

The case at bar discusses the supplementary reasons in an alienation case. This was a high conflict case. The Office of the Children’s Lawyer (“OCL”) was involved.

Justice Warkentin had originally suspended the father’s access to the children due to his failure to abide by the terms of his Order of February 1, 2010. Justice Warkentin had however, ordered that the father provide the court with a parenting plan demonstrating his plan of care for the children. Justice Warkentin had suggested that the father include a plan of supervised access for his visitation with the children in order to increase his chances of seeing them. The father’s proposed plan did not follow Justice Warkentin’s suggestions to put forward a plan for supervised access with the children. The father believed that he did not need supervised access. Rather than discuss his plan of care for the children, the father took this opportunity to make baseless allegations towards the mother and her ability to properly parent the children. The father also candidly informed the court that he intends to elicit negative information from the children about their mother and then proceed to inform the authorities. The father’s materials made no mention of how he intends to care for the children, or what was in their best interests. He also failed to mention any attempts at counseling which was also previously suggested by Justice Warkentin.

The mother as well as the OCL sought to eliminate all forms of physical access by the father to the children, except communication in writing. The main concern was the father’s constant attempts to engage the children in adult conflict. The father could not seem to let go of his hostility towards the mother.

Although it was not an easy decision, Justice Warkentin ordered that the father have no access and no verbal communication with the children. He ordered that the father may write to the children and send cards and gifts to them. Justice Warkentin made note of the importance of following a courts suggestions when they are made. The father did not demonstrate to the court that he understood the gravity of his conduct and the impact it had on his relationship with his children. It caused him to lose access with his children. The father submitted a plan that continued to dwell on the matrimonial dispute and only demonstrated his anger and continued hostility towards the mother which is not the intent of a parenting plan.

Justice Warkentin stated that the father was allowed to apply for any expansion of his access after a period of 6 months, however for the time being, all physical access was prohibited.

Andrew Feldstein

The Feldstein Family Law Group (FFLG) is one the largest family law firms that practices Family Law exclusively in Greater Toronto, with ten lawyers and counting. The boutique law firm has won the Top Choice Award for Family Law™ in Toronto for the past eleven years (2007 to 2017 inclusive).

Managing Partner Andrew Feldstein has been practicing family law for more than 20 years and frequently comments on Family Law issues through the media. The Feldstein Family Law Group offers vast written, video, and media resources on its website to those who find that they need to end their relationship.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. This decision reinforces the importance in abiding by the terms of an Order by the Honourable Court. In this case, one of terms included that the father had to provide a parenting plan that would demonstrate his care for the children. It is extremely important that when the Honourable Court asks that a party provide a parenting plan, it is not used as a mechanism to voice adult conflict between the parties, as this is counterintuitive to the purpose of the parenting plan which is meant to foster the best interests of the children. Despite the fact that it was a difficult decision to make to eliminate any physical access and verbal communication between the children and father in this case, the Court’s paramount concern is the children’s best interests, and unfortunately the father merely used his proposed parenting plan as an instrument for furthering his campaign against the mother. Lastly, the purpose of a parenting plan is apparent in its title, a plan indicating how you will parent your children constructively and foster a positive environment for the children.

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