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, November 19, 2011

Parents to share child custody in Switzerland

Another country looks at the best interest of children and determines having contact with both parents on a relatively equal basis, just like in marriage, is appropriate.  Please take note Canadian politicians and judges.MJM

The Local

Parents to share child custody in Switzerland

Published: 18 Nov 2011 11:38 GMT+1
Updated: 18 Nov 2011 11:24 GMT+1
Online: http://www.thelocal.ch/1802/20111118/

The Swiss government has decided separated parents should automatically have joint custody of their children except in cases involving the specific protection of the child.

When a couple splits or gets divorced, custody of their children will be shared without the need for a prior agreement or the approval of a judge.

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said on Thursday that the Federal Council considered the move obvious, since a child has the right to build an autonomous relationship with both father and mother.

All political parties, as well as fathers’ and men’s associations, welcomed Sommaruga’s proposal, which is widely expected top pass into law when voted on in parliament in the coming weeks.

But while joint custody is set to become the norm, a judge will still have to sign off on the suitability of both parents to take responsibility for their children. A parent may be denied custody for reasons including infirmity, a history of violence or absence.

Currently, when a couple divorces, one parent generally gets sole custody. If the couple is not married, the mother is the legal custodian. For now, joint custody is only possible if both parties sign an agreement on how they plan to distribute and share alimony and childcare.

The draft proposal also regulates the question of residency. If a parent wishes to move, either alone or with the child, he or she will need the consent of the other party. If there is no agreement, a judge will have to intervene to protect the well-being of the child.

Every year, about 14,000 children in Swizerland are confronted with their parents’ divorce or separation.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Interview: Oliver Canic, Croatian Association for Equal Parenting president (SETimes.com)

This is eerily similar to most western democracies.

By Natasa Radic for Southeast European Times in Zagreb -- 27/10/11

Oliver Canic initiated and founded Croatia's first Equal Parenting Association. [Petar Kos/SETimes]

 Two years ago, Oliver Canic founded the Association for Equal Parenting in Croatia. The group volunteers are mostly fathers trying to take a more active role in their child's upbringing after a divorce or separation.

The association is engaged in answering questions in the post-divorce and parenting equality issues, mostly from fathers, and some mothers. Canic talked to SETimes correspondent Natasa Radic about the need for equal parenting and its improvements in Croatia.

SETimes: What were the main reasons for initiating this project?

Oliver Canic: Every day I meet people who say they are being prevented from participating in their children's lives. The system in Croatia has been supporting a model where mothers usually gain full support of the system to push fathers away from children's lives after a divorce or break up between parents.

Fathers sometimes accept such status quo, but not frequently. We do not support either side. We think equal involvement of both parents in the lives of children after a breakup is necessary, where the children are granted their rights.

More:  Interview: Oliver Canic, Croatian Association for Equal Parenting president (SETimes.com)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sarnia Group Seeks Family Law Reform

Below we have another group seeking Family Law reform starting in Sarnia. I wish them well.  Hopefully they will align themselves with the Canadian Equal Parenting Council, a National umbrella group lobbying for shared/equal parenting change.

Vested interests in the Department of Justice and Attorney General`s departments within Provinces are resisting reform for shared/equal parenting and the following post I placed in the Ottawa Citizen today helps explain why.


1:04 PM on August 30, 2011

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is the main lobby group of Lawyers in Canada, yet they are not registered as lobbyists. They can have the Canadian Head of State as their main speaker, a member of the same lobby group, without any one giving it a second thought.

Last year in Ireland they had the Justice Minister do a speech where he was directly lobbied to not act on PMB-C-422 for shared/equal parenting. This same Minister acquiesced to this blatant attempt at lobbying by stating the government did not support it.

A definition of corruption is abuse of the system. We have a lobby group, the CBA, acting as a vested interest in protecting family law lawyers from the potential of lost business due to the enactment of legislation that would reduce their need, especially in court litigation.

I do not think the CBA is capable of reform without independent oversight. It will not come from the Legislative branch until we see fewer lawyers operating in that sphere as lawmakers.  Only in the area of the law can we see such direct conflicts of interest, very similarly to the Canadian Head of states recent speech.

At least he told his colleagues they need to fix their very leaky roof.



The Sarnia Observer

Fix sought for family law


Updated 1 day ago
Ontario's family law system is broken and a new group formed in Sarnia is lobbying the government for a permanent fix.

Canadians For Family Law Reform was founded in April by eight city residents who have been through the family law system. Two of the co-founders, Anna Moscardelli and Jim Canie, said the current structure turns spouse against spouse, often bankrupting both, as they fight over child custody and assets.

"The court system has developed these animosities between ex-spouses," Moscardelli said.

The group, which supports men and women, wants to see the government overhaul the family law system. A focus on mediated solutions, not long, drawn out court battles would be a good place to start, Moscardelli said.

"For me, it took seven years, 364 days from the time the original motion was filed until the final order came down," she said.

Moscardelli said she knows of a local couple who were married for four years and divorced, only to fight it out in the courts for 11 years before reaching a resolution.

Moscardelli's own lengthy court battle destroyed what was left of her relationship with her ex-husband and hurt their children.

"It's really the kids who lose out in all of this," she said.

The group would also like to see greater accountability measures placed on family law lawyers, some of whom draw out cases to make more money, she said.

"(Some lawyers) look at it like, they don't make money resolving cases," she said. "It's a huge moneymaking system."

Canie said the system also creates undue stress for families. His court proceedings have affected his health. He now regularly takes blood pressure medication and sleeping pills so he can rest at night.

"The stress is unbearable," he said.

Canie said people who can't afford lawyers find themselves lost in a pile of complicated paperwork.

Even those who can afford a lawyer sometimes can't find one to take on their case, he said.

"Individuals just don't know what to do," he said. "They don't know where to start."

The group will host a public meeting Sept. 8 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Sarnia Library downtown.

They're encouraging people to come out and share their stories. The group has already sent letters to Attorney General Chris Bentley, Ombudsman Andre Marin and Law Society of Upper Canada asking each to take action.

"We need some change because the current system just isn't cutting it," Moscardelli said.

