Mr. Baratz has successfully represented countless parents involved in family law disputes including Child Protection (CAS) cases since opening his practice. The following cases are only a sample of family court cases Mr. Baratz has been involved in.
*Names have been replaced by initials to respect the privacy of clients.
CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY
C.B. was a father of two girls aged 1 and 3. Both children were apprehended by the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. The child protection concerns raised in this case were mom’s severe alcohol problems, domestic violence between the couple and the father’s alleged history of sexual abuse against underage girls, his anger management and his criminal record, to name a few.
After a hard fought battle, the court had determined that it could not establish that the father was in fact a sexual predator. His prior offences were minor and were committed when he himself was a teenager. It was partially based on these allegations that the CAS had initially apprehended his own girls. Initially, the court refused to grant him any access to see his children, but eventually after numerous highly contested court motions, supervised access was ordered.
A trial took place whereby the CAS attempted to have the children placed for adoption with no access to the parents. The CAS tried to demonstrate that the father was not exercising good access. As it turned out the CAS had cherry picked examples – the majority of the father’s access was excellent. In this case, the maternal grandmother obtained custody of the children as she was put forward as the father’s alternate plan. Nevertheless the father’s access rights were preserved in tact after the trial. He hopes to one day obtain full custody of his children.
CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY
B.G. was the father to two boy twins ages 3 years old. The twins were apprehended by the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. The child protection concerns raised in this case involved domestic abuse between the parents, including B.G.’s constant incarceration.
Furthermore, on one occasion when B.G. was arrested for a domestic incident with the mother, cocaine was found in the rectum of B.G. He claimed that he quickly hid the drugs so that the police would not find them and notify the CAS who was already involved in the family’s life. The mother had criminal matters of her own, being consistently charged with drug offences and minor thefts. B.G. had claimed however, that the majority of his incarcerations were due to domestic incidents with the mother that were fabricated by the mother as a result of disagreements and the mother’s volatile nature.
In fact, B.G.’s criminal matters kept getting withdrawn by the Crown Attorney thereby corroborating his story. As a result, the twins were placed with B.G.’s father as a supervisor to B.G. Throughout the involvement of the case with CAS, the twins were bounced around between homes far too often. A final domestic incident landed the twins back in foster care as B.G. was back in jail. It wasn’t until B.G. retained Mr. Baratz that he turned everything around. With proper counsel B.G. was able to navigate and understand how to effectively work with CAS to have his children returned.
The fact that the mother had serious immigration problems of her own and was the subject of deportation did not help matters; but her eventual incarceration allowed a firewall between the parents and the conflict stopped. Within a year of proving himself, and a motion for home access brought by Mr. Baratz, B.G. had the twins back in his care under supervision.
Eventually the CAS had requested that he have sole custody. In the end the CAS had terminated their involvement with B.G. To this day B.G. calls to thank Mr. Baratz for this incredible result and saving his twins from adoption (which Mr. Baratz maintains would not have been possible but for the excellent work and dedication of B.G.).
In Child Protection cases one must always remember that a lawyer can only do so much – at the end, the old saying applies: you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.
CUSTODY AND ACCESS:
In this case Mr. Baratz represented S.B., who was a single mother struggling with maintaining employment and dealing with a serious disability. Her and the father, K.M. had an 8 year old boy together but were living separate and apart.
S.B. had the child reside with her well over 60 percent of the time thus giving her primary residence, despite a non-existent access agreement. The father, A.M., however, was constantly travelling out of town and was refusing to pay child support, yet he was refusing to help S.B. He was also self employed as a taxi driver and under-reported his income to the CRA to avoid tax and support payments. He also argued that because the child was with him approximately 40 percent of the time, he should not have to pay any support. It was time to take the matter to court.
After the matter was brought to court, and extensive disclosure requests, it was deemed that the father had to pay child support based on an imputed income. The couple had been married and subsequently divorced at the end of the proceeding, however, K.M. had to pay the mother spousal support for an indefinite period of time.
The length of the marriage, the youthfulness of the child and the mother’s disability had been factors that were applied in arriving at the quantum of spousal support. A rigid schedule in favour of S.B. was also ordered that alleviated the unpredictability of access.
CUSTODY AND ACCESS:
In this case, Mr. Baratz represented D.A., a father of an 8 year old girl, S.A. He had come to Mr. Baratz already having a custody order for S.A. The mother was having alternate weekend access overnights with S.A. The mother had other children with a different father who she was now living with. S.A. was not happy visiting overnight with the mother on the weekends and also during summer access times. S.A. had made allegations that she was mistreated at her mother’s house on many fronts. The mother had brought the matter back to court wanting to vary and challenge the custody order and increase her access to S.A. The matter was before the courts for some time prior to Mr. Baratz being retained. An OCL (Office of the Children’s Lawyer) was appointed to obtain the views and preferences of S.A., which was clear that she wanted to reside with her father and limit the amount of time she would spend with her mother. This case was extremely high conflict such that the CAS became involved as well. In the end, a new final order was obtained whereby the mother’s access was limited to the wishes of S.A. (when S.A. wished to see her mother). While the result was very positive for Mr. Baratz’s client, one must never lose sight of what the Mother had lost in this case, despite the allegations made by S.A. The test for the best interest of the child was triggered in this case, however it clear that when parents separate there never really is a winner or a loser.