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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 100483
Experience:  Lawyer
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I have a girlfriend who is going through a custody battle.

Customer Question

I have a girlfriend who is going through a custody battle. Her lawyer is under the thumb of her ex's lawyer, so we must change her. She would like to get full custody to take her son to a special school for the deaf in Ontario (ps. I would take a transfer to be with her and share expenses as a couple) Here is the advice we got that seems a bit fishy.
1)You should not work, that way you will get a bigger child support, if you work, you will have to support him, because his work is off the books.
==> Seems like she should work to show she can take care of her child on her own if she wants full custody?
2)The deafness is her fault because He did not give medication to fight an infection that caused the partial deafness, but there she has a deaf brother, so the deaf gene is in the family... so it is her fault.
==>Does a deaf brother prove that he should have known better and give the medication that was prescribed (and obtained) by a doctor already?
3) The selfish on my part question.... Absolutely no dating, let alone relationship, no matter how loving, stable, or in best interest of a child because it shows she some kind of cheater (slut, user, all nasty names for an ex...)
==> Does a healthy, stable, non-cohabitating for the child as of yet, relationship point to her as being awful, or another person who loves her son, stable family unit, looking to the future show that she is a loving person who is capable of a family life?
I will leave her if that will keep her with her son. but hate the idea.
she can get multiple jobs if that is what it takes.
And deafness is done, she has a chance to go to a school in Ontario, if her Ex will finally give consent...
Any advice....further question.... ***@******.***
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.
First, if your girlfriend has lost confidence in her lawyer then she should obviously dismiss the lawyer. From what you stated in your post it does not seem as if this lawyer has a great deal of experience in child custody matters, and probably not even in family law matters. The reason why I am saying this is that if the mother has the child 60% of the time or more her income does not even count for basic child support purposes, so it is hard to see why anyone would advise her not to work at this point. As well, she has a legal duty to become self sustaining and if she does not and child support is an issue the court will impute income to her if it is shown that she is intentionally unemployed or underemployed. Likewise, the father has a duty to become self sustaining so it is not clear why she would have to support him when he has been self sustaining so far. It does not make sense to me to think that the mother's morals will be in question if she dates given that the relationship with the father is over. In any event, even if there was marital misconduct, this has nothing to do with financial issues or custody/access issues because we have a no fault system in Canada. When a court makes a decision about custody or about whether a parent can move a child out of the jurisdiction a court will consider all relevant factors in trying to determine what is in a child's best interest. The court will consider who is the primary caregiver for the child, whether the child has a stable lifestyle with one parent or another, whether there are partners are extended family to assist the parent, and other matters. In particular in this case the court will consider the special needs of the child. So, if there is a school in Ontario that can best meet the child's needs the court may very well consider it best for the child to move to that jurisdiction. At the same time, however, the court will be very hesitant to move the child away from the father if the father has been actively involved in the child's life so far. Your girlfriend's best next step would at least be to get a second opinion from an experienced family lawyer. It would be best if the lawyer has experience in mobility rights.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just to clarify, because we have been talking about this in the future. If we do co-habitat, will that change the outcome of the custody battle, or go against her character?
What if I become co-contribute to the household expenses? Not sole btwIf she does find another lawyer, will the previous lawyer's work be over ruled, or dismissed? It does seem like she (lawyer) goes to the other lawyer for advice..... seems a bit wrong to me.This is time sensitive, we would like to know long before September school start.
Can they stall that long?
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.
Whether you cohabit are not may or may not change the outcome of the custody battle. I don't know the facts or either of you are so there is no way for me to provide you with an honest and clear answer. But generally, so long as a new partner is not introduced too quickly to a child it is expected that the parents will go on and lead separate and active lives and become involved in new relationships.I don't know quite what you mean by asking about the previous lawyer's work being overruled but unless there has been some agreement your girlfriend can change her mind or point of view or arguments at any time.It does not make sense that the lawyer would need to go to another lawyer for advice unless your girlfriend has a junior lawyer who needs to confirm issues with a supervising lawyer. If that's the case then it does make sense but in any event your girlfriend is simply not satisfied with her current lawyer.It is quite possible that this can drag on for a long time but if your girlfriend's lawyer can show the court that this matter is urgent because of the new school year approaching then it is possible that this could be heard on an urgent basis
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Oh yes, she is a junior lawyer. And it is a bit wrong to bow down to the other lawyer. If advice is needed, go to anyone else at all. So yes, I agree with her, there is no satisfaction with current lawyer.And to make things more confusing, the father's mother does most of the raising when it is his turn, and she has been up on charges of inappropriate touching. Cleared, but still....
They told her "voice of the child" does not count for the child in a custody case... again seems fishy....
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.
The voice of the child matters when the child is around 12 but sometimes younger.

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