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  • Child with exceptionality and access/reintegration

    Hello group,

    I am trying to find case law which is similar or suitable to my situation, but it has been impossible to find. Perhaps it doesn't exist, but I may not be searching correctly.

    Here is the basics of what I am looking for:

    I am going through a battle with my ex to have access to my little boy. I had to leave my Province ( NL) last year to find employment for 7 months. BEfore I left, I was on social assistance and I could not support myself and I had lost everything to ex. I didn't even have a car to drive. I did not lose these things in court, she simply kept everything we had.

    It is not uncommon for men to have to leave Newfoundland to find work as employment here is hard to come by. When I left, I knew I was only going for a short time and it was a means to try to get home again, but to actually have a vehicle and some way to build my life again.

    In any event, I had a great deal of trouble while I was away in accessing my little boy via telephone. Even before I left, it was impossible to see him and at times I went up to 3 months without my wife allowing me to talk to him or see him. This problems with access have not magically appear just because I was away for that time. It has always been an incredible battle.

    When I returned home from the Arctic last April, I got a lawyer and started the process of trying to access my son. To date, I am still battleing with ex in court for access.

    For 5 months now we have been back and forth to court. My little boy suffers from very mild aspergers disorder which is within the Autism Spectrum. However he was diagnosed as being so mild that it is barely perceptible. He is in regular classes in school and it is very difficult to even notice his exceptionality.

    So, here is my ex's trump card, as my lawyer calls it. My ex says that because of his Aspergers there must be slow reintegration of him coming back into my life. I agreed with that in the beginning. However it is five months later and I get to see my son only three hours per week. We have been in and out of court a dozen times and I have run into the problem of a judge who doesn't really know anything about Aspergers. As such, the judge appointed a child psychologist to work with my son and I, and my ex to determine how things should proceed. The psychologist thinks there should be more access and that three hours per week is not enough. She feels that if anything, not having his father play a bigger role in his life is detrimental to his well-being. She has met with both lawyers during a case conference and she has given her recommendations, however my ex has said that she does not agree and as such, we cannot move forward.

    I am looking for case law regarding reintegration and access for a child with an exceptionality. Mother is saying that because of his exceptionality it is too difficult for our child emotionally. However I must reiterate that my son is a regular little boy and she is using his diagnosis to keep him from me. Now I have to prove it. He needs me and I know that this is just an attempt to keep him from having a regular relationship with me.

    I cannot find anything even similar to what I'm looking for in the legal research. Can anyone suggest a way to search that I may be missing? I'm not sure what I'm doing and my searches are not fruitful at all.

    Sorry for the long email but I thought it best to provide some backgroud first.

    GDGM

  • #2
    gooddadgoingmad

    Sorry to her about you situation gooddad. I can't provide you with specifics but did you know about this site:

    http://www.canlii.org/index.html

    try your luck here. and for Supreme Court Rulings

    http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/

    and here, this guy has either walked your path or met hundreds who have:

    http://www.fathers-resources.com/Blo...1/Default.aspx

    Good Luck
    Mcbroke

    Comment


    • #3
      gooddadgoingmad,

      welcome back,

      Sorry to hear that progress in your relationship with your child is moving at the pace of molasses flowing uphill in the middle of January. However, on the plus side you do have some access which is a clear sign from the court that you are important to the child.

      With that said, you have a special needs child. You need to get educated on this need, either through counseling, workshops, speak to professionals, experts etc. I also recommend parenting courses; This will demonstrate to the court that you are committed to your child and their needs.

      For graduated access regimes or reintegration of your child to yourself, I did a quick search for case law.

      In Sage v. Gdanski, [1.], the court held that 10-year-old child be gradually introduced to the father under “optimum conditions” (which would include child’s familiarity of setting, his familiarity with other persons present during the access and prohibited the father from bringing forth additional action to expand the child's access until 11 months have elapsed.

      In K.J.B. v. S.M., 2006 ONCJ 87, [2.] the court held that children ages 2 and 4 were extremely resilient and adaptable to change and although access reintegration should be graduated, due to the father having no contact with the children for last 9 months; The Rate of re-integration should be rapid and child-focused and not become tool by one parent to deny children their right of reasonable access to their father much longer. In the result, a graduated regime spanning a period of two weeks, then subsequent alternating weekend contact was ordered for the children.

      In Walsh v. Saunders, [3.], the child in the heart of the matter was 2.5 years of age and never knew their father. The court held that it would be in the young child's best interest to know their father and in the result ordered a graduated regime of supervised access with the door open 6 months down the road to determine future unsupervised access.

      Counter the diagnosis of the child's illness with recent report cards to demonstrate notwithstanding the illness; Your child is managing well in school and most likely is a typical child. Teachers have a gift to elaborate in some detail on a child's talents and areas of improvement. Perhaps you could call the child's physician as a witness and have them give their professional opinion on the feasibility of increasing your child's access and having a meaningful relationship to you and knowing who you are. To me your child would benefit highly having the support of two caring parent's rather than just one actively involved in it's life.


      [1.] Sage v. Gdanski, 1994 CanLII 4274 (ON C.J.), http://www.canlii.org/on/cas/oncj/19...oncj10051.html

      [2.] K.J.B. v. S.M, 2006 ONCJ 87 (CanLII), http://www.canlii.org/on/cas/oncj/2006/2006oncj87.html

      [3.] Walsh v. Saunders, 1994 CanLII 4275 (ON C.J.), http://www.canlii.org/on/cas/oncj/19...oncj10052.html

      lv

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks LV and McBroke,

        I've been using Canlii but I'm not having much success. Thanks for the links and case law. I'll check it out.

        It's good to be back here but some of the old "faces" have moved on I guess.

        GDGM

        Comment


        • #5
          gooddadgoingmad

          As you are walking unknown territory (like all of us) it's almost as if you were your child. I would like to add something to Mcbroke, I don't know if it's done or allowed but take home movies. Who knows, at the very least you would have actual live footage of happy moments. Something you could cherish when you are not together, and when your son grows up, you can show him the moments you shared. Another point, to aid with re-integration, for the first few moments of each visit show your son a recorded portion of the last visit that you had. I think this will help in the bonding aspect as well. Discuss it with all involved.
          Just a thought

          Take care,
          All the best,
          Mcbroke

          Comment


          • #6
            mcb,

            Excellent idea. I have heard of individuals submitting copies of photographs into evidence to demonstrate parent-child relationship in a good faith effort to persuade the court. A picture tells a thousand words so to say. As you mentioned, If anything, the pictures or digital slide show could be used to preserve the moments.

            lv

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks guys. I have actually begun accumulating pictures and small videos of my visits with my son. You're right, it may help in court but it is also a great way to connect with my son. Who knows, maybe I'll get screwed with my battle for parallel parenting. Maybe I'll never get the kind of access I know is right and that I am fighting for. But one day, sometime in his life, at least I will be able to show him how much dad tried and loved him. I just pray to god that I am "allowed" to be a father to him. The prospect of being alienated from him causes more heartache than anyone could ever know.

              Comment

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