I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Courts father unfairness ~ Calgary Herald


 




Courts father unfairness
Calgary Herald,April 30, 2009

The erratic treatment of Rod Refcio in Ontario family court is an extreme but powerful example of disturbing flaws that continue to plague Canada's spousal support system.
Two courts incredulously concluded Refcio's responsibility to his ex-wife extends to her twins; twins who were born well after the marriage ended and who were fathered by another man.

In 2006, Ontario Court Judge Thomas Granger ruled Refcio owed his ex-wife Katia $1,500 per month, for an indefinite period of time. For the payer of spousal support, the length of the order is crucial.

Without an end date, a person's life is on hold indefinitely, making a clean break from a former spouse impossible.

Thankfully a Divisional Court also saw it that way, and finally restored some sanity to the situation last week.However, even that court upheld the amount, but said the payments must have finality, and will come to an end next year.

The problem with both rulings is that two courts now have essentially held Refcio responsible for someone else's children. Refcio's obligation to his former wife, after just two years of marriage, should look more like $180 to $300 a month, not five times that amount. That's the amount he would pay according to federal guidelines, introduced to reform some of the flaws in the system.

The courts have made a mockery of those guidelines, brought in four years ago in an attempt to address shortcomings and make awards more uniform across the country.In determining spousal support, courts should be weighing such factors as the length of marriage, child-rearing responsibilities and the spouse's ability to pay. The fact Katia is raising two children on her own should be irrelevant to spousal support, because she should be receiving child support from the children's father.

It's one thing when a spouse has given up a career, and spends 20 or so years at home, raising children, and finds him or herself untrained and unprepared for the workforce. This situation doesn't even compare. The biggest obstacle to returning to the workforce in these instances is the amount of the support, which acts as a disincentive.

Sadly, there's nothing new about Refcio's Kafkaesque story. It plays out in family court all too often, where men seem to be treated unfairly and women as though they are helpless damsels requiring saving by a judicial patriarchy.

Judges need to be more mindful of the devastating consequences of such irrational rulings, which are akin to a life sentence.

By setting an end date to the payments, the Divisional Court has only partly made things right. 

But short of meaningful reform -- and adherence to the guidelines --unfair and irrational spousal support decisions seem unlikely to end.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Your Comments

Tired
I believe that someone should unite all the children, past and present, who have been robbed of of a relationship with their non-custodial parent as a result of incompetent family law rulings. This group should then launch a class-action lawsuit against the government for damages. Perhaps then, people would realize that there is more than one victim is these cases.
July 12, 2009
11:34 AM

Carol from Ontario
I was married 26 years when my husband left me for a younger woman. I consulted a lawyer whose advice was “Oh, women just get out and take care of themselves these days”. All our assets were divided in half including CPP and I worked two and three jobs at a time and maintained myself. That was 1985 and in 1987 I entered into a common law followed by marriage relationship which has lasted 22 years. My retirement date was 2007 but my current husband was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease in 2005 therefore disabled and unable to work. I am still working at age 67 due to my husband still being forced to pay spousal support to his ex wife 22 years after their marriage has ended. I need to retire to become a full time caregiver to my husband but I must continue to work as my husband’s annual income cannot support two households. His former wife has a 22 year relationship and has maintained a separate address therefore qualifying for spousal support. Over this 22 year period my husband and I have spent over $100,000.00 in legal fees, while she qualifies for legal aid. We need the current law for spousal support changed to stop at 20 years no matter how long the marriage lasted and the ex spouse eligible to collect the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the burden of their support taken off the shoulders of people in our situation. With all due respect, people do less time in prison for SERIOUS ofences than the sentence we have received with the current support law. We have worked hard all our lives, raised seven children, and justice has not been served.
July 01, 2009
11:09 AM

Anthony
I have had it with the system.... am ending it within the next few days as i cannot go on anymore. I try to the best but never good enough for my ex. had finally gotten a new job but once they found out that i owed support they let me go. So i am done and ending it after i see my son for the last time. The system only cares about the ex wives not the fathers that try hard. So thank you Ontario Gov't for taking my life and having my son live without a father
June 24, 2009
6:04 PM

