Farris Partner Todd R. Bell recently secured a crucial win for the mother of two school-age children with complex medical conditions and needs. The central issue at trial involved the determination of parenting arrangements for the children. The mother had been primarily responsible for the care of both children, including management of their multiple conditions, medical interventions and services since birth. The father sought equal parenting time, and joint parental responsibilities for all but medical and health related decisions; while the mother sought to continue the interim arrangement whereby the father had parenting time on Tuesday evenings and alternate weekends, and the parties shared responsibilities other than medical and educational decisions. The Court was tasked with determining what parenting arrangements would be in the best interests of the children, noting that the order must protect, to the greatest extent possible, their physical, psychological and emotional safety, security and well-being. The Court found that the mother had always been and remains the children’s champion, advocate and fiercest protector. On the other hand, the father’s ability to prioritize the children’s health and emotional well-being had been very inconsistent, and his perpetration of family violence against the mother during both the marriage and separation formed part of a pattern of coercive and controlling behavior. With this in mind, the Court determined that the arrangement sought by the mother struck the appropriate balance. The Court also ruled in favour of the mother on the remaining issues of spousal and child support, s. 7 (extraordinary) expenses, and family property and debt division.
Todd R. Bell is a Partner in Farris’ Family Law group. His practice focuses on the division of high net-worth assets and all manner of parenting and custody litigation. He is a highly skilled litigator and trial lawyer with wide-ranging experience spanning all levels of court in B.C.