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, June 12, 2009

TVO Tonight ~ The Interview: Justice Harvey Brownstone ~ Parental Alienation

My comments left on the TVO blog here. http://www.tvo.org/cfmx/tvoorg/theagenda/index.cfm?page_id=3&message=commentAdded&blog_id=323&type_data_id=&action=blog&subaction=viewpost&post_id=10470&flag=&0=0#comment1 I watched the show and found it informative. Inasmuch as Judge Brownstone has sat on the bench for so long he seems out of touch with the actual thoughts of dads. He indicates not many seek custody. I find this to be not in keeping with my own research and contacts with other divorced dads, not only in this country but several others. Frequently what happens when a dad gets a lawyer he will be told "you do not stand a chance at getting custody" so take visitation, pay child support, and cut your losses. If he has a pension he will be told to try and trade the family home to keep it intact. The current custody ratio is about 9-1 in favour of mom. I do not believe 90% of dads do not want shared and equal custody of their children. That is a first legislative change necessary. If there is a presumption of shared and equal parenting with co-residency of the children it will help to reduce PA and the divorce rate will drop as it has in other jurisdictions. In the Belgium model any parent withholding access is considered to have abducted the children and will face jail. This will reduce access problems in Canada and will not give leverage to the withholding parent as it is automatic. They cannot blame the access parent and further alienate the child. Actions lead to consequences. Judge Brownstone also tries to paint the picture the court is not gender biased. He may actually believe this but it is untrue. The 9-1 ratio of custody to mom is a startling and a profound judgment of men's perceived incapabilities. Ninety percent (90%) of us are not worthy to quote an old character on SNL. All these men are sentenced to 14% visitation, if false allegations are not raised about their anger problems. All judges seem to think DV is a one way street and if a false allegation that dad raised his voice, looked mean at the mom or hit the mom guarantees him only supervised access if any. False allegations are one of the weapons of choice in custody fights. Any lawyer who suggests this to a client as an option is clearly playing to his client not the needs of children. Do you think ethics prevent lawyers from doing this? Hmmm...I have this property for you... Some judges use the excuse mom was the primary carer so it is just status quo. How is this measured? Most families have two workers and many dads have a high participatory rate in parenting. In my case because of criminal behaviour by my ex against my former employer I took a buy-out due to the humiliation and loss of reputation/credibility with my employer. I was a stay-at-home dad to my children from infancy for ten years. My ex took a run to the local DV shelter to get a leg up on custody. She also got those who are trained to believe everything these women say is true behind her causing me to lose custody. She did alienate the children before leaving to ensure they would be her allies. The deck is stacked against most dads even though all studies show the female is as prone to initiate Domestic Violence as the male. I can speak to that with experience. Gender bias is not only in existence judges and lawyers are daily continuing to promote it. Is it willful blindness? I think so as judges are acting out the way they were trained by feminists who preach men are inherently violent and women the natural carers of children. These feminist trainers also deny the studies showing women as equal to or greater initiators of DV than men. All judges are required to take it. I thought the show, on the whole, was informative. Amy Baker is a respected researcher in the field of PA, Mr. Wilson and Dr. Fidler very experienced in the battlefield for the affections of children and it is a gruesome place full of negative emotional outcomes for the children. I will recommend in my blogs it be viewed by others impacted by PA. Both dads and moms do use the children as weapons in this manner. Bala's recent study shows a 2-1 ratio for moms. I have said before and I'll say it again. Justice Brownstone, even though I disagree with some of his statements, has acted as a catalyst to promote discussion of the dysfunction in family courts. That is a very good thing. The sooner we have shared and equal parenting with co-residency of the children the better. Justice Brownstone can then observe how many dads don't want custody of their children or if not equal time then as much as their work life allows.MJM
Justice Harvey Brownstone | Parental Alienation
Friday, June 12 2009 8:00 PM

Justice Harvey Brownstone

Think of the kids: Family Court Judge Harvey Brownstone and the parents who put themselves ahead of the interests of their children.

Links

  • The Globe and Mail That toxic tug-of-war: In a custody battle, making peace is more important than being right. Indeed, the very notion of 'parental alienation' glosses over whose rights are at issue — namely, the child's. By Harvey Brownstone

Parental Alienation

The Debate: Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation Syndrome: the controversial disorder that's gaining recognition in psychiatrists' offices ... and in court.

Guests

Amy Baker is a developmental psychologist, and the author of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties that Bind.

Harvey Brownstone serves as a justice with the North Toronto Family Court, and is the author of Tug of War: A Judge's Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles and the Bitter Realities of Family Court.

Barbara Jo Fidler is a registered child psychologist and accredited mediator practicing at Family Solutions in Toronto.

Jeffery Wilson is a family lawyer and a founding partner of Wilson Christen LLP.

