Sudbury

Judge rules that North Bay grandparents don't owe child support

A North Bay couple won't have to pay child support for their granddaughter, but their legal struggles aren't over.

Mother was asking for $760 per month, plus $47,000 in back pay

A judge has ruled that Conrad Hunter and Denise Deforge of North Bay don't have to pay child support to the mother of their 10-year-old granddaughter. (Erik White/CBC)

A judge has ruled that a North Bay, Ont. couple doesn't owe child support to the mother of their granddaughter.

Denise Deforge and Conrad Hunter appeared in court in December, where a judge considered a request that they pay $760 dollars a month, plus $47,000 in back pay going back to 2013 when the girl's father, Deforge and Hunter's son, died in an accident.

The mother of their 10-year-old granddaughter argued that they were her defacto parents.

But a judge turned down the request earlier this month, ruling that Deforge and Hunter did not display a "settled intention" to treat the girl as their child.

"I think the system realized that grandparents are a big part of their grandchildren's lives and that grandparents play a bigger role in their grandchildren's lives than they did long ago," Deforge says.

The CBC requested comment from the mother's lawyer and received no response.

Hunter says despite winning the child support argument, they'll be going back to court because the judge also agreed with the mother that the grandparents should get less time with the girl.

"So now with the access being restricted to once a month instead of every second weekend and every Wednesday, my granddaughter, she's not happy with that," Hunter says, adding that he plans to set-up a website with their court documents to assist other grandparents going through similar court battles.

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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