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.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Institute of Marriage and Family Canada ~ Report on Cost of Family Breakdown; PRIVATE CHOICES, PUBLIC COSTS, How failing families cost us all

Institute of Marriage and Family Canada 130 Albert St., Suite 2001 Ottawa ON K1P 5G4

I have had a chance to review the entire report and have come away with a feeling of incompleteness. That feeling is likely directly related to my being a former full time dad having raised my two youngest girls for 10 years and then, thanks to the family court, some false accusations, and the fact I'm not female relegated me to the ash heap of being a visitor to my children. I am an absentee father according to your report and columnist Lorie Goldstein, by decree of the court and an un-parent having no legal status. The family court judge has sentenced me to see my children about 14% of the time in addition to paying child support, dental, additional medical, extraordinary expenses as well as a host of other items. My ex then went on welfare and became one of your statistics. Because of systemic impediments, perceived entitlements, reinforced by a host of female support services she was not interested in reconciliation, counselling (family or for the children), mediation, or even in basic communication. She was convinced the grass was greener and her alienation of the children pretty much assured her of having complete control of the situation. She has, thus far, assessed it correctly despite the fact she is a convicted criminal, child and spousal abuser. All of this information and detailed background is available on my blog which your organization visits periodically. http://parentalalienationcanada.blogspot.com/

Nowhere in your report is there any mention of family law and the judges who make the decisions to award custody in a 9-1 ratio to women. Some judges will say it is due to the fact the female was the primary care giver and it is in the best interest of the children but that is pure bunkum when it comes to my circumstances. It does not hold up to analytic scrutiny in the vast majority of cases. One might then conclude these family court judges, through this social engineering, effectively removing fathers from their children are the leading causative agent for child poverty in Canada. That is certainly my conclusion. Most assuredly the 90% of dads removed in this manner cannot all be guilty of being so bad they are relegated to 14% visitation and then, if the ex is vindictive, cannot see their children at all. Access agreements are not enforced by the courts but many dads end up in jail if they cannot pay their child support.

The implications from your study are that men are bad, they walk away from their children and the poor mother is left in poverty. This is not the reality of the Canadian experience for fathers. This was picked up on by Lorrie Goldstein who compares a cultural enclave in Toronto to men walking away from their obligations. These are myths and your study has been most unhelpful in dealing with them. In Goldstein's case it has reinforced his pretty obvious bias. He states "Indeed, "marriage breakdown" today essentially means absentee fathers." "http://www.torontosun.com/comment/2009/06/04/9673856.html#/comment/columnists/lorrie_goldstein/2009/06/04/pf-9670071.html

Figure 3 on page 12 appears to be wrong. It shows about 78% married when it should be 68% then by adding in the roughly 16% for the other two types you get 100%. The actual Stats Can #'s are: 68.6 married, 15.9 lone parent and 15.5 common-law.

You state "In short, the poverty that results from family breakdown is to a large extent a women's issue. If we are serious about improving the standard of living of women, especially mothers, we must reduce family breakdown. That would be beneficial but not always possible." This statement is loaded with a host of implications again suggesting the mothers are the martyrs and the dads to blame. There are tens of thousands of marginalized fathers, cast aside by the family law system across this country, who would disagree.

Given Family Law court judges give females sole physical custody in a 9-1 ratio a change in the law to shared/equal parenting with residential bi-location would help children considerably. No support would be paid by either party and dads would be treated equally and stay in their children's lives. The child support collection agencies would no longer be necessary freeing up resources for more useful purposes. Look to the Belgium model, introduced in 2006, for the impact their family law reform has achieved for children and keeping dads in their lives equally. Some information on these changes is available here in a presentation entitled "Benefits of post-divorce shared parenting and the situation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany" by a Dutch Psychologist to a conference in Greece in January this year. http://fkce.wordpress.com/2009/01/03/13/

The premise that two parent family units are better places for our children is valid. Many studies point to the negative consequences of single parent female homes. Systemic changes are required including de-incentivizing divorce by women. Seventy five percent of divorces are initiated by the female in Canada and 66% in the USA. One way to help this is to implement equal shared parenting with bi-location of residency for the children. Where this has been implemented divorce rates have dropped. Other systemic changes are also required but too detailed for this email. One such study can be observed here by a California PhD., Dr. Jayne Major, who is very immersed in family breakdown. http://f4j-soo.blogspot.com/2009/04/macabre-dance-of-family-law-court.html. She presented this at an International Conference on Parental Alienation in late March in Toronto.

