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.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Divorced dads can't catch a break

Another well researched article by Susan Pigg. We had an inkling something was coming as she had contacted people for examples. I suspect there will be a series of them flowing from her extensive sources. The number of cases of bias by family court judges are in the tens of thousands. A player in the ecosystem to support women, is feminist Lawyer Pamela Cross, mentioned below who is an ideologue. She could not give a straightforward, rational and unbiased opinion on anything remotely related to fathers or indeed men. She is a hard core radical feminist of the Marxist school of collective "Sisterhood" thought. One of the commentators below thinks the way for men to get custody is to not work and stay-at-home. What a naive individual he is. I am living proof that stay-at-home, working from home dads get shafted too. Once the female ex locks on to the mechanisms in place to ensure custody and takes a run to your local DV shelter the game is up dude. She will have been there before on a day visit, got the lowdown from their radical feminist songbook and then picks the day that suits her time schedule. These shelters require clients to sign "non disclosure" agreements so their secrets stay safe. It might be the day you decide to raise your voice a minor bit above normal and then she will take off and claim you are abusive. That's it - game over. You just lost your kids and just be hopeful she doesn't take their further advice and get an ex parte injunction that prevents you from getting back into your house after work. You will be arrested and put in jail for trying to get into your own dwelling, even though you had no knowledge of the restraining order against you. One dad did 47 days for throwing a sock at his wife after she berated him with verbal abuse. He said "put a sock in it" threw the harmless projectile and ruined his life. Judges like Harvey Brownstone say the system isn't biased but that defies logic. He is willfully blind to what has gone on for the past 30 plus years. We have almost 2 generations of children of divorce who have grown up without effective male role models and this can only cause further generational problems because both boys and girls don't have the proper overall socialization that only an involved father can give. They get a female perspective, and often a distorted one because a mom, or in the rare case of a dad with sole custody, who won't share the children with a loving parent, may have personality disorder issues. Shared parenting means both parents stay in the lives of their children in a meaningful way. Dr. Kruk's research indicates a child/parent bond cannot effectively form without at least 40% contact. We have Family Court Judges making social policy on the fly with social engineering that hurts children and families. They are eminently unqualified to make this kind of social policy and many will be the first to admit it. The "For the Sake of the Children Report" collecting dust for 11 years, but is readily available on the parliamentary web site, http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031529&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=1&File=2 is a set of recommendations that could have helped in 1998. We must get PMB C-422 passed. Most divorce related legislation Federally and Provincially is gender neutral so the Judges are the people responsible along with their good friends the lawyers. You have the Pamela Crosses' on the extreme left but it runs right through the political spectrum with some notable exceptions. Thank you Susan for this report.MJM
More than a decade after a landmark study recommended an overhaul of Canadian divorce law, courts still haven't caught up to the new reality of Canadian family life. A generation of dads who can't stand being apart from their children is pushing for change
October 02, 2009
living reporter

More than a decade after a landmark study recommended an overhaul of Canadian divorce law, courts still haven't caught up to the new reality of Canadian family life. A generation of dads who can't stand being apart from their children is pushing for change.

When Walter Mueller first walked into the support group, he was asked to draw a picture of his life for the dozen or so men in the room.

Mueller drew three. In each one he was hanging out with his 9-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son – splashing at the family's cottage, riding bikes, trekking through a theme park. The picture isn't nearly so pretty for many divorced Dads.

Mueller has seen some pushed to the brink of suicide and financial ruin in their quest to remain a significant part of their children's lives. He's heard others complain they've been relegated to the role of visitors and virtual ATM machines.

"I was fearful of losing my children – how my life would go on. I didn't see a light in any tunnel," says the 45-year-old Whitby dad, whose wife agreed through mediation to let him see his children almost half the time. "I would have spent every nickel, every dime, every penny I own to get to see my children. Money doesn't matter when it comes to love."

A decade after Ottawa's Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access recommended an overhaul of Canada's divorce system – and more equitable child-custody arrangements – fathers still face an uphill battle.

"It's as bad or perhaps worse now," says retired MP Roger Galloway, who co-chaired the committee and its landmark 1998 report, "For the Sake of the Children," and still gets calls from fathers shocked at their treatment in the family court system.

"Men are still being deprived of their children. The courts have not changed their attitudes all that much."

