February 15th, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
The following was written by the always excellent and inspiring Paulette MacDonald. She’s Co-President of the Canadian Equal Parenting Council whose website is here.
Are Canadian parents okay with the emotional and mental child abuse that occurs in our divorce courts? Our government is, apparently. In a 1998 report, For the Sake of the Children, the product of the Special Joint Committee which put forth forty-eight recommendations for change to the Divorce Act is still the focus of divorce law reform some thirteen years later and not one of those recommendations has been made into law. Yet our government claims the Best Interest of the Child (BIOC) is paramount in our “dysfunctional” Family Law System.
At first glance, the BIOC seems like common sense. Of course parents want what is best for their child or children during divorce and study after study clearly illustrates that children fare much better with a continued relationship with both parents after divorce or separation. Yet in Canada, mom gets sole custody in 90 percent of cases and that is not in the best interest of anyone except our million dollar divorce industry.
Equal\Shared Parenting in instances of divorce or separation is best for everyone involved and equal parenting polls these past several years have demonstrated that the public understands that the law is grossly unfair. Yet our government continues to ignore the rights of our children by forcing them to choose to love just one of their parents in our “dysfunction” family courts.
Let’s be clear, equal parenting does exist, just not in our courts. It exists when divorcing parents put the needs of their children before their own and come to an agreement without the courts intervening. That is not the case when they end up in the adversarial, winner-take-all approach in our courts; they are focused on feelings and emotions of anger, hatred, misunderstanding, mistrust, failure, and revenge, rather than what’s best for our children.
Tens of thousands continue to suffer under a legal regime which is oppressive and inequitable, particularly for children, fathers, second wives and grandparents.
Why? Because of vested interest groups called Canada’s Divorce Industry, Incorporated. The more families they destroy the more money they make and apparently that’s more important to our government than our children’s rights to a continued relationship with both their parents and their emotional and mental wellbeing.
In previous sessions of parliament we have put forth equal parenting motions, equal parenting bills and several Parliamentary reports such as, For the Sake of the Children 13 years ago. It’s time for our majority government to legislate its own policy regarding shared parenting and the right of both parents to raise their children unless clear evidence-based due process demands otherwise.
Please urge your MP to champion a Government Bill for Equal Parenting. Tell your MP that our children have a right to the love, care and attention of both parents while the marriage is intact. Why is that right taken away from our children when the marriage ends?
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