Wow....the media in Canada is actually paying attention to real issues? Even when they affect men?
What is this world coming to when WHITE MEN (gasp!) get public attention and sympathy? Won't you guys lose your "mainstream propaganda" (er, media) liceenses?
This article is one small, nay TINY step on the way to renewed journalistic integrity...as opposed to the ideolologically biased Drivel usually spouted.
Good on ya Herald, keep it up and I may actually start buying newspapers again. At least you're starting to realize that alienating your target demographic is a terrible business plan.
June 08, 2009
9:37 PM

Mark

I was separated and had a baby boy. My ex would not allow me to see him regularly and gradually I started seeing less and less of him. Suffering with depression from being separated from my baby boy I went to a lawyer who offered me false hope. After being separated, mothers and fathers are invariably depressed and they respond in different ways. I was depressed and it was a natural inclination to believe that the lawyers would be able to provide some assistance. One year later I was broke and had to fight the court battles on my own. I finally got my hour in court. The judge stated that he never read the files. I defended myself in the BC supreme court and never would I believe that they would take custody away from me. After all, iIt was my boys mom who was denying access and I was paying child support. I work full-time, own my own home, and I also run a non-profit organization for children. It has been two years since that dreadful day. I will never step into a court room again. I live quietly in a basement suite paying off my legal bills and taking what meager time I have to spend with my boy. The court system still makes money off me and they didn't get to hear the whole story. It is an abuse on family rights and the family court system truly is dysfunctional. They are stealing lives and the financial resources of families that are in need of our help. When will the injustice stop! When will the courts re-visit my case and ask me and my family how this affected us? They do not have the interest of the child at heart, they make a great living as legal parasites and taking the life savings from innocent families in distress.
June 03, 2009
10:56 AM

Tom
Finally, a newspaper is writing about what is possibly the largest human rights tragedy of the last 50 years, right here at home: the organized destruction of families for profit, the massive judicial kidnapping of children from loving and fit parents, the vicious enslavement of those who lost access to their beloved children!
June 02, 2009
8:36 PM

Roger
Maybe the Ontario Judges (and all Canadian Judges, since Family Law does tend to follow precedence) from this day forward---should place the following in all their legal Marriage vows/ceremonies; I promise to love, honor, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, obey, upon the dissolution of this union be responsible for paying years of support for all financial obligations regardless of infidelity and income levels, including children of another marriage, be finanicially responsible for any and all promiscous acts in and out of this marriage, till death do we part. It certainly would make things much clearer (upfront) what our current Canadian Family Law system deems to be true Legal and Financial responsibilities one takes upon entering a legal marriage or common law arrangement.
May 27, 2009
11:51 PM

Erik
Hello Canadians, Our system here in Ohio is lots of fun, too. Although I pay my child support, I am under constant scrutiny from my ex wife, her "fiance" (they won't get married because that's how they scam the system) and CSEA. I am a disenfranchised father, but I do what I am supposed to do. I pay my child support even though I can't even buy new clothes for my children from my current marriage. What to do? Young men, do what you can to protect yourselves from ending up like me. I can't work any more than I do, I can't work any harder than I do. I work all the time. Take things slow, have an easy life where you only have to work one job, where you have time to spend with those you love. From Erik in the USSA (United SOCIALIST States of America)
May 09, 2009
12:03 PM

Carole
This is another typical story of a man's Kafkaesque experience with the injustice system. According to Dr. Stephan Baskerville, author of Taken into Custody, research points to a family law system where “criminalizing innocent fathers by seizing and holding their children through divorce laws that allow them to be ‘treated like criminals by family court,’ leveling false charges of ill-defined ‘abuse,’ confiscating their homes, gagging their voices, forcing them to confess to crimes they did not commit, demanding that they pay for it all under the guise of ‘child support’ – and all this on pain of incarceration without trial – constitutes government repression. It threatens not only the families and social order but the privacy and freedom of us all.” Simply put, the Divorce Act violates basic human rights. The Charter of Rights & Freedoms on gender equality is too often violated and ignored by this system of family practice. For some, the Act violates all types of human rights: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Civil Rights, Parents Rights, Children’s Rights, Legal Rights, Democratic Rights, Privacy Rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and every other basic human right. This must be frowned upon by Canadians and seen as a big mistake in this country’s history. This mistake will one day haunt Canadian government much like their irresponsible behavior between the 1930s and the 1980s, where aboriginal children were removed from their communities and put in residential schools. Many of these aboriginal children were severely abused by this irresponsible behavior. Critics have said that this Act is outmoded, totalitarian, anti-family disreputable, sexist, and biased against fathers. It absolutely has an immitigable government control over innocent citizens. What is worse is that the Act contributes to psychological and emotional damage of children in our society in a large scale. Call your MP and let them know that this is unacceptable and un-Canadian.
May 06, 2009
9:52 AM