Family courts around the world have seen a "dramatic increase" in court disputes launched by divorcing dads determined to see their children more than every second weekend and Wednesday evenings, observes Australian law professor Patrick Parkinson.

"There has been a significant change in fathers' attitudes towards parenting after separation," says Parkinson, one of the architects of drastic divorce reforms in Australia that are aimed at boosting shared custody.

"They're more likely to be there in the birth room than smoking a cigar in the waiting room. They're still not doing nearly as much as women, but they're more involved, and when the relationship breaks up they're saying they're not going to be second-class citizens – they're not going to be cut out of their kids' lives." Despite mounting research that says the healthy development of children depends on having a strong bond with both parents, Canadian judges still award sole custody to Mom 45 per cent of the time. While joint custody awards have more than doubled – up from about 20 per cent to 46.5 per cent between 1994 and 2005 – the term is really a misnomer. The kids still live with their mother most of the time, although Dad is supposed to have a say in major decisions.

"Fundamentally, men get screwed in family court," says one veteran divorce lawyer on condition her name not be used. "Judges make sure that assets are split equally, but they don't do that on custody and child-related issues."

Many of the fathers going to family court seeking more time with their kids don't fit the stereotypes of "dead-beat" or "disappearing" dads commonly portrayed in the media. They're men who've changed diapers and helped with homework but feel largely cut out of their kids' lives post-separation.

They include the airline pilot who was so stressed from his custody battle, he called a fathers' hotline for help, saying he couldn't remember landing his plane. Or the dad who had to be talked down from a bridge on Christmas Eve.

They are the men who sign up for DADS (Dads Aiming for Direction and Support), one of the few support groups for fathers struggling in the family courts.

"I can't tell you how many men I've met who have spent $50,000 and $60,000 trying to see their kids, who come in here so broken, you're just worried they're not going to make it through to the next week," says Jan Langlois, clinical advisor for the John Howard Society of Durham Region, an agency that usually focuses on ex-convicts but has helped everyone from police officers to bankers since starting DADS in 1995.

She's seen fathers forbidden from their child's graduation because it's not their visitation day, ex-wives who refuse to hand over the kids when Dad is five minutes late for pickup. The free 10-week program, one of the few for men across the GTA, is in such demand, it's now being expanded.

"I don't see men who don't want to pay child support. I see men who end up sleeping on their parents' couches because they're broke (from legal bills) and don't want to see their children go without."

Some have become cut off from their kids altogether by ex-wives who move across the country or defy access orders with virtual impunity, says Langlois.

She's seeing more left devastated by Ontario's 30-year-old "zero tolerance" directive, an initiative from the Ministry of the Attorney General aimed at forcing police and Crown attorneys to crack down on the scourge of domestic abuse against women. By alleging assault, a woman can pretty much assure that an ex-spouse will be removed from the house and tied up in a costly criminal trial during which she'll have interim custody of the kids, setting the stage for how the case proceeds.

"It's been a death sentence to me as a father in the eyes of my children," says a Toronto dad who agreed to a plea bargain, resulting in a conditional discharge on what he says were false allegations, rather than risk a long and costly trial. He's since spent $100,000 trying to convince a court that the sole custody awarded to his wife isn't in the best interests of his three sons.

The fact that so many decisions around custody and access are made orally in Ontario's family courts makes it virtually impossible to know how many fathers are like an Owen Sound man who says false allegations of child abuse 15 years ago still haunt his support payment case and cost him custody of his 16-year-old daughter, even though he was never charged or tried.

But one thing is quite clear. Stepping into Ontario's overburdened family courts can be like stepping into quicksand: Toronto father Vitaly Levin has spent $84,000 so far convincing the court to let him see his girls, 9 and 2 1/2 , half the time.

"Judges call it sole custody," says the technology worker. "I call it stolen custody."

That's why so many men opt to represent themselves, or spend Wednesday nights in the nursery of Danforth Ave.'s Eastminster United Church, where Danny Guspie, founder of Fathers' Resources International, offers two-hour divorce strategy sessions.

"One thing that seems to be very much in common with the men I see is that they just want the bleeding to stop," says Guspie. "They take the view, `Can we not just stop fighting over the failure of our relationship? We screwed up, must we perpetuate that in our children? Just tell me what I have to pay, but don't make me sleep in my car. And when I come to get the kids, don't give me a hard time.'"