For more information log on to canadiansforfamilylawreform.com. The group is also on Facebook and Twitter.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The cause of UK Riots

Melanie Phillips, as she often does, gets right to the heart of the underlying root cause of the London Riots.  She says it far better than I have and its simple. Parents are at fault and more particularly single parent female families are ill equipped to handle teen boys.  Shared equal parenting and stopping the incentive's to  single female births will be a good start.  What if we required these single mom parents to take out an insurance policy to pay for the future damage their children will cause?MJM


 Goodbye to the Enlightenment

Published in: Melanie's Blog

An illuminating report on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme (0810) this morning said it all about the British riots. Some teenage thugs who were hooding up to go looting were asked why they were doing it. Maybe they couldn’t afford the trainers and other goods they were setting out to steal? Yeah, we can afford them, came the reply; but since the goods were there to be robbed, it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. What about their parents? Did they know where they were? Yeah, came the reply, but the most they do is shout at me. And as for the police, well the worse that can happen is that I’ll get as ASBO (antisocial behaviour order).

Some of the rioters and looters are as young as eight or nine. I then listened to a spokesman for Manchester city council appealing to parents to ensure that their children are not on the streets tonight. Why can’t people see what is staring us all in the face? We are not up against merely feral children. We are up against feral parents. Of course the parents know their children are out on the streets. Of course they see them staggering back with what they have looted. But either they are too drunk or drugged or otherwise out of it to care, or they are helping themselves to the proceeds too.

The parents are the problem; as are, almost certainly, their parents and their parents too. Not that any of them necessarily even know who their parents, in the plural, are. For the single most crucial factor behind all this mayhem, behind the total breakdown of any control or self-control amongst the rampaging gangs of children and teenagers who are rioting, burning, robbing, stealing, attacking and murdering, is the willed removal of the most important thing that socialises children and turns them from feral savages into civilised citizens: a fully committed, hands-on, there-every-day father.

The rest here.

London Riots: The root cause: Social Engineering to give mom sole physical custody

Many of us have been saying the two parent family as the bedrock of modern civilization is essential,  and the Judiciry giving sole physical custody to moms, in Canada over 90% of the time, is resulting in generatuions of children lacking a moral compass, often inspired by a dad.  The recent London riots have given rise to the proof of these assertions.  Given we are unlikely to impact the divorce rate without governments encouraging families to stay together, getting equal/shared parenting is essential in order to keep fathers and infrequently moms in the lives of their children after divorce.

It's ironic the Judges involved in the prosecution of the looters are asking where the parents are.  Some of these same judges may have been responsible for separating the children from their fathers and not enforcing access when he tried to see them.MJM

Now we have proof that abolishing parental rights and encouraging single-parent families was disastrous: the disaster has happened

What was done by design can be undone the same way. But will there be enough political determination to do it?
By William Oddie on Monday, 15 August 2011
Now we have proof that abolishing parental rights and encouraging single-parent families was disastrous: the disaster has happened
A 12-year-old boy leaves Manchester magistrates court last week (PA wire)

Last Thursday, in an article snappily entitled “Why didn’t the looters’ parents know where they were? Why didn’t they teach them about right and wrong? Answer: society has undermined the family”, I quoted Fr Finigan saying that “For several decades our country has undermined marriage, the family, and the rights of parents… Now all of a sudden, we want parents to step in and tell their teenage children how to behave”, and Melanie Phillips pointing to “family breakdown and mass fatherlessness” as one of the principal underlying causes of the riots and looting of last week.

I concluded (and I don’t apologise for returning to this theme now: a lot more needs to be said about it, and now is the time to say it) that of all the things the government now needs to do, “it’s the married family which is the institution that needs rebuilding most urgently”.

I am as certain of that as anything I have ever written, and I’ve been saying it for over 20 years: I was saying it, for instance, when I was attacking (in the Mail and also the Telegraph) as it went through the Commons the parliamentary bill which became that disastrous piece of (Tory) legislation called the Children Act 1989, which abolished parental rights (substituting for them the much weaker “parental responsibility”), which encouraged parents not to spend too much time with their children, which even preposterously gave children the right to take legal action against their parents for attempting to discipline them, which made it “unlawful for a parent or carer to smack their child, except where this amounts to ‘reasonable punishment’;” and which specified that “Whether a ‘smack’ amounts to reasonable punishment will depend on the circumstances of each case taking into consideration factors like the age of the child and the nature of the smack.” If the child didn’t think it “reasonable” he could go to the police. It was an Act which, in short, deliberately weakened the authority of parents over their children and made the state a kind of co-parent.

There are, of course, many other causes for the undermining of the married family (which David Cameron says he now wants to rebuild). Divorce, from the 1960s on, became progressively easier and easier to obtain. Another cause has been the insidious notion (greatly encouraged by successive governments but particularly under New Labour – Old Labour tended to be much more traditional in its views on the family) that the family has many forms, that marriage is just one option, and that lone parenting is just as “valid” (dread word) a form as any other. If you thought that voluntary lone parenting should be discouraged, rather than (as it was) positively encouraged by the taxation and benefits system, you were practically written off as a fascist.

Well, all this relativist rubbish has now been comprehensively shown by its consequences to have been dangerous drivel all along; and I am discovering that to be able to say “I told you so” is under the circumstances not at all as enjoyable as I had thought it might be: any satisfaction is of a very grim kind.

But it is now beyond any doubt, and we need to say so now, to nail the lies that have been spouted for the last 40 years once and for all. The conclusive proof of the existence and the effects of the widespread breakdown of parental responsibility (even where there are two parents) and also of the catastrophic consequences of the encouragement of lone parenting was to be found on the front page of the Times on Saturday, in an article to which I can’t give a link since you can’t get it online. I will have to summarise and quote extensively.

The headline was “Judge asks: where are the parents of rioters?” and it opens as follows:
Parents who refuse to take responsibility for children accused of criminal offences were condemned by a judge yesterday who demanded to know why the mother of a 14-year-old girl in the dock over the looting of three shops was not in court.
District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe was incredulous when told that the girl’s parents were too busy to see their daughter appear before City of Westminster magistrates after she was accused of offences during the violent disorder in London this week. She said that many parents “don’t seem to care” that their children were in court facing potentially lengthy custodial sentences.
Her comments echoed those a day earlier by District Judge Jonathan Feinstein when he highlighted the absence of parents at hearings in Manchester. “The parents have to take responsiblity for this child – apart from one case I have not seen any father or mother in court,” he said.
The Times had been conducting an investigation into the cause of the riots, and interviews with young people and community workers on estates across London revealed “deep concerns about the lack of parental authority”. Youth workers said that mothers (presumably in such cases there are no fathers) are “too terrified of their own children to confront them and often turn a blind eye to cash or stolen goods brought home”. Lone parenthood, it emerges, is in fact a primary cause of the August riots (as they are beginning to be called):
An analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that, among other factors linking the 18 areas worst hit by public disorder, is a high rate of single-parent families and broken homes.

