Judge calls Vernon dentist's decade-long custody battle 'unprecedented' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Judge calls Vernon dentist's decade-long custody battle 'unprecedented'

Vernon dentist Dr. Andrew Hokhold
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Hockhold Inc.

A North Okanagan dentist involved in what is possibly the longest-running custody battle in the history of the province, has had his latest demands from the court dismissed.

Armstrong dentist Dr. Andrew Hokhold had asked the court to remove his children from his ex-partner and to schedule a 10-week trial to assess the permanent relocation of his kids.

The dentist also asked for the "immediate arrest" of his ex-wife, and that he be given the sole control of the children’s passports and birth certificates, along with a stipulation that he could prevent them from using cellphones and computers.

The legal challenge is one of many Hokhold has launched against his former spouse over the years, having once been described by a judge as using a "scorched earth war" approach to litigation against his former partner.

In a B.C. Supreme Court decision, Oct. 28, Justice Allan Betton dismissed all four of Hokhold's latest applications.

"I cannot speak for the Court generally, but in my experience and to my knowledge, the level of activity in the courts connected with this family law case by these parties is unprecedented," he said in the decision. "It has been the subject of comment by me frequently in the context of the many applications that I have heard since being assigned by the Chief Judge of this Court to this matter."

READ MORE: Court won't even consider latest filings from Vernon dentist, vexatious litigant

In 2017, Hokhold was declared a "vexatious litigant" and barred from taking any further legal action against his former spouse without permission from the court.

The decision says Hokhold has filed more than 200 affidavits, some containing as many as 2,500 pages.

Where Dr. Hokhold is with child support payments is unclear, however, in 2015 he was roughly $500,000 in arrears and failed to provide the court with a satisfactory explanation as to why.

In 2018 he spent 10 days in jail for disobeying a court order, and once so unnerved a judge with his behaviour, another judge reported him to the RCMP.

Regardless of this, Hokhold has continued with his litigation.

"New applications are a frequent occurrence, and it is exceedingly difficult to manage the demands for court resources," Justice Betton said in the decision. "As can be seen from these applications, there is frequently overlapping claims and elements of redundancy in the various applications made."

READ MORE: Judge warned RCMP about Vernon dentist's behaviour

Justice Betton points out that the endless litigation must be having an effect on the children.

"There have been many suggestions and recommendations on ways that the parties could move forward to improve those circumstances," the Justice said.

According to the court document, almost 10 years ago a doctor expressed concern about the amount of litigation taking place and that such a high degree of conflict between the parents risked impacting the children.

The doctor noted that in 20 years of conducting assessments he'd never been asked to review such a large volume of material.

The decision says another independent expert conducted therapy reports in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and said that long-term hostilities between the parents are a major source of stress for the children.

These reports appear to have made no difference and Justice Betton pointed out that "almost immediately" after a Views of the Children report was obtained in September 2020, new applications filed were filed in court.

Ultimately the Justice dismissed all of Hokhold's applications calling his request for his former-spouse's arrest "untenable."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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