Producers

Sandra Gionas is a producer for The Agenda with Steve Paikin. She has been at TVO for eleven years, first as a producer for the Daily Unit at Studio 2, and then as a producer for More 2 Life. She has covered health and education issues extensively for TVO. Sandra is a graduate of the University of Toronto, and Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. Follow Sandra on Twitter.

If you miss it follow this link for an archived version.

Toronto Sun ~ Bad mom really needed jail time

Last Updated: 12th June 2009, 2:12am

Most fathers who've been denied access to their kids by demented ex-wives give up the fight rather than bankrupting themselves in lengthy court battles.

A Toronto surgeon had the money -- and the persistence -- to keep going. He won sole custody of his three daughters because his ex-wife spent more than a decade brainwashing the children to hate him.

She was subsequently fined $35,000 for contempt for ignoring repeated orders to get counselling. And on Tuesday, an Ontario judge imposed an even harsher punishment, ordering her to pay more than $250,000 of her ex-husband's court costs.

The father's expenses were "a litigant's worst nightmare," declared Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt. "She has acted deceitfully and in bad faith throughout the litigation."

If the mother in this case had been jailed the first time she ignored court-ordered access, everyone would have been better off.

The mother would have learned the courts don't take kindly to breaches of court orders, the father would have been able to bond with his children much earlier and court resources could have been used for more worthwhile purposes.

It's a pleasant surprise that the mother was actually punished; better late than never. Still, the father likely faces a huge challenge winning over his kids. Reversing the damage done by a parent who spends years alienating the children from the other spouse is a long-term process.

These girls, now aged 14, 11 and 10, may forever be damaged by their mother's sick, selfish actions -- behaviour McWatt bluntly described as "emotional abuse."

The couple split up in 1999 but K.D., as the mother is known, denied A.L., her ex, virtually any access. At the same time, she was over-protective of the kids to the point of infantilizing them. The oldest child wasn't even toilet-trained at the age of five. The middle girl was still using a bottle at night when she was three.

One psychologist warned as early as 2000 that the children were at "significant risk" of being alienated from the father.

A.L. gave up fighting for access for about six years because his ex warned that if he pressured her, he wouldn't get anything. But it didn't matter what he did. He still didn't get to see his daughters.

He only saw them for two weekends between 2000 and 2006. Then K.D. wouldn't even allow him to speak to them.

For a while, there was still a bond between father and daughters. Early on, one daughter would hug him and warn: "Don't tell mommy I did this."

By 2006, though, the bond seemed broken. The oldest showed no affection, the middle daughter stopped looking at him and the youngest only spoke to him in a monotone.

It's been 11 years since the release of the parliamentary report on child custody and access, with its dozens of recommendations, including the proposal that the terms "custody and access" be replaced with "shared parenting" in the Divorce Act.

A NUTBAR

But that assumes both parents are reasonable. In this case, the mother is clearly a nutbar who used her kids as weapons against her ex. Jail might have taught her a lesson a lot sooner.

A.L. is "exhausted but very, very happy. He has his children," says his lawyer, Harold Niman.

"This kind of case will hopefully send a message to those people who think it's OK to undermine a relationship between the children and the other parent."

MINDELLE JACOBS

fromMike Murphy
sender timeSent at 13:48 (GMT-04:00). Current time there: 13:57.
tomindy.jacobs@sunmedia.ca
bcc
date12 June 2009 13:48
subjectColumn ~ Bad mom really needed jail time June 12, 2009 ~ Toronto Sun
Mindy: http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/mindelle_jacobs/2009/06/12/9771231-sun.html I'm wiping some tears from my eyes. I've followed this case for some time and as a target parent I empathize greatly with this father. The descriptions of the impacts on the children you outline are what pushes my emotional buttons. A parent who has walked in these shoes knows exactly how it feels to be rejected by your flesh and blood. I lost an arm as a 12 year old boy but the physical and emotional pain of that was and is nothing compared to the years of dealing with my emotionally abused children. I recall so many occasions when my two youngest would skip down the driveway from the school bus as happy care free children and kiss me as I greeted them. On occasion such as when I managed to get the trampoline operational in early April 2005 and they saw it from the bus window they didn't just skip they ran down the driveway telling me I was the best dad in the world. It is at those transcendental moments you know how it feels to be like a rock star. Nothing is more precious or pure. Compare that to being denigrated in a restaurant a year later by two children who had no guilt and no concern they were being over heard by other patrons. It was one of many occasions of hostility taught to them by a mother who hates me more than she loves her children. I have written thousands of words in my blogs on this terrible abuse of children but I have yet to build a wall strong enough to hold back the tears when I read about its impact. The judges, just don't have the courage to deal with it until it is too late, if at all. It took 10 years in this case which is way too long but at least McWatt had the courage to do the right thing. Most of us don't have the resources this man had to draw attention to it so it makes a difference in court. Thank you for adding to the body of knowledge people need to have to bring greater awareness of how terrible it is for children to be put in the position of choosing sides. Mike Murphy Sault Ste. Marie ON P6A 6J8 http://parentalalienationcanada.blogspot.com/