And in an interview with the Times today, Shaun Bailey, a youth worker recently appointed as the Government’s “Big Society” czar, argues that childraising has been “nationalised”.

Of the defendants who appeared before magistrates in Westminster yesterday accused of riot crimes across London, half were aged under 18, but few parents attended the hearings, even though their children had been in police custody for up to two days.
One member of the court’s staff said: “I can’t recall seeing any of the parents down here”… A boy of 15 was accused of looting a JD Sports shop in Barking, East London. A 17-year-old student from East London was also accused of receiving £10,000 of mobile phones, cigarettes and clothing looted from Tesco. The items and small quantity of cannabis were discovered in his bedroom at the family home… community workers admitted that broken families often led to children taking to crime.

One youth worker, who has helped children in Lambeth, south London, for 20 years, told the Times that single mothers were often scared of their sons. “They would not challenge them if they came home with stolen goods,” the worker, who did not wish to be named, said.

“In some cases these young men steal more than their mother earns or gets in benefit. They become the father figure, the main earner.” Young men echo the lack of authority. “My mum can’t tell me what to do,” said Lee, 18, from Copley Court, an estate in West Ealing. “It’s the same with young kids. Most of their dads left early on and they don’t listen to anyone.”
There isn’t much more to be said: all one can do is repeat oneself. We now know what rubbish it is to deny that lone parenthood should be avoided wherever possible. As for marriage, study after study has shown that from the point of view of the child it is the best and most stable basis for the family. In the 50s, everyone, including governments of all colours, knew that marriage was the foundation of social stability: and a man whose wife stayed at home to look after the children didn’t pay any tax at all until he was earning the average national wage.

That whole dispensation was blown apart by the accursed supposed “liberation” of the 60s, and by political ideologies of various kinds, not least by radical feminism. There was nothing inevitable about it: it was done by deliberate political design. And what political design can do, political design can undo. It’s more difficult – much more difficult – of course and it can’t be done overnight. David Cameron, to be fair, does seem to see some of this (IDS sees even more).

But does he have the political determination actually to do it? We shall see. I am hopeful; I always am at first. But I greatly fear that as month succeeds month, even my own tendency towards sunny optimism will begin first to flag and then to die. And this time, I don’t want to be able to say “I told you so”.

Main article

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is greater equality occuring in the abortion debate?

It's about time greater equality in the determination of the termination of life was addressed. MJM


New Ohio Abortion Legislation: Fathers Will Have Final Say

July 2, 2011
Legislation in the Ohio House of Representatives (House Bill 252) requires written consent from the father of an unborn child in order to perform an abortion.  The bill will put to test the “it’s my body, it’s my right” notion of pro-choice activists by adding the rights of the father of the unborn child into the equation.  Ideally, the decision of abortion should be a consensus between both parents, with both parties being involved in any decisions regarding the child.

This is a significant legal and social issue where parental rights are heavily unbalanced due to the fact that a father plays no role in a matter as critical as his unborn child’s life.  If a woman decides to keep her child, the father is required to pay child support regardless of whether he wanted to keep the child or not, or face future jail time.  A father currently has no say.  Alternatively he cannot opt-out of parenthood, but a woman can: She can do so by abortion.

Under the Ohio Bill, a woman must have written consent from the father; if a woman is claiming rape, she must file a police report, provide other court documents or an official complaint of the incident.  If the woman chooses to undergo an abortion in this case, the physician must have “reasonable cause” to believe the woman’s claim of rape and thus, perform an abortion.  In cases where the father may be unknown, a list of all potential fathers must be submitted to a physician.  They will all be contacted and summoned to a paternity test.  If the father is not found, no abortion can be performed.  The bill would turn abortion without a father’s permission or naming a “false biological father” into a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum $1,000 fine.  A second occasion of providing false information would be considered a fifth degree felony.

“When the fetus is viable, no person shall perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus,” the bill text reads.

more here...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tyndale: Great Britain needs to sort out the stinking mess of marriage, family law and divorce courts

A good read on the sad state of marriage in the UK. A snippet follows:

Tyndale: Great Britain needs to sort out the stinking mess of marriage, family law and divorce courts

"It’s no coincidence that the demise of marriage has taken place against a background of rising numbers of couples “cohabiting.” New figures also show that almost half of all babies in England and Wales are born outside wedlock.

Can it be right that 46.8 per cent of babies are born to unmarried mothers? And what hope is there for future generations if the trend of having children with whoever you fancy goes unchecked?"


Ontario couples now have to attend mediation before court in divorce

A good first step at improving Family Law process. 


Ont. couples must now face mediation before divorce

The Canadian Press
Date: Sunday Jul. 17, 2011 10:45 AM ET

TORONTO — Starting Monday, every Ontario couple hoping to end their marriage will have to attend an information session on alternatives to going to court and must meet for mediation before getting a divorce.

The new rules will help alleviate some of the pressure on Ontario's family court system and will save those hoping to get divorced time and money, said Chris Bentley, the province's attorney general.
"Going to court and having a court battle in family proceedings can be enormously costly, take a lot of time and probably most significantly be very emotionally damaging to children and to the two individuals," he said.

Couples will have to attend the information session before they can file a divorce case in court.
If they still insist on going to court after that, they will first have to attend a mediation session organized by the attorney general's office to try settling their differences.

Despite the two-step process, some in the legal community think the initiative isn't as effective as it could be.

Judith Huddart, a family lawyer and president of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation, said the sessions don't advise those considering divorce about their options early enough in the process.
"I know how frustrating it can be for people to be told that they have other options after they've already hired a lawyer and started forward in a litigation route," she said.

While Huddart supports making the program mandatory at all courts, she said providing more information for couples when they are first thinking about divorce would be an even more effective way to get the cases out of provincial courtrooms.

The new program will only reach those who have begun the process of going to court, she said.

She estimated just getting to a first court hearing will often cost around $5,000 in lawyer's fees.

