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Old 12-02-2015, 12:01 AM
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Default Ex wants to change schools again

1. Ex and I have joint custody, 50/50 access to D6. Ex and I previously battled in court over daycare, their application to move daycare close to Ex's new house in the suburbs was dismissed and costs were awarded to me.

2. This year we retained an arbitrator to decide schools/kindergarten. Again, Ex wanted a school near their house, we argued for one closer to the core where D6 was born and resides with me and my partner. The arbitrator selected my school and awarded me costs. It is a Catholic school - D6 is not catholic yet but I am converting because my partner is Catholic. Ex didn't care it was Catholic at the time.

3. Ex has indicated they wanted to move D6 to a new school after Kindergarten. I'm like... we have an arbitration order! So we ask the arbitrator to clarify the scope of her decision. Arbitrator says "the decision was for kindergarten ONLY". So now Ex believes they have carte blanche to re-open the school decision from scratch.

Apparently we were supposed to word the arbitration application to enumerate "and all elementary school grades thereafter"? Even our lawyer is dumbfounded by the arbitrator's stance. What about status quo? Material change of circumstance? We are assuming the latter still applies.

4. We have since retained a PC with arbitration powers. This PC tends to agree that Ex needs to show a material change of circumstance to change schools, but also thinks the previous arbitrator's scope clouds the issue. Here's where it gets awesome. Ex is claiming the Paris attacks are the material change in circumstance and Ex no longer wants D6 to be exposed to religion or religious schooling. Ex is claiming we are violating his rights as a parent to protect D6 from religion.

The PC is leaving it open whether we arbitrate this or go to court. We are thinking court. Ex is self-representing now, and I'd love to see Ex explain this to a judge.

Questions
- Does the arbitrator's scoping of the previous decision being "kindergarten only" hurt us, or will status quo of the current school hold weight in the court's eyes, i.e. require Ex to bring forth a material change in circumstance to change schools?

- What's the case law on religious schooling if one parent is an atheist? I am presuming the courts will lean towards religious schooling as a positive and not see it as a violation of Ex's rights.

Last edited by LearningToFly; 12-02-2015 at 12:02 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:51 AM
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Your point will be to prove that events like that have occured before child attended this school and there have been many.

You should have another school option that is in the same area where child attends minimizing the change for child. Why should child be removed from area ?

PO job is to prove a change in circumstance and that her choice of a school is a benificial for the child.
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:33 AM
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As you both have child equally, I would think both school districts should be considered.

Not sure about case law re religious schooling, but regardless of whose district, perhaps a public school would be best if both parents cannot agree regarding religion. A religious school is reinforcing religion on a constant basis regardless of which parents time it is. The parent who wants to encourage the religion could have the child participate in church and related activities on their time.

I agree that the other parent should not have agreed to the catholic school initially if it was a problem, but it has only been kindergarten so far, and not into the upper grades already so a change would hopefully not be too stressful on the child. I also think the Paris attacks are a weak argument, but be that as it may I think that you might lose this round if the other parent insists that religion is an issue.

District is another issue entirely, not sure how that would go, you have one advantage in that child is already in your district, but if child is changing school to public anyways(potentially), that might open it up.
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
4. We have since retained a PC with arbitration powers. This PC tends to agree that Ex needs to show a material change of circumstance to change schools, but also thinks the previous arbitrator's scope clouds the issue. Here's where it gets awesome. Ex is claiming the Paris attacks are the material change in circumstance and Ex no longer wants D6 to be exposed to religion or religious schooling. Ex is claiming we are violating his rights as a parent to protect D6 from religion.
This has no merit. You have a right to expose your child to religion if you choose and the ex has, presumably, never had enough of an issue with religion to have it included in your agreement prior to this point.

From your previous posts including the ex's issues with exposure to ethnic groups, your ex sounds like a self-righteous bigot that is attempting to use this as is convenient to have the child moved closer to them. IMO, being exposed to the bigotry is always worse for the child.

Will ex suddenly want to claim a material change to remove the child from the country because our new government is welcoming tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and they don't want the child exposed? And if so, how does the ex plan to qualify being exposed to refugees as damaging versus the child becoming a refugee if he wants to flee this country?