Of course, not everyone believes that men get the short end of the stick in family court. "Mothers feel equally angry with the system and also feel they don't get a fair shake," says Ontario family court judge Harvey Brownstone, who has written a best-selling book, Tug of War, as a warning to warring couples to try to avoid court at all costs.

He's heard men complain that they risk going to jail if they don't pay support, yet their ex-wives are seldom penalized for lying on the stand or defying court-ordered access to the kids.

But Brownstone adds that in his experience, jailing mothers "has made things worse, not better," noting that the kids often end up in foster care while the court sorts out where they should live.

"They (men jailed for not paying support) have the keys in their own pocket. They can pay and get out."

Pamela Cross, a family lawyer and director of the National Association of Women and the Law, contends too many women still suffer abuse at the hands of men who refuse to pay court-ordered child support. They also have to deal with the fallout when fathers don't show up for their access time, leaving devastated kids waiting at the door.

Men who push relentlessly for more time with the kids tend to be driven more by control issues and cash than quality time, argues Cross. Since child support payments are based on the so-called "40-per-cent rule," if a father has the children more than 40 per cent of the time, he can seek a reduction in payments (whereas if the mother has them more than 40 per cent of the time, she gets full support).

Many parents and lawyers blame 1999 Divorce Act reform for turning kids into "economic hostages" and driving up custody disputes.

Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley, a former criminal lawyer, has been praised by some family law lawyers for recognizing the unique problems plaguing the family courts. He's been quietly meeting with family law experts across the province the past few months and recently announced a $150 million increase in legal aid funding, much of it for family law cases, and said he's determined to streamline and speed up the court system while providing more upfront services such as mediation to keep cases out of the courts.

Judges are getting tougher with obstreperous parents – be they fathers or mothers – and sensitive to the importance of dads in their children's lives, says family law lawyer Steven Benmor. As a handful of recent cases have shown, they're also more willing to switch custody if one parent is habitually denying access or turning the kids against the other parent.

Australia's Parkinson studies family law issues around the world and says father's groups that have been pushing for more equal access to their children have been unfairly labelled as fanatics, especially in Canada where the fight between feminists and so-called father's rights groups have been, in his view, "extremely adversarial."

"There are some way-out and wacky men's groups, but the closer you get to some of these groups, the more you see decent, down-to-earth men who are distressed, who are upset, some of them are angry, and they're human beings. All they're saying is, `I love my kids and I want to do the best for them.'"We need to get away from this warfare and think about the children."

Sunday: Equal shared parenting

http://www.thestar.com/article/704075

Children need representation.

There are child advocats, working for the Attorney General of Ontario, dept. He or she would speak to the children separately and report (with children there) to the parents and lawyers of what the children think. My heart goes out to the fathers, and mothers who get the short end of the stick. Actually the kids get the brunt end.

Submitted by Tosydney at 2:19 PM Friday, October 02 2009

no-fault divorce has been a disaster

it is the greatest threat to the canadian family today and a benefit only to divorce lawyers and psychologists.

Submitted by gonzo at 2:28 PM Friday, October 02 2009

There is a reason why...

dads don't get their children the majority of the time; the mother is usually (but by no means always) the one who takes care of the unoticed things; the packed lunches, the extra-curricular fees, ensuring homework is completed, cooking nutritious meals etc. Men tend to want to play 'Disney Dad' and indulge the kids in 'instant gratification' presents and experiences. It's a generalization, but it's true for most scenarios.

Submitted by generationxterra at 2:41 PM Friday, October 02 2009

F.R.O.

Lets continue this and discuss the Family Responsibility Office who refuses to enforce child support orders against women who don't pay their support. This system is so completley biased against men, how long will we talk about it before leveling the playing field in the best interest of the children.

Submitted by Bosco at 2:46 PM Friday, October 02 2009

its getting better but...

I have my two kids every morning from 7 am until 9 am when i take them to school. Three nights a week I take them to their extra-curricular activites. They spend the night with me every weds, and every other weekend. When they are not with me, they are with their mothers parents. Mom can't keep up with their homework, they don't have showers, they eat take out food/microwave dinners that they prepare. And for this, I am paying $1800 a month in child support. When they are at home with their mom, she locks herself in her bedroom until it's time for them to go to bed. She has told me if i try to get custody of the kids she will simply claim abuse and I won't see them at all. This is a Father right in Canada.

Submitted by oneless at 2:54 PM Friday, October 02 2009

It's mom's too

While I realize this happens to the majority of the fathers.......it does happen to mothers too. Where are the support groups for them?

Submitted by cuteone at 2:57 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Western culture and family in ruins!

Our society is out of control. Vows don't matter anymore. A wedding day is just a party for many. Soon, those marriages will be hanging off a cliff. Divorce in our society is acceptable, like a walk in the park. Vows ... what vows. Divorce laws favour women period. Doesn't matter brought the marriage to an end whether it be adultery, keeping up with the Jones, financially, etc. This society is headed for the cliff. It's very sad. Where did all the morals, values and ethics go?

Submitted by Triumvirat at 3:06 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Child support

If a father sees the children 10% of the time he should only be footing 10% of the bill for raising them; not nearly his whole paycheque.

Submitted by DME at 3:09 PM Friday, October 02 2009

I'm one of the lucky ones

When I was hit with news out of the blue and separated 4 years ago, we had one child. My lawyer's advice basically was 'do not show any anger, keep things amicable, and understand that you cannot expect equal treatment.' Yes, 'joint custody' is a blatant misnomer. I started with the every other weekend and alternate Wednesday schedule which, apparently, is some kind of standard - fortunately, my ex began to realize how demanding single parenthood was and afforded me more time with our daughter. I now have her 50% of the time and still pay full support. I dare not bring up the 40% rule in fear that my ex will revert back to our original 'Agreement' (aka gun to my head), causing a rift and risk losing time with our child. I may be getting the financial short stick, but I count myself very lucky compared to many guys I know. Of course, I always carry the worry that circumstances may change, but right now I'm treasuring it each day.

Submitted by GoTime at 3:22 PM Friday, October 02 2009

A good Dad...

If he is a good dad he would not have got himself into a divorce in the first place. A good Dad who truly love his kids would have suck it up by putting the kids ahead of himself...same comments apply to those Divorced Moms...you arenot any better.

Submitted by LeafsreallyStink at 3:23 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Corrupt Family Court System Costs Cdn Taxpayers Billions per Year!

The problem with the Family Court System is... It's "Totally Corrupt"!!! Our Family Court laws are bad, but even the good laws we have are not being followed by “corrupt judges”. Judges routinely rule against solid evidence and accept the proven lies of the mother as legitimate. Separated fathers’ Constitutional Rights are routinely abused, and judges rarely rule against CAS workers and assessors’ who “hate men”. These workers are allowed to function with impunity instead of getting the psychological treatment they need, and... Loving Fathers and Their Little Children are the ones suffering. In family law, children and fathers can’t enforce their rights under our Constitution. In other words... 75% of the Canadian People have no real rights under our Constitution! The Family Court Industry is sucking between $6 to $7 Billion dollars a year out of Canadian families pockets, and that’s not counting the loss of productivity from fathers who have lost everything.

Submitted by ThePhilosopher at 3:33 PM Friday, October 02 2009

to: generationxterra

Really? Men want to play "Disney dad"? Women pack the lunches, cook meals, and pay for extra curricular fees? It's attitudes and disgusting like that that perpetuate the situation most divorced or separated dads find themselves in.

Submitted by mrbojangles at 3:41 PM Friday, October2, 2009

NAWL hasn't changed its bias

Pamela Cross of the National Association of Women and the Law continues the sterio typical abuse of men and fathers. "Control issues and cash" is not what parenting is about, but the radical feminist are really just anti male. Can't someone complain to the Human Rights Commission about this hate speach?

Submitted by Rational Thought at 3:44 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Make it even better

A sad story Oneless. Have you considered the possibility your ex wife is depressed? Have you thought about how you might help her (and thereby help your children). One of the myths of divorce is that the legal division means a social division. Yet if one wants to be engaged in their childrens' lives it means they must remain connection to ex- including their well being. Alas, too often the parents carry the marital dysfunction over into the post-marital relationship. For example, bragging how well Parent 1 is doing compared to Parent 2. Of course, it can cut both ways and men can definately be at a disadvantage, but many men do not help themselves with a warrier attitude. The children should be the winners, not the parents.

