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.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Law Commission of Ontario, “Family Law Process Project”

Law Commission of Ontario, “Family Law Process Project”
Computer Methods Building, Suite 201
4850 Keele Street
Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3
Fax: (416) 650-8418

E-mail: LawCommission@lco-cdo.org
 
Website Family Law Project Link: http://www.lco-cdo.org/en/familylaw.html.

I left some comments on their survey form as follows today. This may be the last day. My comments are in the context of a person several years back when the relationship was on the rocks and I had not near the knowledge or contacts as now. Getting the information out into the community is a vital component of reform in family law as to how to access help. We know about our first responders and how to access them but not about family crisis. (I'm speaking as a male) I have included the questions and my answers in green below. The link is on this page. http://projects.lco-cdo.org/familylawprocess/ Click user to go to the form if you are involved in the process.

1. Can you tell us the beginning of your story, from the point when you realized that you had a family challenge or problem and wanted external help, to the moment when you came in contact with someone who provided you with help (inside or outside of the family law justice system)? If you felt blocked in the process and couldn’t receive any help, you can also tell us this story. You may also trace your story backwards, from the moment you came into contact with a family justice worker back to the beginning of your family challenge or problem. Can you tell us the beginning of your story, from the point when you realized that you had a family challenge or problem and wanted external help, to the moment when you came in contact with someone who provided you with help (inside or outside of the family law justice system)? If you felt blocked in the process and couldn’t receive any help, you can also tell us this story. You may also trace your story backwards, from the moment you came into contact with a family justice worker back to the beginning of your family challenge or problem.
I am a man who has been subjected to financial (criminal activities by a former female spouse), emotional and physical abuse. There are no services available for a man in my situation but there are great many people who cast aspersions on my “manliness” amongst other negative and spurious attempts at humiliation. There are no DV shelters for men and more particularly his children as well. Had such counselling facilities been available perhaps it could have saved the marriage. Australia has Family Relationship Centres focussing on marriage breakdown and the Calgary Counselling Centre has a comprehensive method to deal with various forms of family issues. A Family Centre would be the first stop for someone feeling they have no where to turn. There is absolutely no one available to help men in this situation in Ontario that I am aware of that is easily accessible. (tax payer supported) Expensive Lawyers are the usual first step and the wrong one. They should be the last step. Legal Aid for men doesn't seem to be available and even the recent $150,000,000 announcement by the Ontario AG has 70% earmarked for women. We seem to live in a system designed for women only. DV is pretty close to 50-50 in Canada but no credence is given to female on male violence and abuse in all its forms as described earlier.
2. If you had to redo everything again, what would you do again, do differently or never do again at the beginning of the process of solving your family challenge or problem? What would your story have looked like if you had had access to the services you were looking for? If you had to redo everything again, what would you do again, do differently or never do again at the beginning of the process of solving your family challenge or problem? What would your story have looked like if you had had access to the services you were looking for?

I would get extensive family counselling in an effort to resolve differences rather than let them fester. The single gender approach in dealing with issues such as DV shelters and the extensive female support ecosystem incentivizes divorce (75% initiated by females) and a feminist (victim oriented) mantra of male patriarchal oppression suffuses the discourse. It is unhelpful to resolve problems that are family related and aids in the disintegration of the family.
3. What did you NOT know before or during your relationship, parenting experience or overall family experience that may have helped prevent family challenges or problems? What did you NOT know before or during your relationship, parenting experience or overall family experience that may have helped prevent family challenges or problems?  

The support ecosystem is female centric. Men are cast aside as not needed in the family, other than as an ATM, and marginalized. The system is sexist, matriarchal, and highly biased. 

  4. When it comes to receiving family justice services, do you have specific needs related to your group identity, ability, geographical location or experience of migrating to Canada? When it comes to receiving family justice services, do you have specific needs related to your group identity, ability, geographical location or experience of migrating to Canada?  

Men have no support services available to them (Ontario - My location) even though they are only 25% likely to initiate a divorce. In other words they are 75% possible to be shocked at receiving divorce papers. When served with papers a great deal of bewilderment and confusion is likely. Family oriented centres on the OZ model are a good first step and entry point. They must be gender neutral so that either of the parties feel no shame in seeking assistance, the first of which should be counselling gradually drawing in other family members to salvage the marriage as a first priority.  

5. Do you have access to an informal network of support? Do you have access to an informal network of support? If you do, can you describe it? Could you rely on a person within this network to help you if you had a family challenge or problem? If you don’t, what would you do if you needed family-related help? Who would be the best person to help you?  

My family none of whom are experts. As above 

6. Who was the most helpful person in terms of helping you resolve your family challenge or problem? (This person may or may not be a family justice system worker.) Who was the most helpful person in terms of helping you resolve your family challenge or problem? (This person may or may not be a family justice system worker.) 

I have yet to meet an organization or group, as a man, (local situation) who would have been helpful in salvaging my marriage or who could offer services to a battered man in need of assistance with his children. I was the stay-at-home parent and had I left with my children I would likely have been charged with kidnapping my own children.  

