Quebec dad, sued by daughter after grounding, loses his appeal

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toddsschneider
Quebec dad, sued by daughter after grounding, loses his appeal

"Father's lawyer says they may take case to Canada's Supreme Court"

http://tinyurl.com/c796lz

A Quebec father who was taken to court by his 12-year-old daughter after he grounded her in June 2008 has lost his appeal.

Quebec Superior Court rejected the Gatineau father's appeal of a lower court ruling that said his punishment was too severe for the wrongs he said his daughter committed.

The father is "flabbergasted," his lawyer Kim Beaudoin told CBC News ...

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
The father is "flabbergasted"

I should think a lot of parents reading this story are.

 

I think it's a shame that the daughter, according to the story, "really wanted to go" on the ski trip - enough to take her own father to court over it - but apparently NOT enough to stay out of the chatrooms that he didn't want her visiting.

Michelle

This case is absolutely appalling.  I wish I could find the old babble thread on this.

 

Caissa

Shouldn't this thread be locked before it goes south?

oldgoat

Caissa, you wouldn't be 'acting out' now would you?

Caissa

No more than the moderators who are indiscriminately locking threads.

HeywoodFloyd

That's it C, no ski trip for you.

Caissa

I'm more concerned that the moderators might ground me. Wink

I'm just planning on shopping for music on my vacation. I need to pickup the new Diana Krall and Neil Young CDs, and see what gems I can find in Backstreet Records in Saint John..

 

 

oldgoat

*&$%# kids and their music today!

Anyway, yeah, this is pretty apalling.  I keep wondering if there wasn't more to this that's not been reported.  Sounds a bit like the relationship beyween the Mom and Dad was pretty toxic, and that at least contributed to this awful outcome before the courts.

Caissa

Will leave to appeal be given since relief in this case is impossible?

martin dufresne

I am not sure if we all agree on what is appalling here. For me it's a parent (lets assume it's a coincidence that it's the father) taking his child to the Supreme Court in order to assert his authority to punish her (disproportionately to the "offence", I think). Obviously a matter of "principle" for this well-moneyed twerp... and yes, the relationship to Mom ought to be looked into. It wouldn't be the first time a man got at a woman through her children.

Snert Snert's picture

Well, the good news is that with Permissive Mom, she should be able to find herself a new father figure in those internet chat rooms in no time.

martin dufresne

... or that a man got at women in general through children.

Michelle

It was the child who originally sued the father because the mother undermined his decision about the school trip. It's not ALWAYS the father's fault just because he's the father, you know.  That said, I agree with you that it certainly WOULDN'T be the first time a parent tried to get at the other parent through the children.  Parental alienation is real, and awful.  And from what I've heard anecdotally from a couple of counsellors who deal with it, contrary to popular belief, they see a lot more men engaging in it than women.

I don't think there is anything to indicate such a thing on the part of the father in this case, though, beyond wishful thinking.  The father set a clear and reasonable limit, and the mother appears to have taken advantage of a dispute between the father and the child by taking the child's side.  And the result is that the child now no longer speaks to her father.  If anyone is manipulating the kid, it doesn't sound to me like it's the father.  I don't think he is the problem in this case.

I wish I could find that old babble thread - I seem to remember us reading other articles that had more information in them.  I seem to remember that this was against the backdrop of a custody case.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It astounds me that a court finds grounding a disproportionate punishment in a country where spanking is still legal.  Maybe he just should have given her a backhand.

remind remind's picture

Snert wrote:
Well, the good news is that with Permissive Mom, she should be able to find herself a new father figure in those internet chat rooms in no time.
WTF?

Michelle

Snert is referring to the fact that the reason why the father grounded the girl is because she was using internet chatrooms that he had forbidden her to use, and was posting "inappropriate" pictures of herself there.  When he grounded her for deliberately disregarding his rule about those chat rooms, her mother undermined his parenting by giving her permission to go on the field trip her father had grounded her from.

So I agree with Snert's comment.

Snert Snert's picture

Exactly.  I'm being facetious.

martin seems to think that a 12 year old girl visiting internet chat rooms that have been deemed off-limits by a parent is no biggie.  I think it's worth being concerned about.

