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Appropiate three-month old child's access

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  • Appropiate three-month old child's access

    I came across this recent case:

    In Lygouriatis v. Gohm, 2006 SKQB 448 (CanLII), The court awarded overnight access to the father for the three-month-old child. It appears that the courts are finally rejecting the "tender years doctrine" and recognizing and accepting modern day infant child development research on parent child relationships.


  • #2
    its awesome that Dad is being at least decently treated in this case ... although frankly, still not anywhere close to being considered an 'equal' parent, although there is still hope.

    what really burns my backside here is that there was spousal support ordered - and at DOUBLE the amount of child support - for what can only be described as a very brief relationship - totalling under 3 years, and for most of that time the parents were not living together. Shouldn't some of that be taken into consideration?

    We now award spousal support to anyone who chooses not to work? The judge states that there are plenty of employment opportunities, and that Dad has to to make choices in the child's best interest now ... shouldn't Mom have to do the same thing? He made the clear statement that Dads have to work and support their children (and the children's mothers) but Moms just have to give birth, and then live off men, what a sick double standard.

    Maybe she should just, um, I don't know - get a job?!?!?! That's what Dad has to do - and even if he doesn't he still has to (by law) financially support his child.

    How much longer will this go on and how much worse does the family law environment have to get before people start protesting in earnest?


    • #3
      And you wonder why fathers blow their brains out.

      There is one common thread thoughout the entire thing: GREED.

      First, establish sole access = full child support
      Second, impute income = more child support
      Third, demand spousal by not working = high spousal support

      And the judge simply rubber stamps the whole thing. I am SHOCKED that this guy didn't get soaked for CS for the other child. But the judge creamed him on SS anyway.

      That guys is on for 30 years of hell.

      Gee, you wonder why fathers and second familes want divorce reform.

      How much you wanna bet that after this order is signed... access goes up and that guy gets a lot more overnights than originally stated. I've seen it 100 times before.

      Isn't it amazing that most married people will share the paternity leave for the first year, where available. Yet, suddenly in divorce, little suzy can't live without mom. My god.


      • #4
        It is surprising that spousal support was ordered considering his inputted income is 25K per year. Lucky the individual does not live in a major metropolitan area such as Ottawa or Toronto. Its hard to survive on 25K alone and not have any child support obligations considering the high costs of rents groceries etc.

        It can be noted that the child is 3 months of age and at that stage of their development, the child has yet to bond with either parent as this occurs at the age of 6 to 7 months of age. Right now, the child will accept care from just about anyone.



        • #5
          LV, you hit the nail on the head. Every time I talk to family mediators, social workers, etc., and in my encounters with many, many, judges, it appears that none of them have children. Because if they did, they would come to the same conclusion you (and I) do. Small children (including infants) are actually in a better position to be shared. But they don't see it - or don't want to see it. Instead they recommend or award majority access to mom. Then the child begins to bond, form a routine, etc... and THEN they suggest increasing (ever so slighty) more and more with Dad. After the fact. But now there may be issues, either actual real issues from the child, or in a lot of cases, projected on the child from the mom (e.g. insecurities). So Dad is in a rock and hard place. You lose access during bonding in hopes of getting access latter on. And then you can't increase access due to status-quo and potential issues down the road. Weird.


          • #6
            BTW, what the heck is overnighting for a 3-month old? My god, they sleep about 18 hours or more a day (and usually not at night). Yup, I am convinced they do not have children.

            Common sense is not very common.

            Overnighting though is a mental barrier for judges, lawyers and fighting parents (well, mom). Why? Well, even though little suzy can spend 18 hours with Dad during the day, it doesn't seem to count. But, if she overnights for 8 hours that breaks down some sort of mental and legal block. People's entire world will begin to collapse. Suddenly the arguement against shared parenting and equal overnighting will crumble. And we can't have that!!!

            Also, overnights begin to count access-wise to that 40% threshold. Oh yes, back to the money. I should have known.


            • #7

              Richard A. Warshak wrote an interesting article "BLANKET RESTRICTIONS Overnight Contact Between Parents and Young Children" This is found FAMILY AND CONCILIATION COURTS REVIEW, Vol. 38 No. 4, October 2000 422-445 In the article he states:

              at pages 433, 434


              No formal studies exist that assess the impact, on younger children, of
              sleeping in more than one setting. But most parents have enough experience
              with this arrangement to assuage concerns about its harm to children. Infants
              and toddlers often sleep away from their mothers and away from their cribs.
              They sleep in strollers, car seats, bassinets, and parents’ arms. They sleep in
              day care, in church, and in grandparents’ homes. Any married couple who
              takes a vacation in the first few years of their child’s life leaves the child in
              someone else’s care. Clinicians do not routinely advise parents against taking
              such vacations. If infants can tolerate sleeping away from both parents during
              nap time at day care centers, on what basis can we argue that sleeping away
              from one parent, in the familiar home of the other parent, would harm

              at pages 435, 436, and 437


              Based on the analysis thus far, I have found no support in theory, research,
              or common experience for the proposition that overnights harm children.
              Should experts abstain from offering opinions about overnights? Or are there
              good reasons to advocate overnights? I believe the best answer, given the current state of knowledge, is that we have good reason to believe that overnights can benefit children.

