We urge you to vote for family equality on May 27th. Vote for Bill C-560.
1061 Mines Rd. RR2
Falmouth, NS B0P 1L0
Phone, 902 791 0958
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 6:43 PM
Subject: [CEPC_Members] Contact your MP before May 27th to end the feudal family law system and vote for Bill C-560
Ending the feudal family law system is the aim of C-560
The foundation of British law is the “Magna Carta” which for the first time, effectively restrained the judgment or discretion of the king.
Parents across Canada have organized to reform family law with latest efforts resulting in a bill in Parliament, C560, expected to get a second reading in May, 2014.
In April, 2013, Supreme Court Judge Thomas Cromwell released a report, commissioned by the Chief Justice, which called for a complete overhaul of family courts, bemoaned the failure of 30 years of “reforms” controlled by the legal profession, and slammed family law for inaccessibility, dismal outcomes and creating disrespect for the legal system. The report called for “consensual decisions” by parents.
Bill C560 aims to implement selected best practices from other jurisdictions to encourage parents to make such “consensual decisions”, to reduce conflict and costly legal battles, and also to ensure that both parents have the option of equal time with their children unless proven unfit.
These reforms are long overdue: A joint Senate-Commons report accepted by Parliament recommended shared parenting and equality of parents in 48 reforms in 1998. Every single recommendation was blocked by legal profession vested interests, who make billions of dollars from the current adversarial system.
When legal profession advocate Nicholas Bala says the system needs more “resources” – he means more money. Thus the choice is clear: either taxpayers pour further dollars into the current dysfunctional system, or we implement a selection of practices which have reduced costs to parents and children in other jurisdictions. Those practices make up Bill C560.
Advocates of the current sole custody system don’t seem to be able to avoid making two claims: that more money to the existing “stakeholders” will fix the system and promoting unfounded prejudicial stereotypes against fathers. The Supreme Court report dismissed the first claim, so let’s examine one of the unfounded stereotypes:
Claims that large number of abusive fathers are gaining custody are belied by research which consistently shows that children are safer with fathers than with sole maternal custody. Social science also shows that joint custody or equal parenting reduces both conflict and abuse outcomes.
It is time to move beyond simplistic gender stereotypes and do what social science overwhelmingly shows is in children’s best interest: keep both parents unless clear proof of unfitness.
To argue over which is more disadvantaged, the “winners” or the “losers” of child custody cases is pointless: let us agree that a child who goes into family courts with two fit parents and ends up with only one is the real loser. Let us agree that legal and other adversarial professionals who exploit that process to line their pockets are the winners, pious claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
Bill C560 is a good initiative to reduce legal incentives to remove a fit parent without substantial evidence. In his book, “Equal Parenting Presumption”, custody expert Edward Kruk shows that at least 40% time sharing (preferably 50%) is the key to making real reforms work and improving outcomes for children and parents. Equal time as the starting point means both parents need not fear arbitrary loss of their kids and in practice most often work out their own parenting plan (which need not be 50/50).
A key point of Bill C560 is to define “best interests of the child” as keeping both parents unless one is proven unfit.
The last reforms parents successfully pushed for (1986) included the “friendly parent rule” which was supposed to presume joint custody by giving preference to the parent who would most encourage parenting by the other parent. Judges generally “read out” this provision of the Divorce Act, inserting the presumption that existence of conflict meant they could exercise judicial discretion and order sole custody. Worse, judges often presume that removing the parent seeking joint custody or equal parenting will stop conflict. It is a feudal system when the decision maker has complete discretion/decision rights without any responsibility for the outcomes. Social science research shows that sole custody generates conflict and disadvantages children, yet judges claim this is in “best interests of the child.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Parents say that outcomes from the adversarial system have not perceptibly changed over the last several decades. Vested interests oppose changes since they make money from adversarial divorce and sole custody.
Bill C-560 brings long overdue non-adversarial reforms to a broken system. It should be supported by all members of Parliament as such reforms are supported by over 80% of the Canadian public.
Parents and supporters of these reforms should can call their federal MP and ask he or she to vote in favour of C-560. You can call in to radio or contact other media and make the point that your MP ran on the shared parenting policy in the last election and that your vote in the next election depends on how they vote May 27th for second reading.
Glenn Cheriton, President, Canadian Equal Parenting Council
p.s. Here are some links to help you support equal parenting reforms:
Posted by: “Glenn at Cheriton.ca” <Glenn@Cheriton.ca>