V. (B.) v. V. (P.): Access schedules in family law

Family Law Issue:

V. (B.) v. V. (P.) is noteworthy because of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s remarks on what constitutes an appropriate access schedule in family law.

Lower Court Decision:

In this case, the Trial Judge determined that the mother was the primary caregiver for the child during the marriage, that the child had specific educational and social needs and that the father had been controlling toward the mother. The Trial Judge determined that the father should have access to the child on alternating  weekends (being from Friday after school to Monday morning), one overnight per week, and three weeks in the summer.

Conclusion & Analysis of Court of Appeal:

The Court of Appeal held that the above-noted access schedule, as ordered by the Trial Judge, was minimal and failed to address the “maximum contact principle” outlined in section 16(10) of the Divorce Act. The Court determined that the father ought to have access to the child 35% of the time.

This case emphasizes the courts’ tendency to award generous access to non-resident parents.