Submitted by John Smith VII at 3:45 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Marriage is a losing situation for men!

Be cause of what I have been through in the court system and what I have seen so many other men go through in the system, I advise all young men to get a vasectomy, stay single and use rentals. The courts are not operating in the best interests of the children, parents or society as a whole. The legal system could easily be changed and made similar to what happens in California for joint custody as the norm and mediation, but the lawyers would make much less money, go figure!

Submitted by cherrypie at 4:12 PM Friday, October 02 2009

wow.

My ex husband doesn't pay a dime for our 3 children. I cover all the bills (including my very ill son's medical bills). I know several women in a similar predicament. I believe there are valid cases on both sides of the fence. I sorrow for the PARENT that tries hard but gets stiffed. And I sorrow for the children who will suffer the most in all of this.

Submitted by presentpast at 4:12 PM Friday, October 02 2009

You will find me not being very sympathetic to men in divorce/custody situations. I was abandoned by my ex, left with 4 children to fend on my own. He fought me for custody and it was all about control. He was never involved with the kids before he left but suddenly he was VERY interested in them afterwards. For many men, not all, they are interested in gaining as much access time as possible as they know this will limit their support payments. The problem lies with no-fault divorce. If a court assigned blame for the marriage break-up and punished the perpetrators of divorce which has been demonstrated to be harmful to the children and the abandoned spouse, this nonsense would stop. You can't legislate fairness when the law itself is inherently unfair. And I do agree it's wrong to claim abuse where none has occurred but this is NOT the case in many situations I know of.

Submitted by mom4fairness at 4:14 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Save marriages

Also one last thought: the last statement of this article has it completely wrong. We need to get away from DIVORCE. Instead of focusing on helping people divorce, we need to help repair and support marriage. That is when we are truly thinking about the children. Not one person even attempted to help me repair our marriage - not my parish priest, the diocesan counsellor, the judge, the lawyers nor the social workers. It was all about my husband finding himself by having sex with another woman. Yeah, right.

Submitted by mom4fairness at 4:17 PM Friday, October 02 2009

modern marriage

The mistake that most men make in a marriage is to work. To be successful, you need to find a woman who will work while you stay home with the kids. If any trouble erupts, you get the kids while she gets the bills. Good luck.

Submitted by BenC. at 4:17 PM Friday, October 02 2009

I'm a social work for the Hospital for Sick Children does have some merit. Family courts have been overburdened that there's a tendency to award custody to mothers without any individial thourough assessment. Fathers who paid their child support and who are loving and caring should see their children. The same applies for mothers. The only circumstance where it would be inappropriate to see one parent over the other is if that parent has a history of violence, abuse, neglect towards their children. But in this case where fathers want to see their children, they should because that's how children will develop. Otherwise we'll see children who grow up without the other parent and we know what happens next which is poor academic performance to even crime.

Submitted by Vote NDP in the next federal/provincial election at 4:21 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Whatever...

It's pure and simple selfeshness on both sides. How can a couple plan to have children and then divorce. I don't care what the excuses are on both sides....grow up and take responsibility for the family both of you have created.

Submitted by industrialised at 4:24 PM Friday, October 02 2009

@ LeafsreallyStink

Being a good dad and getting a divorce are two different things. Woman always want equality, until they get the short end of the stick. It happens all the time so deal with it. And yes, the Leafs really stink.

Submitted by jl2008 at 4:27 PM Friday, October 02 2009

..there is a simple solution

..there is a simple solution and it is already happening..stop having kids. There are societies out there who value the role of a father and they generally tend to have a much higher birthrate. In time societies such as ours will thankfully die off and be replaced by far healthier ones..

Submitted by shane2 at 4:35 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Governments need some group therapy

As a third party I have watched a father go through hell to appease the ex-wife, who hauls him to court constantly. The courts hear no breakup history only that the aggrieved spouse wants to destroy the other party. The mediator needs to be able to submit some history to the family court judge, other than money. The biggest obstacle to fairness is the lawyers themselves, they create the laws and they make the money from the laws they create, so are they going to agree to amendments that prevent a father from financial ruin. No. In Ontario the overworked Family Responsibility office on the whim of nasty ex-wife can have her monies collected from his employer even though he has never missed paying a cent and in fact has paid more than required, just to embarrass him. The office is being used as a weapon. I could write for hours. Lets have some open discussion between adults and the law makers who could find themselves in their own shoes someday.

