The grandparents had been a constant presence in the boy’s life since birth. (Photo: iStock)
Sadly, child visitation disputes in family court are not just limited to feuding ex-spouses, as a Nova Scotia Court of Appeal case shows.
In this case, a feuding mother and grandparents were battling it out in court over the grandparent’s right to visit their two-year old grandson.
See: Do grandparents have legal rights to their grandchildren?
Their conflict came to a point that required the court to get involved and decide whether the grandparents would be granted visitation rights, and a lower court determined in May of this year that the grandparents were to see the child every second weekend.
The mother objected to this visitation order, on the grounds that she would not be present when her child was visiting with his grandparents and that this would be a “traumatic experience for him” and filed for an appeal. In the meantime, she asked the appeal court to intervene and stop the scheduled visitations until the appeal was heard at the end of the year.
The judge didn’t see this as a good enough reason to deny the grandparents visitations and found it wouldn’t be in the child’s best interest either.
The judge found that while the child’s father was still alive, the grandparents saw him all the time. They continued to visit after the father passed away, though less frequently, until the mother and grandparents got into a quarrel about the father’s estate, which led to the visitation dispute and a period of separation between the child and grandparents.
When the mother was actually present for one of the visitations, a week before the court date, the visitation went badly. The court suggested that it may be better that she isn’t present, in order to prevent conflict.
Given the grandparents had been a constant presence in the boy’s life since birth; there was no good reason to stop the visitations, the court concluded.
Accordingly the judge upheld the lower court’s ruling to allow the grandparents to visit with the grandson every second weekend.