The province has been trying to fix that pricey problem by making more information about alternatives to divorce proceedings available online, said Bentley.

He added that he doesn't expect the new program will save his office or the courts any money.

The program is directed specifically towards saving time and legal fees for couples hoping to get divorced, he said -- although he hasn't been able to quantify those savings yet.

The attorney general's office will spend an extra $5.3 million a year making the program mandatory at all courts, bringing the total cost of the initiative to $8 million a year.

Those extra costs did not come from any additional funding from the provincial government, Bentley said. His office was able to redirect money from finding efficiencies in the other areas for which his office is responsible.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fathers4Justice founder Matt O'Connor on Hunger Strike

Fathers4Justice in David Cameron doorstep protest

Mr O'Connor is taking only water and lemon juice

Related Stories

A campaigner for fathers' rights has started a hunger strike outside the prime minister's house.
Fathers4Justice (F4J) founder Matt O'Connor, 44, started the protest outside the Oxfordshire home of David Cameron, a F4J spokeswoman said.

He wants Mr Cameron to honour pledges about grandparents having a right to see their grandchildren and over shared parenting.

Mr O'Connor, from Hampshire, said he would stay as long as possible.

He also wants Mr Cameron to retract comments he made describing some fathers as "runaways".

Mr O'Connor said: "The idea is to carry on for as long as I can - even if I am hospitalised."

Mr O'Connor said his only intake would be water and lemon juice.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Premier showing of 'Guilty Until Proven Innocent' A Father's Perspective


Many who’ve seen Janks Morton’s new documentary GUPI, have positively commented on the film and how it captures the essence of fathers experiences in familygupi_movie_poster court.  From custody issues to child support to access interference to false abuse allegations the film portrays family court through fathers’ eyes. 
You are cordially invited to attend the premier showing of 'Guilty Until Proven Innocent' on July 26, 2011 at the Avalon Theater in Washington, DC.  If you can’t be there in person you can still participate and help make the evening a tremendous success.  

Please read on and learn how you can be part of this history making event.  There will be a panel discussion after the film with Janks Morton and several other special guests.
Tickets are reasonably priced at $10.00 each.  If you live in the area and can attend go to www.gupifilm.com and order online.   Here is a flyer you can download and print or circulate via the internet to let others know about the film.

Help Reach Congress
If you're not in the area, you can still be a significant part of this night.  We want as many people from Capitol Hill to see the movie as possible.  If you are not able to attend, buy a ticket(s) for a legislator.  Next week an invitation will be hand delivered to the office of each legislator when someone who lives outside the local area purchases a ticket.  We will start by inviting each state’s two Senators and then extend the invitations to members of the House of Representatives.  You can see exactly how many members of your federal delegation (Senate and House Reps) are in Washington at this link.  Order tickets here.

Become an Event Sponsor
Each individual who purchases 10 or more tickets, will be recognized as a premier co-sponsor and be listed in the event program and on the ACFC website.   All you need to do is enter the number of tickets you want in the quantity box on the order page and press the update button.  We’ll use your state and zip code information to determine which legislators to invite.
Please purchase tickets as soon as possible.   Invitations to Congress need to be distributed early next week.

Use this Coupon when Ordering

On the order page enter PREMIERSH-OFFER (make sure to include the - ) in the coupon box and all shipping and handling costs will be waived on your ticket order.  If you are attending in person, print out your email confirmation and bring it with you to the theater, that’s your ticket.  For those who have sponsored tickets for legislators, we will have that record on hand.
The Avalon Theater is located at 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW Washington, DC 20015.

Please email questions to gupifilm@gmail.com

Thanks in advance for participating, let's pack the house.  Help spread the word by forwarding this message to your family and friends.  

There has been a significant amount of shared parenting and family law activity recently.  We'll send an update soon.  Stay tuned.


Lesbians dissolve partnerships more than Gays in U.K.

It will be of interest, over time, to see how this shapes up. In heterosexual marriages in Canada the wife starts divorce proceedings in 75% of cases.  When we have two women who are partners we may well be able to see that females have expectations not necessarily tied to reality in terms of the partners they choose.  As an observer of human nature it has some degree of scientific curiosity for me.MJM

ONS: gay 'divorces' up by 44%

Lesbian couples are twice as likely as gay men to separate, according to new figures showing a 44% rise in the number of civil partnerships that were dissolved last year.

Gay marriage
Ministers are considering granting same-sex couples full marriage rights Photo: ALAMY
Almost 50,000 same-sex couples have formalised their relationships since civil partnerships were introduced in December 2005.

During 2010, 6,385 civil partnerships were registered in the UK, 100 more than in 2009, the Office for National Statistics said.

However, as growing numbers of couples register their partnerships, the number splitting up has also risen.

Last year, 509 civil partnerships were dissolved across the UK, an increase of 44% since 2009, when 353 couples separated.

In order to obtain a dissolution, a couple must have been in either a registered civil partnership or a same-sex partnership recognised abroad or 12 months.

more here:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8623150/ONS-gay-divorces-up-by-44.html 

also here:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/women-lead-men-in-samesex-unions-ndash-and-in-separations-2308892.html

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hunger 4 Justice in the UK

Fathers 4 Justice Founder to Hunger Strike at Cameron’s Home Email your support to office@fathers-4-justice.org The founding father of Fathers 4 Justice will begin the first ever hunger strike for fathers rights in July on the 10th anniversary of Fathers 4 Justice, outside the Witney home of Prime Minister David Cameron. 44 year-old father-of-three Matt O’Connor from Andover, Hampshire will launch his ‘Hunger4Justice’ protest at 9.00am on Sunday 10th July after he has delivered a personal letter to the Prime Minister’s home. The hunger strike is a direct response to the Prime Ministers comments at the weekend in which he labelled fathers as ‘runaways’ who should be treated the same way as drink drivers. He will forgo all food until the Prime Minister retracts his remarks and adheres to written pre-election commitments made to Fathers 4 Justice to reform Britain’s Secret Family Courts which the group say he has reneged on. 

