New Divorce Act won’t prevent family violence, critics say

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  • Karen R Rymer says:

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  • Karen R Rymer says:

    This article helps me a lot. Thanks for sharing valuable information. As I was looking for such information, I have found an article useful like this; you can check it out here. Divorce Rate in Canada I hope you get more information.

  • Dawn says:

    Canada needs a new criminal law rendering
    it felony child abuse/cruelty for a family court
    judicial officer to impose “adversarial” methods
    of dispute resolution in any case between
    parents of minor children, prior to ordering a
    proverbial ton of properly conducted sessions of
    family mediation. At the same time,
    Canada needs a complementary law mandating
    that all family court operatives must—prior to
    participating in any case between parents of
    minor children—complete a 6 credit family
    mediation clinic. No judge will go to jail because
    all of them will be properly trained (to aid, rather
    than to harm, children), and also because no judge
    will want to go to get a felony conviction for child
    cruelty; they will all simply refuse to harm children
    anymore, and will order ten or more sessions of structured
    family mediation, or whatever it takes, rather than
    get prosecuted for felony child cruelty just to help
    enrich a violent, greed-driven, mentally disturbed
    family lawyer thirsting for blood money (and trials).

  • Dawn says:

    The most extreme and prevalent forms of child/parent cruelty,
    violence and abuse will not end until the use of harmful, “adversarial”
    methods of dispute resolution in (all) cases between parents
    of minor children is essentially eradicated, and altogether
    replaced with (beneficial) “non-adversarial” best practices
    in family dispute resolution (structured family mediation).

  • Daniel Quigley says:

    What did I just read? Did you just ignore ALL of the available data to write this?

    The author is an M.D., a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, and DOESN’T believe parental alienation is a thing? Just because a handful of groups have advocated against its classification as a disease, doesn’t render the giant body of research showing it’s long-term harm as incorrect. Someone please check this person’s credentials. You could do a quick google search and outperform this assessment.

    Here’s some more facts: violence is more common from women than men and while fathers are involved in 38.6% of cases of child maltreatment, mothers are involved in 64%. There is no greater factor in the successful development of a child than the presence of a father. Despite this, fathers are awarded custody less than 10% of the time.

    “What’s apparently valued is the father’s access to the child over what the child wants.” That isn’t apparent at all. Have you been to family court? Have you read the statistics. What is valued is the largely popular view that women are eternal victims, hopeless and powerless and require every feasible opportunity to have laws slanted heavily in their favor which they clearly are. But this in no way advances women. This infantilizes women. What a way to send the world back in time. Thanks for your contribution.

    It is true that every 6 days a woman is murdered by her partner. That is immensely tragic. Here’s another interesting factoid related to that statistic: the vast amount of domestic violence perpetrated against women happens as divorce approaches and women are far more likely to instigate divorce. So perhaps its more reasonable to listen to what the actual professionals (still reticent to accept the authors credentials) tell us. That perhaps if fathers weren’t facing the prospect of a completely slanted justice system, no chance of fair process, having their children removed from them forcefully then turned against them, while being subject to child support guidelines which in no way resemble anything reasonable or fair and where there is no end in sight for having every dime they earn removed from them. They’re facing the end of their lives in divorce. Maybe if we addressed that problem, we could address the very real concern of family violence. So in that sense, I suppose i agree that the new Divorce Act will do nothing to prevent violence. But neither will bullshit articles of sexist propaganda like this.

    • Sarah says:

      Wow. Women often initiated the divorce so they and the children deserve to experience violence and death.
      The men’s money might be at risk. The outrage. You must be furious that you may have to help pay for the maintenance of the children you consider property.
      Your attitude is disgusting and shows why the divorce act desperately needed amendments.

      • Daniel says:

        “Women often initiated the divorce so they and the children deserve to experience violence and death.”

        No. I didn’t say that. Or imply that. Or in any way hint in that direction.

        My point was that because of the Divorce Act, many of these men feel they are facing the end of their lives. And that worry isn’t without basis. They have no reasonable expectation of a fair court proceeding, they’re likely to lose their children and those monetary losses are not insignificant.

        Now I’m not comparing what is right or wrong here. I’m not comparing circumstances in any way. What I’m saying is that those conditions are the likely factors behind the violence. With that in mind, it would be better to address those conditions, instead of exasperating them. If we can solve the root causes, we can make a bigger difference in the fight against family violence.

