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

Family's peace pact in jeopardy


Officials to oppose teen's proposal to keep siblings out of therapy


A truce engineered by a Brampton teenager to bring his fractured family together is in danger of crumbling today as a result of opposition from Ontario's Office of the Children's Lawyer.

The OCL - which was appointed by a judge to represent the interests of the 19-year-old's younger brothers - has signalled its intention to argue at a court hearing today that the 12-year-old and 14-year-old brothers must take therapy for parental alienation.

However, the imposition of therapy would run directly counter to an agreement brokered last Saturday by the eldest brother, identified only as P.F., that states that none of the children can be forced to undergo any form of therapy.

The OCL has also opposed allowing P.F. to speak to his brothers about the plan before OCL lawyers discuss it with them.

In an interview last night, P.F. said that he hopes the trial judge will force the OCL "to drop its little scheme" and adhere to the terms of the family's proposed agreement.

"It's going to be a showdown," he said. "It sounds like the OCL is really trying to block us. I have never liked them, and I still don't like them. I don't think they have my brothers' best interests at heart. When a family comes to an agreement like this, it should be respected."

P.F. indicated in an outraged affidavit yesterday that he intends to exclude himself from the entire case if the OCL maintains its stand. He alleges that OCL lawyers have consistently misrepresented his brothers' interests and cannot be trusted to do what is best for them.

"Either our family is respected or it is not. Either we work on the basis of trust or we do not," he said in the affidavit filed with the court yesterday. "I prefer the former over the latter."

The proposed agreement is scheduled to go before Ontario Court Judge Steven Clark today.

The case of the warring Brampton parents and their three sons has made national headlines since last November, when an Ontario Superior Court judge ordered that the two youngest children be transferred to the care of their mother and taken to a U.S. therapy centre to be treated for severe parental alienation. However, the children refused to co-operate. Shortly afterward, they were committed to psychiatric care at a Toronto hospital. They are now in a foster home and cannot communicate with P.F. or their parents.

As a result of the machinations over the past 48 hours, however, Judge Clark is likely to walk into a hornet's nest today. In his affidavit, P.F. takes sharp issue with OCL lawyer Sheila MacKinnon's opposition to the terms of the proposed agreement. He questions how the OCL can say it represents his brothers when he is certain that they would violently oppose a position the office has taken on their behalf.

P.F. was harshly critical of the operation of the OCL throughout the case, and said that he holds it responsible for committing his brothers for therapy against their will, and denying them access to himself and their parents.

Since the agreement was reached last weekend, the Children's Aid Society has indicated support for it, leaving the OCL as the only party that opposes it.

"The Office of the Children's Lawyer is just too big and impossible to deal with for me to satisfy what they say and want and work with my brothers and my mom, as I am committed to doing, without there being more conflict about what we say, why we say it, who's in charge, how we decide, our autonomy, our freedom, our liberties, and most importantly, our trust," P.F.'s affidavit said.

3 brothers in custody dispute to live with mom, no counselling: judge Last Updated: Thursday, April 30, 2009 | 5:59 PM ET Comments3Recommend8

A Brampton, Ont., judge decided Thursday that three brothers caught up in a complicated custody dispute can live with their mother.

Ontario Court Justice Steven Clark said would accept a peace deal a teenager brokered with his warring parents after an emotional reunion.

Saying action, not words, were needed, Clark also rejected an Ontario agency's demands to force counselling on the brothers.

The parents and their 19-year-old son struck a deal over the weekend.

The Office of the Children's Lawyer, which Clark appointed to represent the interests of the younger siblings, was opposed to the deal.

It insisted the boys first undergo specialized therapy for parental alienation, a controversial syndrome in which children are said to be brainwashed by one parent against the other.

But the teen was adamantly opposed to the idea, saying he has never been his father's puppet, and maintains the very notion of parental alienation is suspect and has damaged the family.

The deal involves having him and his 12- and 14-year-old siblings live with their mom after years of estrangement.

The teen garnered attention by seeking legal standing in the custody battle, saying he would seek custody of his brothers if his divorced parents couldn't come to some kind of deal.

Last November, the two younger brothers were committed to an adolescent psychiatric ward for five weeks.

The judge had been trying to decide whether the teen should have access to his brothers, but was now asked to decide whether the family-brokered reunification could go ahead.

Clark denied a request from the Office of the Children's Lawyer to impose a gag order to keep the family from speaking to the media, whom he commended for responsible reporting.

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