Law Column

October 2010 Law Column


Can a 14-year-old petition the court to change a custody agreement?

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.


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September 13, 2015

Vélo à notre santé

On Sunday, September 13th, the PFD team took part in the 16th edition of the Vélo à notre santé fundraising activity to benefit the Fondation de l'Hôpital régional de Saint-Jérôme.


September 2015

Salon des affaires municipales and annual convention of the FQM

From September 25 to 27, PFD's municipal and environmental law group will be at the Salon des affaires municipales and take part in the annual convention of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités.


June 2015

Regroupement des gens d'affaires de Boisbriand gala

On May 1st, André Morin, Étienne-Louis Morin, Jean-Philippe Desabrais and I attended the gala held by the Regroupement des gens d'affaires de Boisbriand (RGAB). We are proud to announce that Prévost Fortin d'Aoust earned the Création ou maintien d'emploi sur le territoire de la ville de Boisbriand award in recognition of the firm's efforts to create and maintain employment in Boisbriand. An honourable mention went to our fourth-floor neighbour Univesta, which was the runner-up in the category.


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