Time for Canada to embrace equal shared parenting.


Subject: Re: [CEPC_Members] Law Times- Speaker’s Corner: Time for Canada to embrace equal shared parenting

Speaker’s Corner: Time for Canada to embrace equal shared parenting

Monday, 05 May 2014 08:00 | Written By Brian Ludmer | Print | Email

 

From the 1998 Senate special joint committee recommendations to the present, numerous reports and statements concerning the family law system have recognized the need for fundamental reform as it relates to contested custody cases.

Bill C-560, a private member’s bill proposed by Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott, is a reasonable and balanced proposal to address the current broken system. Parliament will debate bill C-560 on May 7, followed by a second reading vote.

The principal change to the Divorce Act, with the goal of reducing incentives for bitter and expensive litigation over children, is the proposal for a rebuttable presumption that equal shared parenting would support the best interests of the children unless a party can establish that some other parenting plan would substantially enhance those interests.
Section 16(10) of the Divorce Act, as amended in 1985, calls for a consideration of maximum contact with both parents. However, experience with reported decisions to date has shown that the great majority of decisions are still following a primary and secondary parent model with secondary parent time-shares running from 16 per cent (alternate two-day weekends and some mid-week contact for a few hours) to 35 per cent (alternate three-day weekends and one mid-week overnight) after accounting for equal vacation time.
However, social science research overwhelmingly supports the more current understanding that children need, benefit from, and want two primary parent relationships after separation rather than one parent and someone they go to visit. Among the leading experts globally is Prof. Ed Kruk of the University of British Columbia. He recently published a book with a synthesis of the rationale for equal shared parenting and a listing of the leading global peer-reviewed research.

There’s wide acceptance that children deprived of meaningful relationships with one of their parents are at greater psychological risk even when they’re able to maintain relationships with the other parent and that shared time and parenting between two parents works. Shared custody agreements have also been shown to reduce parental conflict and increase co-operation over time.
Bill C-560 recognizes that the current effort to specify with precision a specific time-share between a primary and secondary parent isn’t logically or empirically justified. Custody litigation seeking to marginalize one parent has no discernible benefit when measured against the financial and emotional cost and the impact on the children of litigation.
Public opinion polls over many years have consistently shown up to 80-per-cent support for equal shared parenting across all demographics, regions, and political affiliations. Support among Canadian women is indistinguishable from men, and a global group called Leading Women for Shared Parenting is assisting in efforts in Canada and elsewhere. Perhaps this is because, according to Statistics Canada in 2012, the employment rate for women with children under six years old was 67.8 per cent (up from 31.4 per cent in 1976) and 79 per cent for women with children from six to 15 years old (up from 46.4 per cent in 1976).
Despite the development of both permissive and mandatory mediation, collaborative law organizations, and parent education programs, the family law courts remain overburdened with substantial backlogs due to child-related disputes. This problem, together with the associated costs to taxpayers and parents, has only gotten worse over the years. The cost of litigation has led to significant advantages for wealthier parents and those more able to represent themselves.

The opposition to equal shared parenting frequently comes from divorce industry professionals who might have difficulty reviewing bill C-560 objectively since one of the main goals and likely effects of the Divorce Act amendment is to reduce the current plague of custody litigation. However, many studies identify the very existence of the custody litigation itself as the primary concern regarding the effect of divorce on children.
In response to the active discussion in the media and on behalf of several shared parenting organizations, I prepared a document on the myths and facts about bill C-560 that dispels the rhetoric and confusion put forth in opposition to it.

In addition to the public support and strong social sciences empirical support, there are several key facts to consider:
Bill C-560 will foster settlements and reduce litigation due to the requirement that a parent seeking primary parent status must establish that disproportionate parenting time will substantially enhance the best interests of the children, a principle that remains the focus under bill C-560.
Bill C-560 focuses on the right of the child to know and love two primary parents in accordance with the leading research on the best outcomes for children of divorce and Canada’s commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mediated, consensual or, if needed, adjudicated custom solutions are still available under bill C-560 where there is demonstrable merit in light of the unique aspects of the particular family. The proposed legislation does not impose a one-size-fits-all solution; it merely provides a starting point for adjudication based on what works for most children and then still allows for an examination of the unique aspects of a family to see if a disproportionate time-share is justifiable.
Decision-making powers can fall to one parent for good reason even though child time-share is equal or close to equal.

Bill C-560 is an urgently needed, balanced response to a significant social problem that is familiar to anyone with exposure to child custody litigation. The public overwhelmingly supports the equal shared parenting solution. Parliament will soon speak on the issue.


Brian Ludmer of LudmerLaw is a business and family law practitioner and was among the drafters of bill C-560.

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Barbara Kay: Stephen Harper’s last chance to make life fairer for suffering fathers


Barbara Kay: Stephen Harper’s last chance to make life fairer for suffering fathers

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Barbara Kay | May 26, 2014 | Last Updated: May 23 4:52 PM ET
More from Barbara Kay | @BarbaraRKay

In litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/05/26/barbara-kay-stephen-harpers-last-chance-to-make-life-fairer-for-suffering-fathers/

Peter J. Thompson/National PostIn litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.

Tomorrow, May 27, will feature the conclusion of parliamentary debate on Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott’s private member’s Bill C-560, which proposes an amendment to Canada’s Divorce Act that would protect children’s right, in the absence of proven neglect or abuse, to love and be loved equally by both parents after separation.

Our now-superannuated paradigm — one primary, one secondary parent — is based on the flawed assumption that judges can somehow arrive at the “right” distribution of parenting time. Current social science overwhelmingly deems this an impossible task. Litigation necessarily triangulates the children into their parents’ divorce, encouraging drawn-out, financially crippling and emotionally devastating scenarios from which nobody but lawyers profit. It is an unethical and counterproductive model most Canadians firmly deplore.

All informed critics give our system a failing grade. No other alternative proposed over three decades has proven effective. Mediation has not reduced bitter custody litigation. Neither have collaborative lawyers, costs sanctions, parenting education or any other initiatives. Why? Because litigation remains the ace up the sleeve of the less collaborative parent. Sociological research tells us that what children want after separation is two parents, not one parent and a visitor. But once in litigation, although lip service is paid by law associations to the “best interests” of the child, make no mistake: Lawyers work to advance their clients’ wishes, not the children’s.

Related

If the bill were to make it to the Justice Committee of the House of Commons for further study and review, parents, social scientists and others who understand these issues far better than our elected representatives would have an opportunity to speak to the issue. But from a reliable government source, I am informed that cabinet ministers have been instructed to vote against Bill C-560, which will vitiate the substantial number of caucus votes in favour. This decision would be an unconscionable insult to Mr. Vellacott and a repudiation of the party’s erstwhile platform position. Add the mass NDP nays and the paucity of free-vote yays from Liberals, and a good and necessary reform will founder.

If I thought the bill were failing on its merits after a thorough public airing and debate, I could accept it with grace. But there has been no public debate, and I know from discussions with intelligent people — even those who claim to grasp the principles involved — that misconceptions about equal shared parenting as a default abound. One such friend said he disagreed with the bill because “I think mothers should have a larger role in parenting after separation.” He apparently thought the bill would force all parents to hew to the equal-time model. On the contrary: collaborative parents could make any arrangement they liked. The default would avoid litigation in high-conflict cases.

A document called “Myths and Facts” to correct such misconceptions was circulated to everyone in Parliament. It fully responds to every concern raised by the opposition. But it seems very few MPs have read it.

If mothers were the main victims of our failing system, would this bill not have passed by acclamation many years ago?

The fact that 30 cabinet ministers, many (most?) of whom are not really familiar with the parameters of the proposals, can shoot down this excellent, deeply researched and judicious principle — one approved of by 80% of Canadians — without an opportunity to inform themselves thoroughly on what it actually means, is cruelly arbitrary and unjustified by any reasonable criterion.

It is also personally embittering. I am familiar with hundreds of personal stories of literally ruined lives, tales of children anguished by forced separation from beloved parents because the “winner” took “all.” The “losers” are virtually all dads. Can we speak plainly here? If mothers were the main victims of our failing system, would this bill not have passed by acclamation many years ago? Why are politicians so afraid of ideologues? They don’t represent Canadian women, a majority of whom want to see gender fairness entrenched in family law.

Tomorrow will be the last chance for the Conservative government to do the right thing. I call upon the Prime Minister to allow his ministers a free vote in accordance with their individual conscience, and to send Bill C-560 to committee for the meaningful consideration it deserves.

National Post

bkay@videotron.ca

Canadian election party questionnaire about corruption in Family Law


2011 Federal Candidate Questionnaire

on Equal Parenting & Family Law reform

If you have time for only one question, do #1 & e-mail to ccc@coparent.ca

(feel free to attach other sheet to answer “other opinion” or expand your answer, & fax back)

 

Candidate: ______________________

Riding: _______________ Party: _________

  1. None of the 48 recommended changes of the  1998 Joint Senate-Commons committee on child custody and access has been implemented in law. Parents had written their own bill implementing equal parenting, designated  C-422 in the last Parliament, but it died with the election. If elected, are you willing to commit to implementing these long awaited changes to the federal divorce act?

__Yes, ___

__No, ____

 

  1. The 1998 Joint Senate-Commons committee on child custody and access recommended that Divorce law be reformed to move to the term “shared parenting” Do you support reforming law and practice so children in separating families could have more likelihood of benefiting from shared parenting?

__Yes, shared parenting benefits society, too

__No, I prefer sole custody and primary care-giver doctrine.

Other opinion:___________

 

 

 

3. False Accusations: Non-custodial parents (primarily fathers) complain that false accusations, often in custody, access or divorce conflicts, are used in courts to bias cases against them, drain their assets and stereotype them to the profit of the legal system. Should lawyers be held criminally responsible for any demonstrably false accusation, or one which the lawyer ought to know to be false?

__ Yes, personally abusive or offensive tactics and false accusations as negotiating interfere with the orderly administration of justice and have no place in our legal system.

__ No, I support the current system where any falsely person can spend millions pursuing a claim through the Courts to try to clear his name.

Other opinion:___________

 

 

4 Access Enforcement: Divorced parents often complain that court orders giving them access to their children are violated and not enforced. Should government and courts be required to enforce rulings on access?

__Yes, otherwise the courts will be brought into disrepute, making a lawless society.

__ No, the custodial parent should have sole power to decide if and when children see the other parent.

Other opinion: _____________

 

5. Justice Department Consultation: Justice Canada’s consultation policy gives special access to two lobby groups: the legal profession and ideologically selected women’s organizations. Should consultations be opened to all groups?

__ Yes, these two groups have vested interests in the current adversarial system and preserving their income from governments and divorcing parents, so we need more diverse voices, particularly parents in family law matters.

__ No, lawyers’ organizations and feminists can select laws, judges and regulations that the rest of us have to obey.

Other opinion:___________

 

 

 

 

6. The federal government’s Child Support Guidelines are based on a standard of living equalization formula developed by radical feminists, which assumes child care by only one parent, and is based on only one person’s income. Do you agree with this approach?

__ Yes, it makes it simple for judges to order sole custody & includes needed spousal support.

__ No, it is not fair for shared parenting, or if incomes are very different.

Other opinion:___________

 

 

 

7. After the Supreme Court ruled that the deduction-inclusion system was fairer for the majority of women, children and parents, then Finance Minister Paul Martin changed the system for child support to be tax-free to the recipient. Do you agree with this change?

__Yes, Martin’s approach benefits higher income women and gives the government up to a billion dollars more in higher taxes.

__No, the previous system benefited lower income separated parents and parents kept more money to invest in their children.

Other opinion:___________


8.   In 2003 (Then) Justice Minister Cauchon stated that parents have no rights in relation to their children – only obligations.  Do you agree that parents have no rights, only responsibilities?

__  Yes, parents should have no more rights to their children than any member of the public, or convicted child molester.

