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March 2, 2020 – scholarship from Dr. Rachel Birnbaum and Prof. Nick Bala

Introduction: In today’s ESP Thought of the Day, we look at some of the scholarship from Dr. Rachel Birnbaum and Prof. Nick Bala – two of Canada’s leading authorities on Child Custody/Access law and practice.

A good and cooperative relationship between custodial mothers and non-custodial fathers is associated with more and better-quality father involvement and, in turn, positive outcomes, including feelings of closeness to their fathers, in children, adolescents, and adult children of divorce (Ahrons & Tanner, 2003;, Aquilino, 2006; Kelly, 2012; Lamb, 2016; Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992; Pruett et al., 2003; Sobolewsky & King, 2005; Whiteside & Becker, 2000). Recently, commentators have examined various factors that facilitate or hinder separated and / or divorced parents relationship with their children and each other (Austin, Pruett, Kirkpatrick, Flens, and Gould, 2013; Ganong, Coleman & McCaulley, 2012; Ganong, Coleman & Chapman, 2016). Often referred to as “gatekeeping” (i.e., attitudes and behaviours that either facilitate or restrict the other parent’s opportunity to parent and develop close relationships with their children).


The literature shows that father involvement in the lives of their children can be as important as the role of mothers.

FROM: Rachel Birnbaum and Nicholas Bala, Making Parenting Plans in Canada’s Family Justice System: Challenges, Controversies and the Role of Mental Health Professionals, Thomson Reuters Canada Limited, Toronto, 2019, pp. 60 – 61

Link to Gene C. Colman’s Equal Shared Parenting Web Page

Link to past issues of the ESP Thought of the Day publication

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