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May 4, 2013 permalink
When Paulette MacDonald got a divorce, she and her ex settled their affairs like grown-ups. But her new partner is in a never-ending struggle with his former wife that has wrecked the lives of the two spouses and their children. This article on mom vs dad appears here because Paulette makes the best suggestion yet for reforming the family law mess: Parents -- not judges -- ought to make decisions on issues such as when children visit grandparents, when they'll take vacations, and the organized sports they play. Our court system is so outdated and broken it actually facilitates this kind of situation. Healthy parents don't need to go to court to be told how to raise their children.
Oshawa woman seeks changes to family law process
Children harmed by divorce battles: advocate
OSHAWA -- Children shouldn't be casualties in battles between warring parents.
That's the message espoused by an Oshawa woman who's pressing for changes to a family law system that she says places too much emphasis on litigation, an acrimonious approach to separation that often leaves kids caught in the middle.
"Even if you have a healthy divorce it's extremely hard on kids," said Paulette MacDonald. "If you throw this other BS into the mix, they don't stand a chance."
Ms. MacDonald was delighted when Oshawa City council proclaimed Thursday, April 25, Parent Alienation Awareness Day. She's hoping to raise awareness about the need for reform to the Divorce Act, and the family law process.
Ms. MacDonald said she and her husband divorced amicably years ago.
"We agreed to put our kids first," she said. "We never set foot inside a courtroom."
It was later in life, when she became involved with a man in the midst of a bitterly contested divorce, that she became aware of just how messy the process can be. She said she watched as the former husband and wife battled, often using their children to further their agendas.
The protracted battle resulted in police involvement, broken-hearted children, and sky-high legal bills, she said. Unable to reach agreement on the most fundamental aspects of child-rearing, they depended on the courts to resolve such matters.
It's Ms. MacDonald's opinion that parents -- not judges -- ought to make decisions on issues such as when children visit grandparents, when they'll take vacations, and the organized sports they play.
"Our court system is so outdated and broken it actually facilitates this kind of situation," she said. "Healthy parents don't need to go to court to be told how to raise their children."
She wants to see legislative changes that would require divorcing couples to agree to equal, shared parenting arrangements, and attend mandatory mediation sessions to work issues through.
The way to guarantee the needs of children are fulfilled is through consensus, not a court system predicated on an adversarial approach, she said.
"When you have kids involved you can't act like a child yourself," Ms. MacDonald said.
"Love your children more than you hate your ex."
Source: Metroland Durham Region