Last Updated on

Office of the Children’s Lawyer v. Balev is a 2018 Supreme Court of Canada decision in which the Supreme Court had to determine what the test should be for determining where to return a child under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention).

Ari Wormeli is a lawyer at YLAW Group, a prominent Vancouver family law firm.

We discuss the Supreme Court decision, and Ari discusses what it is like being a family law lawyer, what he thinks is the number one indicator of whether a marriage will end in divorce and whether he has ever felt threatened by an opposing party.

1:00 – The facts of the case.  A couple is married in Ontario.  They move to Germany in 2001 where their two children are born. They struggle with school in Germany so the father gave his time‑limited consent for the children to move to Canada with the mother for the 2013‑14 school year. The children attended school in Ontario where they resided with the mother and their grandparents. Because he suspected that the mother would not return the children to Germany at the end of the school year, the father purported to revoke his consent, resumed custody proceedings in Germany, and brought an action under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Convention”) for an order that the children be returned to Germany.

2:53 – What is the Hague Act?

4:11 – How often do interjurisdictional

5:10 – The Hague Convention says that children have to be returned to the country where they are habitually resident, without defining residency.  How do you determine what a child’s residence is?

13:00 – What are the problems with the hybrid abroad to determining a child’s habitual residence that the Supreme Court adopted?

39:00 – Some people think that Family Law is difficult because you have to deal with individuals at their worst. Does Ari agree with this?

43:00 – What does Ari think is the cause of most marital breakdowns?

45:30 – Does Ari ever feel threatened by opposing parties?

50:00 – What tip would Ari give people considering a career in family law?