Simon
Young Men - If you have read this article, and you don't like what you see, please take steps to protect yourself from this type of injustice. http://www.dont-marry.com
May 01, 2009
7:05 PM

Denis Pakkala
I feel like a slave. Strike against the Looters, the Deadbeats and the Judges that are your Oppressors.
May 01, 2009
4:36 PM

Jay
Rod Refcio..I am so sorry to read this on how u got nailed, no doubt like the rest of us. Sure they stop the support, NEXT YEAR?..what's with that? I am in a similar situation, earned what you did and pay about half of what you are paying..RIDICULOUS...I now have the NDI's of both parties and OMG, she is taking 65% and me 35%. Of course, these are only guidelines but if the judges here in Toronto went by them, I would pay this ridiculous amount (like many other fathers). My questions is this..WHY THE HECK DO THEY HAVE ADVISORY GUIDELINES AND CALCULATIONS if no judge is going to go by them? It's like this joke...hope u have a good laugh What is the difference between God and a judge? Answer: God does not think he is a judge...
May 01, 2009
3:09 PM

Sami
Hopefully this article will bring some attention to the misuse of the system. It's understandable for someone, whether female or male to ask for support after staying at home to care for the children & home. BUT there should be a limit to this support & it should be based on the length of time the person has performed the "duties". The amount in this instance is absolutely ridiculous. This is a case of a woman who decided she was going to live life the easy way & manipulated the system in her favor. I am a woman that does not believe in alimony, although in some circumstances it's understandable. But like I said, within reason. This woman, amongst others like her give the REAL women a bad name. I hope everything works out for you Mr. Refcio. Stay strong and keep fighting.
May 01, 2009
2:53 PM

jeanette
The current system of forcing men to pay financial support after the marriage has ended is PURE SLAVERY. Nothing more complex than that. Imagine how outraged women would be if they had to share part of their finances with their ex and had to still come and clean his home, make his dinner and sleep with him... and to be forced to maintain these 'contributions' to standard they were provided during the marriage!!! I will never allow my boys to get married without an ironclad pre-nup.
May 01, 2009
12:06 PM

KohPhiPhi
And they wonder why men like us won't ever get remarried! I finally have put my child support behind me and will never marry ever!! I am part of the growing "ghost nation" Cheers. KohPhiPhi
May 01, 2009
10:28 AM

CanExpat
Tony: "My lawyer informed me long ago that divorce only means that you are not married to her anymore but you will always be financially obligated". This is the most perverse thing about the whole thing. The obligations ended for the ex-wife in the courtroom the day of the divorce, but for the ex-husband they somehow continue for ever. Somehow his marriage vow of financial support continues until death, but her vow of sexual fidelity dissapears at the time of the divorce filing. What kind of public policy is this that is basically telling young men that "Don't Get Married. You will be Sorry!". Is it any wonder then that marriage-rates have dropped by about 50% since 1970. This is not some random demographic fluke. It is the result of young men voting with their feet. These young men are voting to shun an institution which would otherwise enslave them. Also, how come there is no mention of the ex-wife's Lover Boy in the court records? Why isn't the nanny state coming after him for child-support payments? Again, notice the underlying policy message to young men: Who would you rather be? The Chump Husband, or the Sly Lover Boy?
May 01, 2009
12:46 AM

tony
The judges seem to reward women for keeping lawyers busy. In my own case I have my children almost fifty percent of the time earn far less than my ex, don,t get any government benefits but still pay child support.The only explanation is that it is a reward system, like a finders fee. My lawyer informed me long ago that divorce only means that you are not married to her anymore but you will always be financially obligated.
May 01, 2009
12:25 AM

