Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Toronto Star Editorial September 18, 2008 on court reform

A path to court reform
September 18, 2008

The last thing families in the throes of divorce need is extra red tape. But depending on where they live in Ontario, that is exactly what many face when they turn to the courts for adjudication.

In much of the province, including Toronto, two different courts deal with family law. That means estranged couples often have to shuttle between a provincially appointed judge at the Ontario Court of Justice and a federally appointed judge at the Superior Court of Justice to sort out all the issues a family breakdown raises, from child custody to the splitting up of property.

In response to the confusion and inconsistency caused by these jurisdictional divisions, pressure is growing to install "unified family courts" across the province. Currently operating in 17 communities, including Newmarket, Hamilton and Barrie, unified family courts offer one-stop shopping for all family law matters, as well as various support services to help guide families through breakdowns.

Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler last week used a speech marking the opening of the province's courts to push for the expansion of unified family courts. "(Family breakdowns are) complex social problems that require multidisciplinary and co-ordinated responses," he said. "The time has arrived to implement a properly serviced unified family court system that meets the needs of all Ontarians."

Attorney General Chris Bentley supports unified family courts, but he can't go further without co-operation from Ottawa. The federal government appoints and funds Superior Court judges who staff the unified family courts. Bentley says his government has been asking Ottawa for 12 new federal judges to "relieve pressure" on the province's family courts, but so far has received only six for that purpose.

The ball is clearly in Ottawa's court.

Fathers Are More Than A Paycheck

The Family Law System views fathers as little more than a paycheck to be garnished. Child support payments are derived from government tables based on pre-tax income payers will never receive. The income of the person receiving the payments is not taken into account. Mothers look like heros since money forked over for the kids for activities, dinners out, and “extras,” are all “on Mom.” That Dad’s child support has contributed to those very things is never acknowledged. Many fathers have so little discretionary income left over, that “extras” for the kids on Dad’s time are hard to come by. In 1997, the courts decided on a two-tier support system. Child support payers who divorced before 1997 can deduct those payments from their tax returns. That system at least remedies the disparity of pre-tax support calculations. For anyone who waited until after 1997, that equalization was eliminated.

Posted by Suzanne Carlson at 6:03 PM Thursday, September 18 2008

your right

The last thing that any couple needs when in difficult times is, first a lawyer and then three differant court systems to choose from. lawyers to drain the bank accounts and perpetuate the couples differances. The courts to suck any life and dignity they may have left, from dealing with the lawyers. Pretty much a self serving system. Throw a few more billion dollars at it to see if they can't get the system to be totaly self serving. Thanks from a regular Guy can say that

Posted by kcw316 at 5:38 PM Thursday, September 18 2008

A path to family destruction

Chris Bentley orchestration of family destruction is opening doors to more social problems in Ontario. In response to the “For the Sake of the Children” child study: In 1999, Liberal Justice Minister Cauchon, shifted 40% of Ontario's Courts to the Unified Family Court. This experiment failed. Our son has been there since 1999. My family have lost confidence in the “Unified Family”. We have transformed from an equal parenting arrangement to no contact with our son. The system was designed to speed-up the process; my family have waited eight years for a case conference. Mr. Bentley’s confidence in the Unified Family Court is short-sighted. Mr. Bentley should re-read the child study, shelved by the Liberal Party of Canada. The Conservatives have introduced Motion PMM-483. The McGuinty Administration points to more Judges, lawyers and grandparents going to their graves without nurturing their grandchildren. Mark Bogan Yellowknife, NT

Posted by whosmyson at 4:22 PM Thursday, September 18 2008

Bentley is being disingenuous but then he's a politician

Unified Family Courts are only one piece of the puzzle in reforming family law. The laws themselves are stacked for the female and biased against the father. Currently the mother gets custody in about 96% of divorce actions - in and out of court - and fathers about 4%. If this were a case of a visible minority or if roles were reversed and women were 4%'s newspapers such as yours would be screaming with 6" headlines about racism, discrimination et al. The Star would be doing a great service to children caught up in divorce disputes to do an investigatory piece on the dysfunctional, misandric family court system. It is similar in every province in Canada and not for the reason's Bentley ascribes. Instead of passing the buck he should be looking at his own legislation.

Posted by Mike Murphy at 1:54 PM Thursday, September 18 2008

No comments:

The work of Fathers 4 Justice and the Pain of Fathers ~ Activism in the UK

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie