BC Mobility Applications Part II: Views of the child

I have written on S.Z. v. D.Z., 2015 BCSC 2157 previously as it is an outstanding how-to guide for mobility applications. Now I would like to briefly address Justice Voith’s illuminating discussion of how we, as family lawyers, should understand the meaning of the views of the child in this context.

Justice Voith affirmed the principle from Stevenson v. Florant, [1925] 4 D.L.R. 530 at 544, that the child’s best interest must not be confused with the child’s views. Rather, as noted in Rupertus v. Rupertus, 2012 BCCA 426 at para 13, the child’s wishes simply provide context to better understand the all the evidence in determining best interests. The reliability of the child’s evidence must also be carefully considered: L.E.G. v. A.G., 2002 BCSC 1455, at para 48, calls for analysis of any specific factor that may affect reliability, including age, intelligence, maturity, the stage and hostility of litigation, and so on.

The views of the child requires a nuanced analysis. Here, the children preferred to live with mom if she moved to Kamloops. This, however, does not mean they wanted to move to Kamloops; it means simply that they want to live with mom.

Section 211 reports must also be carefully scrutinized. The report in this case was riddled with error and that affected its weight.

Again, S.Z. v. D.Z. provides an outstanding mobility analysis and BC family lawyers should review it when facing such an application.