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 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.