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LovingFather32 11-20-2014 12:37 PM

Maximum Contact Principle: An Important Consideration
  • The "maximum contact principle" is an important consideration.

    This thread will outline some of the case law and how I have made use of it to assist me in my quest for 50/50 with D3.

In Cavannah v Johne, a mother was limiting access for the father with the two year old daughter. While the case was not being decided under the Divorce Act, Justice Ingram stated that

the maximum contact principle has long been recognized as a proper consideration in the best interests test, even if it is not explicitly mentioned in the CLRA.
Justice Ingram found that it would be unfair to deny the father an equal opportunity to parent the child. Time sharing was ordered with three nights with the father and four nights with the mother each week. Cavannah v Johne, [2008] OJ No 5027 at para 38, [2009] WDFL 614.

  • In Young v Young [1993] 4 SCR 3, Justice McLachlin emphasised the significance of the maximum contact principle: "…s. 16(10) provides that in making an order, the court shall give effect "to the principle that a child of the marriage should have as much contact with each spouse as is consistent with the best interests of the child." This is significant. It stands as the only specific factor which Parliament has seen fit to single out as being something which the judge must consider. By mentioning this factor, Parliament has expressed its opinion that contact with each parent is valuable, and that the judge should ensure that this contact is maximized."
    Young v Young, [1993] 4 SCR 3 at para 204, [1993] 8 W.W.R. 513.
    Justice McLachlin went on to explain:


    "The modifying phrase "as is consistent with the best interests of the child" means that the goal of maximum contact of each parent with the child is not absolute. To the extent that contact conflicts with the best interests of the child, it may be restricted. But only to that extent. Parliament's decision to maintain maximum contact between the child and both parents is amply supported by the literature, which suggests that children benefit from continued access…"
    Thus, although maximum contact is not absolute, it will take some proving that the child will not benefit from access to both parents. For example, the unilateral removal of a child from their home and other parent without any proof of abuse or that parent poses any risk to that child will likely be frowned upon in court.

    Although not absolute, the party denying access better be well prepared with an airtight case as to why the other parent should not have their right to see their child. Being "worried that they will put thoughts in to their heads" for instance will not suffice in court, especially in the absence of proof.

    Maximum Contact Principle as it related to my case:

    Here, maximum contact through continued access for the Applicant is in the best interest of D3. The Applicant has been unfairly denied an equal opportunity to parent D3. The Respondent has chosen to deny access since she unilaterally removed D3 from her home.

    Any request by the Applicant to increase access has been denied. The Applicant has had no choice but to bring this motion for unsupervised access. There is no reason to restrict maximum contact since this is not in conflict with the best interests of the child.

    A relationship with both parents is in the best interest of the child.

    In Benko v Torok, the child was three years old. The father was seeking overnight access, and the child’s interaction with his father during his weekly access visits were very positive, according to all of the witnesses who had directly observed recent access visits. The child was comfortable with his father and sought him out to be comforted during his time with him. Justice O’Connell found that there was no reason why overnight access could not commence as soon as possible. The mother needed to understand that the child deserved and was entitled to a relationship with his father and she needed to encourage that relationship. The child deserved a relationship with both of his parents.
    Benko v Torok, 2013 ONCJ 331 at paras 213, 215, [2013] WDFL 4353.

    Here, it is in the best interest of D3 to strengthen her relationship with the Applicant. According to the sworn affidavit of Ms._____, the access supervisor, all supervised access visits have been very successful and positive.

    Maximum contact with the Applicant is consistent with D3’s best interest. There is no reason why generous and regular access, including overnight access, should not commence as soon as possible. D3 deserves and is entitled to a relationship with her father.

    The Respondent mother has stated on more than one occasion, that the reason she wants supervised access is that she is worried about the Applicant’s potential for "putting ideas into her head". There is just as much potential for the mother to put ideas into D3’s head, including ideas about secrets, and that she should be afraid of her father.
The judge agreed and re-established access, including midweek overnight and interim EOW right away, giving the mother a stern lecture and warning of her behaviors.

Thus, as you can see "the maximum contact principle" is not taken lightly in family law nor should it be.

blinkandimgone 11-20-2014 01:29 PM

Great post, thanks for this!

LovingFather32 11-20-2014 09:16 PM


Originally Posted by blinkandimgone (Post 186015)
Great post, thanks for this!

Thank you. I'm attempting quick, concise, helpful threads as of late that don't require hundreds of pages. I've received immense help in these forums and Im just trying to give back.

Tayken 11-21-2014 11:30 AM

Section 16(10) of the Divorce Act which states:


Maximum Contact

In making an order under this section, the court shall give effect to the principle that a child of the marriage should have as much contact with each spouse as is consistent with the best interests of the child and, for that purpose, shall take into consideration the willingness of the person for whom custody is sought to facilitate such contact.
Divorce Act

LovingFather32 11-24-2014 09:18 PM

Bumpity Bump!!

Straittohell 11-24-2014 09:35 PM

If people didn't selectively quote a tiny portion of what someone posted in order to pillory them and minimize their position in favour of one's own bias, this would be a terribly dull place.


LovingFather32 11-24-2014 09:37 PM

Strait ..

After McDreamy tampered with my posts, every post I do goes to this thread. Not sure how she is allowed to tamper like this.

LovingFather32 11-24-2014 09:41 PM

Just to let everybody know. Every post I've put on the "Case Conference thread, McDreamy has been redirecting here. I'm not sure why/how other moderators are letting this happen. My posts are being edited/deleted/redirected at her whim. Im not sure what's happening.

mcdreamy 11-24-2014 09:49 PM

Well, if you stopped editing your posts, I think we could all quite clearly see the transitions. I'm redirecting them. You are editing them.

LovingFather32 11-24-2014 09:51 PM

We're not allowed to edit our posts? But there's an "edit" function.

You're deleting and redirecting my posts. Please stop. I've done nothing remotely against the rules of this forum. You're ruining a perfectly good thread here for your own personal enjoyment.

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