MESA Submission to JUST Committee on Divorce Act amendments 

Submission
of the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA)

In Support of a Rebuttable Presumption of
Equal Shared Parenting (ESP)

On

Bill C-78 an Act to amend the Divorce Act, the family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to other Act.

Contacts:
Gus Sleiman
President

Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA)

3111 12 Avenue SW
Calgary
, Alberta, T3C 0S5

Tel.: 403-228-6366
www.mesacanada.com

November, 2018

INTRODUCTION
The Submission on Bill C-78 Divorce Act Amendments is in support of Equal Shared Parenting after separation or divorce and to address the injustices that affect parents, children and family members;
Equal Shared Parenting concept is adopted by other countries and several States in the USA;
Equal Shared Parenting is supported by social science and research data from numerous researchers in the filed;
“For the Sake of The Children” A Report by the Canadian Government its main recommendation is “Shared Parenting;
MESA recommends that the Divorce Act be amended to include a legal rebuttable presumption of Equal Shared Parenting.

PREAMBLE
We, The Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA) believe in Equal Shared Parenting, believe in the right of both parents to function as a parent, that both parents must share parental rights and responsibilities equally in the best interest of children, and that the civil and human rights of the family must be guarded and protected.We also believe that it is the right of children to have both parents participating equally and fully in their lives, even after separation or divorce;
We call upon the Government of Canada to correct the historical disadvantages suffered by parents, mostly fathers, under Canadian family law due to their sex; to allow both parents equal ability to parent their children after divorce; and to change the terms of the Divorce Act to reflect all aspects of Equal Shared Parenting;
We call upon the Government of Canada to amend the Divorce Act to ordain Equal Shared Parenting as the primary solution to establish equality of parenting after separation or divorce, reduce litigation and financial losses for parents;
We call upon the Government of Canada to amend the Divorce Act to include the right of a child of the marriage as a fundamental right to Equal Shared Parenting by both parents.
When one sex wins both sexes lose.

