PEI Supreme Court denies relocation request to preserve child's relationship with father

Mother's plan to relocate the child is 'ill-conceived, naive, unreasonable': court

PEI Supreme Court denies relocation request to preserve child's relationship with father

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island denied a mother's request to relocate her 20-month-old daughter to Toronto, Ontario, finding the move detrimental to the child's relationship with her father.

In M. v. C-R, 2024 PESC 23, the applicant's mother sought sole decision-making responsibility, primary parenting time, and child support, among other requests. She expressed concerns over the father's history of alleged family violence and his potential threat to the child's safety. The respondent father countered with a request for shared decision-making, equal parenting time, and prohibiting the child's relocation from Prince Edward Island.

The court's decision hinged on the detailed evaluations from a parenting arrangements assessment (PAA). These assessments concluded that both parents are capable and loving but highlighted significant communication issues and differing parenting styles. The assessments recommended a joint decision-making approach and a structured parenting schedule that includes overnight visits for the father, which the mother opposed.

The Supreme Court denied the mother's request to relocate, finding her plan ill-conceived and detrimental to the child's relationship with her father. The court emphasized the necessity of frequent and consistent parenting time for the child's development. It ruled in favour of a joint decision-making model, progressively introducing overnight visits for the father, which will start immediately and ramp up over several weeks.

The court found no substantiated evidence of family violence that would necessitate supervised visits for the father. It acknowledged that both parents had made poor decisions and that miscommunication and mutual distrust often exacerbated their disputes. The court stressed that both parents must support the child's relationship with the other parent, noting that the mother had consistently sought to limit the father's involvement. The decision highlighted the father's commitment to being actively involved in his daughter's life and criticized the mother's attempts to relocate as an effort to minimize his role.

Additionally, the ruling imposed strict communication guidelines between the parents, requiring them to use a communication book and follow a specific script during child exchanges to minimize conflict.

Ultimately, the court awarded costs to the father, recognizing that he was compelled to litigate due to the mother's actions.

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