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Oct. 18, 2018-Barbara Kay supports equal shared parenting rebuttable presumption

I have interrupted the previously scheduled “Thought of the Day” to bring you journalist Barbara Kay’s erudite, inspiring, and down right plain common sense column in October 16th’s National Post. For the complete article, click here. And now I present a few choice tidbits:

No one in government can use ignorance as an excuse for tolerating Canada’s dysfunctional legal system: Several recent reports have laid the problem bare.

Government agencies in 13 Canadian provinces and territories dedicate themselves to collecting child support (often with draconian enforcement mechanisms). But no province or territory has a department dedicated to ensuring that non-custodial parents (mostly men) have proper access to their children.

The solution is a default presumption of equal shared parenting (rebuttable where there is demonstrable abuse).

Children typically want to continue loving both their parents, which requires equal or near-equal physical time with both. Numerous credible studies conclude that this fairest of paradigms meets the best interests of the child, while being equitable to both parents. Influential ideologues may prefer mother-friendly courts, but polls show overwhelming, gender-neutral public support for an equal-parenting default. The only losers would be lawyers.

A default of shared parenting would diminish false allegations of abuse, an all too common strategy for gaining sole custody; and it would ensure the child’s continuing positive engagement with grandparents and other extended family members, who so often are tragically denied access to children they love by custody “winners.”

Divorce itself changed to “no-fault” decades ago. By what logic do post-separation parenting rights yet remain fault-based? All these fancy reports are treating the branches of a sick family-court tree, when the blight is in the tree’s petrified roots.

Barbara Kay, Real family-law reform must start with shared parenting, National Post, 16 October 2018

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