              Numerous studies have shown that children do best when they maintain
              rich, close relationships with both of their parents following divorce (for a
              review and consensus statement, see Lamb, Sternberg, & Thompson, 1997).
              They are much more likely to escape psychological harm than children who
              are denied the chance to maintain relationships with both parents. Thus,
              postdivorce arrangements should maximize the opportunity for children to
              develop and consolidate relationships with both of their parents.

              Developmental psychologists have learned that the best way to promote
              deep attachments is to allow children to interact with parents in a wide variety of contexts. High-quality relationships are best achieved when children experience each parent participating in all aspects of daily life, including getting up in the morning, preparing for the day, preparing for day care, dropping off at day care, picking up from day care, feeding, bathing, preparing for bed, playing, putting to bed, soothing when the child awakes in the middle of the night, and so forth. Overnights are important because they provide opportunities for a wider range of involvement. This contributes to the establishment and consolidation of the parent-child relationship, which in turn benefits the child’s long-term adjustment....The potential benefits of overnights have led several professionals to challenge
              restrictive guidelines and endorse overnights for young children
              (DeLipsey, Bain, & Garcia, 1998; Fay, 1985, Horner & Guyer, 1993; Kelly,
              1991; Kelly & Lamb, 2000; Lamb, 1994; Lamb et al., 1997; Maccoby &
              Mnookin, 1992; Warshak, 1992). Maccoby and Mnookin (1992) reason,
              Because our evidence suggests that the probability of a father maintaining a
              connection with the child over time is greater if there are overnight visits, we
              believe that visitation should ordinarily be construed to permit overnight stays
              if that is what the secondary parent desires. (p. 288)
              Kelly (1991) concludes, “Our body of child development knowledge would
              suggest, in fact, that infants and toddlers with a bond to a nurturing father
              must have more overall contact, including some overnights with their fathers,
              rather than less time” (p. 58). Similarly, Lamb (1994) endorses the importance
              of giving children ample opportunities for overnights. He concludes
              that overnights during infancy help provide the psychological support needed
              for optimal subsequent development. And Kelly and Lamb (2000) summarize
              their understanding regarding overnights: “There is substantial evidence
              regarding the benefits of these regular experiences. Aside from maintaining
              and deepening attachments, overnights provide children with a diversity of social, emotional, and cognitively stimulating experiences that promote
              adaptability and healthy development” (p. 306).

              at pages 440, 441 he concludes


              Blanket restrictions requiring young children to spend every night with
              the same parent after divorce are inconsistent with current knowledge about
              the needs and capacities of young children and their parents. In particular, the opinion that children can tolerate sleeping during the day in their fathers’
              presence, and in the presence of hired attendants in day care centers, but not at night with their fathers, cannot be said to express a scientific judgment. It reveals a bias often rooted in inaccurate assumptions about early child development. Experts who endorse blanket restrictions cannot provide adequate scientific justification for their opinions. Courts, attorneys, and parents should be aware of such limitations.

              The lack of systematic well-designed research comparing children with
              and without overnights makes it more difficult to achieve professional consensus on this issue. Furthermore, the political agendas of some researchers may influence the type of questions they ask, which, in turn, defines the range of possible answers. For example, a researcher who wants to discourage overnights may fail to look for the benefits of overnights and concentrate only on potential drawbacks. The potential use and misuse of research findings in custody decisions demands that we make every effort to rise above such agendas. Oneway to increase confidence in research is for scientists with initially opposing viewpoints to collaborate on all phases of research, following the example set by the NICHD discussed earlier (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1997; see Warshak, 2000, for a discussion of collaborative research).

              Although future studies may demonstrate an empirical basis for blanket
              policies against overnights, no such work has yet been cited by those who
              advocate such restrictions. If I have overlooked empirical support for this
              position, it is my hope that this article will stimulate others to articulate this
              support and bring it to the attention of the mental health and legal professions. Absent such studies, the practice of discouraging overnight contact cannot be supported by appeals to theory, research, clinical experience, common experience, or common sense.

              For his website with links to the above article




              • #8
                LV, what an excellent reply. Funny thing. After I did my post I was thinking about all the places children fall asleep or will spend time sleeping (cars, daycare, sleep overs, visits, etc) away from their bed. They really DO NOT care.

                I recall so many times my child would be asleep, comfortable, rested, yet I would have to move them and hand the child over to my ex simply to fllow the schedule and because it was apparantly too hard for the child to sleep over with me. Yet, my ex would "allow" sleep overs when she had an office party or went out of town. I did win joint custody and joint access because of this, but come on, it was a power trip, a control feature, insecurites and of course the MONEY that fueled years of legal hell. Not at all because overnighting was HARD on the child.


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