Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Only In Quebec? Let's Hope So. Daughter Sues Dad Over Class Outing - and Wins

Dad catches 12-year old daughter abusing internet privileges. Dad says daughter was chatting on sites he'd blocked and was posting inappropriate pictures of herself online. Dad tells daughter she's grounded. Dad refuses to give his permission for girl to attend her Grade 6 graduation trip to Quebec City.

Daughter strikes back. Seeks out lawyer who had represented her in her parents' divorce proceeding. Lawyer sues. Court holds Dad being unreasonable, girl goes on trip. Daughter/father relationship shattered.

Dad takes the case to the Quebec appeals court. Appeal dismissed.

The young girl's legal aid lawyer contends that the Dad's decision to withhold permission for the trip was really a power struggle between the parents.

My god, people with serious problems get turned away every day by legal aid because of lack of funding but in Quebec they've got money for this nonsense?


Fish said...

I do a lot of family law, and it's nice to see that at least in this case, the child was the one being childish. I've seen a few parents acting like idiots and using their children as weapons against each other!

Anonymous said...

I agree Fish.

In many cases the adversarial nature of a divorce proceeding is inflamed by lawyers that only encourage parents to act like idiots.
Many times, it's only one side that does it.

This is a rare case in Quebec. Legal aid is quite restrictive. You have to make welfare levels of income to qualify.

The case is nonsense of course.
In Quebec they try not to judge on issues that pertain to morality.
So you get a lot of messed up cases like this.

In many ways, Ontario is progressive compared to Quebec...

The Mound of Sound said...

Children are all too often used as weapons by feuding ex-spouses and there's no reason to think this kid wasn't put up to this by the non-custodial parent, the mother.

I studied family law but wound up doing just one case - too bizarre for words. A really messy business enmeshed with Orthodox Judaism, religious divorce and even a Holocaust survivor. That was enough for me. I won it but it was my first and last matrimonial case.

Lawyers certainly can inflame clients but I think counsel more often are merely enablers. By the time the client retains a lawyer they're usually already in high dudgeon and out for blood.

And Fish, I'm sorry that your legal career has begun so badly, landing in the gutter of family law. Do yourself a favour. Learn something about bankruptcy and receivership. It's vastly more fun and, unlike matrimonial work, it's not emotionally draining.

Comrade One said...

Glad to see some interest on these issues, and to hear some familiar thoughts from those whose perspective is somewhat different.

While living in Ontario and gaining some first hand experience in these matters, I recall hearing the term acrimonious being used to describe this structure.

The considerations of battling spouses certainly cover a wide spectrum, and I remembered some comments from my Brother regarding his one and only family law case. It was the parties fighting over the Cat in the end that persuaded him to pursue Corporate Law instead.

I also remember being told that some 40% of cases entering the legal system in Ontario during recent years were family law related. Maybe some of those more directly involved could shed some light on the validity of those numbers.

I think the main aspect to consider in this situation and others that are similar, is the loss of Parental authority and the resulting guidance and stability this brings to world of Children.

Children have rights, and those are respected not only by securing safe housing and adequate physical care, but also by common sense approach to how and when they are empowered. And by whom.

Another consideration is the conflicting expectations placed upon parents, especially single custodial parents. Our system is designed in such a way as to allow itself to escape responsibility even if it has to contradict itself. This case is an example of that. The custodial Father was doing what society and it's agents say he should have been doing, and I agree with that part. He was involved enough and aware enough of his Child's activities to know there was a potential problem, and took steps to deal with that.

This is what society and agents say he is supposed to do. Well, unfortunately these things don't always go according to plan and thus comes step 2. Parenting 101.

So in swoops the system, and makes him out to be a bad Dad, and causes great damage in the relationship between he and his Daughter. They covered all the bases didn't they? I remember the game of hot potato from when I was a kid.

Often the solution is as simple as learning the meaning of minding one's own business. A little reflection on the state of perfection within one's own house might be helpful as well.

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Unknown said...

I think the main aspect to consider in this situation and others that are similar, is the loss of Parental authority and the resulting guidance and stability this brings to world of Children.