Lobby group criticizes Ont. court ruling on
custody limits


The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.

Provincial News N.B.

Friday, February 4, 2005, p.A6

A New Brunswick lobby

group is crying foul over a recent decision by the Ontario Court of
Appeal that puts limits on joint custody.

The New Brunswick Children's
Equal Parenting Association is calling the ruling "baffling," and said
it could hurt divorcing parents and their children in New Brunswick.
"Lawyers might refer to that case in cases here through the law of
precedent," said the association's Edward Hoyt. "So it could affect
families here in New Brunswick." The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on
Monday that couples going through an acrimonious divorce shouldn't be
awarded joint custody of a child unless they can show they're able to
co-operate as parents. The court's 3-0 decision reversed a lower court
ruling that awarded joint custody to a Toronto couple who couldn't be in
a room together without screaming. But Mr. Hoyt said the ruling could
mean depriving more children from having a relationship with both
parents. "It's scary," Mr. Hoyt said of the ruling. "It's hard enough
nowadays for a father to even get visitation rights." He said he fears
the ruling may result in one parent using custody as a way to hurt the
other parent in divorce proceedings. "It's fine in situations where the
people get along, but usually, when people divorce, they divorce for a
reason," he said. "This just opens a window for one parent to keep the
other from seeing the children." He said past studies show children are
better off when both parents are actively involved in their lives, and
children suffer when either parent is excluded. Studies also show joint
custody has been seen as beneficial at all levels of conflict, except in
cases where the children's interests are truly at risk. If a parent is
able to derail a joint custody arrangement by not being able to get
along with his or her spouse, then that makes an already adversarial
situation even more competitive, he said. "The whole system is set up to
be confrontational," he said. "Why should the children be punished and
not allowed access to both parents?" Reach our reporter
tjcamp@nb.aibn.com Category: Society and Trends; News Subject(s) - The
New Brunswick Telegraph Journal : Custody; Divorce Ontario Length:
Short, 287 words C 2005 Telegraph-Journal - New Brunswick. All rights
reserved. Doc. : news.20050204.NB.202040370 This material is
copyrighted. All rights reserved.  C 2005 CEDROM-Sni 
Edward R Hoyt
New Brunswick Children's Equal Parenting Association
11 beverly Drive Saint John NB
E2J 3B1