O’Connor will be based in a support vehicle during the hunger strike with a team led by Dr Nadim Safdar who will advise on his condition during the strike and run a social media campaign from the site. Mr O’Connor met with Bill Cash MP in Parliament on Wednesday 22nd June to discuss the Prime Ministers comments and asked him to pass on his announcement on to Mr Cameron. Bill Cash was the first MP O’Connor had met to discuss the issue 10 years ago this month. Fathers 4 Justice say O’Connor’s decision is a highly personal one, rooted in his Irish heritage where hunger strikes have been used throughout history to highlight injustice. Said Campaign Director Nadine O’Connor, “Matt O’Connor was devastated by what he considers is Cameron’s betrayal of children and families and his demonisation of fathers on Fathers Day in a cynical piece of dad bashing which will appeal to the largest constituency of floating voters, single mothers.” 

“He also believes the ‘Big Society’ initiative is a sham and that far from creating a strong society, the polices of the Conservative led coalition are actively destroying it.” “On the 10th anniversary of forming F4J, he wants to bring his personal message home; from his home, to Cameron’s home, from father to father. It is the antithesis of previous Fathers 4 Justice protests, stripped of humour and costumes.” 

“He believes fathers have been reduced to the status of cashpoints in a country where 1 in 3 children grows up without a dad.” “Given the denigration and demonization of fathers like him by the Prime Minister, he doesn’t believe he has any alternative other than to risk his life for a cause he believes passionately in.” Fathers 4 Justice say O’Connor’s 12 goals are: 

1. A full retraction of the Prime Ministers Fathers Day Statement. 

2. New statement made recognising the most painful cut of all is that of fathers from their children and that tens of thousands of fathers are denied access to their children in this country by our secret family courts despite having legally binding court orders to see them. 

3. To publicly support those fathers struggling to see their children and recognise the catastrophic damage done to society by mass fatherlessness and the fact that 1 in 3 children is now fatherless. 

4. The Prime Minister honours his explicit, written, pre-election commitments to Fathers 4 Justice with regard to family law reform with the utmost urgency. 

5. Give ALL parents AND grandparents a right in law to see their children and grandchildren which the Conservative led coalition currently denies them. 

6. Sets up an immediate independent public enquiry into the Secret Family Courts chaired by Sir Bob Geldof and the scrapping of the existing and discredited Family Justice review panel. 

7. That the enquiry considers ALL areas of family law including the retirement of the current Family Division of the Judiciary and the creation of an open, transparent and accountable system of family justice based on reconciliation not conflict and secrecy. 

8. Sets up a ‘truth and reconcilliation’ commission to investigate serious allegations of child abuse by the system, the failure to keep records on the outcomes for children, the use of violence on children authorised by Judges, Cafcass and NYAS to make them comply with court orders and the cover up of serious allegations of child abuse by professionals working within family law. 

9. Introduce the principle of ‘equal parenting’ and mandatory mediation together so that both parents are treated equally in the eyes of the law and establish contact denial as a criminal offence as serious as non-payment of child support. 

10. Recognition that the demonisation and denigration of fathers in society is profoundly damaging to young boys, causes serious emotional harm to them and is diametrically opposite to his ‘Big Society’ idea. 

11. Recognition that fathers are not simply cashpoints and that child support should mean emotional and financial support, intertwining rights with responsibilities. 

12. Support marriage through the tax system, not by words, but by genuine tax reforms so that the system does not encourage divorce and separation as it currently does and where many couples are £600 a month better off living apart than together and pay a third more tax than other European countries.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


As in Australia the misplaced chivalry of the Judiciary and the Political class continue to cater to mom without regard to the impact on children at losing their biological father as a parent. In Canada mom gets sole physical custody in over 90% of cases  with dad being sentenced as a 14% visitor if mom doesn't alienate or act as a gatekeeper.MJM

MEDIA RELEASE | June 27th 2011 


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On 30th May 2011, the community, media and Government were outraged, when confronted by the cruelty inflicted on Australian cattle in Indonesia, and it brought immediate Government action. Within days a whole industry was closed down and a valuable export trade was stopped in its tracks.

Three days earlier on the 27th May 2011, the Government released the ABS Family Characteristics Survey 2009-10, which indicates that since 1975 almost 24% of Australians have been denied meaningful contact with their biological families, as a result of deep-rooted Family Law policy failure. Yet now one month later, we have still not seen one word in the press and there is not a sign of any community, media or Government outrage.

Instead a deafening silence greets the news of crippling emotional cruelty being inflicted on Australian children and their powerless families. It would appear the health and wellbeing of the nations' cows is much more important than the health and wellbeing of the nation's children and families.  

ABS Family Characteristics 2009-10, compared to 2006-07

                                          Summary of Findings

There were a total 5.0 million children in Australia in 2009-10.
(4.8 million in 2006-07)

Just over 1 million or 21% = 1,050 000 in (2009-10)
(Just over 1 million or 22% = 1,056 000 in 2006-07)


3. There were 441,000 non-custodial parents, the vast majority 81% were Fathers.
(82% in 2006-07)

Using the benchmark definition of “meaningful” contact to represent a child spending 20% or more nights per year with their non-custodial parent, it reveals the following disturbing result:

Of the children who had little or no “meaningful” contact, with their non-custodial parent.

* 45% of children never stayed overnight with their non-custodial parent.
(47% in 2006-07).
This includes 24% who rarely or never saw that parent.
* 19% of children spent less than 10% of nights with that parent.
(19% in 2006-07).
* 15% of children spent more than 10% but less than 20% with that parent.
(14% in 2006-07).
= 157.500
* Total number of children who had little or no meaningful contact with
their biological non-custodial parent.  (844.800 in 2006-07).
This is a slight variation of less than 1.5% over the previous period (2006-07), calling into serious question the effectiveness of Australia’s 36 year old Family Laws and demonstrates the failure of our Family Courts to protect the rights and safety of the nation’s children, and now accumulating into affecting almost 24% of all Australians.

It indicates just 2 out of 10, or 20% of children from separated parents, continue to enjoy ongoing meaningful contact with their non-custodial parent, as per above definition of “meaningful.”

It also means 8 out of 10, or 80% of Australian children from separated parents, are being denied meaningful ongoing contact with their biological non-custodial parent.

As a consequence, there were 352,000 non custodial parents, who had little or no meaningful contact with their biological children living elsewhere. This in turn caused an estimated 1.5 million extended family members to also be denied meaningful contact with their biological families.

All of the above results reveal a crippling, social fallout, from deep-rooted Family Law policy failure, which raises some serious questions. If we consider the above outcome as actually being in ‘The Best Interest of Children’, then perhaps we need to urgently take a very close look at that definition.                    

