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.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Toronto Star ~ Children harmed by sole custody, report says

My comments on the Toronto Star Site:

Common Sense is rearing its wonderful head

I congratulate you for taking on this subject. Its often not considered political correctness to sway from the feministing Family Law (FLAW) court decisions. I note some of the negative comments opposed to share parenting may have read your article but did not do so for comprehension. One can pick out those who need to control their ex's. All studies done with credence show children do far better with both their parents in their lives. Sole custody ought to be the last resort and not the status quo. The social engineering done by lawyers and family court judges over the past two generations is rearing its ugly head and, as has been stated, children are not doing well. How many good father role models do gang members have. Why do they shoot and kill without any seeming conscience?

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 10:10 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Shared Parenting is good for families

Shared and equal parenting should have a rebuttal presumption in law. Both the Ontario acts and the Divorce Act talk in platitudes about keeping both parents in the lives of children but judges don't read or listen well. It has to be non-discretionary unless their is a provable reason. The state has no business in removing parental rights. Proof of removing a parent's rights has to be far beyond the current forum where the mom is encouraged to create false accusations so she can get all the incentives available. The current incentive system encourages divorce - at least 66% are initiated by mom - and perhaps changes will encourage more counselling and less adversarial battles where the only winners are lawyers pocketing the children's financial legacy. I will be bankrupt before all is finished in my case after over 40 years of hard work. My children are worth it to me. They need a dad and a mom of equality in their lives. Love is greater than money.

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 10:20 AM Friday, April 03 2009

DIVORCE

Children harmed by sole custody, report says

Canadian judges rarely use voluntary arrangements in which kids live with each parent roughly equally

April 3, 2009

Comments on this story (23)

Susan Pigg

LIVING REPORTER

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.

"Parent-child bonds are formed through daily routines – preparing breakfast, taking the child to school, having dinner, getting ready for bed. Without that, it's very difficult for parents to have any real connection with their kids," Kruk said in a telephone interview from B.C. "It's so destructive for children to have a loving parent removed from their lives."

The effects of divorce on kids are now so well documented, significantly more couples separating today are opting for "equal shared parenting" – voluntary custody arrangements in which the children live with each parent roughly half the time, says Kruk. While a landmark federal study, For the Sake of the Children, recommended that approach back in 1998 and it has since been adopted by other countries, including Australia, it's still rarely used by Canadian judges and needs to be made law, except where there are extenuating circumstances, such as domestic violence or mental health issues that make one parent unfit, says Kruk.

Instead, most judges still rely on a "winner takes all" approach in custody battles. In some three-quarters of cases, judges grant sole custody to mothers, believing that it's impossible for warring parents to make shared custody work, Kruk's report finds. That's despite a growing body of research that shows animosity and even physical violence can increase "significantly0" when one parent has sole control, says the report, Child Custody, Access and Parental Responsibility: The Search for a Just and Equitable Standard.

Even court-ordered "joint custody" is really a misnomer, Kruk's report shows. In fact, the non-custodial parent – usually the father – ends up with just a few days a month (typically every second weekend and every Wednesday) with the children. While research shows even that minimal sharing of time actually forces warring parents to lay down their arms and work together on "parenting plans" that work best for each of them and their kids, says Kruk, it makes it far more difficult for the non-custodial parent to develop a strong bond with their kids.

Research has shown that women and men work comparable amounts of time outside the home and now devote almost the exact amount of time – 11.1 hours a week and 10.5 hours a week respectively – to child care, with men playing a key role in their children's upbringing, says Kruk. Yet divorce lawyers openly tell fathers not to waste their time and money seeking equal custody, unless they can prove the mother is unfit.

All of which gives one parent a huge psychological advantage over the other, and incentive to fight to the death – in some cases actually alienating the kids from the other spouse – to win what comes to be seen as their "property," says Kruk.

But there are signs even mothers are at risk, Kruk warns. He's now studying 14 Vancouver-area women who have lost custody of their kids to their ex-husbands, in some cases because fathers argued that demanding careers kept the women away from home too much. Surprisingly, those women are now teaming up with fathers' right groups to push for legislation making equal, shared parenting the norm.

"No court order can make people get along," says Justice Harvey Brownstone who wrote the book Tug of War on divorce in Canada. He has seen cases over the past 14 years in which courts imposed shared parenting, only to have one parent refuse to take the child to his hockey game or administer medication as a way to make their viewpoint known to the ex-spouse.

"Parents who are hell-bent on undermining each other's relationship with the child will inevitably find a way to create conflict, which most often results in further litigation, which in turn prolongs the child's exposure to a parental tug of war."

Toronto Star

Comments on this story are moderated

expandContent

Finally!

Being a dad who loved his daughter incredibly much and having a justice system who lifted me of 18 grand just to see her, this is a sign of hope for the fathers who endure the same as I did. This article is amazingly accurate, the justice system is a big money making machine...thank you Mr.Kruk.