  • Jimmy Mac says:

    This is a terrible and one-sided article out to beat down men… Good job Joanna I’d like to know your background… An unbalanced article -it talks a lot about some of the women’s issues and omits the fact that they also can be abusers and equally influential in parental alienation. In fact most divorces are brought by women especially later in lifeBecause of an ill defined feeling of unhappiness and then a hard-working husband who is looking forward to enjoying the fruits of their labor’s in retirement is usually stunned and left financially decimated… And older kids or teenagers of the marriage are left wondering what went on. Which parent do I believe. Trust me we see lots of women go out and find another guy and then feel the grass is greener and decide to move on and force payment to them leaving the ex-husband broke and working and giving to an ex who is re-partnered and still living off the ex-husband’s pay… Retirement party. And don’t talk about what they gave up to stay home… It was a choice to stay home… In fact many articles not to Long ago talked about the “privilege” of staying home with kids. And in this present time staying home is a willful choice… Not a “sacrifice”.
    And frankly being with one parent only is never good for the child… The new divorce act it’s not good in that regard… Just because a teenager doesn’t agree with one of the parents doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to live with that parent and follow their boundaries… Sometimes that particular parent is the only sensible one and it’s OK to not let a child run amok who does not have a well developed prefrontal cortex yet. The fact that a child or teenager would have a preference is going to be used and abused… We all know this already. It’s going to make parents compete for their children and create a more entitled generation with unhealthy dependency and broke parents trying to impress kids that don’t care a lot of the time except for what they can get. Let’s be walkabout what really goes on in divorce nowadays and the financial proxy battle of child custody, and wealth transfer disguised with terms like support and child support. A poorly written law which is poorly interpreted and the typical result of a government getting involved in private lives.

  • ishtar gabriel says:

    Thank you for this article. You helped me put into words things I have shockingly experienced first hand in family court. It has been more traumatizing to be in family court than my emotionally and psychologically abusive 10 year marriage. When I was brave enough to get out… was the lack of validation and affirmation that pushed me into a deeper spiral of trauma……I had to constantly fight against the message I was getting from ALL OF THOSE MEANT TO HELP ME…….that I was overreacting, being difficult, exaggerating. They treated me as a hysterical crazy frantic woman. I had read about this shit in women studies classes…..but it was UNBELIEVABLE to EXPERIENCE such systematic repression of women in the VERY SYSTEM I naively believed would help me and protect my children. Until the system is healed women need to be warned and prepared for this reality. The system will gaslight you!!!!
    …..police officers, teachers, social workers, judges and lawyers turned them backs on us time and time again. “My daughter said to me one day, “mommy I can’t trust anyone. No one cares!”

    As a mother it is horrifying to come to understand that I had brought children into a relationship that wasnt safe…..but a whole society……never did I believe that such systematic repression of woman and children existed in this day and age. My eyes are wide open. My heart ways heavy and my passion for change pushes on.

    Thank you for this work. Ishtar Gabriel psychotherapist Hamilton ontario. Mother of 2 great kids

  • Judy Eileen says:

    This article summarizes the failures of Canadian family courts today. Too many women are signing parenting agreements because they’re being told they’ll lose access if they speak up for their children. For this reason, the children are not having a true voice.

  • pedrochapman says:

    Resourceful article. You cleared about some of my query. These days, people face many problems in families that break peace and happiness of their lives and the issues like property settlement, unhappy married life, adoption, abduction, divorce, child support etc. These problems need extra attention to be done legally, so people need to hire family lawyer. If you want more information about divorce law you can visit divorce lawyer in Canada

  • Judy Eileen says:

    Thank you for writing an article that truly depicts what many women have to face in family courts. Your last statement is so true: “What’s apparently valued is the father’s access to the child over what the child wants.”

    • Daniel says:

      Does it truly depict what women have to face? Women win custody more than 80% of the time. They’re enriched by a child support guideline that clearly transfers wealth. The real statistics tell a story that what women have to face in family court is nearly a guarantee of unfair benefit.

      “What’s apparently valued is the father’s access.” Ya…. that isn’t apparent at all. To anyone. Even if that was true, the actual data shows that father’s access is the single greatest factor for the successful development of a child. So despite the false victim narrative, IF father’s access was actually valued, that access would prove to be the best interest of the child.

  • Peggy says:

    This is very profound and well researched !! I have heard of too many situations where the victims’ rights (women & children) and I am sure some men ( who have been victimized) have not been valued or respected and have ultimately suffered greatly!! Well done!!


Joanna Cheek


Joanna Cheek, M.D., is a Victoria psychiatrist, clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, and freelance journalist.  She is the author of her upcoming book, This Being Human: A Mental Health Survival Guide for the End of the World.

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