Michelle

Me too.  My son is 10, and he's not allowed to chat on the internet, except with one friend he knows in real life and lives far away from - they chat in an online game.  But he's not allowed to chat with other people in that game. 

Those rules might loosen a little bit a year and a half from now, but we will still be monitoring carefully where he chats and who he chats with.  (Not the chats themselves - those are private, and he knows if he's being bullied he can come to us.)  And there will still be out-of-bounds chat areas on the internet at that age.

remind remind's picture

Okay I get it then, I thought he was talking about permissive mom getting her a new father figure through chat rooms.

Michelle

Heh.  I had to read it twice too. :D

martin dufresne

Michelle: "The father set a clear and reasonable limit, and the mother appears to have taken advantage of a dispute between the father and the child by taking the child's side.  And the result is that the child now no longer speaks to her father. "

Saying Mom "took advantage of the dispute" is trial of intent - a disputable interpretation, just as is the assumption that a child's anger at her dad is necessarily Mom's fault. Maybe the mother felt that barring all chat activity wasn't such a reasonable limit. Maybe she felt - as I do - that canceling their daughter's crucial spring camp just because Dad couldn't get his way was over the top. And maybe there is a custody dispute that is the significant subtext of this, with the non-caretaking parent throwing his weight around and trying to build his case for disposessing that woman (right up to the Supreme Court "if he must").

Plenty of that going around, alas.

Michelle

He wasn't the non-caretaking parent.  He was the custodial parent.  The mother was the non-custodial parent.  But surprise, surprise, now she has custody!  Isn't that convenient?  Dad sets a limit, mom undermines it, and now daughter wants to go live with mom as a result, and daughter isn't speaking to dad.

It's classic.  And if the genders were reversed, as they often are, I think you'd see it that way, too.  Usually in a case like this, it's Disney Dad undermining Mom The Heavy.

martin dufresne

BTW it's interesting to see Conservatives going ballistic over this (No, I don't mean you toddsschneider!).

For instance, this from http://legalpublication.blogspot.com (one of those almost-lawyer pundits always harping about paternal authority):

"(...)In Quebec, a judge ruled that a father had no right to stop his 12-year-old daughter from going on a school trip. The father has filed an appeal of the decision even though the girl has already gone on the trip.

In May, the 12 year old girl who was living with her dad had a disagreement with her stepmother. As a result, the girl's dad forbid the girl to go on a three-day outing with her class. In order to avoid the punishment, the girl moved back into her mother's house and went on the class trip. The parents are divorced and the father had legal custody at the time the daughter moved back in with her mom. Quebec Superior Court Madam Justice Suzanne Tessier ruled the girl could attend the outing despite her father's wishes. Kim Beaudoin, the father's lawyer filed the appeal even though the girl has already gone on the trip because the judge's ruling raises unsettling questions for families. "It's dangerous to let kids play their parents. They have to learn to respect rules," Beaudoin said. Beaudoin seems to correctly argue that the judge had undermined the father's authority. Legal Pub thinks that Judges need to be cautious that their decisions do not take away appropriate punishments and facilitate one parent being allowed to say come live with me and you can avoid that punishment.

The other side of the coin is that in most jurisdictions including Quebec, even if a parent has legal custody, both parents retain parental authority. In other words custodial parents, "even if one parent has custody, the parents still have to make decisions jointly." This is a nearly universal law that too many custodial parents illegally ignore.
The girl's lawyer was Lucie Fortin. Ms. Fortin apparently feels this is an isolated ruling with no ramifications for others. Ms. Fortin, you miss the point. It has great presidential value for this child's future interaction with her father.(...)"

 "Presidential value"??? Foot in mouth

Or this from self-avowed Conservative "North Mommy":
http://politics.upnorthmommy.com/2009/04/quebec-judge-undermines-parents-rights-in-canada/

 (...)A Quebec father who was taken to court by his 12-year-old daughter after he grounded her in June 2008 has lost his appeal.

Quebec Superior Court rejected the Gatineau father's appeal of a lower court ruling that said his punishment was too severe for the wrongs he said his daughter committed.

The father is "flabbergasted," his lawyer Kim Beaudoin told CBC News.

In its ruling, issued Monday, the province's court of appeal declared the girl was caught up in a "very rare" set of circumstances, and her father didn't have sufficient grounds to contest the court's earlier decision.

The family's legal wrangling started with a dispute over the girl's internet use.

She had been living with her father after her parents split up when he grounded her in 2008 for defying his order to stay off the internet. The father caught her chatting on websites he had blocked, and alleged his daughter was posting "inappropriate pictures" of herself online.

Her punishment: she was banned from her Grade 6 graduation trip to Quebec City in June 2008, for which her mother had already granted permission.

The father - who had custody - withheld his written permission for the trip, prompting the school to refuse to let the girl go with her classmates.

That's when the girl asked for help from the lawyer who represented her in her parents' separation, and petitioned the court to intervene in her case.

The judge sided with the daughter and said the father - the father - overstepped his boundaries by grounding her, so the judge allowed the girl to go on her trip.

Can you believe that?! A judge told this father he had no right to ground his own daughter. Of course, this father has absolutely no authority in this girl's life anymore because no matter what he may try to do to discipline her, she can just sue him and have his punishment overturned.

"Either way, he doesn't have authority over this child anymore. She sued him because she doesn't respect his rules," Beaudoin said. "It's very hard to raise a child who is the boss."

The girl - who now lives with her mother - doesn't have much of a relationship with her dad now, Beaudoin said.

"We went from a child who wanted to live with her father, and after all this has been done, they're not speaking anymore."

"We have a lot of work to re-establish a link between those two."

Beaudoin believes the ruling reflects a loss of moral authority in Quebec's court system.

In Quebec's court system? No. This reflects a loss of moral authority in Canada's parents, who no longer have any. (...)

Somehow I doubt these moral screeds would be out in full force if it was a mother whose authoritarian decisions were being challenged by a child.

And I have known children who left Dad's place for Mom when they became old enough to be entitled that choice, over Dad's objections, and they were not leaving the straight-and-narrow to rush toward licence, more the contrary. And taking them back was no picnic or "victory" for the mothers involved. (But this is anecdotal. The youth involved should decide when they are old enough, without being seen as pawns for vindictive mothers when their decisions happen to piss off Dad.)

remind remind's picture

I think I will go with respecting the Justice's decisions.

Michelle

Actually, Martin, I think people would be just as outraged if it was the mother's decision being challenged.  The point is, all the father did was ground her.  He wasn't being in any way abusive, and it's not like the punishment was horribly severe.

What this judge did was to reward a child (and her other parent) for playing the "If you don't let me do x, I'm going to go live with (dad/mom)!" 

It's natural for a child to play parents off on each other in a divorce situation.  Mature parents who want the best for their children don't allow their children to get away with it, and they support each other's parenting decisions.  In this case, the mother refused to support the father's reasonable parenting decision.  Even if you don't completely agree with a decision that the other parent makes, as a parent who gives a shit about your child's mental health, you should be supporting the other parent unless they're doing something truly abusive or outrageously unreasonable.

I don't get along very well with my son's father - I don't like him and he doesn't like me.  But when his father sets boundaries for my son, and my son complains to me about them, I don't tell him, "Oh, you poor thing!  Daddy grounded you from the television for a week because you did x?  Oh, poopsie, it's okay, you can come and live with me, and I'll let you watch television!"  I tell him, "Oh, that's too bad - I guess Daddy really wants you to understand that it's not okay to do x, right?"  I acknowledge his feelings, and then I support the parenting decision. 

Doesn't sound like that's what happened in this case.

The Bish

Michelle wrote:

What this judge did was to reward a child (and her other parent) for playing the "If you don't let me do x, I'm going to go live with (dad/mom)!"

Why shouldn't the child have the right to decide who they want to live with, though?  It is, after all, their life.  I mean, I find the judge's decision to be bizarre, and I'm not entirely sure what legal authority the court has to actually decide whether a grounding is excessive, but I don't see why children shouldn't be allowed to make that kind of decision.

