Updated: Nov 17, 2018
One of the boys making a costume
A Mother's Blog Part 2
My former partner served me with custody papers two days before we were to leave for school in Hawaii. I filed for jurisdiction being Hawaii where I had filed for divorce and there was an order for a Temporary Restraining Order protecting me and the boys. The hearing was on September 17, 2015. At the time we had no home in Ontario.
On September 17, 2015, the presiding judge looked at the temporary restraining order, which had been ordered and was in effect. He said that this happened a long time ago. It seems that the judge read the first sentence and did not read the rest, as the first sentence was about an incident in 2003.
He ordered a views and preferences of the child report. I had never heard of this before. It is a report, called an 'expert report' and the judge said that we could afford it. I was unclear as to how he knew this or how much this was. The judge ordered the report so that he would not speak to my son, who was sitting in the lobby, alone, guarded by two police officers.
We left the courtroom shortly after this. We were there all day. My former partner had taken our son from his caregiver, while I had custody, and had left our son safe, and driven him for several hours to Peterborough. I was responsible for my lawyers fees while we waited and then for the further hearing on September 30, 2015, two weeks later.
My lawyer found a respected person to do the views and preferences of the child report. We were interviewed together and alone. There were other parents in the waiting room and I was to later learn that though our report cost between 7,000. and 8,000. the reports can run to 13,000. and more. The report is for the use of the judge.
Our hearing was only for jurisdiction, as the family had been residing in Hawaii for more than 5 years. We had a house, purchased in 2005, and we had been going there since before that time.
The report was to ascertain if our son would be harmed by returning to Hawaii with me. Our older son was already there, having chosen to finish his high school in the school he had attended since grade 7, though his father attempted to have him remain in Ontario as well.
The views and preferences report clearly stated that there were no issues with our son coming to Hawaii with me, that he would be safe. While I am paraphrasing, this is what occurred. The judge did not use this report. He decided in a joint court session with the Hawaii court, that our child would be harmed and he ordered custody to the father.
This was a very emotional day. I will however stay with only with the facts. In the three years of hearings in Ontario I attended court with 9 judges, all of them white, all but one in their 50s, 60s, or 70s. The judge we attended with in Peterborough had been a judge for one year. One younger judge, in her 30s or 40s made for me a devastating decision in 2016, which I will explain later.
Shortly after the hearing on September 30, 2015, where the judge decided to give custody to the father and name Ontario the jurisdiction, I called a very good friend who gave me someone to talk to, a veteran of the Toronto Children's Aid Society.
In early October of 2015 I called this woman, and asked her about her experiences. I had called the Children's Aid several times, but was receiving no help. She explained that unless a child was unconcious on the floor, the society would not help. She was an 11 year veteran of this society and I believed her.
She told me to take my son somewhere comfortable when we visited where he could relax. She said that was the best way to help him.
On October 3, I had a visit with him and I took him to a cafe style sandwich place close to where he was born. After lunch, which was lovely, we got in the car. I was going to take him back to the airport hotel where I was staying and where he had stayed during the jurisdiction hearing.
As soon as he was settled in the car, he told me he had blackouts the previous day. He said that there were two an hour and that he had come to in a public washroom. I was very concerned, called the Children's Aid to report it and also spoke to a police officer. I took my son to Emergency at William Osler Hospital, which was close to the hotel. It would prove to not be a good experience, as it was very crowded and we waited for hours.
When we saw an Intake Worker and she seemed to not really take in what my son was saying, my son said, I would not want to be driving a car while having one. I could see that he was clear and wanted to be taken seriously.
We eventually saw someone but nothing was determined. It was simply very busy and there wasn't an expert ever brought forward who would discover the truth.
My son came home with me to the hotel and stayed over. The next morning he went back to his father.