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  • OCL involvement

    We separated a year ago and wife left the matrimonial home. We worked out parenting schedules that provided roughly 60/40 access in dad's favour. She recently moved to Bowmanville to be with her family and wants to move the children (4 and 6 years) there as well. We have joint custody, as there has not been a court order even though we are in the case management system. Older child attended JK last year and younger child was in nursery school in Toronto.

    Judge requested involvement of Children's Lawyer who have just confirmed that they would get involved. The OCL is assigning a clinical investigator.

    Children are registered for same schools this September in Toronto. I think that an attempt to have a judge move the kids before school starts and prior to OCL report will have little chance of success.

    Would appreciate any comments/input/experiences of others.


  • #2
    The OCL definatly won't have a report prepared in time for the beginning of the school year. In my particular situation it took about 6months to have the final report of the OCL.

    I pressume the mom can move but I don't she will be able to move the children with her. I guess the mom could always bring forth a motion..



    • #3
      Thanks for your reply.

      Six months is a long time. Was that from the time you submitted your intake forms, or from the time they said they were going to get involved?

      How did you find the process? Was the investigator assigned to your case helpful?


      • #4
        I had OCL involvement. My kids were older (9 & 11 at that time) and were provided "legal counsel". It took over 10 months from filing the intake forms. It was relatively unintrusive. She spoke with me and my ex separately in her office. She visited with the kids while they were with me and while they were with their father. She spoke to their school principal and a CSW that my kids see at school. I found the process a bit stressful but that's more just my personality.


        • #5
          Originally posted by dadtotheend
          Thanks for your reply.

          Six months is a long time. Was that from the time you submitted your intake forms, or from the time they said they were going to get involved?

          How did you find the process? Was the investigator assigned to your case helpful?
          We submitted the forms probably the 2nd week of December 06, we had a clinical investigator (social worker) assigned by the 2nd/3rd week of January 07. Our investigator had to ask for 2 extensions, as my ex didn't necessarily co-operator with him giving her access to all of his medical records - She did get some. She filed her report with the court probably July 07.

          I found the process stressfull, trying to make sure I didn't forget the important things to talk about. I did make a list, however the social worker gave me her number in case I had anything to add. Also any letters my lawyer sent to my ex's lawyer during the process - the social worker was copied.

          I'll determine how helpful her report is once our settlement conference is finished that is early September. However the report is in my favour, both custody/access. Me for sole custody and supervised access for my child's father. She also made other reccomendations for things my ex needs to do. I think she did a decent job, I would probably rate her 7.5/10. She was very hard to read though and normally I'm very good at reading people.



          • #6
            It appears highly likely that kids will be staying in their birth home with me and attending school nearby, as they have since separation in May/06. There is a court order stating that Dad's home is the primary residence. Notwithstanding, Mom's still says through her lawyer that she wants the kids moved to her.

            I have also been the parent who is more involved in their schooling, medical, dental and all that custodial stuff that is theroretically important. I am fortunate enough to be able to build my work schedule around them i.e. take time off during the week to care for them, making it up on weekends when they are with Mom. In short, I'm the primary caregiver.

            I also have serious concerns about Mom's ability to provide a stable routine environment for our children. There are substance abuse issues (been in treatment recently) and life management skills are seriously lacking - four different residences in a year and a half since separation, which is why she is with family now.

            If the OCL report doesn't come down until end October and maybe even Christmas, now the kids are into their second school year with me and I feel it highly unlikely a court would order them moved mid-school year.

            Basically this case on the facts alone should be a slam dunk. Indeed if the roles were reversed, Mom would be the sole custodial parent and Dad would be in the "every other weekend and one evening a week" scenario.

            So you're probably asking what's he got to worry about? Well, I'm worried about gender bias, specifically the notion that "the children need their mother" argument. I'm wondering if anyone has some personal feedback on the neutrality of the OCL. I have read that they can be mother friendly, but I also (rightly or wrongly) believe that mothers mostly assume the primary caregiver duties in families and therefore when realtionships break down it makes sense that Mom's would mostly be given preference.

            I guess what I'm asking is "Is the favouring of Mom disproportionate to the incidence of primary caregiving by Mom?"