Bookish Agrarian

I find it troubling that in this day and age a parent was trying to find a way to stop a child from posting pictures of herself on the web and it was not backed up by another parent.  These pictures were discribed as 'innapropriate' above.  Having had similar things occuring in a daughters' peer group there are way to many parents that do not understand the dangers they are letting their children swim around it.  We would never allow our children to play in the middle of a flooding river, but the one parent (in this case the mother) made a really, really bad decision in condoning the behaviour. 

Many kids and their parents naively think it is all just innocent fun, but much of what is occurring is putting more and more pressure on young people, mostly girls, but no exclusively, to be more and more sexualized at a younger and younger age.  When my daughter came to us to talk about how uncomfortable she was about what was going on and let us into that world I was shocked at how graphic some of the pictures and postings were by some of her peers.  Now I am no prude and we are pretty unrestrictive about what books and so on our children can pick up, our main concern is whether they are emotionally mature enough to handle some of the situations, so our daughter was strong enough to resist the pull.  But man some of this stuff was veering very solidly into porn territory.  Hell I like European Art films so it takes quite a bit to shock me, but I was really, really shocked.

I can't know that was what was going on in this case, but I think an awful lot of adults are very naive about what is going on in the age group this kid was. 

That the courts then backed that up is troubling.  Very, very troubling in the kind of message it sends.

Bookish Agrarian

True enough Martin.  We should always take court reporting in the media with a grain of salt.

One thing that has been pointed out more than once to you, but you seem to have missed.  It was the daughter, no doubt with the support of her other parent, that brought suit against her father.  Not the other way around as you have suggested.

martin dufresne

Also, don't forget that the picture we are getting of what actually happened is entirely defined by Dad's lawyer, with carefully chosen just-vague-enough assertions. Is that the full truth? Or is it coloured by a selective view, one that isn't subject to evidentiary criteria?

In general, I am wary of trials by media: they often veer close to defamation, as the suggestion that this young woman was posting obscene pictures of herself on a chat website. The judges who had access to both sides of the picture and who were in a position to assess whatever actual evidence was proferred ended up supporting the child's version, not a common occurence in the justice system (who is not known to be soft on child pornography).

(Back-edited for clarity) We should be wary of accepting the unilateral picture painted by the person who instigated this new stage of a natural confrontation by suing his daughter after she won from the trial judge permission to go forward with her field trip. He was rebuffed on appeal and we ought to be careful about denouncing that decision on partial and questionable evidence. We may do so, in part, because we project on the situation our own beefs with "bad" mothers and our own fears about children on line.

martin dufresne

Originally yes (I amended my post). But he immediately sued her after she was vindicated by the trial judge; he lost, on the face of insufficient evidence of his claims. It is this new decision that has just been vindicated.

It's not just court reporting that is feeding this blitzkrieg; it is press conferences by the father and his lawyer.

Laura Colella

He didn't sue her, he appealed the decision on a point of law. 

It should be noted that the Court of appeal didn't analyze this on the basis of the approprietness of the punishment, but on the merits of parental authority.

When the parents were fighting over child custody, the child was appointed an attorney. She simply called the attorney when this all happened - she wasn't encouraged by her mother to do so. 

The issue was that the father claimed that because he has custody of the child, the parental autority is his, therefore he could make these decsions without consulting the mother.  That argument is flawed. In Quebec, parents shared parental autority, regardless of who has physical custody.

From a social perspective, sure this whole issue is ridiculous.  Would it help if the mother supported the father's intervention? Of course.  But you know, people get separated, they hate each other and they do irrational things.  It overburdens the legal system, because people act like irrational beings.  Its a real shame, but its the reality of the family courts. 

But from a legal perspective, the judgement is sound. What was the court to do? It could have chosen not to intervene. But the issue was presented to it with a solid legal point, i.e. the exercice of parental authority.  The court also had to determine if the child could ask the court to intervene, and the answer is yes. In this specific case. The mother did not contest the child's position, and if the court would have refused to hear the child, she would have filed a claim asking the same thing.  The court did specify that this must remain an exceptional recourse.  The civil code also specifies that a child can petition the court, but can only do so with the permission of a judge. So is this going to be become an overused recourse when a child disagrees with a parent's autority? No, and the court warns against that.

