The following is being provided as general information only and should never be relied upon by any individual accessing this website. For further details in respect of the terms under which this information is being offered please see the terms of the disclaimer at the bottom of this website.
Before making important decisions regarding family law, you should consult with a member of our legal team in order to understand your legal rights and obligations.
The Preservation of the Status Quo
An important factor in determining who will maintain custody of the child is the status quo (or the existing custody arrangement).
The court will look to the existing custody arrangement and if that seems to be working then the court will likely be reluctant to make an order that will disturb the arrangement.
In Moores v. Feldstein, the natural mother gave the child to the Feldsteins when the child was a few days old. A few months later, the natural mother wanted the child to be returned. The proceedings were not commenced until the child was 2 years old and the case did not come to trial until the child was 4 years old. The Trial Judge found that the natural mother did not abandon the child and that she was not an unfit parent. Therefore, the Trial Judge awarded custody of the child to the natural mother. The Court of Appeal reversed this decision as the Court of Appeal Judge felt that the child should not be uprooted from the happy nurturing home that she knew for the past 4 years. This Judge stated that there was a serious risk inherent in uprooting the child at that point from her happy surroundings.