We support the enactment of a legal rebuttable presumption of Equal Shared Parenting provision for the following:
A rebuttable judicial presumption of Equal Shared Parenting between separating or divorced parents.By “Equal Shared Parenting” we mean equal decision-making authority and as close to equal time with each parent as are practicable.Where Equal Shared Parenting is impracticable or opposed by one of the parents, primary care and control should be rebuttably presumed to go to the parent most likely to foster the child’s relationship with the other parent.Only serious and proven abuse or unfitness by a parent should be allowed to rebut these presumptions, and only in extreme cases should rights to parental contact with a child be abrogated completely.Judicial bias on the basis of gender, and the age of the child, in any of these matters must be strictly prohibited;
EQUAL SHARED PARENTING
Child’s Right to Equal Shared Parenting
A child who is not an official party to a lawsuit has a right to Equal Shared Parenting in the best interest of the child. Inherent in the express public policy, it’s recognized, that the child’s right to equal access, opportunity and the right to be guided and nurtured by both parents. This right is not diminished when the parents divorce;
Jurisdictions with Equal Shared Parenting concept
Australia introduced shared parenting in 2006. Kentucky introduced a legal presumption of joint custody in April 2018, several states in the USA apply similar concept;
Several European countries already apply the concept;
Italy is in the process of adopting a radical approach to apply Equal Parenting by eliminating child support in the process and replacing it with parental time;
Arguments for Equal Shared Parenting
Equal Shared Parenting is the ideal principle that enables both parents to continue to function as parents, provides children with continued interaction with their parents, and preserves their relationship with extended families.Families cannot exist or are able to function as a family without preserving the abilities of both parents to function as parents in their children’s lives, Equal Shared Parenting is the foundation to preserve families after divorce;
Equal Shared Parenting promotes parental responsibility and contact between parents extending that responsibility to preserve bonds between children and parents including extended family members.It is the responsibility of parents to provide the children with maximum social and emotional stability by maximizing the family’s ability to function as a family;
Equal Shared Parenting requires both parents to share their parental rights and responsibilities by participating in all aspects of parenting, physical and legal;
True sharing of parenting maximizes the involvement each parent is willing and able to contribute in raising their children, thus enabling each parent to function as a parent;
Equal Shared Parenting ensures that parents have a right and responsibility to parent their children;
– Parents after separation start out on an equal level working towards their children’s best interest thereby removing the incentives to fight;
Equal Shared Parenting encourages parents to work out the future care of their children themselves;
Canadian parents believe that parents have a right and responsibility to parent their children with the exception when one of the parents is convicted of child abuse, that parent would not be considered for Equal Shared Parenting;
Equal Shared Parenting protects children from the adversarial system that is now in effect;
– Elimination of child support in favor of “Parenting Time” is the most ideal investment in children, that will induce the release of single parenting to allow mothers and women to end their dependency upon fathers and Government for financial support and protection;
Single Parenting
Research shows that children raised by single parents have substantial high rates of increase in:
i) Teen suicides
ii) Teen incarcerations
iii) Teen pregnancy
iv) School drop outs
v) School shootings
vi) Substance abuse
vii) Drug use
viii) Homelessness
ix) Bullying
x) Violent crime
xi) Rape
xii) Poverty
Parenting Plans
Both parents upon separation or divorce, regardless of their roles prior, need to prepare a Parenting Plan on how to meet the needs of their children;
Basic parenting plans cover important areas such as:
i)Residential and child care arrangements
ii)Time spent with each parent and the extended family
iii)Financial arrangements
iv)Recreation and holiday arrangements
v)Education and religion
Services
i) Alternative dispute resolution (such as mandatory mediation wherever possible)
ii)Parenting after separation courses
iii)Counseling for both parents to derive parenting plans
iv)Legal aid to financially eligible parents
v) Creation of Information centers to be called “Equal Parenting Centre” to help parents with Dispute Resolution information and to direct parents to available services and resources;
Arguments against Custody and Access
Custody outcomes favor sole custody, depriving children of the best available parent, means fathers. Change of terminology does not change the biased outcome;
With the introduction of Parenting Order and Parenting Contact, there are no serious provisions to ensure the continuing parental role of the parent with no (Parenting Order);
Custody and Access usually results in one parent “mothers” having sole custody at an approximate rate of 85% and fathers about 6%, 9% others, make the rest of the percentages …with the other parent “fathers” relegated to accessing their children, with all the attendant limitations that means to support children. This trend will continue under the proposed changes;
The preceding statistics tells the story of a open discrimination against fathers, and an indication of a government policy to advance women and mothers over the interest of children. The proposed changes will not reduce the high numbers of sole custody to mothers but may enhance them;
Parenting Order and Parenting Contact no different than Custody and Access are subject to misinterpretations and policies created by institutions and organizations of the Government using the Best Interest of the Child (BIOC) test;
False Allegations and Family Violence
The proposed changes to expand family violence elements
Canadian courts have created a second criminal justice system under family law that has virtually no protection for the accused;
The proposed changes to expand family violence elements as presented; “any conduct whether or not conduct constitute a criminal offence” will make the job of a Dispute Resolution officer to resolve the dispute prior to an appearance before a judge next to impossible due to the factors relating to family violence will breed unprecedented false allegations by spouses against each other in order to gain control over the child. False accusations will reach their highest levels undertaken with impunity to the accuser if there are no proper safe guards to prosecute the offending accuser of unproven allegations of abuse;
If the proposed amendments of the family violence sections are intended to show that women or mothers are abused by men or fathers, I advise against this proposal as fathers and men will surface to make similar claims. We already know that men are abused by their female spouses not only at almost equal rates but at alarming higher rates than published due to men abstaining from reporting abuse as opposed to women;
Husband abuse is the most unreported crime in North America;

