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Your Views on Pandemic Can Affect Your Family Law Case
May 10, 2021
Your Views on Pandemic Can Affect Your Family Law Case

A cautionary lesson came out of a recent case by the name of Burrell v. Burrell. In that case, among other things, the parents of two young children fought over custody of those children. The father believed the pandemic was a hoax and made his opinions known through social media and attendance at protests. He also refused to wear masks in public places. The wife brought a motion for temporary custody of the children and won!

The judge made the following statements:

On a review and assessment of the evidence, I have concluded that the respondent’s behavior is dictated by his worldview. Everything else is subordinate to that view, including, not limited to, his love for his children. He makes repeated assertions that they need to be permitted to spend more time with him and that time should not be supervised. However, he is not prepared to take the steps to protect himself in public at all times; not only is he not taking precautionary steps, by his own evidence, he is attending public protests unmasked, and taking other inappropriate steps. He readily admits, and is active online, confirming, even bragging, that he is engaging in actions and behaviors in the community while unmasked. [33]

Darryl is entitled to whatever opinion he chooses regarding all aspects of COVID-19. He is also free to express his views to the public by whatever legal means are available to him in that respect. Having said that, his opinions are one thing, but his actions (and inactions) are another. The best interests of the children should not be subordinated to Darryl’s behavior in the community as they potentially heighten the risk of the children acquiring the virus. [53]

The custody order was made on a temporary basis and would be revisited once the health concerns arising out of the pandemic subside.

Watch this space to read more updates on interesting legal matters. Work with one of the best custody lawyers in Toronto on matters related to separation, child support, and family law.