Submitted by nuttygent at 10:55 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Every case is different;

My parents separated when I was eight years old and dad moved far enough away to make seeing him an expensive journey. True, my parents were, for the most part, "enemies"; however, our single mother raised four children (two boys, two girls) right. Lack of a father figure does not equate to drugs, violence, lack of education, etcetera; lack of a father figure did however impose on me the utmost respect for the stength of women the world around. Some people are just poor parents, and with a world that increasingly puts work/financial success above all else, family usually takes a backseat. For good parenting tips, just go take a look at any 'uncivilised' society where community comes first. Our children are the real vitims of capitalism (and now I'm way off-topic; whoops). But maybe we should look into the institute of marriage in general; too many people are not keeping their commitment to one another. Married for all the wrong reasons?

Submitted by forwunsicks at 10:51 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Sad for Everyone Involved

Not only is it harmful to the children and Fathers (in most cases) when there is strife between divorced parents, but the grandparents and other family members suffer also. In our case we were not allowed to see our grand-daughter for several years because her mother decided that we might tell her how much her Father loved her. (true story)

Submitted by Ithinkthat at 10:49 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Outdated

I think it is very outdated and illogical to automatically assume the mother to have sole custody. However, I also want to point to the stats used in this article arguing the harmful effects of fatherless children - do not assume this is through divorce and forced separation. It is a fact that some fathers clearly abandon their responsibilities, so do not cloud that fact in statistics.

Submitted by Raquel83 at 10:47 AM Friday, April 03 2009

RE: The system cannot be made better for the children

I am sorry to hear that the father was not involved in the raising of your children(his loss) and from the sounds of it better for your kids, and as much as I respect the hard ordeal you must have gone through being a single parent raising 2 children I think you are missing the point of the article. There are many good, responsible, loving Dads out there who would love nothing more than to be involved in the lives of their children and unfortunately the courts views are ancient and not up to speed.

Submitted by zakopany at 10:43 AM Friday, April 03 2009

No transparency at Family Responsibility Office FRO

"pushing parents, especially fathers to suicide", FRO will not release data on how many of their files are closed because the non custodial parent commits suicide. You can bet that the numbers would exceed the national average. The judicial system and parents must change their attitudes about custody. Parental Alienation Syndrome PAS is prevalent in Ontario. The parent who does NOT want to share custody should be denied custody and access, as they are the selfish ones hurting the child.

Submitted by Jane Doe at 10:42 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Money matters

Each judge should take into consideration the ability of the parents (no access or custody to abusive parents), but part of the fight is money. Thanks to the Liberals, having custody is now a money making affair if you were smart enough marry someone successful.

Submitted by Rational Thought at 10:30 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Shared Parenting is good for families

Shared and equal parenting should have a rebuttal presumption in law. Both the Ontario acts and the Divorce Act talk in platitudes about keeping both parents in the lives of children but judges don't read or listen well. It has to be non-discretionary unless their is a provable reason. The state has no business in removing parental rights. Proof of removing a parent's rights has to be far beyond the current forum where the mom is encouraged to create false accusations so she can get all the incentives available. The current incentive system encourages divorce - at least 66% are initiated by mom - and perhaps changes will encourage more counselling and less adversarial battles where the only winners are lawyers pocketing the children's financial legacy. I will be bankrupt before all is finished in my case after over 40 years of hard work. My children are worth it to me. They need a dad and a mom of equality in their lives. Love is greater than money.

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 10:20 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Are you kidding me???

I cannot believe that research shows that both women and men devote the same amount of time to childcare. There is no way that the time my ex-husband spends with our child comes even close to the time I spend with him. And who are these neglectful parents only spending 11 hours a week with their children?!?! Perhaps this is why there is such an increase in crime in youth. Spend time with your kids!!!! I also do not believe in shared parenting .. I think it is much harder on the child to be spending a week with one parent, al week with another.

Submitted by Jeminigirl at 10:16 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Common Sense is rearing its wonderful head

I congratulate you for taking on this subject. Its often not considered political correctness to sway from the feministing Family Law (FLAW) court decisions. I note some of the negative comments opposed to share parenting may have read your article but did not do so for comprehension. One can pick out those who need to control their ex's. All studies done with credence show children do far better with both their parents in their lives. Sole custody ought to be the last resort and not the status quo. The social engineering done by lawyers and family court judges over the past two generations is rearing its ugly head and, as has been stated, children are not doing well. How many good father role models do gang members have. Why do they shoot and kill without any seeming conscience?

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 10:10 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Children harmed by sole custody, report says

Well, duh.

Submitted by wildeyed at 10:09 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Re-Back and forth..

This is fine if you are dealing with a reasonable person,male or female but when one wants to be nasty about it that creates big problems emotional and financial.In this case the only one who comes out well is the lawyers!

Submitted by Liz at 9:53 AM Friday, April 03 2009

Page 1 of 4

No comments: