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Promises Promises

Here’s an election promise I’d love to hear!

With our federal politicians busily throwing our money around for shameless political motives, here’s a promise worth hearing, and more importantly keeping. Especially so, if you’re part of the 50% demographic of married couples with children, to divorce now, or in the future.

Let me put it this way;

F-35 fighter jets – 30 billion (plus) dollars

Universal child care – 150 million dollars

Meaningful changes to Federal Divorce Act – Priceless

Why is it that I’ve heard no federal political party propose any changes to our federal Divorce Act? This is despite the recommendations years ago of a joint Commons Senate committee which recommended substantive changes to the federal legislation. In the meantime there was no delay in implementing the child support guidelines.

Here’s just one meaningful change which I know would have a profoundly positive impact when parents separate or divorce, with the added bonus that it would not cost anything to implement. Rather this change would actually save money by reducing valuable court time!! How? By reducing the need for parties, with or without counsel, to require a judge to decide the matter of CUSTODY, ACCESS, PRIMARY RESIDENCE, etc.

Here’s the change. When parents separate there would be a presumption that children receive equal care from both parties. In other words shared custody, an arrangement which already exists in law, means each parent exercises care and control of any children between 40 to 60 percent of the available time.

But not so fast I hear the critics say. What about lousy, irresponsible negligent, parents? Would they also be automatically entitled to enjoy equal access? NO – that’s why it’s called a presumption it can be rebutted.

The new legislation would also spell out that such arrangement comes with important parental responsibilities. Along with equal care and control each parent would be required to accept certain child related obligations and responsibilities.

So rather than adjudicating acrimonious battles over such archaic, outmoded and damaging concepts as custody, primary residence and access, courts would have more time to focus on the needs of children.

If you get the chance before the election to ask any questions of the candidates in your riding, go ahead and ask them their position on meaningful changes to the Divorce Act.

After all, I can’t imagine a more promising future for our children.

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