I’m not sure if you can give me any sort of idea but, I’m currently in a legal custody battle against a great grand

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Customer: Hi! I’m not sure if you can give me any sort of idea but, I’m currently in a legal custody battle against a great grand parent of my foster to adopt child. I’m trying to decide what kind of access I could give to this great grandmother. I would like to give her the bare minimum, but unsure what that would be.
JA: How long has this custody dispute been going on?
Customer: The great grandmother has caused nothing but problems through out my time as kinship to the little one. She undermines me, makes false allegations about my parenting, has gotten into loud verbal altercations with me in front of the child, and has continuously gotten in the way of me raising this child. During covid, she gets once every other week Skype visits for 20 minutes. After the Skype visit, the child seems to be emotionally confused and has multiple mental break downs which is unusual for her.
JA: Has there been any mediation on this issue?
Customer: Im mostly just wondering about once the courts open back up for our summary judgement hearing, what should I offer to that party that is bare minimum? I should also let you know that I live 2.5 hours away from that party with no car and another small baby in my care and custody. I have had temporary care and custody of the child since May 22nd of 2019. That’s when the temp order was put in place. Now we have had the settlement conference right before covid. Next will be summary judgement
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Mediation at the settlement conference didn’t really work. A lot of anger and no one agreeing. The judge made me offer the great grandma some sort of visitation- I offered once every other week for 3 hours at a community centre. But that is when I lived in the same city as the other party. I no longer live there And the other party has caused more problems since the settlement conference so at this point I’m not interested in giving the other party more time to impede on my life raising the children
Answered by Timothy in 50 mins 3 years ago
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Timothy
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Timothy
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10+ years of experience
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Timothy
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256 Satisfied customers

Jessica

Jessica

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Customer
Was this a scam??
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Timothy, Expert

Hi. My name is Timothy. I am a lawyer from Ontario. Could you please tell me what province you are in.

Customer
Hello! My name is Briar.
I'm in Ontario, as well.
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Timothy, Expert

I'm reading over your question. Give me a few minutes to type a response.

Customer
Thank you!
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Timothy, Expert

When you are talking about a court case, what is the current status. Is there an ongoing protection application with the Children's Aid Society and the parents or has it moved to the adoption application?

Customer
There is an ongoing protection application with Children's Aid Society. Since we are moving into the final order being made of the children being placed with me, CAS' position is full permanent custody to me, no access to the biological parents (biological mother).
Customer
I'm a party to the proceedings, the other great grandmother is a party, the biological mother is a party and CAS is a party.
Customer
The great grandmother only added herself as a party because I suspended her visitations with the child due to her causing an ample amount of problems and interfering. CAS' position in terms of me granting access to the great grandmother is that it should be up to me to make the decision.
Customer
Not sure if it matters at all, but the great grandmother is the biological fathers grandmother. The biological father has been dispensed of service years ago. He has never met the child and/or had any kind of access.
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Timothy, Expert

If there is a custody order made, it will end all the involvement of the CAS. If there is an access order made, you are stuck with that order unless you get it changed at a later time. The amount of time Great Grandma should have depends in part on what sort of access she was having before this all started. If it was minimal, she should have minimal access. If she is difficult now, she will likely continue to be difficult throughout. If GG had limited access before I would be looking at access that happened less frequently, (monthly, bi-monthly - maybe an overnight every other month if it is appropriate) and the ability to maintain contact via phone or Skype or other means. How often has the child traditionally seen Great Grandma, was great grandma caring the child at one point?

Customer
Okay awesome! So before the child was taken into care by CAS, the GG had seen the child 3 times total.
Once the child was placed into CAS custody, the GG was getting the child once a week for a period of 3 month for only a couple hours as that is all CAS felt that the GG could handle. She is elderly, on ODSP, lots of health concerns and unable to care for the child for long periods of time. At the time of once a week visits in CAS custody, the GG was not problematic. Once the child was placed with me, that is when the GG began to cause problems- teach the child to say that I was hitting the child, saying inappropriate things about my parenting to more than 5 people, calling Family and Children's services to report that I lock the child in rooms and don't take care of her etc etc, harassing me constantly, and fighting with me in front of the child. That is when Family and Children's Services advised me that it was up to me how I would allow access going forward. That is when GG got a lawyer to fight for access. In court CAS is not taking a position on that access piece. They said it should be up to me as I will be the sole custody parent of the child.
Customer
The GG was never caring for the child. The GG originally applied to be kinship but CAS almost immediately denied her after the initial home assessment. I don't know 100% why but I believe it had to do with the GG's mental state and wellbeing.
Customer
Since the settlement conference the GG has made accusations about my parenting again to my younger brother and has again, intruded on my life with the children by over stepping.
Customer
I'm currently working on my court papers for the summary judgement which is why I reached out to you! I would like to only offer a Skype visit every other month (I know that might not be enough) so my only other offer would be once every other month for 2 hours in a community centre and on a day that works for me. I'm unsure how location would work though. I am on the outskirts of the Greater Toronto area and the GG is in Niagara Falls. I do not have a car and my significant other and I work full time in our business.
I will not offer overnight visits as the GG is not fit to care for the child for more than 2-3 hours.
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Timothy, Expert

Ok. In that case, you don't necessarily have to agree to any specified access. GG has had almost no involvement in the child's life and the child does not likely have any significant attachment to GG. The distance is an impediment to access in any case. I think a proposal that occasional Skype access in appropriate. If GG had a long history of caring for the child or there was significant bond, the courts would be more likely to give extended time. In this case, if you are going to offer anything, I think the bare minimum is appropriate.