            • #7
              Sole Custody will be given to you

              I just finished my case with the custody and support issues of my kids.What I did realise in the whole thing is that court go by proofs,paper trails and behaviour irrespective of the gender.They are ooking for the best interest of the kids and their stability.If you are on the path of truth then have patience and faith in god.If any adise we have Mr awesome adviser as the moderator "Legal Velocity"
              take care and good lucki


              • #8
                Well, Mom has now threatened not to take our children to school (senior kindergarten and pre-school) on Mondays when "it is (her) time to be with them" according to a parenting schedule. The OCL investigation has commenced, plus she refuses to communicate. Either I'm not seeing something or she doesn't get it at all.

                Help me see why someone would act like that under such scrutiny??!!


                • #9
                  Document it if the children don't show up for school/preschool.

                  Send her a letter so that you can show proof that she's not putting the kids education first.

                  The OCL should realize if the other parent is not being reasonable and not co-operating. She'll dig her own hole.

                  I thought Kindergarten 5 was government regulated, unless your going the homeschool route?



                  • #10
                    Thanks for continuing to respond mominont. You are a ahead of me in this process. I guess your settlement conference is coming soon.

                    Mom came to our daughter's playschool yesterday at 9am and yanked her out of the class 2 minutes into it.

                    I hope that the OCL person sees the light. I met with her a couple of weeks ago and we are trying to schedule an "observation visit" to the house now.


                    • #11
                      My settlement conference has been completed. He signed over sole custody and supervised visitation.

                      The judge explained to my ex that if I offered him anything else it would have been irresponsible of me.

                      I'm sure if your ex is not co-operative, it will be noted in the OCL report. It was in my report.

                      Let us know how it goes.



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mominont
                        The judge explained to my ex that if I offered him anything else it would have been irresponsible of me.

                        When you say "anything else" does that mean more or less restrictive custody/access? Sole custody to you and supervised visits to him is probably not what he had in mind at the outset of all this.

                        Was that settlement conference pretty pressure packed?

                        How strongly in favour of you was the OCL report?

                        Was the judge strongly influenced by it?


                        • #13
                          My ex wanted Joint Custody with Shared 50/50 access.

                          My understanding is that the judge believed it was in our daughters best for him to have supervised visitation. The judge also agreed with sole custody. My ex has documented mental health issues, he doesn't take medication.

                          The OCL report recognized that dad and daughter did have a bond, but not in a child/parent capacity - like a great playmate. It was also noted that he wasn't co-operative with the OCL - maybe the judge used that to help determine that he probably wouldn't co-operate with me to make decisions that would affect our daughter. The OCL reported favored me with Sole custody and supervised access to dad.

                          Settlement conference wasn't "pressure packed". I thought it was much calmer of an atmosphere than our first conference. My stress level was high - no doubt.

                          Honestly we were on the "winning side" and my lawyer didn't have to speak much. I probably said more that what she did.

                          My ex gave access to the OCL to some of his medical records so we did have a dischage summary of his mental health issues, which had input from a bunch of qualified medical doctors, that was included in the OCL report.

                          The judge posed this question to my ex... Who is the judge to believe, the 5 medical doctors & social worker or my ex.

                          My lawyer said I was extremely LUCKY, lots of times judges don't read the material ahead of time and lots of time is spent going through those reports "on the fly" in the courtroom. The judge in my case had so much patience with my ex, that no other judge would have. We were there for about 2.5hrs our time slot was 1 hr, but the day before the earlier conference cancelled and we agreed to an earlier time slot.

                          I'm quite sure if it wasn't for our judge I wouldn't have the final order, however nothing in family law is ever "final" with change of circumstance.

                          keep me posted.



                          • #14
                            I've now have had a meeting with the investigator at her office, provided her with the releases for collateral sources and she has been to my home for an observation visit with the kids, which I thought went well. Of course, it is difficult to read the investigator.

                            Mom continues not to take either child to their preschool/school programs on Mondays and takes our youngest child out of her Friday preschool program.

                            We just scheduled an appointment for me to take the kids to the investigator's office. What can I expect at this visit?


                            • #15
                              I'm not entirely sure what will happen. My guess is that the person will probably do some role playing with them or get them to do some artwork. The person may also see how they handle being in new surroundings.

                              We had an office visit for my ex but he was late. 3 days after the time change he still hadn't changed his clocks back to the new time.



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