Gender roles in Canadian society have changed dramatically over the decades.
With women participating more fully in the workforce, men are taking on more of the responsibility of child care.
Despite this change in family dynamics, the courts still treat mothers and fathers quite differently.
In the event of a split, primary custody is almost always awarded to the mother.
The courts seem to assume that the mother is the better parent and a father’s most important contribution is financial support.
Child support is important, but enforcement can pose a great burden on low-income fathers.
While the law does allow for monthly child support payments to be reduced in cases of financial hardship or shared parenting, some judges don’t always agree to reducing the monthly payment.
The notion of deadbeat dads seems deeply ingrained, but over 80% of fathers make support payments on-time and in the full amount.
Courts need to recognize that fathers contribute much more than financial resources to their children.
Studies have repeatedly shown that children do better with both parents actively involved in their lives.
Judges should aim to see that children maintain relationships with all significant people in their lives.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
To download a copy of the book Ideology and Dysfunction in Family Law, visit our website www.fcpp.org.