Submitted by CuriousGeorge at 4:38 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Fathers aren't the only ones forgotten

I have a daughter that has only had a few hundred dollars for support of her children in ten years. She is owed thousands of dollars and the courts keep reducing the amount. It doesn't make sense. The only good thing is she has remarried and is buying a home and her children's father is living in a basement apartment!!! Her and her children are very happy.

Submitted by elorac37 at 4:44 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Simple solution

The US in 90 percent of the state mandate divorce ed up front, mediatin and scheduled SET visiatin dates, hours and time. Ontario legaly system is so convulated and stranged by arrogant and stupid lying people in the lawerys and courts. I am doing battle now and your system is so corrupt from the atty generals office to the CLEO and self help systems. Such horrible demeaning racket! It is broke from the judges all the way down.,

Submitted by SMC at 4:53 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Only the laywers win

The current court system is not equipped to handle divorce. It's combative and pits emotionally distraught people against each other. It's expensive and can leave people in financial ruin! Nobody wins in the end except the laywer's bank account. The FRO is the same and the only winnes are the government who make big bucks off all the statements they charge for.

Submitted by troygeorge at 4:57 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Hmmmm?

So much anger is being expressed through all the comments. I myself, a father have had a very difficult time in a custody case which has gone on too long. Unfortunately my ex-wife is mentally ill. In saying this however, I mean no disrespect to her, rather I am still in a supportive role, as difficult as it may seem. Not just financially. However, at times, as I am sure to many of the readers, we forget the common denomenators, our children. Truly, it's a sad case no matter which way you cut it, and it makes me very sad when I read certain hostile comments as posted earlier. Unfortunately, that is divorce court, and unless we change it, the system won't change it. That's the ugly truth.

Submitted by York Region at 5:39 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Some truth.. Read carefully!

My X cheated after 20 years together.My X left the home, went partying after being 'stuck at home' too long - brought the new love interest into our childs life less than 30 days later. They started to play 'happy family'. The OCL was involved at BOTH our requests. The court gave me custody, as an unplanned visit from them showed my X's true colours.I allow more time,aside from shared weekends, my X bearly sees our child,hasn't in months.Our child has been 'forgotten' at school more than 30 times in the past year. My X has not paid support in a year, but goes on lavish vacations 4 times a year. The FRO has done nothing to collect support, and they don't want to know about any vacations - I gave up trying with them. My X has been arrested 4 times in the past 10 months - for various reasons.I am heading back to court to ask for 'supervised visits'.Am I a man, or a woman? The women will say Man, and the Men, will say Woman. Does it matter? I am putting our childs safety first.

Submitted by The Last Good One at 5:43 PM Friday, October 02 2009

p.s.

It's a shame that "adultery" isn't "just cause" for a divorce.. If the partner wants to play - then don't cry when you have to pay.

Submitted by The Last Good One at 5:45 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Every situation is unique

Just as all people are unique, all families are too. In my case, threats of suicide on the part of my ex, as well as insinuations that he would harm one of our children made the decision for me. I left with nothing but the clothes on my back and a job that paid me $12 an hour. He got the house that I paid for with my inheritance from my parents and he got the kids. Fortunately the kids were old enough and understood the situation well enough to maintain an excellent and close relationship with me. No lawyer in the world and no court could have helped me in that predicament, so I surrendered knowing that ultimately my contribution to the household would go to my children. It was very difficult for a woman who had been a stay-at-home mother starting over from scratch in her 50's - but I got to work and did it and still managed to see my children frequently, work, save, buy another smaller, cheaper house a couple of hours away, re-marry and be happy again.

Submitted by OldBird at 5:46 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Oh :-)

Cry me a river. You made you bed so sleep on it.

Submitted by SunnyVegas at 5:47 PM Friday, October 02 2009

cherrypie

That is just ridiculos! That would be like saying - all women get their tubes tied and stay away from men.. I'm sorry you went thru what you did, however, you shouldn't hold all women in the same category/standard as your X. There are some decent women out there. May be hard to find, but there are.

