Home Away From Home
Parents who do not live in the same city (or even the same country) as their children primarily live can face significant difficulties with respect to access.
A recent case out of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court addresses some of the factors that can be considered in determining whether access away from the children’s primary city or country of residence is in their best interests. In Lacoursiere v Penk (2014 NWTSC 40), the parties’ two children live primarily with the mother in Yellowknife. The father lives in Germany and had always exercised his access in Canada (and mostly in Yellowknife). However, due to a change in the father’s employment, he did not have sufficient vacation days accumulated yet to travel to Canada to exercise his summer access, therefore he brought an application for an order permitting him to exercise interim access in Germany.
The Court considered the father’s evidence that he loved the children and that the children enjoyed spending time with him. The Court also considered the fact that the father’s relationship with the children was relatively new and that the children are very young. If the father were to exercise access in Germany, it would result in a disruption of the children’s routines which would be made more stressful since they would be in an entirely unfamiliar environment that was also culturally and linguistically different.
The Court found that it was not in the children’s best interests to go to Germany and dismissed the father’s application.