Jeanette
If the claims for child and spousal support are alleged to be based on 'giving support' during the marriage, by caring for the children and 'freeing the husband' to earn a living (as though this were somehow all 'fun' and 'easy' while being at home is pure drugery and hell.....), then I guess babysitters, grannies and nannies should be able to claim for child support. And if it is for the services of a "wife", well, then CanExpat has it right.
April 30, 2009
9:22 PM

Zak
There is no rational reason for men to marry in the current legal environment. For men still have the legal responsibilities of marriage, but women are no longer bound to sexual fidelity. A man still has to pay for a woman even if the woman is off having sex with a new man. Psychologically this is a form of rape to a man. Imagine if men were free of marital obligations, but woman still had legal responsibility to maintain their obligation. In such a scenario, a man could dump a wife with no alimony or child support and still legally demand sex with her. If she refused to have sex with her ex-husband, she would be labeled a “deadbeat” by the State and face jail. THAT is the current situation that men face in reverse.
April 30, 2009
8:58 PM

David
Family law judges as Pimps? LOL! That's one I will tell the next time I am in a bar, no pun intended.
April 30, 2009
8:26 PM

Mike Murphy
I'm just pleased and surprised the Herald actually printed something related to the misandry in Family Law. Men can only hope the Family Court Judges will see their role, in this case, as no more than a transfer agent for sexual acts and be enlightened. Oh sorry I forgot myself there for a minute by saying judges enlightened - that's an oxymoron.
April 30, 2009
7:56 PM

Mike M
My wife left our marriage and married another man then five years later tried this same stunt saying I should be resposible for the children fathered by her new husband.The judge took one look at her complaint and that was the end of it .The judge also asked rather pointedly is this complaint was a bad joke or someting he would have to rule on. Time in court ten minutes and the X wife had to pay all the courts and my costs for appearing and lost wages meals and hotels. She and her and her new husband were told by the judge and in writing by the court that my resposibilty for her ended with the end of our marriage and we had no children .Apanently the courts in Ontario are still in the stone age when they would even listen to such a stupid claim but there is no cure or explination for just plain stupidity
April 30, 2009
5:57 PM

Ryan
Child support for children adopted or with blood relation only. In this day and age there is no excuse for any alimony to be paid by either spouse. You can’t leave a relationship with shared funds and expect your quality of life will not change. Get a job.
April 30, 2009
5:08 PM

Dan
Jeanette - Your situation sounds very similar to what is happening with many married women in the US state of Massachusetts. Basically these women are having their wages garnished, with the money being turned over to their husband's ex-wives as alimony. Read these women's story here: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/06/13/the_chilling_effect_of_states_divorce_laws/ Perhaps what you need to start in Calgary is a 2nd Wives Club of your own, to push for legal reform.
April 30, 2009
5:06 PM

Jeanette

My husband's former wife of 8 years has received $5000/mth in spousal support for the past 6 years. This in on top of $9000 /mth for child support for two children (tax free dollars - more than most Canadians could dream of 'having' to life on). They have an agreement, negotiated by top lawyers for both parties, which stated that the spousal support should end after 4 years. Although she has a university business degree and over 12 years of work experience, she now claims she cannot find a job which pays more than $8000 per year. Although my husband has paid her an additional fund for $8000 for retraining, she has elected to take only one 'hobby' course a week for the past 5 years. The children have been in full time school for 7 years. The lastest unbelievable request from her lawyer is to continue to pay spousal support for at least another 3 years and then have a review. Her lawyer even suggested that my income should be included in calculating what SPOUSAL support should be paid to the former wife!! The child support alone exceeds what the family income was during their marriage. However, there is a good chance she would be successful in court because she is now an apparently 'helpless' women who should be permitted to be a parasite on a man for the rest of her life. Women should be ashamed to accept spousal support, except in extreme circumstances. I thought we were supposed to be equal and capable and responsible for ourselves.
April 30, 2009
4:16 PM

CanExpat
A citizen has to be highly skeptical when they hear of Alimony judgements being rendered short-term (2 years for this guy) and childless marriages. When there are no established family roles and children to consider, one has to ask themselves, why exactly is money changing hands? The only plausable explanation is that the courts are now setting rates and tarrifs for sex acts. If this is true, then I would recommend that we enhance the attire of our noble judges in light of this new role that they have taken on. I recommend a wide-brim velvet hat, made of rich dark colors matching their robes, accentuated with a thick gold chain, and perhaps an ornamental walking stick with a colorful parrot-head. Is this starting to sound too much like Snoop-Daddy's outfit from the movie Starsky and Hutch? Well yes it is. The outfit matches the role.
April 30, 2009
3:32 PM

