Ontario SCJ Family Law Decisions on Urgency During COVID-19

Since March 15, 2020 the Ontario Superior Court limited family law hearings to urgent matters in response to #COVID-19. I successfully argued an urgent motion on April 21, 2020 involving a custody matter for a deceased parent in Lam v. Chuang 2020 ONSC 2479. I’ve detailed out the decision below rendered April 22, 2020 along with two other cases that will offer guidance on urgent motions granted.


Lam v. Chuang
2020 ONSC 1888
2020 ONSC 2479
April 17,
April 22,
and primary
The maternal grandparents live in Vietnam. The Applicant Lam lives in Guelph, Ontario. The
Father lives in China. The maternal grandparents and the Applicant Lam (family friend) brought
an urgent motion on April 13, 2020 so that he could have full decision making authority over a
ten year old girl whose mother passed away on March 22, 2020. The girl’s mother had sole
custody and the father had supervised access. In the mother’s will, she outlined serious
concerns about the father having full custody of the child. On April 22, 2020, Faieta J. granted
the Applicant Lam full decision making authority of the child. The OCL stated that it may be
appropriate to grant custody of the child to the Applicant Lam on a temporary basis as they
recognized the immediate need for someone to have decision-making authority pending
completion of the OCL’s work.
Jackman v. Doyle
2020 ONSC 1875
March 20,
Status quo
The Father had never had access to the children, aged 5 and 3, without their nanny being
present. The Father told the Mother that he was going to take the children to a rental
property for the week of March 15, 2020. The Mother did not agree to such an
arrangement and the Father removed the children from the Mother’s property without her
consent. It was found that the children’s status quo was unilaterally altered by the Father’s
actions and it was in the children’s best interest to make an interim order returning the
children to the Mother’s care and control at her property.
Smith v. Sieger
2020 ONSC 1681
March 18,
closure of
the border
The Father requested an immediate return of the parties 16 year old son from the
United States where he was enrolled in an educational program. Kaufman J. stated that
given the current health concerns facing all of us, the imminent closure of the border
between Canada and the United States and the recommendations of our health
professionals and Government authorities regarding Canadian citizens out of the
country, the relief requested by the Applicant Father is granted in its entirety.

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