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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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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2006, 05:38 PM
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I believe there would be more public support if there was one group (not men or women - just one) as it was with the gay-lesbian movement. Right now everyone is saying this is my right or that is my right and it's backing up the courts and the process is so long. In the meantime, the children are just in limbo and in my case I need to rid an abusive spouse out, but the courts enable the abuser to continue control.

just a couple of things.
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Old 05-07-2006, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grace
DD, do you belong to a group that is lobbying for changes to the Family Law Act? I have to agree with Sean that I don't think there is enough public interest in this, to grab their attention.
Not yet. I want to finish my trial(s) this fall before I take this on. My time and resources can only be stretched so far. I am though getting material and information ready.

It simply blows me away that judges and the SCC are deciding so many laws without legislation (or better put, lack of legislation). It has been a ongoing complaint by many that the courts are running this country.
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Old 05-07-2006, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2hopefull
I believe there would be more public support if there was one group (not men or women - just one) as it was with the gay-lesbian movement. Right now everyone is saying this is my right or that is my right and it's backing up the courts and the process is so long. In the meantime, the children are just in limbo and in my case I need to rid an abusive spouse out, but the courts enable the abuser to continue control.

just a couple of things.
I agree. I have read, watched and researched the development and legal actions by individuals to get change. Challenges to rulings, laws, income tax acts, step-children, second-children, and on and on. Unfortunately these are done by the single people and they get lost in the shuffle. I respect their fight but wished there was a concentrated effort.

The media is terrible as well. They just report the surface. Not the background that led to the situation. No indepth reporting. Just quips from lawyers.

There are many interested parties: parents, grandparents, step-parents, step-children, subsequent-children, extended-family, and more. As you said, it would be better to get all these people to act together. Now, a lot will have different views. But the first thing is awareness followed by education. I can only look to my own situation and the situations of many around me to see how misunderstood the Divorce Act really is. And you will still have a big percentage of people lobbying for status quo.

Interesting is that the current PM is a very involved father. That to me, is a good starting point for awareness...
  #24 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2006, 09:25 AM
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Decent Dad wrote:
Quote:
It simply blows me away that judges and the SCC are deciding so many laws without legislation (or better put, lack of legislation). It has been a ongoing complaint by many that the courts are running this country.
We have laws on the books - the question is whether or not the existing laws strike a balance between the expectations of the parties involved in family law litigation. It has been my experience that most people have completely unrealistic expectations of the law - in other words, they would like a "once size fits all" interpretation of the law and in a divorce dispute, that can never ever happen. The dynamics of each case are completely different - the issues that both parties bring to the table are completely different and as such, each case requires examination of the facts that each party brings to a matter before the courts.

The debate over mandatory shared parenting is a solid example of a desire for a "one size fits all" request. Advocates for shared parenting believe it should be mandatory and view that shared parenting would reduce litigation because there would be nothing to fight about - the law would say that the kids spend 50% of the time with each parent.

But what if one parent doesn't want to do this? Wouldn't that parent access the family justice system to change the present arrangement? Frankly, it's just the opposite of what is occurring now - current law does not have 50/50 as the benchmark - one parent wants the kids 50/50 - the other parent doesn't. Both parents as a result wind up in court.

What most people who are demanding major changes to the courts fail to remember is that the courts are simply a filter of current values and current trends in our society through the filter of a legal interpretation. The courts reflect what is happening right now. If the courts are filled with parents fighting over their kids, then it stands to reason that a lot of people in our communities are fighting over their kids. If the courts award primary care to mom in most of the cases, it's because in most of the cases, mom is the primary caregiver.

Education is key in changing behaviors. It is the behaviors of the parents that creates wholesale divorce war - not the courts. Do you think that a judge sitting on the bench actually relishes his/her role of final arbiter in these disputes? I am a divorce coach and a mediator - my colleague and I take in all of the emotional turmoil from our clients on a daily basis - it is bloody exhausting!

The laws and the courts are not perfect because people aren't perfect. So what is the answer? Well, in my view - mandatory divorce education. Mandatory mediation in cases where there is no family violence. An understanding that shared parenting should be an achievable goal that both parents will work toward in partnership with a parenting coordinator, family mediation and divorce education.

I truly wish a perfect family law system existed - but it can't exist because we are all not perfect.
  #25 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2006, 12:18 PM
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I do agree that the behavior of the individual will greatly affect your divorce proceedings and your post-divorce relationship. And more education. But that's all I will agree with.

First, you say there are laws. I disagree. IMO, they are all guiding principles: the Divorce Act, Family Law Act and the varous supporting "guidelines" (e.g. CSG) are nothing more than pure fluff. One only has to look at the 2 year back log of Family Law court to show these "laws" are not working. I think in the past 5 years there have been numerous SCC rulings. These "laws" are so incomplete and unbalanced it boggles the mind.

Secondly, since these "laws" are merely principles, case by case each judge brings his or her own dracionian and sterotypical prejudgices into the proceedings. The burden is then shifted heavily on to the defendent. No other court works this way.

Third, your opinion that shared parenting will not work since one parent may want out is exactly what drives me nuts with these "laws"; the exception is the rule. Why are 30 people sent to court for 50-50 when 1 person wants out. Why are 20 people sent to court when 1 case is about abuse. The courts could then concentrate on these exceptional cases, instead of all these 50-50 cases - propped up with bogus claims. And, as a judge ruled recently in southern Ontario, you fill your case with bogus claims, you lose custody. Period.