Customer
The child seems upset and unsure who to listen to after having Skype visits with the great grandmother and mother and it affects our lives here.
I also feel the need to supervise the Skype visits as I do not trust the GG to speak appropriately to the child and not try to get information that she is not entitled to. I have to sit and listen in to the visits which impacts my daily life and my own time schedule to get things done. CAS has continuously expected me to put my own life on hold to be able to be at every family members beck and call. The family members feel entitled to visitations but none of them were willing or able to take the child when CAS asked them.
I'm a young woman who stepped up to take the child (I'm so happy I did that) but I would also like to stop putting my life on hold. I'm 23 years old and I would like to start building my own family once I get the final custody order. I just cannot handle the interfering and undermining of the biological family members moving forward when I'm trying to start fresh
Customer
The way my lawyer put it in the court papers in terms of access to the GG, they said that access should be up to me and that I do not need a court order stating what I should and shouldn't give to the GG because that impedes on my own individual life while raising the child.
So.... from that. I'm going to assume that means that if the court grants in my favour... would that mean that any visitation for the GG would be up to me fully and that I don't necessarily have to give her much?
Customer
I'm not 100% sure if that's what it means but that is what the information sounded like
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Timothy, Expert

Yes. That's right. You should have the final say for access. You can say in your material that you will provide GG with Skype access but not have that written into a final order. You can tell the court you have the willingness but there is no reason that GG should have a formal order in her favor.

Customer
But replying to your previous text message, I want to be ahead of the game in case the courts say that I have to offer some sort of access. I don't want the courts deciding what the access will look like for me because our court system does not always make the best call. Especially because, with all respect, the judge has not been involved in the matter head on.
I want to offer little to nothing at first but if the courts seem hesitant, I want to have a bare minimum offer to present to the judge. Just in case so the judge doesn't grant a ridiculous amount of time of access visits to the GG.
Yes the GG has had very minimal involvement in the child's life. The child has not asked me about the GG and does not seem bothered by not seeing her (covid) and I think it's in the best interest of the child to keep the GG at a distance. The child notices when the GG does something upsetting to us. She's only 4 but they are wise and very intuitive.
Customer
If the courts say that I need to offer her more than Skype, what would you advise I offer?
Once every other month for a couple hours at the community centre? And what location would I say?
I don't think I should be held responsible to drive the child anywhere because it is not me who wants the access between the child and GG. I don't have a car and I'm absolutely not taking public transit for 2+ hours with a 4 year old and a baby to bring the child to an access visit that I don't feel should even be happening.
Customer
I'm not sure that it matters but the GG will definitely use the "I can't come to Toronto for access visits because I'm disabled" excuse. She will make it about her ODSP.
Customer
I do, however, have family members still in the Niagara region, but I don't visit them often due to work. They come here mostly.
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Timothy, Expert

The courts will not say that you have to give anything unless it went to trial. On summary judgment, you will be saying that there no reason for a trial on GG's request for access because she does not have a history of access and child does not have a strong attachment to her. The court won't impose anything outside of a trial. If its more than skype I would probably say a few hours every couple of months. The limitation on travel, the distance, GG age and health certainly make Skype calls far more reasonable.

Customer
I think her lawyer will say "my client is disabled, she can't get to Toronto" and then she will also say "Briar has family members in Niagara, why can't she drop the child off". I'm not sure how to counter those without being rude and saying "I'm not the one wanting access to my great grandchild so how the GG gets to access is not my concern. And when I do come to Niagara, I'm bringing the child to see MY family members who do not cause me stress and anxiety and problems".
Customer
You are awesome!! Thank you so much for all your help. My family lawyer (through legal aid) is great but he isn't very assertive in court it seems. I worry that I will get walked all over if I don't know my stuff.
If I have to offer in person once every other month, where should I say the location should be? What is fair?
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Timothy, Expert

When she says that she can't get to TO that is when you say it is best that there be SKYPE access. As for location, I can't really say. I would suggest that you speak to your lawyer about that and work out a place that seems reasonable. I'll be online today so please feel free to let me know if you need further clarification. In the meantime, I would appreciate it if you would leave me a five star review. That is how I receive credit for our conversation.

Customer
Okay that is awesome thank you so much!!
I'm not exactly sure how this works but, am I allowed to ask you some questions about the other family law case I have with my other foster child?
Also, do you know how I leave a 5 star review? Is it on the website?
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Timothy, Expert

You would have received an email with instructions sometime near the beginning of our discussion. You can also logon to the website and you should be able to rate in the chat box. If you have a question about a separate matter, you will have to post a separate question. I would be happy to answer that as well.

Customer
Okay I will do that right now! And you will be able to see that I posted a new question the same way I did the first one?
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Timothy, Expert

I will look out for it.

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Timothy, Expert

You can also say "For Timothy" at the beginning.

Customer
Awesome thank you so much! I rated you 5 stars and I will write review(s) for you.
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