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Joint Custody


Index

  • Introduction

  • California Judge Targets Joint Custody Foes as 'dangerous... unbalanced'

  • Canadian Child Custody Awards by Sex. (Includes information on how many awards are for joint custody.  The interesting thing is that awarding of joint custody over the last few years has increased a little at the expense of sole father custody!)

  • Wayne Allen's Saga — more than 80 court appearances; he had a daughter with Deborah Grenier

  • Eric Bouchard's Saga — more than 25 court appearances so far, he too had a daughter with Deborah Grenier. Will that woman never give up? Maybe she is now ready; read the story. but can you imagine what this has cost the taxpayers? There were more than 100 court appearances with or on account of that women, and all because she thinks that her children are her sole property!)


Joint custody, is it all it is said to be? Equal and equitable, truly joint?

If so, how come so few fathers get it? What's more, joint custody orders usually mean mostly nothing more than "standard visitation," that is, two weekends per month — 10 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday, if his children and he are lucky, maybe three hours or so during the week, plus a few holidays per year. Very few fathers get to see their children on a basis that is equally shared between both parents. After separation, many fathers don't get to see their children at all anymore, or at best very rarely. Two years after separation about 50 percent of all fathers and children of divorce and separation will then be so affected. The standard course of events is that, once either parent of a child has formed a new relationship with another partner, "visitations" slow down to a trickle or are totally ignored—contrary to any court orders that might say otherwise. And if anyone has the illusion that the Courts will enforce their child-access orders, they'll soon find out otherwise.

The provisions of Canada's new child support legislation under Bill C-41 give a powerful incentive for mothers to make sure that the father(s) of their children don't get the child(ren) for more than 40% of the time. Besides, even if that is the case, if the province in which the case is heard has existing child support guidelines, and if the judge feels that they are more appropriate for whatever reasons, he/she can do all they want to override the federal guidelines.

Certainly, the laws provide that all have equal rights, but the truth is that mothers are more equal than fathers. Mothers can with impunity flaunt court-ordered access orders. However, fathers who want to try and obtain the right to maintain the bond between them and their children will find that their fight will cost them dearly. The costs for such a fight quite commonly are in the order of $12,000 and often exceed $30,000 and much more. Many fathers who insisted on their "rights" sooner or later found themselves in bankruptcy processes.

There is a ray of hope for those exiled fathers who try to fight the fight without the help of a lawyer. To do so is not a bad idea, because when people speak of court costs, they are actually speaking of lawyer costs. Court costs are in the order of two-hundred dollars for any file that is to be opened, and the costs are minimal for the filing filing of any action in a case once the file is open, in the order of about $10 or little more. All of the other costs comprise fees for lawyers and psychologists (for home-studies and "expert" testimony).  Over and above those costs comes the money that must be paid to the person who is doing the supervising when supervised visitations are the only option for a father who wants to be with his child.  Self-representation does not protect a father from the cost of the latter.  Mothers rarely, if ever, experience the demeaning process of supervised visitation of their children.

Nevertheless, only two cases are known to me in all of Canada where a father actually managed to get his ex-spouse jailed for interfering with a court order. Both fathers went bankrupt in the process, at least one of them twice, but neither of them actually made much progress with their fight until they ran out of money, did some serious legal research of their own and represented themselves in the courts. However, both fathers experienced very bitter victories.

One of the fathers is Wayne Allen in Hamilton. To read about his case go here.

Update: 2002 10 30
   Wayne Allen's case was placed on the official record by the Senator Ann Cools during hearings before the Joint Senate/House of Commons Committee on Custody and Access back in 1998.  Wayne Allen had to appear in more than 70 court hearings and went into bankruptcy.  Subsequently he dropped out of society and now has no permanent address.
   A couple of years ago I happened to meet him at one of the demonstrations at Anne McLellan's (then Canada's Justice Minister) constituency office in Edmonton, Alberta.   Wayne Allen said that not having any property is a liberating experience, as that permits him to live a life totally unencumbered by any obligations other than to work just enough to keep himself alive and happy. (More on Wayne's saga and 80+ court appearances)
   Unfortunately, the mother involved in Wayne Allen's case, Deborah Grenier of Hamilton, Ontario, began a repeat performance of her actions, this time against Eric Bouchard, the father of another of her children.
   Eric Bouchard, too, just like Wayne Allen, racked up a considerable number of court appearances (25 so far) in his battle with Deborah Grenier, and, just like Wayne Allen, he now is broke as well.  However, instead of dropping out of society and from sight, Eric Bouchard is locking horns with the system.  Just today he launched a letter to Jean Chretien, Canada's ruling Leader, to all Canadian Parliamentarians, to embassies throughout the World and to the media.
   Eric Bouchard announced in his letter that he has hidden the daughter he has with Deborah Grenier, contrary to the court decision that ordered him to hand his daughter over to her abusive and violent mother [shortly after that Eric handed his daughter over to the CAS].  He further declared that he is prepared to go to prison rather than to lose the right to protect his daughter.
   Details of Eric Bouchard's case can be seen in a copy of his letter (92kB PDF file)

Update on Eric Bouchard's case (2003 10 23)

...note that on top of the child support Wayne Allen is ordered to pay, Eric is being ordered to pay for BOTH children. Called Double Dipping. Another reason why both fathers are refusing to pay anything."

