stages one-man protest
February 18, 2009
Ron Pietroniro / Metroland OSHAWA -- John Little pauses outside of the Michael Starr building during his one-man protest of unfair family law decisions. Mr. Little, who has joint custody of his two daughters, has been in a long expensive court battle with his former wife. February 18, 2009.
SHAWA -- John Little caught a few confused stares and a lot of sympathetic nods this week, as he staged a one-man protest in downtown Oshawa.
The local father of two spent hours in front of the Michael Starr building on Tuesday and Wednesday, carrying a large homemade sign that read "Another good father screwed by family court."
"I'm not a radical, I'm just a regular guy who doesn't know what to do anymore," he said. "I have nowhere to turn."
Mr. Little is frustrated with the state of family law in Ontario, saying he was stunned to learn that he has to pay both spousal support and child support, even though he has joint custody of his daughters, ages 10 and 12.
"I can't pay twice, I can't pay to take care of them when they're with me and pay to take care of them when they're with their mother," he said.
Mr. Little is on disability leave from his railroad job, saying the stress of the child custody battle made him physically ill. Now, about half of his $2,000 a month income is going to child and spousal support, which doesn't leave enough for his mortgage and bills.
"I'm behind on everything. I have to tell my daughters they can't do gymnastics or soccer anymore," he said.
Mr. Little said he hoped his protest would raise awareness of parental legal issues and grab the attention of politicians and bureaucrats.