Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Be a good father despite divorce

An old post, but still relevant. "In the Kingston Whig Standard, on 7 February 2007, in her article entitled “Be a good father, despite divorce”, Ellie Tesher commented back to “A Beaten Dad” that “Teenagers living with one parent who’s angry and bad mouthing the other usually find that the only way to stay out of the crossfire is to go along with the negative attitude, rather than fight it. The girls will most likely seek you out later, if you maintain contact now in whatever way you can, and do not judge them.” This, I believe, is sound advice given the limited options available under current Family Law legislation. Even if one has court ordered access, in the words of Malcolm Kronby, a certified specialist in family law, “about all you can do is try to cite the custodial parent for contempt of court, in wilfully disobeying the order. The penalty for contempt of court is usually a jail sentence, so the courts are reluctant to impose this.” Nonetheless, I must thank Tesher and A Beaten Dad for bringing this growing problem to the public’s attention. In so doing, I hope that others, including legislators, judges, lawyers, children’s lawyers, court clinic assessors, child psychologists, mediators, social workers, and the public in general, will begin to speak out against the harm being done to children who are forced in this way to chose between their parents. In closing I would echo Tesher’s comment “do not judge” the children. Given that they are being manipulated by one parent to cut off all ties with the other parent, and by extension that parent’s family and friends, they are already carrying a heavy burden of guilt that one can only hope they can cope with."

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