While divorce cases may involve a rate of about 3 -5 % family violence matters, this rate contradicts with the propaganda spread by family violence advocates that the majority of divorce cases are plugged by family violence against women;
The most important point about domestic violence and about violence in Canada is that we are not actually a violent society. A focus on violence, and the promotion of fear, may have advantages in some social arenas, but violence does not figure prominently in the direct experience of the great majority of Canadians;
There is an aura of violence, selfishness, and depravity around men that places them at a severe social and political disadvantage. In matters of custody and access, the courts are choosing good people (mothers) over bad people (fathers);
The proposed amendments if introduced without proper safeguards and the imposition of penalties for false allegation of abuse, the rate of false accusations will intensify;
The pursuit of political power by a societal group is a legitimate effort in this country, but there are limits to what tools can be used. Propaganda war of gender against a class of people is not an equitable or acceptable tool in the Canadian tradition, but it works if it is not resisted. Feminist gender analysis, funded by government, and supportive of new policies, more “public education”, and more analysis, has led to the creation of a privileged gender feminist political class, nourishing, and drawing power from, the fears of some Canadian women. The bitter irony is that Canadian women live in the most favorable political and social climate in the world;
False allegations of abuse within divorce proceedings are wide spread with no accountability. These accusations take place in the form of affidavits sworn before lawyers who present themselves as officers of the court. Lawyers will have a duty to verify the information brought forward by their clients to be accurate and supported with evidence or face stiff penalties; such as: The revoking of their license to practice;
A person swearing a false allegation of abuse affidavit must be prosecuted under the criminal code;
If a false allegation of domestic abuse or child abuse is made by a parent against another parent in order to persuade the court to give preference for a parenting order, this parent should be excluded from Equal Shared Parenting.
Denial of Access
The parental role of the NCP does not receive as much attention as that parent financial role; denial of access to a child is a major obstacle for fathers creating extended litigation and serious financial losses. Limits and loss of children relationship with extended family;
Bias in Court
The bias of the court is expressed by their irrational over-identification of children with their mothers, excluding the children dependence and need for their fathers;
Children’s interests are best served when parents of both sexes receive equal benefit of the law. Governments removed gender bias against women only to replace it and make it gender bias against men. The Income Tax Act was amended to treat child support payments as non-taxable in the hands of custodial parents, mostly mothers, placing an increased burden of taxation on families experiencing divorce. This has the effect of depriving children of divorced families of resources they desperately need;
Discrimination based on gender is blunt against fathers as shown by the following from the Income Tax Act; Canada Child Benefit, 122.6 […]
eligible individual in respect of a qualified dependant at any time means a person who at that time
(a) resides with the qualified dependant,
(b) is a parent of the qualified dependant who
o(i) is the parent who primarily fulfils the responsibility for the care and upbringing of the qualified dependant and who is not a shared-custody parent in respect of the qualified dependant, or
o(ii) is a shared-custody parent in respect of the qualified dependant,
[…] and for the purposes of this definition,
(f) where the qualified dependant resides with the dependant’s female parent, the parent who primarily fulfils the responsibility for the care and upbringing of the qualified dependant is presumed to be the female parent,[…]
Amendments to this definition are mandatory, to eliminate gender bias against fathers and men.
When a court deviate from an Equal Shared Parenting Order, the court shall make a record of the specific findings and the reasons for which a decision is made in the best interest of the child;
Mobility, Relocation
MESA supports the mobility of reunification and not the mobility of isolation and depravation;
Most relocation cases take place shortly after obtaining custody, the move usually whether, intentional or not, is harmful and diminishes the relationship of the non resident parent with the child, even if the move is about one hour away. Legal disputes escalate when the custodial parent is determined to relocate with the child; usually for a far distant location, with the non resident parent objecting.The onus should not be placed on the non resident parent to disprove the move. MESA amendments to the proposed Bill C-78 amendments;
Mobility has adverse effects on the child and the non-resident parent. Three interrelated areas come to surface; social science, family law policies and legal issues. Where a court gives permission for a parent to move, the court shall record all the relevant reasons and justify all the aspects of social science in terms of the child and the non resident parent, usually the father. There shall be no presumption of relocation by the resident parent and the non-resident parent can not be held to justify the move as a reverse presumption in favor of the move;
Child Support and Age of Majority
Child support for adults discriminate against divorced parents based on the basis of family status and marital status. The proposed changes to the Divorce Act should include a clause to terminate child support at the age of majority. Continuing education should be optional to divorced parents as it is for parents in intact families;
Report: For The Sake Of the Children
This report was created pursuant to a national consultation conducted by a Joint Senate-House of Commons Committee on Custody and Access.Since this report was created by representatives of the Canadian people, its recommendations should not be second-guessed by the Department of Justice. The will of the people should be respected;
Deliberate omission of Equal Shared Parenting
The Federal Department of Justice is showing contempt for the democratic process by not swiftly acting on the recommendations of Parliament provided in the Report;
Other countries are leading the change for a more balanced approach in family law based on social science, while the Government of Canada represented by the Justice Department is actively working to making the Divorce Act a tool to empower women and to keep them dependent upon men, contrary to their achievement of empowerment and to their economic and social independence;
The following research on Shared Parenting and Mobility is provided with permission and courtesy of Dr. Fabricius, Ph.D. This research is not yet published; it is herby provided for use by the JUST Committee only. The authors request that the papers not to be published without their permission;
William V. Fabricius, Michael Aaron, Faren R. Akins, John J. Assini & Tracy McElroy
What Happens When There Is Presumptive 50/50 Parenting Time? An Evaluation of Arizona’s New Child Custody Statute
Stevenson, Fabricius, Braver, and Cookston
Associations Between Parental Relocation Following Separation in
Childhood and Maladjustment in Adolescence and Young Adulthood