Submitted by The Last Good One at 5:49 PM Friday, October 02 2009

first step should be providing information

As a sparated father for the past 6 months form my two teenage children I can vouch for the present system being very complicated and convoluted. One spouse can alienate the children, leave the matrimonial home-purchase a new one,and refuse any requests to mediation..the k list goes on but i don't want to sound bitter.As someone deeply involved in the system I agree changes are needed in the present system. The first thing most people do is go to lawyers, there should be manadatory attending of information sessions within the first 30 days of separation to educate the parents on reponsibilities ,rights and avenues to settle .It's unconceivable to me how a parent could walk away and leave the mother with sole custody and the children the knowledge their dad did not care to fight for them as he may lose.Most fathers of our generation have had equal share of parenting from the birth of our children and our children deserve nothing less going forward.

Submitted by decentdad at 6:04 PM Friday, October 02 2009

This may sound horrible but...

...I think sometimes it's better to end a marriage sooner rather than later if it starts heading down a nasty path. If it ends with both spouses at the 'I can't stand any more' stage, then their future relationship (which MUST BE RETAINED for the sake of their kids) will be forever poisoned with bitterness, spite and anger. No one wins in that situation. If you need to call it quits from a marriage, at least do it when you still have some respect left for each other. That will make jointly raising kids with your ex much less stressful and confrontational.

Submitted by Mr. C at 6:16 PM Friday, October 02 2009

so messed up!

I have full custody of all three of my kids. With two ex husbands who normally pay support on time, they don't always provide the amount they should and it's okay by me. The relationship with their dads is more important then the money, even the $12K I wrote off ten years ago. I'm just glad I have a decent job that provides and I don't have to rely on support. What support does provide is a better life and extra curricular things and makes a difference between a back yard or a patio balcony. My single dad raised me in the early 70's and it was for the best. Love my mom but dad was better intact. Too bad more women don't think like me. A divorce destroys so much more than the pocket book....and your children will remember since they are not kids forever!

Submitted by 321myturn at 6:31 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Push to Brink

I am a single dad that has spent close to $100 000 on trying to get access to my son. He is 3 and constantly brainwashed by his mom to thinking I am a bad dad and person. I find it hard to understand how women can come on here and bitch and complain in any regard. Seriously if you are not getting paid, all you have to do is go to court and you will get paid. Women today are using kids as a paycheque, refusing to agreee to shared custody so they can maintain a higher child support cheque each month. I find it hard to understand how my 3 year old son needs 2 grand a month to survive. My family raised me and my sisters on 600 dollars a month total income. It is just so so unfair. It has made me question the greatness of our Country.

Submitted by tiredofcourt at 6:35 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Not Changing...

My ex's ex was a horrible person and mother. She did not 'allow' him to have access to his kids while he was dating anyone else. I have a son with my ex and we have maintained a great relationship. While he was with his ex, and my son would visit on weekends she pressured him into not returning my son home after his visit. While I was with my son's dad, she taught her 3 year old to call me a f(^&%^g w&%e. When she would know we were together she would call and tell him the sitter called and his son was missing. He rushed out once and found his son safe at the sitter's and no one had called her. She would tell her kids that their dad was coming to pick them up for a visit. On the seldom times he would be 'allowed' to see them, the kids would ask him why he keeps standing them up. She would tell them knowing he wasn't coming (allowed) to see them. Very Very Horrible/Person.

Submitted by patmck at 6:36 PM Friday, October 02 2009

funny..........

how many father's have a girlfriend that they can wine and dine , but complain about child support payments...........

Submitted by josotoo at 6:59 PM Friday, October 02 2009

John Smith -- I am actually 100% convinced my ex is depressed. (She left me after 15 years to be with a guy 10 years younger than her after a 3 year affair... who left her a week after she left me) We still maintain a friendly relationship (barring the issue with support/custody) for the sake of the kids. But none of those facts matter in court. Even though i work from home, she disolved the relationship, my income is higher, and she gets primary custody and the paycheque that goes along with it. (And since i am prepping lunch, and breakfast, taking them to the doctor appointments, taking them to extra curriculars etc since i work from home.. i am paying her for the priviliage). But to me it's the worth it to make sure my kids are safe and happy. It sucks that i know that if she did claim abuse, i would lose what i already have and still be paying.. so i jsut take it.. and i suspect that that is happening a lot with men. It's a gamble I am not willing to make.