__  No, parents need a balance of rights and responsibilities  to raise children in Canada.

__  Other opinion: ______________

 

 

9. Bias in Family Courts: separated fathers complain that they pay higher support amounts than women in the same circumstances, are discriminated against in custody and access judgments and often have to pay the legal fees for the other side. Do you agree that this is a problem and that court practice needs to be reformed?

__Yes, this bias, shown in every objective study, can corrupt civil and criminal law so that Canadians don’t respect the legal system.

__ No. Bias, if any, is simply compensation for thousands of years of male-dominated judiciary

Other opinion:___________

 

 

10. Should support be limited? Judges have  support amounts (child + spousal) higher than the payor’s income, resulting in destroyed businesses, ruined careers and suicides. Should support be limited or related to actual income?

__Yes,  a destroyed or suicidal parent is of no support to his child.

__No, judges should continue to attribute income to fathers they don’t like, to benefit women they have sympathy for.

Other opinion:___________

 

 

11. Do you agree: Separated parents should have the same support obligations to adult children as married parents. (Currently only separated, non-custodial parents are forced to support “children” as old as 28)

__ Yes, as there is no assurance that the money actually goes to benefit the adult child.

__ No, I support the current law & practice which takes money from the NC parent to benefit the CP (custodial parent).

Other opinion:

 

12. Female Parents get preferential treatment in the Income Tax Act, parental leave, Canada Pension Plan and many other laws.  Do you agree that mothers and fathers should be equal in all federal laws and regulations?

__Yes, we give women equality in the workplace, so we should give men equality in  the home.

__ No, I agree with the current approach, as any government assistance to fathers might reduce the amounts available to mothers.

Other opinion: _____________

 

 

 

13. Justice Canada has published “spousal support guidelines” recommending their use by judges, although these have never been reviewed by Parliament or the public. Do you agree with this approach to regulating courts?

__Yes, one or two law professors can produce better results than democratically elected politicians.

__ No, this sets a dangerous, un-democratic precedent.

__  Other opinion:

 

 

 

14. In the Same Sex Marriage bill (2005) the terms mother and father in federal legislation were replaced with, “legal parent”, a change giving power to judges and bureaucrats to remove or suspend traditional natural parent rights. Do you agree with the “legal parent” change?

__Yes, I agree with Justice Canada that eliminating parent rights is necessary for same sex equality.

__ No, natural parents need a balance of rights and responsibilities to raise Canada’s children.

__  Other opinion:

 

 

 

 

Please complete and return this questionnaire to:

Family Forum Fax: (613) 260-0401 Or mail:

631 Tubman, Ottawa, Ontario K1V 8L5

(or you can get this questionnaire as a word file by request at ccc@coparent.ca
Family Forum Questionnaire

c/o 631 Tubman

Ottawa K1V 8L5

 

 

__._,_.___

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional  Family Justice Questionnaire.

Please return  answers  to:

Connie Brauer and Victor Harris

RR2

1061 Mines Rd.

Falmouth, NS B0P 1L0

Canada

Phone and Fax :  902.798.5267

Email: cbrauer@eastlink.ca

http://www.stopthetorture.info

 

Candidate________________________ Party_______________________________________

What is your party doing to:

 

  1. End the abuse, incompetence, discrimination and slavery  by Canadian judges against non custodial families? Systematic destruction to families.

 

 

 

  1. What is your party doing to ensure the GUARANTEED Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are upheld and ENFORCED by judges? There is no Charter. No judges will uphold it.

 

 

 

  1. What is your party doing to end the fraudulent child support, theft and extortion of missing, adult children by the judges? Fraud, theft, extortion and parental alienation is rampant in our courts.

 

  1. What is your party doing to end discrimination and abuse of parents and children by sole custody parents and their biased judges? Judges always support the custodial parent and criminalize the non custodial parent.

 

 

 

 

  1. What is your party doing to stop the human trafficking of babies and children by judges who automatically award permanent custody to Children’s Aid Societies who apply for apprehension orders based on no threat or evidence of physical harm? Saw this with my own eyes!

 

If you think this isn’t happening in our country, you are not informed. These Crimes Against Humanity are being practiced every day, in every court in Canada. Who speaks for Canadian families? This could happen to your family.

 

 

 

 

Take it from one who has been there.

 

Connie Brauer and Victor Harris

RR2

1061 Mines Rd.

Falmouth, NS B0P 1L0

Canada

Phone and Fax :  902.798.5267

Email: cbrauer@eastlink.ca

http://www.stopthetorture.info

 

What boys are not being taught! Frightening!


http://www.squidoo.com/TeenBoysNSexEd#module148790895

 

What Boys Are Not Being Taught!

According to a study featured on the Tyra Banks Show (2009), 20% of sexually active girls, age 12-18, were TRYING TO GET PREGNANT. Some teen girls willing to go to extremes to have a child.  This is something not commonly discussed in sex education classes, along with the difficulties faced by boys who learn the girl they have been having sex with is, or may be, pregnant . Below are some answers to questions posed on Internet Q&A Sites.

If I get a girl pregnant, will I be responsible for child support, though I’m too young to work?
Yes, regardless of your age, you are still responsible. If you cannot work, the court will set a presumed amount and set the obligation on your parents, attaching their wages. If for any reason their wages cannot be attached, then arrears will accumulate, plus up to 18% yearly penalties, until which time you get a job.

For a minimum $50 per month child support payment, the accumulated amount yearly, plus interest, would be $708. Once you get a job, aside from the fact the payment will be increased to match your earnings, 50% of your “gross income” would be attached to pay the arrears.

What would be my rights to the child?
Your rights are very limited.  In no US State, as well as most countries, do males who have fathered a child with a female he is not married to have any “presumed rights” to the child. Only Germany has such a law, which their legislature was ordered to pass by the German Supreme Court in September of 2010.

Any rights must be granted by the courts, at a cost of upwards of $3000 in attorney fees. This is regardless of whether you are listed on the birth certificate, or even have been living with the mother for some period of time. Further, in most states, being ordered to pay child support does not automatically grant you any rights to see the child.

A girl I had sex with got pregnant; however she has also slept with other boys. She has not named the father, can I still be held responsible for Child Support?
Yes in all states, if you are the father. However, though rare, there are circumstances, under which you could be ordered to pay, if you are the only male she can clearly identify as a potential father. In 20 states, once a child support order is put into place, it cannot be overturned, regardless of paternity.

Can I demand a Paternity test to be done if I think I’m the father of a child?
Yes, this can be done by court order, and should be if there is ANY CHANCE you may be the father. Depending on the state where she is living at the time she files, she can wait up to 23 years to name the father of her child, and file for up to 18 years of retroactive child support.  At the maximum, for a minimum wage earner, this would come to at least $52,000. Added to that would also be interest penalties (3% to 18% per year), which at the minimum, could double the amount.

My girlfriend is much older, and she is pregnant.  Since I’m underage, and she is an adult, do I have to pay child support since she committed a crime?
Yes, there are no allowed defenses against being ordered to pay child support.  Though an adult female can be jailed for having sex with a minor, the child will go to her relatives, or into state foster care, either of whom can seek child support from you, and/or your parents.  Due to being underage, neither you nor your parents have standing in the courts to file for custody.

I used protection, yet the girl I was having sex with still got pregnant.
It should be noted that studies show that 20% of sexually active girls, age 12-18, are TRYING TO GET PREGNANT.  For one desiring to do so, there are always ways to circumvent any form of protection.  It should also be noted that according to the United Nations World Health Organization, the Spermicidal Cream in condoms have a limited shelf life of effectiveness.

I only had oral sex with a girl, yet she is now claiming that she is pregnant by me.  How can this be possible?
In 2005,  Dr. Richard O. Phillips of Illinois, was ordered to pay child support after only having oral sex with a woman, who became pregnant. She had made use of a Self Insemination Kit, available online, to impregnate herself. Note that as it is with women having sex with a minor, the cause of the pregnancy is not considered a defense against paying child support. Some teen girls are willing to go to extremes to have a child.

If my girlfriend gets pregnant, but does not want the child, can I stop her from getting an abortion?
No. Regardless of your personal, political, or religious views, the law of the land grant females of all ages this right. This is something one must consider before making a choice of character, as in having sex outside marriage.

My pregnant girlfriend says she plans to put my child up for adoption. Can she do this without my permission?

This is a controversial area that has been in the news in the last 12 months.  In Ohio, for six years, a couple has fought against the father of their adopted child, who from right after the time of the birth, has tried to gain custody of his child that the mother place up for adoption. He finally won custody in December, but the case is not being appealed to the US Supreme Court.

The laws on your right to stop an adoption vary from state to state. In Kansas, you must be paying for 50% of the financial cost of the pregnancy, starting within eight weeks of conception. This can be difficult is you did not know she was pregnant, or claimed you were not the father.

In some states, you must register with the state any time you have sex with a female, to whom you are not married, in order to challenge any possible adoption.Safe Have Laws By State Statute Of Limitations

Most states have Putative Father registries, whereas you must register within 24-hours or up to two months, following the birth. However, they do not advertise this fact.

Many fathers have found, as a result of not registering, that they cannot stop the adoption, even after they have begun paying child support. Further, in states with Safe Haven Laws, the mother has up to one year to abandon the child, “NO QUESTIONS ASKED”, which can happen after the father has been ordered to pay child support.

Read the rest of the story here.

Lawyers to be kept out of divorce battles


Lawyers to be kept out of divorce battles

Lawyers will be kept out of thousands of family dispute cases every year in a shake-up of divorce laws.

By Nick Collins
Published: 7:30AM BST 18 Oct 2010

21 Comments

Couple arguing, divorce, seperation, conflict, family matter, family conflict, row

The number of divorce cases rose 16 per cent to 137,000 last year, with the average childcare case taking more than 12 months to be completed Photo: PHOTOLIBRARY

A government review is to recommend the introduction of a compulsory mediation stage before any financial or custodial dispute is heard in court.

The plan, to be published at the start of next year, will also introduce briefer and simpler hearings for cases that cannot be resolved by mediation.

David Norgrove, who is leading the review, described the “tremendous strain” being put on the current system by the rising number of disputes coming before the courts.

The number of divorce cases rose 16 per cent to 137,000 last year, with the average childcare case taking more than 12 months to be completed.

It is hoped that the new mediation stage will reduce legal aid costs by up to £100 million, while fewer expert witnesses would be required to testify before the courts.

Mr Norgrove told The Times the family justice system costs more than £1.6 billion, but that nine in every ten cases could be dealt with out of court.

He said evidence showed that: “If you can get both parties to learn about mediation, the great majority will go on to use it.”

Sir Nicholas Wall, the most senior judge in England and Wales, said the system should be made “less adversarial” as he attacked selfish parents for failing to consider their children’s well being.

Under the new system, couples could be forced to take parenting classes as well as being referred to mediators, with court rooms acting as a last resort.

For more info, click here.

 

Fixed Fee Divorces Could Provide Answer to Hike in Divorce Fees


Fixed Fee Divorces Could Provide Answer to Hike in Divorce Fees

WEBWIRE – Monday, September 20, 2010
Contact Information
Kate Silvers
Marketing Manager
Farleys Solicitors LLP
0845 050 1958
kate.silvers@farleys.com

Family law solicitors are warning that the price of obtaining a divorce may soon become unaffordable for many as the cost to file a divorce as imposed by The Ministry of Justice in England and Wales is set for a further dramatic increase.

The fee for filing a divorce in County Court increased by 14% to £340.00 from £300 on 1st September 2010. Following comments from the Ministry of Justice that the current position for the funding of divorce and family matters is ‘unsustainable’, further fee increases are expected by 2011.

On the price increases, Antonia Love, Partner and Head of Family Law at Farleys Solicitors LLP comments:

“It is worrying that with the rumoured increases in Family Court Proceedings, and specifically filing the petition for divorce, couples might be put off filing for divorce due to concerns regarding costs. Whilst it is always sad when a marriage breaks down, the strain of staying in a marriage that is no longer working and is beyond recovery can have wider, long-lasting consequences on the individuals and any children involved.

Get the rest of the story here. http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=123412

This is long overdue here in Canada. We need to make Family Law more humane and affordable.

Connie Brauer