Michael Murphy, FRA, A disenfranchised dad

Sault Ste. Marie ON P6A6J8

'Pub law' on 50-50 access for dads debunked

Caroline Overington | June 08, 2009

Article from: The Australian

SHARED parenting laws introduced by the Howard government in 2006 do not guarantee divorced fathers the right to a 50-50 time split with their children because such an arrangement is not always in the best interests of the children.

Instead, the legislation requires the Family Court to "consider" whether equal time with both parents suits a particular child, and can decide that in some cases it does not.

The Australian last week reported that fathers are overwhelming staff at the new Family Relationship Centres, where all separating parents must now go before approaching the Family Court, demanding to know why they can't have a 50-50 time split with their children.

Staff at the centres say a "pub law" belief about a father's right to a 50-50 time split has taken hold in the community.

But retired Family Court judge Richard Chisholm says the shared parenting laws, introduced in 2006 and now under review, never guaranteed anybody a 50-50 time split. In a paper titled Shared Care and Children's Best Interests at the Legal Aid NSW family law conference, Professor Chisholm said there was "a lot of evidence to support the idea that children will generally benefit if they experience a loving and involved relationship with both parents" after separation.

"There is also evidence that children care a lot about their parents and generally want to remain closely involved with both of them."

Professor Chisholm said the Howard government amendment "envisaged the non-resident parent participating in various aspects of the child's life, for example being involved in the child's daily routine".

But the provisions about equal time did not reflect what most expert researchers believed was important for children.

"What seems to matter most to children, and what seems most important for their healthy development, has more to do with what happens when they are with each parents, and in particular whether they feel loved and cared for," Professor Chisholm said.

"The idea of equal time makes a lot of sense in terms of adult entitlement.

"As far as I can tell, it does not reflect what research scholars believe is important for children's development."

He urged academics to do more research into the benefits of shared parenting, particularly in cases where parents are in conflict, saying: "We need to know much more about the nature of conflict, the extent to which children are being exposed to it, and the extent to which parents and the courts might be treating the legislation as requiring some form of shared parenting, even when it is damaging to the children."

The Australian Institute of Family Studies is conducting a review of the Howard government amendments, which have been the subject of mounting complaints from separated mothers and fathers.

If the review recommends changes, Professor Chisholm said: "I hope the focus will be on how it impacts on families, rather than how it impacts on voters and lobby groups."

Second Wife Sees the Family Court System for What it Is

Editors note: Paulette is "Bat Girl" with Fathers 4 Justice Canada. June 6th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

Not long ago I wrote a piece about a Texas man, Chris Taylor, who was learning some hard lessons about being a custodial father. I said that, because the family law system is so biased against them, fathers like Taylor provide a never-ending stream of potential supporters of fathers' rights.

Well, there's another group who perform the same function - second wives. Here's an article by a woman who's been divorced herself (amicably), but whose partner is going through the hell of divorce court (Alliston Herald, 6/2/09). In other words, she's seen both sides.

When Paulette McDonald and her husband were splitting up, she went to a divorce lawyer, and describes the smorgasbord she found there. "On the menu was child support, spousal support, pensions, extraordinary expenses, education costs and the list went on. It was all there and ripe for the picking."

But to her great credit, McDonald had a sense of personal integrity seldom seen these days. She was not about to take her ex to the cleaners. She wanted and got a good, amicable, long-lasting relationship with him in which her kids thrived. That's not a bad outcome in a divorce case, even if she didn't get all the money her lawyer said she could have.

By contrast, her partner is now undergoing the type of torture-by-family-court that McDonald's husband avoided. And McDonald sees the difference. She calls family courts "predatory" and "a legalized vehicle for the harrassment of men."

As surely as there are men like Chris Taylor, there are women like Paulette McDonald. Face it, there are scads of divorces going on all the time. And a large percentage of the men who get divorced, get remarried. That means there are second wives out there who are as mad at the family law system for its abuse of men and fathers as Paulette McDonald is.

That's another reason why the fathers' rights movement has such momentum. And it's why it will continue until the gross inequalities of family courts and family law are rectified.

(As an aside, I can't resist pointing out a delightful typo in her article. McDonald describes going into her lawyer's office to discuss her litigation strategy. It was there, she says that "the plan was laid out at my fee (sic)." She meant "feet" of course, but, like all Freudian slips, there's a revealing element of truth in the word she actually used that the correct one could never have had.)

Thanks to "Puma" for the heads-up.