The father might appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, but in my opinion, the Supreme Court has no basis for overturning the decision. (The Supreme Court can hear the case, btw, on a point of a law, even if the object is irrelevant at this point).  The Court of Appeal simply applied the law. 

In closing, the real issue here is not the intervention of the Courts but the sheer ridiculousness of parents not being able to agree and be civil to one another.  We overuse the family courts on a daily basis.  When I come out of family court, my eyes always hurt do to the amount of time I spend rolling them ...

The child chose to go live with her mother because she disagreed with her father's parental decision.  Why the mother would allow that is the real issue.  Michelle gave a perfect example on how to deal with a child who complains about a parent to the other parent. Sadly, not everyone is that rationnal.  And this might displease some, but the manipulator in this case is the child.  She has effectively learned how to manipulate her parents.  Can you blame her? It works, and she gets her way. 

Tommy_Paine

 

If there is a just god,  this father is a lawyer.

toddsschneider

"BTW it's interesting to see Conservatives going ballistic over this (No, I don't mean you toddsschneider!)."

You couldn't mean me, martin, as I am not now, nor have I ever been, a conservative. It's tedious to be sniped at by weapons of crass deconstruction.

Refuge Refuge's picture

I am also reading this thinking this is learned behaviour. When parents divorce is messy the child is appointed her own lawyer because the judge can't trust each parents lawyer to do what is best for them. They see their parents manipulate and hurt eachother through lawyers and courts and indeed may hurt and manipulate their parents themselves through their own lawyer either intentionally or unintentially. So when a normal dispute comes up and they want to get back at their parent instead of yelling, sneaking out, lying to one parent, stealing a little bit of booze or whatever would be written off as normal rebellious behaviour they go where they know , the courts. It's sad but where did she learn it from?

Michelle

Exactly.  And I'm sorry, but I don't believe that the mother had nothing to do with the daughter's decision to go to the lawyer.  The mother clearly did not back up the father's limit-setting because she not only told her daughter she could go on the trip, but she also helped her daughter play the "I'm going to go live with Mom because you grounded me" card.  Would it have gotten this far if the mother had said to the daughter, "I might not have done the same thing as Dad did in this case, honey, but you have to follow the rules he sets for the computer, and you will have to face the consequences for not following the rules"?  No, I don't think so.  It looks like she saw a chance to get custody and grabbed it.

Believe me, I know how the mother feels.  When your kid comes to you and complains about the other parent, and you dislike the other parent and would love to be the one the child stays with more, the temptation is there to take advantage of the situation and encourage the child to escalate the conflict with the other parent so they'll want to be with you instead.

But parents who give a shit about their children don't do that.  Because the child suffers.  In this case, to the point where the child no longer sees the father.  Congratulations, mom, you just totally fucked up your child's life and her relationship with her father.  Hope it was worth it!

As for whether kids can choose who to live with at that age - yes, their wishes are taken into account, and that's reasonable.  But that doesn't mean a child of that age can't be manipulated by their parents, or be encouraged to be manipulative towards one parent by the other parent.  It's not the child's fault.  It's the fault of the parent(s) when manipulation goes this far.  These parents, the mother in particular, seriously need some co-parenting courses, stat.

martin dufresne

Manipulative mother... manipulative daughter... Gawd, is it that hard to imagine that the kid really wanted to go on that outing and that she needed not have such a dark soul nor such a pliable disposition to tell her lawyer what was being done to her and to (gasp!) defend her rights if she felt slighted?

Also note the variance between the two versions given of her initial faux pas in the blogs I quoted above: improper use of the Internet, or a conflict with her father's new partner.

Thanks for the clarifications Laura. And toddschneider, I wasn't implying you are conservative, just attempting to sidestep a firestorm if you felt my remark implied you were. (I just saw it as one more of your usual "Mondo Quebeco" type of posts)

Unionist

In other news, judge tells disgruntled fathers to go jump off a bridge next time:

[url=Bridge">http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Bridge+protesters+found+guilty+misch... protesters found guilty of mischief - Span closed for 21/2 hours; Defendants claim courts are biased against fathers in custody disputes[/url]

Tommy_Paine

 

Just a general question. If we were to set up a family court system that was engineered to make as much money for lawyers as possible, with the social and economic needs of children and parents just an after thought, how much different would it look from the system we currently have?

