October 2010 Law Column
Etienne Ruel, lawyer
In a recent case, the Honourable Yvan Godin, S.C.J., had to rule on a petition filed by a 14-year-old seeking to modify his parents’ custody agreement. The teenager asked to be placed in the sole custody of his mother instead of the shared custody he had been in for the past three years.
The teenager’s mother chose not to petition the Court for sole custody in order to avoid allegations of parental alienation, and the child therefore testified in court and requested the change himself.
The law and caselaw stipulate that a minor must be represented by his/her guardian when exercising his/her access rights. Only in exceptional cases are minors authorized to seek remedy themselves.
The Court interviewed the teenager and concluded that he possessed a certain intellectual maturity, clearly understood the consequences of his legal action and demonstrated the ability to make his own decisions, since he had met with his lawyer four times and consistently expressed his wish to modify the agreement.
In light of the evidence that was presented and the singular nature of the case, the Court authorized the teenager to seek recourse himself to assert his rights and ask that custody be awarded to his mother. The Court was of the opinion that it was in the teenager’s interest to allow him to seek recourse, seeing as he was directly impacted by the custody agreement.
The decision was certainly an exceptional one. We are convinced, however, that it will become a judicial precedent for all family law practitioners who, to ensure that their clients are not falsely accused of urging their children to live with them, will now recommend that minors initiate proceedings to realize their interests.
We have recently received a high volume of questions concerning a merchant's ability to impose its credit card chargeback fees onto its clients. Most agreements with credit card companies require payment of credit card fees (an average between 1.5% and 3%). These fees may vary depending on the type of credit card used for such transaction (i.e. Platinum, Travel, etc.).
Sport activities involve a certain level of risk that athletes (and enthusiasts) are expected to be aware of and accept. However, this does not mean that a person who is injured while practising a sport has no recourse against a third party.
On May 3rd, the PFD team took part in the 13th annual Défi course et marche Desjardins organized by the Club Lions de Sainte-Thérèse. Seventy participants from PFD and their family members ran the 1-, 2-, 5- and 10-km races to raise funds for local organizations that provide support to those in need.
We are very pleased to announce that Me Marc-André Nadon will join the Litigation team at our office in Boisbriand on May 25th. We wish him a warm welcome!
On May 21st and 22nd of this year, our firm will be present at the ”Salon Quartier municipal des affaires” presented during the “Assises annuelles de l'Union des municipalités du Québec” (UMQ). Mtre Joanne Côté, Daniel Goupil, Stéphanie Provost, Mathieu Quenneville et Frédéric Savard-Scott will be present during the event and will represent our firm.