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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 10-09-2015, 09:37 PM
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Default Jail time?

Is jail time ever ordered as a consequence for contempt or bad behaviour in family court? I get the impression that consequences are few and far between whether for denying access or failure to pay CS,SS, hiding assets, etc.
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Old 10-10-2015, 03:34 AM
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In Quebec - yes but rarely.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:18 AM
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Some of the cases are truly ones were jail time were appropriate. I 'm talking about two in particular that I read about. In one there was no verified abuse by the father yet the mother was able to withhold access for years. By the time it finally got to trial the children were in their late teens and the relationship with their dad was permanently severed.

Case two was an extremely wealthy businessman who'd been married for 30+ years. He refused to disclose assets of his multiple numbered companies, hid assets overseas, sold all of his hotels except for one which the wife's name was also on title, and had multiple costs awards against him , none of which he paid.
He also freely admitted to contempt.

In both these cases costs awards were ignored and not complied with. The victorious parties had no way to collect the wards. The only punishment was an eloquent speech by the judges in both case, denouncing the behaviour of the smug spouses!
In the former case the wife was awarded the one remaining hotel but came nowhere near receiving the millions which were her do. And the father? He lost his relationship with his kids forever.

I don't understand why jail time was not ordered in either one of these cases as it seems to be a logical and deserved consequence !
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Old 10-10-2015, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
I don't understand why jail time was not ordered in either one of these cases as it seems to be a logical and deserved consequence !
Because jail is a criminal punishment and family law is a civil matter. People have charter rights and to reduce them is serious.

The last thing you want is more power the broken family court system,

My ex-wife tried to put me in jail over 3200$ I was ordered to pay (that I couldn't), even though I was paying her a monthly support of 2500$...

It was proven she refused to accept any payment towards the 3200$ unless I agreed to desist from my appeal.
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Old 10-10-2015, 12:13 PM
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While incarcerated people don't have to pay support (although it's waiting for them when they are released). License suspension and impounding of one's vehicle are good deterrents. I think for some the revoking of passport is good because those who flee the country usually want to come back sooner or later (funeral of loved one, accessing Canadian health care in old age etc.).
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Old 10-10-2015, 05:02 PM
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Ontario Family Law Rules do allow for jail time for contempt, but judges don't mind if people defy orders so jail time for contempt isn't used much or ever. But it should be used, particularly in cases where costs orders or orders to pay due to contempt are defied. In both of these types of cases, it is a given that the court knows that the party can afford to pay. Whether the party complied or not is black and white. Our society needs family court "Orders" to be seen as orders. Occasional brief stints of jail time would remind potential contemptors to do the right thing instead.
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Old 10-10-2015, 07:40 PM
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As a taxpayer, I don't believe I would ever support jail time as a valid consequence in the family courts, so I'm rather glad to see that choice has been left uncharted.

How exactly do you think having jail term ordered would benefit either the recipient or the provider? And do you endorse corporal punishment in your household with your children?
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Old 10-10-2015, 08:20 PM
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Hi McDreamy

I seem to have hit a nerve.

The orders I was actually thinking about were orders that the child have a relationship with both of its parents despite one of the parents being opposed with no good reason. It's extremely hard to get these enforced. Consequences for repeated defiance would be most beneficial for children.
If an order to pay a fine or to pay money to the other parent, or any other consequence for this sort of contempt is defied, then something else- something bigger- needs to happen to ensure the child gets time with both of its parents. In these circumstances, perhaps it's time to start temporarily slightly reducing the civil liberties of the contemnor. Maybe a Saturday afternoon in jail to start with?

If you don't think that bigger consequences for repeated defiance of an order that the child gets to see both parents are 'in order,' then what other solution might work?

What do you think?

In Ontario, as in most jurisdictions in North America, orders to pay CS or SS are the only ones which are routinely enforced. In fact, we have a huge tax-funded apparatus for enforcing them. Funnily enough, in Ontario as well as every other jurisdiction in North America, there is no tax-funded apparatus for ensuring children get to see both of their parents! Funny, world, isn't it?

This leads me to wonder why you jumped to the conclusion that I was thinking about consequences for defiance of orders for CS or SS.

I'm unclear where your question about corporal punishment is coming from.

Take care

Last edited by somethingelse; 10-10-2015 at 08:25 PM. Reason: because I'm a bozo and didn't make myself clear
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Old 10-10-2015, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somethingelse View Post
The orders I was actually thinking about were orders that the child have a relationship with both of its parents despite one of the parents being opposed with no good reason.
I'm going to go with corporal, for you.

You neglected to answer my question on the benefits to either the recipient or the payor, with a mandated jail sentence. I'm confused -- you want the child in jail with their parent on Saturday afternoons?
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:02 PM
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I really seem to be having a hard time expressing myself.

I am not talking about contempt of orders to pay CS or SS.

I am talking about repeated contempt of an order that the child see both parents, and then contempt of an order stemming from the contempt.

For example: there's an order that the child is going to have half the child's time with dad and half with mom, so that that child can have a proper parental relationship with both of its parents although they don't live together. Mom doesn't like that and refuses to let the child go to dad. Mom is found in contempt of the order and as a result mom is ordered to give make-up time with the child being with dad, or maybe to pay a fine, or to pay money to dad. Mom does not do so and continues to refuse to let the child spend time with dad. Mom is thus in contempt of two orders. What do we do? As a society do we stop trying to help the child and give up because mom is opposed to what is in the child's interests and expects to get away with it?

I don't think we should.


What I am proposing is that if a parent repeatedly defies court orders, is found in contempt, and still shows no interest in acting in the child's interest and complying with a court order, then we can do something about it by upping the ante. A short jail time may be in order.

Why on earth do you think I'm suggesting the child go to jail? I'm suggesting that the parent who refuses to let the child spend time with the other parent receive a consequence. Why should the child be made to suffer more?

I'm really baffled by your corporal punishment comments. Maybe it's me who's missing something.

Take care
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