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The Potential Consequences of Being the Lesser Involved Parent


The majority of parents love their children, a fact the law does not dispute. However, due to a variety of factors such as a time-consuming career, distance, or a lack of cooperation from the other parent, individuals who are not in a relationship with the other parent sometimes end up playing a lesser role in a life of the child they share with. While the reasons for being the lesser involved parent may be perfectly legitimate and unavoidable, this can still, unfortunately, lead to problems later on when that parent seeks to become more involved.

What Recent Case Addresses This Issue?

The 2019 case V.P. v. D.M. illustrates the potential consequences of being the lesser involved parent. In that case, the Ontario Court of Justice contemplated whether the father’s purported role in his young daughter’s care and upbringing was as extensive as he imagined and whether he was therefore entitled to shared parenting and joint custody for the five-year-old daughter he shared with his former friend.

After initially meeting online in 2010, the mother eventually purchased a condominium in the same building as the father and the two were intimate a few times before she became pregnant and delivered the baby in 2013. The two were never in a monogamous relationship but coparented successfully until 2016 when they reached a disagreement about the father’s level of involvement with their daughter.

Each parent offered the Court conflicting accounts of the nature of their relationship and the father’s involvement over the years. The mother asserted that she had been trying to find a sperm donor when the father volunteered for the role, an offer she claimed to have declined. The mother alleged that the father had visited sporadically and played with their young daughter but not offered any caregiving.

However, the father stated that the mother used him to have a baby after he rejected her proposal to do so and that once that happened, he was dispensable as a sperm donor and blank cheque. Further, the father asserted that he had visited their daughter on a daily basis and attended to all her needs during his visits.

The Court noted that the little girl loves her parents very much and is closely bonded to both of them. However, the Court ultimately held that shared parenting was not feasible based on their history and the mother should have custody with specified access to the father despite determining that both parents displayed good parenting skills and the daughter’s expressed desire to see her father often.

How Can NonCustodial Parents Help Demonstrate Their Involvement in Court?

  • Follow the visitation schedule
  • Track and document child support payments
  • Seek legal help as early as possible

Are You Concerned That Your Role as the Lesser Involved Parent Will Affect How Custody is Awarded in Court?

You need to turn to someone who understands that the fact that the amount that you have been involved in your child’s life does not reflect your love for him or her – and you still have parental rights that you are legally entitled to maximize. The Mississauga child custody lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP have helped many parents in similar situations reach favorable outcomes and we can help you reach the best solution for both you and your child. Contact us today to schedule an appointment so that we can begin helping you.


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