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?Read more ›
(Note from Steven: I met John at the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia branch annual conference in San Francisco. He is currently involved in some fascinating litigation representing an individual who sponsored a spouse only to watch her immediately divorce him after she immigrated. She also left him on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in social assistance payments. I invited John to some write articles for this blog, and here is the third of what will hopefully be many into this issue.)
The issue of resolving a fraudulent marriage tied to an immigration application is completely separate from the need to get divorced. Fraudulent marriage is not grounds for a divorce and it is not necessary to prove that marriage was fraudulent in order to get a divorce. The issue of the fraudulent marriage can only be dealt with in civil court, not family, court as explained in an earlier post.
Generally speaking, it is understood that the sponsored spouse may receive social assistance or they may receive maintenance (i.e. spousal support), but they cannot receive both. Where the divorce order or separation agreement explicitly states that maintenance is not to be provided or has been provided in a lump sum payment, it can be argued that the sponsoring spouse should not be responsible for social assistance debt despite the undertaking.
It would be prudent for family law lawyers who represent a sponsoring spouse in a family matter to inquire about whether the sponsored spouse has received social assistance and determine for how long the sponsoring spouse is obligated by the undertaking to provide the necessities of life. Ideally, the divorce order should explicitly forbid the sponsored spouse from applying for social assistance during the term of the undertaking.Read more ›