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Political Issues This forum is for discussing the political aspects of divorce: reform to divorce laws, men's rights, women's rights, injustices in the divorce system, etc.

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Old 01-15-2015, 10:58 PM
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Default Child-custody battle pushes the limits of spite: DiManno

Rosie DiManno Jan 15, 2015

Spite has no gender. In this story, the villain is a she-wolf.

Or, in the pungent words of a clearly exasperated family court judge: “For best courtroom adaptation of a work of fiction, the award goes to the applicant … who shamelessly feigned what she thought was necessary to convince the court to circumscribe access by the respondent to their almost 6-year-old daughter.

“One could sit in Family Court for many years and not encounter such a callously conniving and mendaciously manipulative litigant. She effortlessly put the ‘rage’ in ‘outrageous’…”

The St. Catharines bench-boss, Justice Joseph W. Quinn, is gaining a reputation for his flamboyantly scripted, disarmingly sharp judgments.
In this case, the claimant is a 46-year-old university-educated woman, single mother of two children, whose blinkered and toxic custody war — she is the aggressor — pushed the case through 31 court adjournments before it finally came to trial in December.

Although no publication ban has been imposed, I’ve decided not to name the woman, mindful that there is a little girl involved. Also because when I spoke to her this week, she expressed worry that her employment prospects would be harmed by publicity, especially the judge’s characterization of her conduct. At the moment, she doesn’t have a job; indeed, hasn’t worked since the child was born, even though the girl is now in all-day kindergarten.

Through the course of this interminable legal matter — five years — the complainant (I’ll refer to her as C.S.) burned through four lawyers and was ultimately rejected for Legal Aid, which refused to fund her ongoing campaign of maliciousness. As a result, C.S. represented herself at trial, as did the real-estate agent father of their child.

To this extent I have some sympathy for the woman. Anyone who’s been through court knows how expensive the pursuit of justice can become, especially in protracted custody cases where the only winners are the lawyers.

Quinn acknowledged the difficulty of self-representation. “The parties usually do not know what they are required to prove and, if they have an inkling, they have no idea how to do it. Efforts to turn them into overnight lawyers are not sensible.”

It fell to the judge to raise germane issues and steer testimony. “A trial judge should not be put in the position of having to find, present, argue and decide a case. Wearing that number of hats is unbecoming.”

It’s venomous territory when exes go at one another’s throats in court, particularly repugnant when they snarl spit over children.
C.S. has one child with a man she met on a trip to Boston who was subsequently deported to Brazil. The father of her second child — D.C. — she met online. The judge notes dryly: “She became pregnant during their first meeting offline.”

The couple has never lived together. But the father has tried, endlessly, to foster a relationship with his daughter. C.S. has stubbornly balked, which is what brought the case to court. She had refused any overnight privileges, repeatedly schemed to prevent even the supervised visits that had been suggested by a child care worker and wanted more financial support.

“At several points throughout the trial, (C.S.) emphasized that she was a Christian who practised Christian values,” wrote the judge. “There must be some key pages missing from her copy of the Bible.”

C.S. claimed her ex, who lives in Toronto, had a criminal record. A police criminal check proved this wasn’t true.

“She does not accept the accuracy of that document,” said the judge. She accused him of being a drug user, so he submitted to drug testing, which came back negative. She claimed he’d verbally abused the child, but — despite taking the stand with a plastic tote box crammed with 25 files she told court would vindicate her allegations — could offer only one instance: when the father told his daughter she was “too old to cry.”

She professed being afraid and intimidated by the man, asserting to the judge that she suffered all the typical symptoms of a woman who’d been subjected to psychological abuse. Quinn: “At the conclusion of the case, I was easily satisfied otherwise. I have no doubt that, in this relationship, she, if I may be colloquial, wears the pants (and the belt).”

C.S. told the judge — and told me later — that she felt nervous and overwhelmed in court. Quinn didn’t see it. “During her testimony, in response to my questions and those posed to her by (D.C), she was argumentative, flippant, acerbic and sarcastic.”

Quinn continued: “It was shocking to hear the baseless and frivolous opposition that she maintained to the access requests … If she had her way, (he) would be in (Brazil) with the other father and relegated to monthly cheques and the occasional greeting card. It would seem (C.S.) wants children without the nuisance of fathers underfoot.”

The allegations she made against the girl’s father were all-encompassing yet unspecific, as if, said Quinn, “to mirror a brochure that she might have read titled: ‘Key Words and Phrases to Use if You Want Everyone to Think That the Father of Your Child is Unfit.”

C.S. used her daughter’s asthma as an excuse for denying overnight visits, saying he was incapable of managing the girl’s health issues. But the very doctor C.S. called testified that the child’s asthma was well controlled by medication and the girl was fine to stay overnight with her dad.

