Canadian Family Law – A National Shame
There is something very despicable and dishonorable happening on a regular basis in Canada’s Family Law Courts. Dr. Kruk’s recent report as received considerable media attention and highlights how Canada’s Family Law Courts do not act in the best interest of children. It is now becoming very clear that:
CHILDREN ARE HARMED BY SOLE CUSTODY
Family court judges are misguidedly harming children by granting sole custody to one parent–usually the mother–in bitter divorce battles, says a comprehensive new report.
Too many children are being "robbed of the love of one parent" by a legal system that is out of touch with the needs of children and treats them like property to be won or lost, says Edward Kruk, an expert on child custody issues.
"The system is set up to polarize parents, to make them enemies, to set up fights over custody and exacerbate conflict rather than reduce it," says Kruk, an associate professor of social work at the University of British Columbia, whose three-year study is now in the hands of Canada’s justice minister.
He calls what’s happening in Canada‘s divorce courts "a national shame" that leaves families bankrupt from legal fees and pushing parents, especially fathers, to suicide.
Especially devastating are the long-term effects of court orders that essentially cut one parent out of children’s lives – usually the dad – in a misguided effort to foster peace between warring parents, the report says.
Citing a host of North American studies, Kruk’s report points to the long-term dangers: Some 85 per cent of youth in prison are fatherless; 71 per cent of high school dropouts grew up without fathers, as did 90 per cent of runaway children. Fatherless youth are also more prone to depression, suicide, delinquency, promiscuity, drug abuse, behavioural problems and teen pregnancy, warns the 84-page report, a compilation of dozens of studies around divorce and custody, including some of his own research over the past 20 years.
PROMOTE EQUAL PARENTING
Lorne Gunter, National Post, Monday, April 6, 2009
"The other glaring example of anti-male bias comes from Justice Canada’s rejection of a 1998 recommendation by a joint Commons-Senate committee that all child custody awards in divorce cases start as 5050 mother-father arrangements. Not only did the justice department ignore the suggestion of “equal parenting,” in 2001 arch-feminist civil servants conducted their own cross-country review in secret, inviting testimony only from those special interest “experts” who agreed with their jaded view of men."-
If, in divorce, one parent is given far more time than the other with the children, the kids suffer badly from the loss of affection and contact with the non-custodial parent, who is usually the father.
The despicable and dishonorable nature of Canada’s Family Law Courts is now being publicly exposed by the mainstream media on a regular basis:
GENDER BIAS EVIDENT IN PARENT ALIENATION CASES
Mothers are more likely to be the parent behind children’s estrangement, yet fathers more often ordered into counseling, study finds
Kirk Makin, Toronto Globe and Mail
Saturday, March 28, 2009
JUSTICE REPORTER — A study of alienated children has found that mothers were significantly more likely to be the parent who emotionally poisoned their children than were fathers.
Toronto family lawyer Gene Colman told a Toronto symposium yesterday that of 74 court rulings that found parental alienation since 1987, the mother was the alienator in 50 cases. The father was the alienating parent in 24.
Mr. Colman said that alienating fathers were twice as likely to be ordered to undergo counselling as were mothers in alienation cases – a finding that raises serious questions about whether judges are exhibiting gender biases.
Twelve of the 50 alienating mothers in his study were ordered into counselling, as compared with 13 of 24 fathers. "As social scientists will tell you, that is a high level of statistical significance in terms of differential treatment by gender," Mr. Colman said.
Fathers who had their alienated children switched from their homes were granted some form of access by the courts in a "much lower" percentage of cases than were mothers.
Fathers who alienate their children are somewhat more likely to have their children removed from their residence and relocated with the mother.
FATHERS “REDUCED TO ATM STATUS” BY THE COURTS
Published: Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Re: No More Tug of War, Justice Harvey Brownstone, April 3.
What Justice Brownstone fails to mention in his attack on separated parents is the extent to which they are merely responding rationally to the adversarial, winner-take-all system they face in court.
A survey of family court cases in Ontario since 2000 reveals that almost 80% of the time costs are awarded against the father. That gives a fair indication of a father’s chances of success in family court. Nearly always, he is relegated to the status of a visitor in his child’s life, and reduced to the psychological state of an ATM. Justice Brownstone also admonishes parents to separate financial issues from parenting issues.
Yet family court judges are so eager to award mothers exclusive use of the matrimonial home and begin the flow of "maintenance" that parenting issues usually get dealt with summarily on the basis of myths and stereotypes. Judges create the unseemly focus on money matters, while refusing to take access denial and parental alienation seriously. (One judge, now on the Court of Appeal in Alberta, told me that it is not his job to "punish" mothers who deny access and alienate the children.)
Until family court judges clean up their own act by implementing a presumption of equal shared parenting and favouring the more co-operative parent in custody disputes, nothing is going to change significantly.
Grant A. Brown,