Shared guardianship was properly terminated due to dysfunctional relationship: court

Final consent parenting order between sparring mother and grandmother not in child's best interests

Shared guardianship was properly terminated due to dysfunctional relationship: court
Mother’s relationship favoured over grandmother

The Alberta Court of Appeal has upheld a mother’s appointment as sole guardian of her child — effectively terminating the grandmother’s guardianship over her grandchild — due to the mother and grandmother’s dysfunctional relationship.

In KB v. MDB, 2022 ABCA 31, KB gave birth to her child when she was fourteen and her mother, MDB, primarily cared for the child. KB and MDB’s relationship was often strained, with KB leaving MDB’s home and setting up her own household with her then-boyfriend, who was now  her fiancé. From then on, KB sought contact and maternal responsibility for her child, which MDB resisted. After numerous court applications, both KB and MDB entered into a final consent parenting order in 2020 that established a shared parenting regime.

Both KB and MDB had great difficulty following the final order and in 2021 KB applied to become the child’s sole guardian and caregiver, alleging a change in circumstance. The trial judge granted KB’s application, effectively ending MDB’s guardianship and parenting rights.

MDB appealed, alleging that the change in circumstance was insufficient to justify the variation of the final order and further disputed the weight given to certain evidence.

The appellate court disagreed.

Citing the trial judge, the appellate court agreed that because of the dysfunctional relationship between KB and MDB, the parties could not co-parent the child. The “final” orders were “clearly not in the [child’s] best interests,” said the court.

Further, as to the weight of evidence, the appellate court ruled not to interfere with the weight given by the trial judge “absent a clear and palpable error, or a material misapprehension of the evidence.” The appellate court ruled that the trial judge’s decision to end MDB’s guardianship was well supported by evidence.

The appeal was denied.

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