17 March 2014

Update to 1998 "Myths and Realities of Custody and Access" Report Published

The FREDA Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children has just published a new report called "Myths and Stereotypes in Family Law: Exploring the Realities and Impacts of Custody and Access / Shared Parenting" (PDF).  The report offers a helpful reality check for the canards offered up in support of legislating a presumption of shared parenting between separated parents by, typically, fathers' rights groups, including:
  • Including the presumption of “shared parenting,” “joint custody,” or “enhanced access” in divorce law will result in good and responsible parenting.
  • More and more men are being denied access to their children by women and the family law process.
  • There is an epidemic of false allegations of child abuse against fathers by malicious and vindictive mothers.
  • Feminists and mothers are fighting against equality for fathers.
The report updates a 1998 report called "Myths and Realities of Custody and Access" prepared by Margaret Denike and Agnes Huang with the FREDA Centre that I expect was prepared for the federal Special Joint Committee established in 1997 as the quid pro quo for the Senate's cooperation in passing the Child Support Guidelines.

I assume that the update was prepared in light of Bill C-560, a private member's bill proposed by MP Maurice Vellacott, presently before Parliament that would amend the the Divorce Act to include a presumption of shared custody, rebuttable upon proof that "the best interests of the child would be substantially enhanced by allocating parenting time ... other than equally." My previous comment on the bill is available in my post "Equal Parenting Amendment Bill Tabled;" a more complete critique of presumptions of shared custody is available in my post "Why There is No Place for Presumptions of Shared Parenting in Family Law."

Update: 18 March 2014

As I've already received my first comment on the above post, I'll announce that I am imposing some ground rules. You see, when I first wrote about Mr. Vellacott's bill in December, I had the pleasure of dealing with a number of comments from fathers' and men's rights people, which escalated after one anonymous posted a call to arms on a men's rights subreddit titled "Canadian lawyer lies in blog about Shared Parenting Laws in Australia, then censors my comments when I call him on it. Help needed!" Of course, I did not censor his remarks, much of which were submitted over the holidays and were accordingly delayed, and I did not "lie" about shared parenting laws in Australia, I merely provided a view that differed from his, which I later supported with a number of articles at his demand for "citations."

In any event, over the weeks that followed the ALL CAPS and multiple-exclamation-marks crowd went to town with various poorly couched arguments relying on emotional persuasion, rather than fact or logic, and attacked my colleagues and I with a variety of slanderous remarks dwelling on lawyers' supposed avarice and willingness to distort the truth to win. As a result, I will publish and reply to the comment I've just received. Future comments, however, may or may not be published and most certainly will not be published if they contain ad hominem attacks against me. I also don't intend to get into a running debate with anyone. Don't feel bad, I'm just not interested.

For those of the view that lawyers (1) foment discord and promote litigation to line their wallets, (2) are liars or "present baseless assertions," or (3) are "scum" who make the world "a worse off place," please review similar comments on my posts "Equal Parenting Amendment Bill Tabled" and "Why There is No Place for Presumptions of Shared Parenting in Family Law" before making comments in a similar vein. If you have something actually original to say on the topic, fill your boots.

For those who wish help in composing a rational argument in support of their views, you may find some helpful tips in my post "A Brief Guide to Making a Better Argument," which is so well-written it was described as "unbelievable!" by one commentator, although I suspect that he may not have been expressing enthusiasm.