in_excelsis_dea (in_excelsis_dea) wrote in little_details,

Social Services, Custody and Moving across Boarders with a Minor

I've asked about this topic before and have done loads of research. But before I can go on in my story, I need to ask a couple of more questions. Searched: pretty much everything having to do with adoption, international family adoption, putative paternal rights, Toronto Ministry of Youth and Children Services, laws about child abandonment and custody in Ontario, and much more.

Setting: January 2003, Toronto, Ontario
Background: 12 year-old boy and his guardian get into a car accident. The guardian dies. The previously missing father shows up at the scene completely coincidentally. Due to certain circumstances, he realizes that the boy must be his son. The mother is missing and presumed dead and he had no idea that she was pregnant when she went missing. It's probably not the best idea, but the father takes the son with him and just drives off, trying to work through the situation in his head. They get stuck in a blizzard about two and a half hours north of Toronto and the father intends to return with the boy the next day.

I know that the father shouldn't have left, etc. But he has the power to pretty much do what he wants. He does plan on returning the boy. What I want to know is this: Say the father and boy show up at the police station (by this time the father has already called a lawyer and learned who was in charge with dealing with the accident). Would the Ministry of Children and Youth Services get involved? IIRC, in the states usually a case worker from Social Services is called. But I can't find that out exactly in Canada. Also, if the father requests to keep the son with him while the accident is being investigated, would he be allowed to do so? At the moment, he has no proof that the boy is his son. The father is not a citizen -- would that affect matters any? How long would the boy have to stay in the care of a foster family/in a home? Until the father proved that he was the father? Or longer? It's going to be clear pretty soon that the mother is completely out of the picture.

Also, the father eventually wants to get full custody of his son. The mother has essentially abandoned the boy and because he's the father, I don't believe it would be too hard for him to convince a judge to award him full custody. But: the father was living in London, about to move to New York and the boy has lived in Canada his entire life (but is a US citizen). What country would be the most likely setting for the custody hearing? Seeing as how the boy is a US citizen, would the father have any trouble crossing the boarder if he doesn't have custody yet? Would the police let him leave with the boy if he didn't have an official custody order? Because it's a car accident, I don't think that the police will have too much to investigate. But would they still be involved in the search for the mother and figuring out the details of the guardian's estate?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

How long would the proceeding take? I know that adoptions can take months - or even years - but because this isn't really a true adoption, I'm a bit confused
Tags: canada (misc), ~custody & social services

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