Media contact: Peter van de Voorde  - Dads on the Air, Australia – June 27, 2011  ©
www.dadsontheair.net  - 04-28648691 – dotafeedback@gmail.com

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Lay judgments about child custody after divorce.

Lay judgments about child custody after divorce. 
Braver, Sanford L.; Ellman, Ira Mark; Votruba, Ashley M.; Fabricius, William V.
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 17(2), May 2011, 212-240. doi: 10.1037/a0023194


In a pair of studies, we examine lay people's judgments about how hypothetical cases involving child custody after divorce should be resolved.

The respondents were citizens called to jury service in Pima County, AZ. Study 1 found that both male and female respondents, if they were the judge, would most commonly award equally shared custody arrangements, as advocated by most fathers' groups. 
However, if the predivorce child care had been divided disproportionately between the parents, this preference shifted, slightly but significantly, toward giving more time to the parent who had provided most of that care, consistent with the Approximation Rule advocated by the American Law Institute. 
Moreover, respondents judged that the arrangements prevailing in today's court and legal environment would award equal custody considerably less often, and would thereby provide much less parenting time to fathers, than the respondents themselves would award. 
Study 2 found that respondents maintained their strong preference for equally shared custody even when there are very high levels of parental conflict for which the parents were equally to blame, but awarded substantially less time to the culpable parent when only one was the primary instigator of the parental conflict. 
The striking degree to which the public favors equal custody combined with their view that the current court system under-awards parenting time to fathers could account for past findings that the system is seriously slanted toward mothers, and suggests that family law may have a public relations problem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved) 
From the Huffington Post

How Does the Public View Conflict in Custody Decisions?


One of the main reasons that judges do not automatically award equal parenting in custody decisions is because of their concern about the conflict between the parents and the harm it will do to the children. In previous work, (see blog post on this work) researchers at Arizona State University found that the general public generally favors custody decisions that award both parents equal time in custody decisions, but many custody battles involve conflict between parents. When conflict persists among divorcing parents, most judges and custody evaluators have recommended against shared parenting in order to keep children out of the conflict.

In this study, Braver and his colleagues wanted to find out how the public thinks custody decisions should be handled in which there is conflict. (See Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 2011).
To examine these questions, the researchers developed hypothetical cases that described a low conflict scenario and two types of high conflict scenarios. In the low conflict case, the parents were described as reasonably good parents who are involved in the children's lives. There were two types of high conflict cases, one in which both parents were described as extremely angry at each other and fight in front of the children. In the second case only one parent was angry. Half the time this was presented as the father and half the time as the mother.

These cases were presented to citizens who had been summoned to serve on a jury panel in an Arizona community. About 250 people participated in this study. The participants were given the hypothetical cases, and then asked to imagine themselves as the judge deciding these cases based on the merits of the cases and what was best for the child. In each case they were asked how much time the child should spend with each parent.

In both the case of low conflict and high mutual conflict, the participants in this study favored awarding both parents equal time (about 65%). This finding indicates that almost two-thirds of the public still favors equal parenting time even in cases in which there is continued conflict. There was not complete consensus on this arrangement however. The remaining one-third of the participants were more likely to favor having the children live with the mother and reduce the amount of time that the dad got time with the children. This group of participants favored awarding more parenting time to the mother in conflicts in which both parents were described as angry and fighting.

When the cases were presented in which one parent was described as the cause of the conflict, then participants recommended that the parent causing the conflict should get less parenting time. The participants did not differ in their judgments about mothers and fathers. Regardless of whether it was the mother or the father was the source of the conflict, participants thought they should get less time with the child if they were angry, fighting and causing conflict.

These views of custody in high conflict divorces run counter to the views of most professionals. When families are embroiled in conflict during the divorce, they recommend that children be given primary custody with one parent. This is based on the evidence that conflict between parents is one of the most damaging factors in children's well-being during a family breakup. Professionals assume that the parents will not be able to resolve their conflicts resulting in the children being continually exposed to angry, bitter altercations. The findings in this study indicate that the general public does not hold this view. The researchers conclude, "Family lawmakers need to confront that equal custody enjoys genuinely great popularity among the citizenry."


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Barbara Kay: Stop denying fathers their rights

The CPC at their recent convention finally got around to modifying their policy as follows. The lower of the two clauses below has new wording added: "and/or shared parenting, "

This is a step forward but I get the impression from this and our CEPC President's recent contact with the PMO they don't understand the difference between "shared" and "equal" parenting. Shared could be divided as 90% mom % 10% dad. Joint is a legal fallacy which states mom gets sole physical custody but dad has some legal say. In practice this does not work. Possession is 10/10 of the law.

We will continue our lobbying effort to get a government bill for equal parenting. There are two main opponents. Feminists and Feminist who are lawyers, in addition to the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), who of course have a vested interest in the winner take all status quo as they will lose business. 

Those who think feminists are all about equality haven't read some of their misandric briefs full of mendacity and misleading statistics, some imported from similar feminist briefs in Australia, who do have a watered down shared parenting law. In fact  Tasha Kheiriddin  a colleague of Ms. Kay at the National Post uses some of those same spurious statistics to oppose equal parenting. Google the name of Pamela Cross for the lead Feminist Lawyer who uses ideology not fairness in her role fighting Equal Parenting.

I was a stay-at-home dad for 10 years running, and a damn good one, until my heart was torn out by the gender apartheid used in the social services/justice system that cares not one whit for good fathers having equality in parenting even when they were the parent who raised the children. They also cannot care for the newly fatherless children.

I was watching "The Game of Thrones" on Sunday and one of the players tried to explain the pain they felt. To paraphrase: "It was like someone tore out my heart and then squeezed it before my eyes." It summed up, in a short phrase, what it felt like to lose my children as a legal parent and the squeezing was done over a period of 4 years by the court system and their apparatchiks until a Judge decided I was stronger emotionally than my ex, therefore there was a power imbalance and I was unfit for equal parenting. He did what most chivalrous judges do, and yes it is misplaced chivalry even by conservative judges, in Canada without any reference to what is really best for children. I went from a full time legal dad to a visitor of 3 hours a week and every other weekend, which is the standard sentence for fathers who are guilty of nothing more than being male.

The system will adapt despite the misandry by feminists like Pamela Cross and her legal cohorts and the vested interests of lawyers represented by the CBA.

