Unfortunately, the people who tend to suffer the most through a divorce tend to be the children.
For the most part, parents do take steps to prevent their kids from becoming involved with the proceedings, but incidents do occur where one partner is more interested in making things as difficult as possible instead of collaborating with their ex-spouse for the sake of the kids.
Health cards represent one of the most important documents that your child requires to gain access to medical services. For this reason, possession of health cards can turn into a serious issue, creating unnecessary friction and problems for the child. In Ontario, this issue may even pop up in court, which may alter how child custody is awarded.
Health Cards As a Divorce Asset
During a contentious divorce, spouses sometimes take whatever steps they can to create problems for their ex-spouse, even if it affects the kids. In addition to fights about finances, custody arrangements may become a bitter battleground with one parent attempting to hurt the other by preventing access to kids. In retaliation, rather than proceed within a legal framework, an ex might decide to sabotage the parenting process to make their target appear to be incompetent.
In the case of health cards, since doctors and hospitals require the documentation to be presented with every visit, withholding access to a health card can begin a fight that involves holding the cards as “hostage”. This despicable occurrence can actually prevent the child from receiving needed care, while providing the false impression that one parent is more competent than the other.
As such, similar to one spouse attempting to hide financial assets in hidden accounts, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan card may be considered as an asset to manipulate the divorce process in a malicious manner. Playing with the health of the child by attempting to control government-issued identification creates nothing but conflict and negativity while polluting the divorce process.
Prevention Cures Abusive Divorce Practices
When children end up officially living in two separate homes with two parents, other provinces and all private health insurers prevent this problem from taking place by automatically issuing two health cards. By taking this simple step, the ugly tactic of health card hoarding may be eliminated from Ontario divorce proceedings entirely.
Unfortunately, Ontario remains an outlier in Canada in solving this serious problem, in addition to other problems that arise in divorce, such as school transportation. When an Ontario Human Rights tribunal forced the London District Catholic School Board to pick up kids at both homes instead of one, litigation ended for this issue.
If the province of Ontario decided to issue a second card so both parents can bring their kids to the doctor, health card hoarding would cease to be a problem. Instead, both ex-spouses and the court system would spend more time getting through the divorce and minimizing the impact that the split has on kids.
Protect Your Children Throughout Your Divorce Proceedings
Until the province of Ontario decides to provide two health cards for children living in separate residences, the issue of OHIP card hoarding will continue to waste time in courts and traumatize families. Preventing spouses from making this mistake will help to make the court system a safer and more humane place for children.
Galbraith Family Law lawyers are trained in Collaborative Practice, and we have been named the top firm by the Barrie Examiner multiple times. Our legal insights have also been featured in the Globe and Mail, as well as Lawyers Weekly.
Click here to contact us, or to schedule a consultation. Or you can call the local office listed at the top of the page.