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 23, 2009

EQUAL PARENTING: WHY IT MATTERS

By Kris Titus, Co-President Canadian Equal Parenting Council www.f4jcanada.ca; www.canadianepc.com Reprinted from REAL Women’s Canada News publication, Reality: March April 2009 issue. www.realwomenca.com When I was a little girl, I wanted to be the first female Prime Minister of Canada. Why not? Raised in a single parent matriarchal home, I was told on a daily basis that women were equal to men. “We can do anything men can do, if not better. You don’t need a man.” Unfortunately for me, Kim Campbell beat me to it. I was still a high school student when she became the first female Prime Minister. So, imagine my shock, when as a young mother, I divorced and realized that there was one area where women had MORE equal rights than men. Parenting. I was told by six lawyers that I had all the rights when it came to the children. I could have sole custody. I could sit back and focus on myself and my children because my husband would have to pay me for the privilege of seeing his children four days a month. I imagine that it is a very heady moment for some women when they are provided with this information: a moment of omnipotence; a moment of retribution. My former husband and I decided on Joint Custody, however, I’ve come to learn that regardless of what the law says, in the eyes of the courts, joint custody is really only sole custody with visitation. “But this is the way it is,” I was told. That is, with joint custody, children do not necessarily spend equal amounts of their time with each parent. Rather, one parent retains physical custody, usually the mother, and the father is left behind, often with relatively infrequent access rights, despite the fact both parties are supposed to have equal say about the child’s upbringing. After several months on my own with the children, I was beginning to feel far more like I was living in the underworld, rather than a specially ordained place called single motherhood. My young children were suffering and needed their father far more than four days a month. They were no longer being raised by their mother and father, but by their mother and a string of babysitters and daycare providers that would be better off caring for inanimate objects. Something had to change. I became involved with another man who was a great dad: one of the new generation of men we women have been seeking. Caring, involved in raising his children, a good provider, does dishes AND takes out the trash. He, unfortunately, went from being the primary caregiver to his own children to a non-custodial, four-day a month dad. And the pattern repeats. His children displayed all the same suffering and symptoms my own children did. I began to do research and in December of 1998, the government issued a report on child custody and access called “For the Sake of the Children.” The Joint Senate/House Committee made 48 recommendations, and one was for a presumption of shared parenting – a recommendation that has yet to be implemented. My ex-spouse and I decided, however, that a shared parenting arrangement would be much better for our own children. We made a joint motion to the court to vary our custody order to 50:50 time with equal rights and responsibilities and no child support. The judge, in his infinite wisdom, said no. We applied again. Our order was granted and for the past ten years I have had what I now call equal parenting. Our children live alternate weeks with each of us. The children benefit from not only both of their parents being continuously involved, but from their extended family, as well. Our children are being raised by the people who love and protect them most. As an adult, I realize how much I lost out on being raised in a single parent home and I have a different view on equality as a result. If I gain my rights by taking away someone else’s, I have gained nothing at all. It is now my life’s work to fight for equal parenting as a presumption in law. The welfare of women, men and children demands it and 80% of the population agrees.

Globe & Mail ~ Teen girls are swapping sex for ... just about anything

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Fathers' group asks for legislation review - North West Territories

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Cara Loverock Northern News Services Published Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - A review of territorial legislation that one MLA called "unfair" is being considered by Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington.

The Dads North Association asked Bevington for a review of both the NWT's Child and Family Services Act and the Divorce Act when they met with the NDP politician on April 2.

"I think there is a need for a review of the Divorce Act," Bevington said of the federal legislation, which he said relates to the question of equal parenting.

He said in the coming weeks he'll also talk with some MLAs concerning the Child and Family Services Act.

"I'm certainly looking forward (to) meeting with the MLAs and talking with them about directions they want to take, because (the child and family services act) is territorial legislation," said Bevington.

Great Slave MLA Glen Abernethy recently called for a review of the territorial act in a letter to Health Minister Sandy Lee dated March 13. He cited a specific case of a Yellowknife family that has had two children removed and given treatment that he called "patently unfair." According to Abernethy, the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services is in charge of reviewing the act.

"There's no doubt that some of the cases that we see are heartbreaking for all the individuals involved," said Bevington, speaking in general terms.

He said the important issue regarding the Child and Family Services Act is ensuring the rights and safety of the child are maintained.

"It's not an easy issue," Bevington added.

He said he would be researching the federal Divorce Act by looking at previous reviews that have been done "to see if whether all of the ideas there were instituted ... so we're going to do some research on that."

Bevington said another possibility discussed at the meeting was "the concept of a Northern ombudsperson that has the ability to interact with the government over specific cases."

Mark Bogan, president of the Dads North Association, said he thought the meeting went well, but time will tell if any changes come about.

"They are serious concerns. We've asked the NDP to take action for a while now," said Bogan. "I'm sure (Bevington) will open up a channel with the GNWT."

Bogan said some changes will be proposed, but it's a matter of what those changes are.

Bevington "said he wanted to bring us all back to the table and tell us what he's proposed to do," said Bogan of a follow-up meeting in the coming weeks with the MP.

He said Wendy Bisaro, MLA for Frame Lake, was also at the meeting.

"I think she's receptive to what we have to say," he said.

Bisaro did not return calls for comment by press time.