Question: Will a father in Divorce Court in Barrie, Ontario get a fair hearing?
Answer: Not always but I agree with the general sentiments of Michael Niren in his blog entitled "A Father’s Right’s in Divorce" when he says the following:
The idea that courts will generally side with the mother comes from the court attempting to rule for what is best for the child while remaining practical. Generally, the mother may be the primary caregiver, has remained home with the child since birth, or the father has been the one to leave the marital home in the event of a marriage breakdown. These factors influence the court’s custody decision, but they are not always a standard representation of each family situation, and circumstances can often be the direct opposite or both parents can be equally loving, responsible and fit to be a welcomed part of their children’s lives.
Michael is responding in his blog to an article in the National Post which characterizes the Courts as having fallen prey to the rants of radical feminists. The newspaper article suggests these radicals can be found primarily in the Women’s Studies programs at Canadian universities and is happy to see the demise of these programs. In essence, they argue that the the Courts favour women because the judges have been corrupted by radical feminists.
It is a polemic intended to catch people’s attention but does not reflect reality.
A few weeks ago, I did a blog called "Why Dad’s Suffer in Court" in which I argue that it is not judges who should be blamed for any injustices that may occur to fathers (and they do occur from time to time) but rather it is the judicial system itself that is the cause. I stand by that blog.
I believe that clients are best served when they use the Collaborative Team Process to resolve the outstanding issues related to their divorce.
Collaborative Team Process is a radical new way of resolving divorce-related issues. All parties and professionals commit to resolving the issues without going to Court. Should one of the parties choose Court, everyone must start all over with new professionals.
The clients have the additional cost of starting over so have an incentive to negotiate in good faith. The lawyers lose their clients if the matter proceeds to Court so they put 100% of their energy into settling the case.
In Ontario, as in most of North America, we are moving toward a team model. The Divorce Coach helps both of you prepare for meetings by moving you through the emotional stages of divorce and case manages the process. The Parenting Coach will help you develop a parenting plan. The Financial Specialist will help you work through the division of property and support issues. The lawyers help resolve any issues that arise, offer the range of legal outcome, help analyze the settlement options and ensure the final agreement is legally binding. The whole process works very efficiently and empowers you to make your own decisions.
The research shows that about 85% of cases result in settlement. What is remarkable is that even if clients are not able to resolve their issues through the Collaborative Process, they will still recommend it to their family and friends! Wow! Isn’t that amazing?
In over 20 years of practicing family law, none of my clients have been pleased with the Court process, win or lose. The Court process is slow, costly, inefficient and you are giving the power to resolve issues to a stranger: the Judge. They do their best to dispense "Justice" but, as one of my clients said "This ain’t a ‘justice system’… it is ‘just a system’"
The judges do their best to dispense justice but it isn’t easy. You know what is best for yourself and your family. With the help of professionals walking with you through the process, you can resolve the issues yourself. Not only will the results be better, it will be less costly and take less time to resolve.
I love Collaborative Team Process… can you tell?