The update concerns an upcoming court hearing for Eric Bouchard, in St. Catharines, Ontario, Oct. 30, 2003, a consequence of Eric's attempts to have a child protected from Deborah Grenier's violent and abusive behaviour, which now includes several suicide attempts.
   The application got defeated so far, mainly because the Children's Aid Society – which controls everything that is happening to the children and the two fathers – insists that they have absolutely no concerns with the mother.
   The mother has now apparently been hospitalized for her most recent suicide attempts, while the CAS a) did not bother to inform the two fathers of the incident, and b) refuses to tell the two fathers anything about the whereabouts of the children. (Full Story)

Another case is that of Gary deVriess, an Edmonton man. Nothing much can be revealed about his case, other than that although he won his case in the end, he now finds that he still doesn't get to see his children. They are too afraid to get in touch with him, first for the fear of their mother's wrath (and now because they've become totally alienated). The judge in Gary's case, Madame Justice Trussler, placed a publication ban on the case, as is customary, "in the best interest of the children," to "protect" them. From what? From the love of their father?

The more usual course of events is that the father gets served with a restraining order that keeps him away from his children. 


California Judge Targets Joint
Custody Foes as `dangerous... unbalanced'

NOW Warps Family Issues Again

        Thanks to ACFC for sending this message by Bob Engel, Fri, 26 Jun 1998

 A top California family court judge has blasted ultra feminists' efforts to undermine the state's child-centered joint custody law. Using strong language, Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner-Judge Richard A.  Curtis in a 4500-word statement, urged the California Legislature to turn down bills violating the principle that children need the love and nurture of both parents.

He described AB 2116, one of three pending bills, as "...a mean-spirited attack on joint custody brought on behalf of angry, embittered parents who are incapable of cooperation in their children's best interest and who only wish to bend the court system and our healthy, child-centered body of law to their end of controlling their children and controlling the other parent through their children."

Although unnamed, his target in part was the National Organization of Women, leader of a drive aimed at legislatively emasculating the state's strong joint custody law that serves as a national model.

Current anti-joint custody proposals would:

*  delete from the joint custody law a requirement for "frequent and continuing contact" for the noncustodial parent,

*  delete language instructing judges in awarding custody to consider which parent is more likely to allow children contact with the noncustodial parent,

*  bar judges from awarding joint custody if either parent  objects,

*  free the custodial parent to move with the children without court permission,

*  tie the child's welfare to a "healthy primary relationship" (ie, with mom),

*  declare psychological adjustment "not related to particular visitation or frequency or length of visits," and

*  stress the importance for the children of the "primary caretaker."

"Primary caretaker," is the code phrase, he charged, "for a lot of inappropriate public policy statements they wish to promulgate." Using it, their ultimate goal is to transfer custody determinations from judges to administrators.

"They don't want equality, they don't want justice, they don't want individuals dealt with as unique people with individual needs ...They would be perfectly satisfied with an administrative hearing system which delivers cookie cutter results so long as they're playing with a deck stacked in their favor," he declared.

Studies have shown, he pointed out, that single custodial fathers are every bit as capable of nurturing their children in their own way. Passage of the bills, in effect, would intensify litigation and nullify current practices' success in persuading couples to mediate and settle.

Such non-legal techniques, however, simply don't work, he added, for the five percent "who aren't too tightly wrapped."  "But it is very important that the trial court continue to have the power to impose joint custody on the far larger majority . . .who come to court . . .tightly wrapped but in an uncooperative frame of mind. ...most such parents will learn to put aside their differences for the sake of giving their children a peaceful life and benefits of having two involved parents."

To the contrary, he warned, "if the backers manage to hornswoggle the Legislature into passing this bill, they will have succeeded in getting you to say, 'The public policy . . . is to discourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child-rearing.' They will have succeeded in (putting) the child right back into the middle of their petty personal conflicts..."

The bill backers, he concluded, "like all zealots, victims, and self-righteous people, have a peculiarly warped view of reality which prevents them from seeing the other side. . . They are very, very dangerous, one-sided and unbalanced people from whom to take public policy suggestions."

-++++++++++++++++++++++++

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children http://www.acfc.org
Additional information is located at: http://www.secondwives.org

Back to Divorce Issues: Main Page

__________
Updates:
1999 06 05
2001 02 04 (format changes)
2002 03 05 (added link to Table of Contents)
2002 10 30 (added update to Wayne Allen's case and information about Eric Bouchard)
2003 10 23 (added update to Eric Bouchard's case)
2003 10 28 (added link to Wayne's Saga)