Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre
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An Ontario Family Law Lawyer who knows how to STRATEGIZE

Toronto Family Law Blog

BREASTFEEDING: DENY PARENTING TIME ACCESS TO DAD?

By Jenny Kirshen of the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre

At the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre we are very attuned to the struggles that Dads go through in attempting to gain parenting time access rights to their children (although we would prefer to characterize this as children's rights to having a relationship with their fathers). Especially when the child is very young, Dads experience exquisite challenges when faced with the issue of the breastfeeding bond. The exceptional circumstances of breastfeeding pose unique challenges for Dads when attempting to secure contact (get access) to their infant children. At the Gene. C. Colman Family Law Centre we understand these unique challenges and the corresponding struggles that Dads face in the family law system.

CAN CHILD SUPPORT ARREARS BE CANCELLED?

Back in 1997 I wrote an article for this web site where I addressed the question: Can child support arrears be cancelled?"  I have now updated that article.  It is interesting that the 1996 Ontario Court of Appeal case that I cited back then, is still referred to in the more recent cases.  If changing child support is of interest to you, then click here for quick transport to the now revised and updated page at my web site.

FAMILY LAW BREAKTHROUGH! U.F.C. EXPANSION COMING TO CANADA

Many thanks to my esteemed colleague, Philip Epstein, for granting permission to publish here his report with respect to the expected expansion of unified family courts in Canada and particularly in Ontario.  Published with permission from Westlaw's "Epstein's This Week in Family Law, Fam. L. News. 2018-13 [copyright Thomson Reuters Canada Limited]: 

The call for a Unified Family Court in Canada has gone on for more than 30 years. Federal and provincial governments have in the past moved very slowly in establishing Unified Family Courts throughout the country, even in places where there is an obvious demand and need. A myriad of cases that have been canvassed in the Newsletter over the last decade has demonstrated the problems that the lack of a Unified Family Court system has caused to unfortunate litigants. At long last we are beginning to see some progress. 

FAMILY LAW AND RETIREMENT - CAN I EVER RETIRE?

There is a fair amount out there on the web about spousal support and retirement. My colleagues discuss the leading cases quite intelligently. I recommend that you read what they have to say. I am going to distill down the current wisdom based on the cases to a few numbered points. But remember, each case is different. Before you plan to retire, it pays to have a consultation with a family law lawyer.

THE EASTER BUNNY AND C.A.S. ABUSE OF POWER

This story is stranger than fiction! A foster parent couple has held the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton, Ontario accountable for violating their constitutional right to freedom of religion.  Child welfare law transitions into constitutional law.  The Children's Aid Society ran roughshod over the foster parents' religious beliefs, summarily terminating their foster care of two youngsters. And it was all over the Easter Bunny! Unbelievable? You bet. True? Absolutely!

MEN'S SHELTER - GET ON BOARD!

A Family Shelter for abused men and children is to be established in the Toronto area but it needs your help and support.  Such a shelter is an all important social service, hitherto lacking in Canada.  Read more about the shelter here: Family Shelter for Abused Men and Children.  Without a doubt there are indeed male victims of Intimate Partner Violence (Domestic Violence).  They have been a very underserviced population but they need our help just as much as female victims of IPV - DV.   It has taken a visionary organization such as the Canadian Centre for Men and Children to undertake the preparatory work in an exemplary fashion.  Please consider helping out.

To make a donation, click here.

EQUAL SHARED PARENTING - CHILD CUSTODY INTERIM MOTION

Equal Shared Parenting within child custody law is very much a thriving concept in Ontario. Superior Court Justice W.D. Newton has penned what I believe to be a very important decision: Balke v. O'Connor.  Although it was decided on 24 April 2017, remarkably the case has received no further mention other than a brief summary in "Epstein's This Week in Family Law", 2017, Issue #35 (4 September 2017). The decision deserves to have a much wider swath and this blog post is a step in that direction.

GRANDPARENTS, GRANDCHILDREN, CHILD CUSTODY, ACCESS, VISITATION

Advocates Daily dot com has highlighted my contemplation of the grandparent/grandchild access conundrum.    I hope that these articles will provide much needed inspiration for all of us to seriously consider the harm that is done to grandchildren.  It's not just a simple matter of judges stepping in.  We need a profound change in societal attitudes, a "sea change" or "sea shift" if you will.  These cases need to be resolved by all of us  - and that should ideally be outside of court where at all possible. 

Here are the links:

Grandparents often 'collateral damage' in divorce

Courts need to be more 'activist' in protecting grandparent rights: Colman

Grandparents should be peacemakers, not troublemakers: Colman  

PITFALLS OF SIMPLY REGISTERING SEPARATION AGREEMENTS

I don't like Separation Agreements. Many would surely disagree. In my view, Separation Agreements are not always that easy to enforce. It is much better to have a court order, especially if you seek to enforce a parenting plan. While the provincial government has a government agency mandated to enforce support orders, no similar agency exists with respect to enforcing parenting provisions. So, I don't like Separation Agreements.

CHILD CUSTODY LAWS NEED SEA SHIFT SOCIAL POLICY CHANGES

Social policy drives drives child custody laws. . Until now, common "wisdom" has told us that kids are generally better off with one parent primarily; usually that has translated into maternal sole custody.

Where intimate relationships are fractured, dads have to bring forth much more evidence just to maintain, let alone expand, their residential time with their kids. It's the same whether in court, in mediation, or in negotiations. We are imprisoned by our gender biases, myths and stereotypes. So, how do we change child custody laws?