In Bridge v. Bridge, 2022 ONSC 1944, Chown J. considered the meaning of the phrase “habitual resides” in rule 5(1)(b) of the Family Law Rules, O. Reg. 114/99. The rule states that a case which deals with parenting time shall be started in the municipality where the child “habitual resides”. Until recently, the phrase “ordinarily resides” was used but this was replaced with the phrase “habitually resides” effective March 1, 2021. This was coordinated with a similar change in the Divorce Act which took effect on the same date, replacing the phrases a “ordinarily resides” and “ordinarily resident" to “habitually resides” and “habitually resident” throughout the English version of the act.
The matrimonial home was in Bruce County. When the parties separated in October of 2021, the mother and the three children moved from Bruce County to Simcoe County. Although the move was done without explicit notice to the father, Chown J. found that the father knew that the mother would move with the children to Simcoe County and that he impliedly consented to this move.
The phrase “habitual residence” is not defined in the Divorce Act, the Family Law Act, or the Family Law Rules. It is, however, defined in the CLRA at s. 22(2), which states:
A child is habitually resident in the place where the child resided in whichever of the following circumstances last occurred:
It is appropriate to adopt the definition of the phrase “habitually resides” from the CLRA when interpreting the Divorce Act, the Family Law Act, and the Family Law Rules for three reasons:
When the children moved to Simcoe County with the implied consent of the applicant, they became habitually resident in Simcoe County (para 4).