Canadian Journal of Family Law


Catherine Wang

First Page


Document Type

Case Comment


Over time, courts have come to acknowledge the significance of Indigenous identity when deciding custody disputes, but they continue to struggle with how much consideration should be given to the broader history involved, which can leave Indigenous mothers particularly disadvantaged in family law proceedings. Not only do Indigenous mothers have to contend with the law’s general assumptions and expectations about mothers, they also have to endure the courts’ often limited ability to situate mothers’ individual actions in the wider context of structural barriers erected by government and societal forces. A close examination of the recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision in M.M. v. T.B. provides a useful example of the challenges that Indigenous mothers can face, as well as the competing interests that courts must balance in these circumstances.