All very extreme, but just the same as religious fanaticism is dangerous for kids (which I'm assuming is ex's position for basing material change on the Paris attacks), so is anti-religious fanaticism. I don't think a judge will be at all impressed to have this BS in the courtroom.

Nuts.
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Old 12-02-2015, 01:47 PM
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In a cursory glance at some cases in Ontario the judge considers if either of the parents are currently actively involved in the religion/church. Here is one example:

https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/do...resultIndex=13
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:41 PM
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This is kind of tricky. If I'm reading this right, you were not interested in Catholicism until getting with this current partner, long after your separation? So the child was originally intended to be non-religious when you were together with your ex? That might be expected to continue, and your ex's temporary agreement with it for kindergarten might not affect much. I have to say, I'm with your ex on this one, even if he's using flimsy excuses. I'd have a big problem agreeing to have my child brought up in the religion of my ex's new partner, when it wasn't something ever intended when the child was born or at separation. The onus would be on you to prove why continuing this religious education at this particular school would be in your child's best interests. Offer to switch to the public school in your neighbourhood, to see if it's the religion or the location that your ex finds most objectionable. If the courts are unbiased () they will not automatically lean towards a religious school as better than a public school. I would think neighbourhood would be a primary consideration, not religion, as courts like to see children stay in a familiar environment.
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Old 12-02-2015, 05:20 PM
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I agree with Rioe. Stability and familiarity are important - much more than the parent's newly acquired religious affiliation.
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Old 12-03-2015, 05:13 PM
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I'm not sure how a judge would see it, but to me, a Catholic school is a religious school - it draws from the teachings of one particular religion (although obviously you don't have to be Catholic to send your kids there). A public school is religion-neutral - it doesn't offer Catholic teachings, it doesn't offer instruction in atheism, it has nothing to do with religion at all.

If I were a judge with two parents of different religious convictions (one of them a recent convert to a particular faith, the other an atheist), I'd lean towards neutral public schooling so as not to reinforce one parent's religious beliefs over the other. Parents can teach their kids what they want about religion (Catholicism, atheism, Druidism, whatever) during their parenting time.

I agree the Paris attacks are irrelevant and there's no change of material circumstance. I do think your ex has merit in not wanting kid's schooling to be shaped by a religion which isn't shared, especially if this is something new that wasn't a factor when you were planning to raise the kid together. The kid is only in kindergarten, so it's not like there's a long status quo of attachment to that particular school. A good public school halfway between you and the ex sounds like a reasonable compromise to me.
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Old 12-03-2015, 07:35 PM
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In re-reading the thread I see that your child attended catholic daycare/kindergarten last year (decided by arbitrator).

I assume the daycare/kindergarten is the same as the grade school? So your ex is proposing a change of schools (to non-Catholic) because he is atheist?

However, the question likely comes down to the arbitrator's ruling - was the determination of the daycare/kindergarten intended to be just for the daycare/kindergarten year or does the father have to prove a material change of circumstance to have question of school location heard.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:14 PM
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Thanks everyone for the responses.

For what it's worth, ex and I were both baptized and raised Protestant, and we separated when D6 was 18 months old. We hadn't had a deep conversation about religious upbringing plans for D6. The strident atheism is a new development post-separation (along with strident anti-vaccination, but that's another story). Converting Catholic is not something I am taking lightly, it has been four years in the making.

Really the question is if we have to relitigate the school decision a second time from first principles because neither I or my lawyer realized that kindergarten somehow isn't considered "school" to some and a decision there may not set a new status quo school for D6. That intent was always to resolve the conflict on schools this year and move on. Now we have to do it yet again because Ex was okay with the Catholic school 6 months ago and now is not okay with continuing it for future grades.

I am fine compromising on a public school for D6 in the same area she is attending now. I always have been open with a number of schooling options - this Catholic school was one of four that I proposed. Ex has always proposed the school in his neighbourhood or schools outside both our catchment areas. Our previous compromise on schooling (before the last arbitration) was a public school outside our areas but equi-distant... And the school turned it down due to being full from students in the catchment area. After that we couldn't agree on anything in each other's areas due to the distance, leading to arbitration.

Last edited by LearningToFly; 12-06-2015 at 09:18 PM. Reason: Clarity
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