Anonymous

Rod Refcio I hope things work out for you. This seems unrealistic and hopefully something good will come out of this.
April 30, 2009
3:32 PM

David
So are courts enforcing Cuckoldry now? So the judges couldn't be bothered to tell the ex-wife to file for Child Support against the boy-toy she sired these twins with? Instead they find it easier to stick the ex-husband with the tab for these kids, conceived long after the divorce? These judges should be charged with Criminal Neglect in Federal Court. No one is above the Law. No one!
April 30, 2009
1:41 PM

7 comments:

thomas said...

just a dad...

Rcmp will not inforce queens bench court order for visitation.
I am being charged with threats and abuse after I went into rcmp and asked for help with pictures of our son being abused by mother.

I am just lost and am in fear for my son and another one of her outbreaks.

Michael J. Murphy said...

I'm sorry to hear that. It is a very common practice, unfortunately, for ex's to withhold visitation. Judges will not enforce them easily if at all. Its another form of alienation and it is abusive to you and your child.

If you are in Alberta there are groups to offer support for dads and there is a place in Calgary for dads called MASH 4077 that offers services.
http://www.familyofmen.com/index.php?pr=No_Men_Allowed_5

Men's Alternative Safe House*403-242-4077
147 Pinegrove Close NE, Calgary, AB, CA
www.mash4077.ca

I have experience with what you are going through and its very tough sledding. Take one day at a time and never lose focus of your love for your son. Its doable. Use whatever support services you find available.

I have contacts across Canada so let me know if I can provide a name or location. You can also join one of the lists for equal parenting or Provincial assistance related to men. ECMAS is the main group in Alberta.

thomas said...

Just a tear from a man to you all that are in this with me and those that have been, my hat. My son's and I spent a wondefull quick visit this weekend and I have my strength from my 4ft 92 year old granny with her broken pelvis and alarm force calling me if something should go wrong. That was the stipulation for me getting her the monitor for her. She doesn't want no dumb ass people but her family to care for her.

I am in this for the long run and hope you all have the strength that we have as fathers to indure this, and I do

Michael J. Murphy said...

I'm glad to hear you saw your children. Best wishes.

thomas said...

I complained to Brooks RCMP about there not following Queen's Bench orders."they stated it was just about last week, kinda like along time ago" wtf. Anyway formal complaint and meeting with the heads of Brooks and Bassaon RCMP wednesday.
Kind of tired of just seeing the kids on her schedule and have evidence against several subject and going for broke on this one.
I invited the press to come and write story so we will see what happens.

If you knew a reporter I have Kept quite the diary with evedence etc and would put my signature on.

My boys are waiting to get back full time as they miss my anticks and nite time rituals. Soon dad lets get a place so it can be just us again.

Keep the chin guarded but walk proud I say to all of us out there.
tj

thomas said...

Hello Dad's,
It has been a while but we are still in the fite, one son okay to visit but the other one needs supervised,hu???. One judge and then another, our court system seems to know nothing of themselves. My one son and I are back to normal but mom has seen to have been favoured with another judge and he has decided one son is enough...I will never understand this proccess but will stay till the end. Good luck to all and smile with your heart when you can. Thomas j

bin2nam said...

mother abused me and my 3 children, she made them bleed, we fled - i filed an emergency protection order and ended up homeless and the children in foster homes while they rallied around the mother, i was given temp custody while the mother threatened me with pain and sent pictures of tomb stones, the Judge then ordered my children go to what turned out to be a feminist therapist and told the mothers lawyer to take a message to her "it wont be long now", the therapist told them 'your girls, your mother is a girl - girls live together' and various other 'parential alienation' things against the father me, needless to say mother now has custody and moved out of town - my oldest stopped speaking to me 10 days in mothers care and the other 2 are tempted to do other things now when dad drives 1.5 hours, my lawyer WROTE me there was nothing she could do about the alienation - apparently when crooked Judges want it its A OK , this is Canada and the year is 2011, R McAlister Calgary Canada - also a member of the ghost nation