The Conservative party of Canada  recently modified section 69 of their policy on shared parenting to the wording in the lower version.


EDA – Oshawa; Whitby-Oshawa; Ajax-Pickering; Pickering-Scarborough East; Durham; Northumberland-Quinte West; Haliburton-Kawartha-Brock; Peterborough

Section K – Social Policy (MODIFICATION)

69. Shared Parenting

The Conservative Party believes that in the event of a marital breakdown, the Divorce Act should grant joint custody, unless it is clearly demonstrated not to be in the best interests of the child. Both parents and all grandparents should be allowed to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children and grandchildren, unless it is demonstrated not to be in the best interest of the child.

69. Shared Parenting

The Conservative Party believes that in the event of a marital breakdown, the Divorce Act should grant joint custody and/or shared parenting, unless it is clearly demonstrated not to be in the best interests of the child. Both parents and all grandparents should be allowed to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children and grandchildren, unless it is demonstrated not to be in the best interest of the child.

  Jun 15, 2011 – 7:30 AM ET | Last Updated: Jun 14, 2011 4:36 PM ET
Shania Twain recently published a memoir detailing her anguish at her ex-husband’s affair with her best friend. In the end, Shania found happiness with the friend’s betrayed husband, by her account a straight-arrow guy, a terrific father to his own daughter and a much-admired step-father to her sons.
She writes, “What attracted me to Fred was his selflessness. He was going through the same agony as I was — maybe even worse, because as a father, he would have to battle his soon-to-be ex for the right to see his own daughter. At least that was something I never had to face.”

Reflect on Shania’s words a moment, and perhaps you will be struck, as I was, by this statement’s lack of critical introspection or even indignation.

Why is it that Shania accepts with such fatalism that the custody of her daughter will never be at issue, whereas this selfless man will have to “battle” for access to his child? Because that is the way things still are in family courts in the West, and even celebrities with the clout to arouse public outrage have absorbed the received wisdom that if one parent resists shared parenting for any reason whatsoever — it is usually the mother, and the reasons can be trivial or non-existent — the mother is awarded sole custody. (In reality, nobody is awarded anything through such judgments; on the contrary, one parent and his children have been taken away from each other).

In 1995, 49,000 American men were primary caregivers to their children. In 2010 154,000 men were. Pampers is now using fathers in their diaper ads. Almost 10 years ago, in a sample of 32,000 parents, Health Canada found that working fathers and mothers spend virtually equal time on child care.
So gender convergence is the rule for non-divorced parents, and equal parenting is now the rule for divorces that don’t go to trial. Why is it not the presumptive norm for those that do go to trial, after which mothers get sole custody nine out of 10 times?

It is clear to any disinterested observer who immerses himself in the subject that almost the only opponents to equal parenting are misandric ideologues and those financially invested in the family court system itself, which would see a drastic reduction in revenue from the professional gold mine all-or-nothing custody battles represent.

Reliable surveys tell us that over 70% of Canadians want a presumption of shared or equal parenting in law (in the absence of abuse). But family courts have not caught up with reality. Many judges are still in thrall to stubborn myths: that men demand custody rights to punish their ex-wives or to avoid child support; that they easily disengage from their children; or that awarding men equal rights represents a “patriarchal backlash” (even though few men ask for sole custody, only shared) and children do just as well with one parent as two. Wrong on all counts.

Edward Kruk, associate professor of social work at the University of British Columbia, has been studying the changing role of fathers and the problems of father absence for 30 years. His latest book, Divorced Fathers: Children’s Needs and Parental Responsibilities, illuminates the tragic toll on fathers first removed from their children’s lives by a biased legal system, and then unsupported by a social services network that is almost wholly indifferent to fathers’ rights and feelings.

According to multiple studies, displaced fathers are overwrought at the loss of contact with their children. They are far more likely to become depressed or unemployed. Worse, suicide rates amongst fathers struggling to maintain a parenting relationship with their children are “epidemic.” Divorced fathers are more than twice as likely to kill themselves as married fathers. But since men tend to suffer in silence, the depth of their despair goes unnoticed.

Kruk calls the crisis of father absence — for both fathers and the children they are torn from — “one of the most significant and powerful trends of this generation.” Children now form primary attachments to both parents. Losing their father’s active participation in their lives is enormously consequential. Trustworthy research demonstrates that children deprived of a meaningful father role are at far greater risk of physical, emotional and psychological damage than those actively parented by their fathers. Children fare better with equal parenting even where there is conflict between the parents; it is only child-directed conflict that hurts children.

Kruk’s findings reveal that ironically, precisely because they have taken on equal responsibility for parenting before divorce, men who lose their parenting role now suffer far more grievously than they used to 20 years ago when he wrote his first book, Divorce and Disengagement. He argues for a paradigm shift, away from a rights-based discourse to a framework of “responsibility to needs,” in which both children’s needs and parental and institutional responsibilities to them would be enumerated.

Kruk rather poignantly asks: “Why are parents with no civil or criminal wrongdoing forced to surrender their responsibility to raise their children?” and “Is the removal of a parent from the life of a child, via legal sole custody, itself a form of parental alienation?” Good questions, especially since equal parenting has been part of the Conservative policybook since the party’s rebirth. What’s the delay? Over to you, Mr. Harper.

National Post

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

False Allegations in Australian Family Law Disputes

Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2011

Submission to Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

by Prof. Patrick Parkinson, University of Sydney


There is now a very widespread view in the community that some family violence orders are sought for tactical or collateral reasons to do with family law disputes. People have become very cynical about them. A national survey conducted in 2009, with over 12,500 respondents, found that 49% of respondents agreed with the proposition that ‘women going through custody battles often make up or exaggerate claims of domestic violence in order to improve their case’, and only 28% disagreed. While it might be expected that men would be inclined to believe this, 42% of women did so as well.

The view that some family violence order applications are unjustified appears to be shared by state magistrates in New South Wales and Queensland. Hickey and Cumines in a survey of 68 NSW magistrates concerning apprehended violence orders (AVOs) found that 90% agreed that some AVOs were sought as a tactic to aid their case in order to deprive a former partner of contact with the children. About a third of those who thought AVOs were used tactically indicated that it did not occur ‘often’, but one in six believed it occurred ‘all the time’. A similar survey of 38 Queensland magistrates found that 74% agreed with the proposition that protection orders are used in Family Court proceedings as a tactic to aid a parent’s case and to deprive their partner of contact with their children.

