Parent loses child custody during COVID-19

Non-respect of public health measures during a pandemic may be considered to be “reprehensible, even harmful, conduct to the development of a child,” held Quebec Superior Court Justice Claude Villeneuve in a child custody case.

He added: “Even if freedom of expression is a recognized right, it does not go so far as to permit an adult to denigrate and discredit, in the presence of a minor, citizens who respect rules enacted by the public health authorities in a pandemic linked to COVID-19.” Justice Villeneuve added that the parent’s message to his child is that it’s not important to respect the law nor the health and security of others, “which leads the Court to put into question the parental capacities… and as a result, the custody of the child.”  Here is the decision.

Mother denied shared custody because of cannabis use

A mother of a three-year old child addicted to marijuana was denied shared custody after Quebec Superior Court held that her cannabis consumption compromised her parental skills.

In a ruling widely expected by family lawyers to be among the first of many the courts will hand down following the legalization of cannabis, Justice Jérôme Frappier held that the mother’s cannabis’ addiction, coupled with her anxiety attacks, represented a “serious risk” because she would be unable to adequately respond to the needs of her child if she had shared custody. Justice Frappier awarded custody to the father, and granted the mother visitation rights two out of every three weekends but only if she is not under the influence of cannabis or any other drug in the presence of her child.

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Mother wins battle to move to France with children

A lower court ruling that prohibited a French mother of two from moving from Quebec to her native country under penalty of losing custody was recently overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

In a unanimous ruling, the appeal court issued a warning to courts of first instance that they must be cautious when weighing the “undeniable contribution” of expert’s opinions and bear in mind that “questions over custody and the criteria of who should have right to custody are issues that also call for legal notions,” said Quebec Court of Appeal Judge France Thibeault.

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