CUSTODY, PARENTING, AND ACCESS - Best interests of child - Child’s views and preferences - Capacity or conditions of parents

Law360 Canada (November 9, 2023, 6:36 AM EST) -- Motion by father for an order to compel the child (IS) to attend “reunification therapy” with him. After the parents’ separation, an Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) was appointed, and a clinician made findings of family violence and alcohol use on the part of the father and IS’s exposure to it. Before the parties appeared in court, a child protection worker recommended that IS should receive counselling. The mother proposed counselling between the father and IS. The father proposed reunification therapy. However, IS was not willing to go to reunification therapy. The father alleged that if the court did not order the reunification therapy, the rift in his relationship with IS would become permanent. The OCL opposed the motion and argued that an order compelling IS to attend therapy might cause more harm to his evolving relationship with his father than it would do any good. The mother also supported IS’s position. The father blamed the mother for IS’s refusal for reunification therapy. With regards to counselling, the clinician stated that IS had been clear and consistent that he did not want to attend counselling in any form, including one-on-one therapy, group therapy, or reunification therapy. He said he would refuse to attend if so ordered....
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