Race Is Not a Determinative Factor': Mixed Race Children and Custody Cases in Canada

Susan B Boyd, Krisha Dhaliwal

Research output: Articlepeer-review


The focus of the paper is an analysis of reported Canadian custody cases in which a child's mixed race heritage was mentioned in the written judgment, both before and after the leading case, Van de Perre v. Edwards. The caselaw analysis considers questions such as judicial racism, "race-matching," and how race and culture are weighed against other factors relevant to a child's best interests. The conclusion offers suggestions for how courts should deal with custody disputes over mixed race children, based on trends identified in the case law. While racialized parents are not inevitably best suited for primary custody of mixed race children, it is key for any parent seeking custody to demonstrate their ability to foster the healthy development of a child's multifaceted identity. More directive legislative language might be useful in order to ensure that at least some judicial attention is paid to race and culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-380
Number of pages72
JournalCanadian Journal of Family Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Copyright - Copyright Canadian Journal of Family Law 2015

Document feature - References; Tables

Last updated - 2023-11-21


SubjectsTermNotLitGenreText - Canada

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