In Part 1, I applauded the positive measures in this new government initiative - Bill C-78. Unfortunately, there are a number of serious deficits in this proposed reform of child custody legislation. I believe that there are tenable solutions available to signficantly improve Bill C-78.
Good Tune-up, But Still Driving With Square Wheels
Child Custody law needs reform! The Family Rights Movement in Canada has long been advocating for real change in our broken child custody system. In 2014, Bill C-560 was voted down at 2nd Reading in Parliament, even though the then ruling Conservative Party officially supported Equal Shared Parenting. Now, the majority Liberal Government has introduced Bill C-78. It is an admirable "first move". It is not enough.
By Jenny Kirshen of the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre
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!
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.
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.
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.
Social policy 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.
Preparing the Child for the Parenting Time Access Exchange:
Disputes over child custody and access tend to consume inordinate amounts of court time, parents' scarce financial resources and these disputes cause parents and children untold harm on many levels. Such organizations as the Canadian Equal Parenting Council, Lawyers for Shared Parenting, and Leading Women for Shared Parenting amongst others, were in the forefront of the Canadian 2013-2014 campaign in support of a private member's Bill (C-560) that would have legislated a rebuttable presumption in favour equal shared parenting.