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Old 01-08-2017, 11:26 PM
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Default 50/50 Equal Parenting: The Debate

Since we seem to run in to the 50/50 debate quite often, I thought it might be beneficial to start a thread where folks can express their thoughts, opinions and stances to assist us all in better comprehending the complex nature of the topic.

What would be your criteria for denying a 50/50 relationship to one parent who is doing anything they can to see and care for their child on an equal basis?

Does it meet the criteria focusing on one's "ability to parent" set out by the CLRA? In addition to the best interests test, 24(2), your ability to act as a parent is analyzed via:

Past conduct
(3) A person’s past conduct shall be considered only,

(a) in accordance with subsection (4); or

(b) if the court is satisfied that the conduct is otherwise relevant to the person’s ability to act as a parent. 2006, c. 1, s. 3 (1); 2016, c. 23, s. 7 (2).
and of course,

Violence and abuse
(4) In assessing a person’s ability to act as a parent, the court shall consider whether the person has at any time committed violence or abuse against,

(a) his or her spouse;

(b) a parent of the child to whom the application relates;

(c) a member of the person’s household; or

(d) any child. 2006, c. 1, s. 3 (1); 2016, c. 23, s. 7 (2, 3).
Of course there are many other factors taken in to consideration, but this is the bare bones of defining the "ability to parent".

You may ask, what about a parent who has made mistakes, but nothing like the above? What if mom or dad wasn't ready, panicked and backed out in the beginning? They did some soul searching, realized their moronic mistake and want nothing more than to see their children as a fully involved and loving parent?

What if they make your life hell, but your child's better? That's a decision that parents need to think long and hard about.

Personal feelings, bad relationship experiences and finances put aside, if a parent is deemed fit to act as a parent as defined in the CLRA, wants to prove themselves and are going at great lengths to do so, I become confused as to why they shouldn't be given the chance. Properly said, why the child shouldn't be given the chance to have an equal relationship with both parents?

If a parent is deemed fit to act as a parent (even if poor romantic partners) the child deserves the right to be cared for and have maximum contact with that parent.

The Maximum Contact Principle plays a large role.

And it just so happens that the maximum time a child can get with each parent is 50/50.

In much caselaw, such as Young Vs Young [1993] 4 SCR 3 (below), Maximum Contact with each parent is one of the most significant factors.

It stands as the only specific factor which Parliament has seen fit to single out as being something which the judge must consider. By mentioning this factor, Parliament has expressed its opinion that contact with each parent is valuable, and that the judge should ensure that this contact is maximized."
Young v Young, [1993] 4 SCR 3 at para 204, [1993] 8 W.W.R. 513.
Justice McLachlin went on to explain:"The modifying phrase "as is consistent with the best interests of the child" means that the goal of maximum contact of each parent with the child is not absolute. To the extent that contact conflicts with the best interests of the child, it may be restricted. But only to that extent. Parliament's decision to maintain maximum contact between the child and both parents is amply supported by the literature, which suggests that children benefit
In Cavannah v Johne, [2008] OJ No 5027 at para 38, [2009] WDFL 614.

Justice Ingram found that it would be unfair to deny the father an equal opportunity to parent the child. Time sharing was ordered with three nights with the father and four nights with the mother each week. Cavannah v Johne, [2008] OJ No 5027 at para 38, [2009] WDFL 614.
Put simply, the courts have the extremely important job of thoroughly analyzing parents' ability to act as a parent, while weighing the evidence supporting the child's best interests (Maximum Contact also)

In my opinion, if the parent has proven themselves to be fit to act as a parent, has demonstrated great motivation and action to see their child, and doesn't disturb lifestyle or routine too much, why not?

As humans we all have questionable behaviors at times. Perfection is an illusion that nobody should strive for. Your ex may have stayed out with his buddies on a Friday night, they might spit when they eat, leave the toilet seat up or may have even cheated on you. As questionable and raunchy as that behavior is, they can still be good parents.

As Tayken points out in his thread, the courts must also be very wary analyzing the term "abuse". Abuse is a serious issue and should be treated as such indefinitely, but it's now unfortunately also become an overused strategy for leverage in family law.

In Abdelhamid Tayebi v. Salima Oukachbi, 2013 ONSC 6960 (CanLII)

Justice Piercea states:
[13] Allegations of abuse may be a symptom of the failure of a relationship. Blame is an inherent part of the allegation. Sometimes it is wholly warranted; other times it is not. When parties are not communicating, any slight or criticism is magnified. There is a tendency to minimize the other spouse’s good qualities and maximize the bad. Warring spouses are rarely in a position to step back and evaluate the other’s behaviour with objective eyes. Nor are they able to critically assess their own behaviour...
The same judge also stated:

[12] The difficulty with the term “abuse”, as it is used in affidavits filed in family law cases, is that it is used subjectively. It is an emotionally coloured term. It is not limited to describing physical violence but may be also be used to describe a range of conflicts including arguments, differences of opinion or values, or hurt feelings. For example, one partner may consider himself or herself as a good money manager while the other partner may perceive close budgeting as coercive control. One partner may consider an end-of-day inquiry about how the other spouse’s day went as an indication of love or interest while a disaffected spouse may deem the inquiry intrusive and controlling.
The judge has to be the best psychologist in the world. They have to ignore most of the "nonsense" affidavits, filled with inconsistencies and he said/she said high school quarrels and zero in on the parents' real intentions and mindsets, exposing truisms if need be.

If there are no police records, no CAS, no addictions or any evidence of abuse....and if they legitimately want to assist and help raise a child that they helped create, the child should have the awesome privilege of having them in their life equally, regardless of the other parents subjective feelings, needs and wants. The other parent lacks the objectivity to accurately rate the other's parenting ability, as discussed above.

Why not a graduated schedule to start off slow? Perhaps some counselling to get on the same page? If you hate your ex and cannot communicate .. don't resort to denying them more access because of it, get on, find a friend or relative for exchanges and adopt a parallel parenting regime. You're all set to not see or hear the voice of your ex.

I urge readers to really think about what I asked earlier:

What if your ex makes your life hell, but your child's better? Would you go 50/50?

Last edited by LovingFather32; 01-08-2017 at 11:36 PM.
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