It is this factual and perceptual biases in the court that help fuel the behaviour. And don't tell me people aren't aware of how screwed up these "laws" are. I have witnessed far too many people knowing exactly what they can get away with.

BTW, there is nothing more that makes my skin crawl than the term "primary caregiver".
  #26 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2006, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Decent Dad
Not yet. I want to finish my trial(s) this fall before I take this on. My time and resources can only be stretched so far. I am though getting material and information ready.

Are you representing yourself at trial? My ex represented himself during the last phase of our litigation and I think it was a huge mistake on his part. My lawyers ran circles around him. Especially when it came to case law and oral arguments.
  #27 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2006, 02:10 PM
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I will respond to your points below:


DD wrote:

Quote:
First, you say there are laws. I disagree. IMO, they are all guiding principles: the Divorce Act, Family Law Act and the varous supporting "guidelines" (e.g. CSG) are nothing more than pure fluff. One only has to look at the 2 year back log of Family Law court to show these "laws" are not working. I think in the past 5 years there have been numerous SCC rulings. These "laws" are so incomplete and unbalanced it boggles the mind
The laws are working as well as can be expected when you take into consideration that people who litigate have their heels dug into their position on whatever matter they have brought to the courts. Are existing laws perfect? Nope. But show me a law that is perfect and I will show you a bald headed sheep. While you may suggest the laws are "pure fluff" they are a starting point by which the entire family law system can operate. If you feel they are unbalanced - it isn't the law that is unbalanced, often it is the interpretation of the law and how the law applies to a specific matter before the courts.

There have been numerous rulings from the SCC which impact families experiencing divorce - you either agree with them or disagree with them. Until new legislation is developed, you have to live with them - as unpleasant as that might be. Interestingly, as a family mediator - I get the benefit of hearing men and women, mothers and fathers say that the law is unfair because it doesn't give them what they expect. So really, there has to be a middle ground that people are prepared to accept. Bear in mind, however, when people wind up in court it is because they chose that path.

Quote:
Secondly, since these "laws" are merely principles, case by case each judge brings his or her own dracionian and sterotypical prejudgices into the proceedings. The burden is then shifted heavily on to the defendent. No other court works this way.
I would disagree with your description of how judges apply the law when people come to court. I believe that judges do the best they can with what they've got - not all are perfect, some like to hear the sound of their own voice - if you wind up with a bad judge, them's the breaks when you choose to litigate. Rather than blame the judges, we should be examining the reasons why one or both parties brought the matter to court in the first place.

Quote:
Third, your opinion that shared parenting will not work since one parent may want out is exactly what drives me nuts with these "laws"; the exception is the rule. Why are 30 people sent to court for 50-50 when 1 person wants out. Why are 20 people sent to court when 1 case is about abuse. The courts could then concentrate on these exceptional cases, instead of all these 50-50 cases - propped up with bogus claims. And, as a judge ruled recently in southern Ontario, you fill your case with bogus claims, you lose custody. Period.
In my experience and having coached with my colleague over 50 divorcing men and women in the last 8 months, I have a different view. Shared parenting is generally sought by the father and in most cases that we work with, the mother is not agreeable to even considering it. So if both sides are polar opposites in their position as it relates to the kids, how can you possibly expect mandatory shared parenting to become the norm? The courts are now more open to shared parenting than at any time in recent memory, but the conduct of the parties involved weighs heavily in a decision. It's hard to argue for shared parenting when you are in front of a judge who might be thinking, "how can I agree to shared parenting when these people couldn't agree to it outside of court? What is the risk to the child? Will shared parenting increase conflict? How close can I get to making a decision that truly represents the best interests of the children based on the information in front of me. ?"

Very simply, if primarily fathers are litigating because they believe they should have equal time with the children, it stands to reason that primarily women will be litigating because they believe the kids should live with them if shared parenting were the law of the land. People hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe when they are mired in divorce conflict. The primary reason why shared parenting is still rare in this country is the reason it will never be mandatory - it's based on four simple words that either parent carries with them in their heart: "I don't like you".

Quote:
BTW, there is nothing more that makes my skin crawl than the term "primary caregiver"
Sorry it makes your skin crawl - I am not a fan of the term either. Nevertheless, in most Canadian homes, there is a significant difference in the division of household labour and child care. Now we can take the Warren Farrel approach to deciding what constitutes "primary caregiver" and include the fact that dad might be doing more work in the yard, on the car, in the garden, repairing fences - but if you use a division of household labour as the measure of what constitutes a "primary caregiver" what we are really doing is saying "I should have the kids because I changed more diapers than he/she did".
  #28 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2006, 03:39 PM
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This is somewhat off topic but I believe we do need the rules off evidence in family law matters changed somewhat to a similar sytem in place similar to that of criminal proceedings.

When a party has mislead the court or other party, they should be held accountable. Very seldom they are.

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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2006, 03:49 PM
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Yeah, I would definitely agree with that one. I would also like to see more "genuine" Affidavits that aren't 40 page dissertations alleging that either party is akin to being "one step next to Satan himself"...
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Old 05-08-2006, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grace
Are you representing yourself at trial? My ex represented himself during the last phase of our litigation and I think it was a huge mistake on his part. My lawyers ran circles around him. Especially when it came to case law and oral arguments.
No. Although I feel I could present the facts better, I am using a lawyer.
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