 

remind remind's picture

Ya, I do not much like the way this is being conceptually framed based upon spurious accountings and  personal suppositions either.

 

Michelle

But it's okay to for Martin to "personally suppose" stuff about the father in this case, though, right?

Tommy_Paine

 

"In other news, judge tells disgruntled fathers to go jump off a bridge next time:"

You know, I work in a plant where the work was hard and dangerous when we were young, and even today it's no picknic. And we worked at times, seven days a week. I remember working from New Years to Easter without a day off, on rotating shifts-- and when it comes to those who got recognized as overtime hogs, I never even got on anyone's radar. Add to that rampant substance abuse, and you could say, our place was and still is, a divorce factory.

So, there's few annectdotes I have not heard. Mostly from the male side. And, I've gone through it myself.

While I obviously think there's something seethingly wrong with the whole scam in the divorce industrial complex, I'd never, ever, try to address those issues from a gender vs. gender perspective. It's a red herring-- it's not where the fight is.

Those two knobs got what was comming to them.

remind remind's picture

Actually, I am talking about everyone doing so, and my apologies for not being clearer with that, I should have added "well" to my ya and left off "either". It was a poorly constructed sentence,  because I was feeling snotty about the whole thing.  I would not want others judging, no matter which way it is, or isn't,  what was going on in my life based upon spurious public accountings and personal opinion. Hence my comment, above which only stated, I will trust the court's discretion in this case,  they at least are fully informed.

Afterall, one can easily race to judgements about other's family dynamics, and be completely wrong and harmful to the situation. In this case, the little girl in question could be, and most likely is, googling to find out about what people are saying about the media's and other's exploitation, of what should have been a private goings on with her. And I most certainly would not want her to  see herself as being labelled manipulative, scheming etc, nor see how poorly her mother and father were being portrayed by people across Canada, who literally know nothing about the historical dynamics of what brought this action about. And considering that babble usually pops up first, it is quite likely she would land here first. And frankly this thread would have a huge negative  self-esteem, impact upon a 12 year old.

How would any of you parents out there like your child being up for such intense judgemental public scrutiny, when the matter should have been private?

 

Unionist

remind wrote:

 

How would any of you parents out there like your child being up for such intense judgemental public scrutiny, when the matter should have been private?

 

In almost all cases I would agree with this statement. But once you go to court (or your lawyer does - or your mother - who knows what really happened here), all privacy disappears, except for the child's name. Court decisions and proceedings are public in this country (again, except when we're suppressing "terrorists").

 

remind remind's picture

Does not matter if the court records are public or not, people need not buy into the exploitation and further the lack of privacy. And then compound it by casting aspersions upon a 12 year old and her family, when really they kow very little.

Tommy_Paine

"Going to court was a last resort," said Lucie Fortin, a legal aid attorney who represented the girl. "The question was that there was a problem between the father and the mother, and the child asked the court to intervene because it was important to her.

"The trip was very important to her."

More important than the long term relationship with her father? I can certainly see how, in the mind of a 12 year old, the immediate concern of a school trip can seem like it. However, it's because of this exact thing kids get appointed lawyers-- an adult-- to represent the kid's best interest.

Can anyone say that Fortin has done this?

 

 

Michelle

I have not seen anyone "casting aspersions" on a 12 year-old here.  Playing one parent off the other is normal and natural behaviour for any child of divorced parents.  Heck, it's normal behaviour for any child of parents who are together.  It is up to the parents to help the child through the emotional difficulty they're having, not to use that normal behaviour to their advantage as a weapon in a custody war.  And that's exactly what I think has happened in this case.

Michelle

I agree with you about Father's Rights groups.  But the case that this thread about isn't a narrative from a father's rights group.  It's a news story, and both the father's lawyer AND the child's lawyer were given space for their comments in it.