A preliminary assessment report prepared for the court by a social worker recommended D.C. be allowed unsupervised access “two full days each week." C.S. was so displeased that she swore out an affidavit stating: “I have concerns regarding her standards of practice." Then the social worker was dumped — “C.S. had no desire to hear any more inconvenient truths’’ — with the mother going so far as making enquiries about the woman to the College of Social Workers.

Perhaps most egregiously — while the trial was underway — after Quinn had issued an interim access order allowing the father to pick up and drop off his daughter at the girl’s home — C.S. obtained a no-trespassing order against her ex from the management of her co-op, which in turn sent a copy to Niagara Regional Police.

Quinn was furious. “Why was (D.C) being treated as if he were a criminal? Is it in the best interests of the child that she be forced to endure access pick-ups and drop-offs in doughnut shops and retail parking lots, as if a drug transaction were in progress?”

He ordered the co-op managers to court, which meant they had to get a lawyer, too. The no-trespass letters were quashed.

Of crucial relevance: Quinn determined that the child was happy to spend time with her dad and his supportive family; that they had a loving (when permitted) relationship. This made no impression on the girl’s mother. She wanted the youngster exclusively to herself, like a possession.

Cut to the chase: Quinn has found in favor of Dad — described as sincere, eager to parent fully and non-vindictive (“I am not here to trash her,” he’d testified of his ex) — ordering joint custody (residing with her mother), generous access, with weekend stay-overs and rotating vacations. The father is entitled to all medical and school records.

Child support is pegged at $682 a month, as per guidelines, until the father — who’s indebted to Canada Revenue for $300,000 due to a failed business venture — can provide more complete tax records for the past four years, whereupon the amount could be increased. Mom must provide her ex every six months a record of all “places or persons” to whom she has applied for a job, “until such time as she obtains full-time employment.”

C.S. told the Star: “It makes me shudder to think of all the children who are in the wrong hands. I did this for all the single moms out there.”

No lady, you didn’t.

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Old 01-15-2015, 11:08 PM
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here's Justice Quinn's judgement from CanLii:

https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/do...4onsc7487.html
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:16 PM
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Thanks Arabian,

This case appears to be a horrific version of where my case could go.

Thankfully I already have overnight access to my toddler son (1 1/2) and my ex seems to be coming around to the idea of him having two parents.
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:09 AM
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Yeah that was quite the case.

I find if you go to the British Columbia Supreme Court on CanLii they have the most family law cases published in any given week.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:12 AM
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This sounds like a horrific case agreed. However, how come the father didn't ask for shared parenting and not joint custody. In reality, joint custody and primary residence with one parent isn't really joint custody.....
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:55 AM
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Joint custody only refers to decision making. Many people have joint custody but don't share access.

I am actually surprised after everything that custody and primary residency was not handed over to the father

Last edited by Berner_Faith; 01-16-2015 at 07:56 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:55 AM
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The CanLii link Arabian posted above gives more details about the parents and explains why shared or sole custody might not be possible in this case YET.

The biggest thing that I noticed is that father is 55, this is his first child, has never been married or lived common-law, while mother is 46 and is raising the child with an older sibling (from a different father).

At the bottom of the judgement is the best graduated access schedule I have ever seen which details the father's ramping up access for all of 2015 and continues with orders for 2016 which will bring the father into shared custody territory.

The big question is will she abide by access schedule or keep scheming to alienate this father. I hope the father gets his access with his little girl going forward.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungDad23 View Post
The CanLii link Arabian posted above gives more details about the parents and explains why shared or sole custody might not be possible in this case YET.

The biggest thing that I noticed is that father is 55, this is his first child, has never been married or lived common-law, while mother is 46 and is raising the child with an older sibling (from a different father).

At the bottom of the judgement is the best graduated access schedule I have ever seen which details the father's ramping up access for all of 2015 and continues with orders for 2016 which will bring the father into shared custody territory.

The big question is will she abide by access schedule or keep scheming to alienate this father. I hope the father gets his access with his little girl going forward.
Let's start a pool!

I'm betting:
She will continue to scheme and deny access. She will repeatedly be found guilty of contempt. Custody and primary residence will be awarded to the father.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMomma View Post
Let's start a pool!

I'm betting:
She will continue to scheme and deny access. She will repeatedly be found guilty of contempt. Custody and primary residence will be awarded to the father.
I'd put my money here ^^.

Quinn barked the bark .. but where was his bite? Sole should have been dad's already..as well as primary residency. His words didn't match his ruling.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:27 PM
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When reading through the canlii item, it doesnt say anything about him asking for it. It could very well be that he just wanted shared custody (joint custody) with an easing of increased access in a reasonable manner for the child. It notes she has asthma issues when shes stressed. He could have just gone in seeking joint with access being increased in an easy way leading to 50/50. He probably still wants the childs mother in her life or it could be that he doesnt have the ability to take on full custody. We cant make assumptions for why the judge didnt say here you go.

Many of the other cases similar to this one had full custody reversed on application from non custodial parent. This case doesnt say if dad actually went in looking to get full custody. Which might work for him in the future if mom shows she wont adhere.
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