Submitted by oneless at 7:02 PM Friday, October 02 2009

I'm Fortunate

When my ex and I split both of our children had free and equal access to us both. Although we have had some rough and rocky times as divorced parents it has, over all, worked well for our kids. We have both ensured that neither one of us has ever bad mouthed the other in front of our children, we have both been on board with the "BIG" issues and we have both done our best to attend parent/ teacher nights, sports games, plays and arts nights. My ex and I rarely talk, but when we do it is civil and to the point - our children. You don't have to like your ex, regardless of gender, but you must remember that each side has an equally vested interest in the children. Do the right thing, put petty bickering aside and simply love you children. They will know.

Submitted by rugbydad at 7:06 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Wish women would appreciate their husbands more...

I wish every women out there would understand and study their men. Men are incredible simple, give them appreciation, affection and admiration and bunch of sex they will place you on a padestal. I won't say it if I didn't try it. After 10 year being with my hubby we were in the brink of divorce. I did nothing but complain, whine and was a control freak before that. I changed because I came from a divorce home and understand the pain. A child needs Mom and Dad TOGETHER. Period. Doing this will solve a lot of social issues we have in our society. They need to see real commitment. For all the father that are suffering out there all I could recommend is reverse psychology with your ex-wives. They usually use the kids as a weapon again you, to hurt you intentionally. Try to not show it and to top it off, be nice to them - give them attention, compliments, bring them flowers when you pick up your kids and remember their birthday and mother's day. You will surprise at the result.

Submitted by ArLau at 7:47 PM Friday, October 02 2009

Terms of estrangement
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/704119
Oct 03, 2009 04:30 AM

SOLE CUSTODY: This determines who has the legal authority to make decisions around the child's education, health, religion and social welfare. Technically, it does not determine where the children live, although parents with sole custody tend to have the children most of the time.

Joint custody: This means the parents make decisions together around major issues affecting the children.

Shared parenting: Also called co-parenting. Parents split responsibilities so that, say, mother makes decisions around education and father around medical care.

SUPERVISED ACCESS: This is imposed by a judge if there are allegations of abuse, chronic badmouthing by one parent against the other, addiction, mental-health issues or a risk one parent will flee with the child.

CASE CONFERENCE: This is the mandatory first step in the court process, meant to stop lawyers, and clients, from running amok. A good judge will engage in tough talk – clarifying the issues of the case, how they are likely to be dealt with, your chances of "success." It's all meant as a warning to warring couples to settle before the issues head to a costly trial. SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE: This takes place after all the financial records and assessments of what's best for the children are ready to go to trial. The last chance to settle before a judge orders a settlement at trial.

IMPUTED INCOME: This is a way for the courts to clamp down on the spiteful primary breadwinner – usually the man and, say, a Bay St. broker who suddenly decides to become an artist – just as his ex-wife is seeking child and spousal support. Some judges will simply decide what they think the man should be earning based on their education. Others will give them, say, two years to retrain for a job more in keeping with their previous earning power. It's also meant to crack down on litigants – usually men – who are self-employed and trying to hide income from their ex-wives and children.

HIGH CONFLICT: This is a relationship plagued by distrust, animosity, bitterness and often a need for revenge. Basically, the two parties can't agree on anything, which is why judges almost always award custody to one parent to minimize the need for contact between the two. Can involve episodes of domestic violence but not always.

PARENTAL ALIENATION: A fiercely debated buzzword in family law. Generally, it's an ugly by-product of high-conflict divorce in which one parent – usually the custodial parent – turns the children against their ex-spouse in an orchestrated campaign of hatred. It's difficult and brutal to undo and has so far involved flying children off to expensive U.S.-based facilities for what some deride as "deprogramming." It is extremely difficult to prove.

FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN: A special federal joint committee that held 55 meetings over 12 months back in 1997 and heard from over 520 witnesses, many of them dads and grandparents struggling to get access to children. Its 1998 report called for reforms such as shared parenting were largely shelved.

THE MOTHER/THE FATHER: There's no room for niceties in the trenches of family court. This unusual way of describing ex-partners just goes to show how long the estranged couple have been in the courts, listening to lawyers

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