What I find telling about the comments after the story, and some of the commentary I've read on right-wing sites about this case, just browsing around a bit, is the people who blame the CHILD for this.  People calling her a spoiled brat, a spoiled princess, a rotten whatever.  That's crap.  She's just a kid, acting like any other kid might.  It's the adults in this case - the judge, her lawyer, her mother - who are the problem.  Not the kid.  The kid is just doing what any kid might if they've been given too much power.  And the sad thing is, she's going to suffer the emotional consequences when she gets older - the sadness over her estrangement from her father, the guilt (even though it's not her fault), etc.

I'd like to know what the mother is going to have to say to the kid when she's 30 years old, no longer considers a little school field trip to be the end of the world, realizes that her mother encouraged her to dump her father over such a mundane little incident so that she could win custody of her, and feels all this regret over losing one of her parents for a big chunk of her childhood and early adulthood.  Because parents can turn kids against the other parent quite successfully, but the fact is, later in life, the adult children often realize what was done to them, and then they have to deal with all the emotional baggage that goes with it. 

martin dufresne

I will be interested in reading the actual judgment and look at the relevant evidence provided an weighed. But from experience, I resist the notion that whenever a child decides to go live with the other parent (and is entitled to), it is for the wrong reasons, e.g. manipulativeness.

 

Re the F4J bit of news, I am glad that Judge Cadieux didn't buy these men's rightists line of argument; but I was shocked that Irwin - the Montreal Gazette journalist - could print a sentence such as "Leroux said outside the court he's been barred from visiting his 8-year-old daughter in the U.S. for the past six years because his estranged wife won a civil protection order after he failed to make child support payments." It seems clear to me tha Irwin was sold a bill of goods and that he is reporting as fact an assertion that seems very partial. Getting slapped with a protection order simply because one isn't making child support payments? I don't think so. I intuit that there must have been threats against the man's partner - if not worse - to justify that order of protection. Leroux doesn't have to volunteer that information, of course, but you'd think The Gazette would not give that much credibility to his biased account of the matter, if the woman in question isn't available or willing to complete the picture. A journalist who isn't being given the record of a decision ought not to let himself used to convey a biased, misleading version simoply because the women who obtained the protection order demurs from antagonizing her abuser further by attempting to counter his self-serving accounting of their conflict.

This is what I meant when I wrote that Dads' press conferences were really how the men's rights lobby were using the court system to advance their mother-bashing and personal interests.

 

Laura Colella

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

Just a general question. If we were to set up a family court system that was engineered to make as much money for lawyers as possible, with the social and economic needs of children and parents just an after thought, how much different would it look from the system we currently have?

 

 You know, it's easy to blame the lawyers in these types of cases.  I always say that lawyers who practice in family law do not need to multiply proceedures and create all these problems they're accused of creating just to make as much money as possible.  Clients are willing to do that all on their own.

Family law is very emotional and people gets blinded by hatred and vengeance.  THAT'S why the system is the way it is.  As a lawyer who practiced for a number of years in family law, I can assure you that I spent more time telling clients that it was NOT worth filing X or Y procedure than the contrary.  I spent more time explaining to clients how much easier their case could get resolved if they started being rational. But the reality is, they don't listen.  And you know what, I give them the options.  You can fight or you can mediate.  Mediation is better for you and your child. You prefer to fight? Fine. And as like to point out as often as I can, if at the end of day you want to pay me money to get half the cleaning supplies, you do that. 

And lets clear one thing up.  Is the child manipulating the parents? Yes, she is.  Is she a bad person because of it? Nope. She's 12.  She's just learning how to get her way in the big world. We're worried about her reading the blog and seeing that people might insinuate that she's manipulative? Big deal.  Do you think she doesn't know that she completely manipulated her mother to get what she wanted?

Yes, its hard for a mother to be in the situation where a child isn't happy with the other parent's decision.  Reasonable people deal with it like Michelle suggested.  Others pay lawyers.  If the child would have chosen to live with her mother because there was abuse at her father's house, because she didn't eat often enough, because she didn't get along with her step-mom, whatever, then she would have been entitled to change the custody arrangement.  But no, she went to live with her mother because her father would not let her go on a two day class trip.  Was it important to her? Yes.  Was it important to her father that she not post innapropriate pictures of herself of the web? Yes.  And which of these issues weighs more in the big picture you think?

 

Laura Colella

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