William V. Fabricius and Go Woon Suh, Arizona State University
Should Infants and Toddlers Have Frequent Overnight Parenting Time
With Fathers? The Policy Debate and New Data, English and French
Attachment:
MESA amendments to the proposed amendments of Bill C-78;

Australian Government:
A new family law system Government Response to Every picture tells a story
A New Approach to the Family Law System, Implementation of Reform, 10 November 2004
CONCLUSION AND OUTLOOK
The ultimate interests of children of divorce require the love and care of both parents equally and unconditionally, the declared desire of Canadian parents lean towards a requirement to reform the Divorce Act in favor of Equal Shared Parenting;
Government programs must be established to empower men and fathers to remain an integral part of the family. The judiciary needs to reevaluate their assessment of the role of fathers when the family breaks down to ensure equality of parenting and to reduce the problems of divorce on children.Children, fathers, mothers and society in general are best served to show fathers that they still matter by awarding them Equal Shared Parenting that includes all the rights and responsibilities of parenting;
Strong families build strong, confident and well-adjusted children. Strong families build strong and proud nations. If the Canadian family court system is any indication of what the leaders of Canada believe in, then clearly they have their priorities wrong. A country with leaders that allow its court system to terrorize its own people is a country heading down the path of eventual moral collapse and economic ruin;
The future must hold that the two parent families are empowered and strong, in the name of Equal Shared Parenting;
Fathers across Canada are joined by the cries of their children for a mutual re-capturing of justice, for, what kind of a government is it, that allows its own agencies and its own judiciary to discrimination against one or more class of its citizens, deplete and sink its own society;
The new law must end speculations and interpretations by judges and replace it with logic and mutual parenting co-operation. If this Government is willing to end the injustices against the children, fathers and men, if it is willing to reduce the emotional and financial costs of divorce created by litigation and re-litigation it must act immediately to implement a rebuttable presumption of Equal Shared Parenting;
We stand to preserve the integrity of fatherhood for the sake of the children.