Talking Point: Father seeks compensation for surname game
Unbalanced, biased legal system hurts the children the most

Monday, November 01, 2004

CREDIT: Les Bazso, The Province
Province readers are adamant: Darrell Trociuk is entitled to share his surname with his triplets.

I'm responding to Jack Keating's recent article in The Province about Darrell Trociuk, who is suing the B.C. government for "discrimination and or negligence" for not allowing his surname on the birth certificates of his triplets.

I support the actions of this father.

Although my case is not exactly the same as Trociuk's, almost all fathers who seek justice for themselves and their children face an unbalanced, biased system that favours the mothers.

There are many studies that prove the importance of both parents -- even when they are separated -- in a child's life, yet we consistently see courts fail to protect a child's right to have both parents involved in their lives.

Most fathers would prefer to be involved with their children, but to do so comes at great expense -- well into the tens of thousands of dollars. Why? Because they must fight the inherent bias, such as physiologists who prepare custody and access reports, police who typically and wrongfully respond with greater vigour to a mother's claim of wrongdoing, and to a judicial system which assumes men asking for shared custody only do so in an effort to reduce child-support payments.

Many women choose to take advantage of these inequities in the legal system and use the courts, rather than using mediation and dealing fairly with the issues. Clearly, the system needs to be overhauled -- quickly.

Never assume that because a woman has gained custody of the children and receives support payments that justice has been done because, more often than not, the father is guilty until proven innocent.

In the end, this approach hurts the children most.

Kevin J. Berg,


 The Vancouver Province 2004