7. Please identify any of the following online public legal education resources that you know about or have used by checking the boxes: 

Ministry of the Attorney General: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/justice-ont/family_law.asp Know About Not used 

Community Legal Education Ontario - Family Law: http://www.cleo.on.ca/english/pub/onpub/subject/family.htm Know About Not used 

Community Legal Education Ontario - Six Languages Project: http://www.cleo.on.ca/english/six/index.htm Know About Not used

Family Law Education for Women: http://onefamilylaw.ca/ Know About Not used 

Ontario Women Justice Network - Family Law: http://www.owjn.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=219&Itemid=104 Know About Not used 

Ontario Women Justice Network - Violence Against Women: http://www.owjn.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=217&Itemid=107 Know About Not used 

Canadian Council for Muslim Women - Muslim and Canadian Family Law: http://www.ccmw.com/documents/Muslim_and_Canadian_Family_Laws.pdf 
Know About Not used 

Department of Justice Canada - Family Violence: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/fv-vf/pub/abus/aiw-mei/index.html Know About  

Other (please indicate the relevant source)

 8. Do you think such resources can be helpful in preventing and/or resolving family challenges or problems? No. 

Do you think such resources can be helpful in preventing and/or resolving family challenges or problems? If you do, how would you prefer receiving this information? Where would you go if you had access to this information but wanted to learn more or if you were facing a family challenge and needed further help to resolve it? If not, why? They are largely designed and mostly run by women for women. They largely use the feminist model of "empowering" the woman out of the marriage.
 
9. Assuming that not everyone prefers or is in a position to receive services in the same way, how do you prefer receiving services in the area of family law? - What would be the most accessible entry point for you? - How important are in-person interactions for you? - Do some means of communication work better than others for you? - Are there any technologies that may help reaching out to you? Assuming that not everyone prefers or is in a position to receive services in the same way, how do you prefer receiving services in the area of family law? - What would be the most accessible entry point for you? - How important are in-person interactions for you? - Do some means of communication work better than others for you? - Are there any technologies that may help reaching out to you?
Having a Family Centre designed around the resolution of marital issues and guidance into the system for ending the marriage if not salvageable. It should be considered a first line of response in the same manner as Ambulance, Fire and Police Services. Family breakdown is a crisis involving all family members not a single gender. As in other first responses prevention should be a priority and accomplished throughout existing institutions but when family breakdown occurs we need emergency help available. A stepped program thereafter would be put in place. The first step for the family is a 3 week course in dealing with all of the issues and problems and consequences facing the termination of the relationship. Next compulsory tax supported mediation services. After, an administrative process not involving lawyers, leading to an order for divorce if mediation has worked to resolve the issues outstanding. If there are still problems then lawyers may be required to act as guides through an overly complex and not necessarily required legal quagmire. If lawyers are unaffordable a step by step guide through the process for self represented litigants. Changes in federal legislation are required to 1.) obtain a legal presumption of shared and equal parenting as exists in Belgium, Denmark, Australia, Holland (2009), in other European countries in various forms and many USA States 2) Over the longer term reintroduce some degree of accountability to divorce. The no-fault provision has not helped and in many cases involving criminal or overt actions to dissolve the relationship has acted as a trigger for negative outcomes.  
All of this can be done through the best use of these family oriented centres. As mentioned previously check the services offered at the Australian Family Relationship Services and the Calgary Counselling Centre. The links for these are : OZ - http://www.familyrelationships.gov.au/ Calgary: http://www.calgarycounselling.com/
These centres can employ various technologies to reach out to people in need of help but if they are designed to integrate into the values we have on the importance of families then no one will feel any shame in using them.

3 comments:

Steve said...

Hi,

I would be pleased if it would be possible to promote a link to a site i have created for my brother. He is not able to see his daughter Darcie Bridgeman, since she was taken to Canada without his permission. My brother lives in the uk. The site and story is available on www.darciebridgeman.com

Many thanks,

Steve.

Michael J. Murphy said...

Steve:

With your permission I would insert your home page in my blog as a separate entry with key words referencing Darcie and her dad. My blog is indexed frequently by Google and other search engines and an entry is usually searchable and findable within a short period of time after publishing.

If Darcie was removed and there was a court order allowing dad access he may wish to get an order for return under the Hague Convention. It would, at the least, give some recourse and may aid the police to assist in tracking her down in this very large country of ours.

If you have info on the Step Dads name and would want that published let me know. I am a member of some National groups involved in Father's and Family Rights.

There are groups of parents in different countries whose children have been kidnapped. I suspect there must be at least one in the UK.

An article with links is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_abduction

Steve said...

Hi Michael,

thanks very much for this! That would be very useful to promote the site within your blog, it is however ranking at number 1 in google for relevant search terms (childs name, my brothers name, childs mothers name etc).

The stepfathers name is Nick Berresford, mothers name is Tanya Berresford. From research i have done i believe they live in Chapalina Cres SE
Calgary, AB T2X 3R8. However i am not 100% sure as there could be many N&T Berresfords!

The wikipedia article is very interesting, and my brother has certainly experienced the allegations of domestic abuse/violence.

As a family we are keen that Darcie should one day find the site we have set up, to allow her to see photos of her and her Dad together, in the hope that one day she will get in contact.

Thanks very much again.

Steve Bridgeman.