In research that our research team recently published on the views of 40 family lawyers in NSW, almost all solicitors thought that tactical applications for AVOs occurred, with the majority considering it happened often. In another study based upon interviews with 181 parents who have been involved in family law disputes, we found a strong perception from respondents to family violence orders (both women and men) that their former partners sought a family violence order in order to help win their family law case. This is a quote from one of the women in our study. Her former husband, who we also interviewed, sought an apprehended violence order (AVO) to keep her away from the house after she had left it. She said this:

I thought this is ridiculous. What’s he giving me an AVO for? I haven’t done anything to him. I haven’t hit him, kicked him. We never had any violence in our marriage. Why have I got an AVO? And apparently the AVO was ... you can put an AVO on someone and say that they’re violent, and the only way you can get a child off their mother is because they’re violent. And that’s why I think he gave me the AVO.

The belief that family violence orders are a weapon in the war between parents is fuelled by the fact that judges are required under the Family Law Act to consider such family violence orders in determining the best interests of the child. The proposed clause in this Bill takes the law back to what it was before 2006, without any explanation for why Parliament should reverse its previous decision at least to limit the provision. It really doesn’t matter whether this belief that family violence orders are used tactically is true or not. The fact is that the perception is out there and it is held by state magistrates and family lawyers, as well as the wider community. The retention of this provision in the Family Law Act simply fuels the suspicion that family violence orders are being misused. This is damaging to the credibility of the family violence order system and the courts.

The second reason why the requirement to consider family violence orders ought to be removed is that this serves absolutely no purpose. Yes, the court needs to know about the existence of a current family violence order in order to consider how to frame its own orders (s.60CG), but that is dealt with by requiring people to inform the court of such orders (s.60CF). Why consider them again in deciding what is in the best interests of a child (s.60CC(3))? The court is already required to consider the history of violence. What does it add to require the court also to consider a family violence order? The impression given by the legislation is that these orders are somehow evidence that there has been violence. However, that is a misunderstanding.

Family violence orders have absolutely no evidential value in the vast majority of cases. This is because, in the vast majority of cases, they are consented to without admissions. The hearings in these uncontested cases are very brief indeed. Prof. Rosemary Hunter, in observations in Victoria in 1996–97, found that the median hearing time for each application was only about three minutes. Applications were typically dealt with in a bureaucratic manner, with magistrates being distant and emotionally disengaged. To the extent that applicants were asked to give oral evidence, they were typically asked to confirm the content of their written application, and very little exploration of the grounds for the application took place.

Dr Jane Wangmann, in a recent analysis of court files in NSW, reached finding very similar to Hunter’s. In her observations of AVO matters in 2006–7, she found, like Hunter, that cases were dealt with in three minutes or less. She also noted that the information provided in written complaints was brief and sometimes vague. It is hardly surprising, then, that judges in family law cases draw no inferences from the mere existence of a family violence order. This has been the clear view of family lawyers for the last 15 years. Indeed, in the research we recently published on the views of 40 family lawyers in NSW, none of the lawyers who responded to the question believed that judicial officers gave AVOs much consideration in determining parenting disputes. Judges, they indicate, want to evaluate the evidence of violence itself, not the fact that another court has made an order about it by consent and without admissions.

Download the full submission in PDF format by Prof. Parkinson:


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Parental Alienation Awareness Day 2011 - Barrie, Ontario



Family law issues take their toll


Updated 2 hours ago
Tyler Self says he's basically given up on the judicial system.

The 48-year-old father of two says he hasn't seen his children, who live in Orillia with their mother -- his ex -- for two years.

"I've almost given up on the way it (the courts) operate. They don't give the fathers a chance to speak," he said, minutes before a few dozen people and children began blowing bubbles to mark Parental Alienation Day at Barrie's Centennial Beach, Monday.

Self was just one of a dozen parents who've lost touch with their children through divorce.

Around the globe, countries including, the U.S., Germany, Australia, Sweden and Canada were drawing attention to parents involved in desperate custodial battles they feel are drawn out in the family law courts.

Paulette MacDonald, organizer of the waterfront meet, encouraged the adults and children to blow the iridescent soap bubbles across the park, in memory of Sophia and Serena Campione, Barrie children who were drowned by their mother, Elaine, during a vicious custody battle.

With signs reading 'Kids Are For Sharing' and a banner across the playground fence that read 'Love is for Everyone', MacDonald read the proclamation from Mayor Jeff Lehman, who proclaimed April 25 as Barrie's Parental Alienation Day.

In part, it reads, 'Parental alienation deprives a child of their right to a loving relationship with both parents, and interferes with a child's mental and emotional development.'

"This is in honour of all of the children around the globe," said MacDonald. "Children are as fragile as the bubbles. We cannot, and should not, contain the bubbles.

"One of the first solutions is that the divorce act has to reflect mandatory equal shared parenting," said MacDonald.

A federal summit report written in 1998, called For the Sake of the Children, had 48 recommendations about divorce and custody issues, including mandatory mediation.

"But it's trapped in a political merry-go-round," she said, adding that the government has to "smarten up" and put the interests of the children above the interests of the legal industry.

According to reports by the court services division of the Attorney General's office, there were more than 313,000 divorce cases in 2008. With lawyers charging up to $600 per hour to serve as mediators, difficult settlements and custodial disagreements can get expensive fast.

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, the federal Green Party candidate in Barrie, was at the event with his daughter, an avid bubble-blower.

"I'm proud to be involved in this event," he said. "Clearly, if we're going to build strong communities, we've got to have strong families."

Jacoby-Hawkins said upwards to 50% of marriages end in divorce, and while the original intent of no-fault divorce introduced in 1985 was well-intentioned, a quarter of a century later, the court system has become dysfunctional and arbitrary.

"Children are typically isolated from one parent, as well as grandparents," he said, adding bankruptcies often occur, there are child support and spousal support problems, as well as exorbitant legal costs.

"When a family has to spend $50,000 on their divorce (custody) expenses, it's time to reform the divorce act," he said.

"The average divorce/custody in Canada takes three years and most of that is in delays (in the courts)."
"We should be looking at this as not a family breaking up, but a restructuring of a family, that includes the grandparents and other family members," he said.