TV meets Ontario Family Law [how divorce affects parenting
TV meets Ontario Family Law [how divorce affects parenting]
Art often imitates life. But in this case, an Ontario judge found that life imitated a TV show. In Coe v. Tope  O.J. No. 3182, Ontario Superior Court Justice Pazaratz began his decision with this quote:
"BREAKING BAD: A southern U.S. expression for when a good person suddenly loses their moral compass and starts doing bad things. The latter is a sad reality show playing out in family courts across the country.
BREAKING BAD PARENTS: When smart, loving, caring, sensible mothers and fathers suddenly lose their parental judgment and embark on relentless, nasty litigation; oblivious to the impact on their children.
SPOILER ALERT: The main characters in both of these tragedies end up pretty much the same: Miserable. Financially ruined. And worst of all, hurting the children they claimed they were protecting. To prolong the tortured metaphor only slightly, the "urgent" motion before me might be regarded as this family's pilot episode. Will these parents sign up for the permanent cast of Breaking Bad Parents? Will they become regulars in our family court building, recognizable by face and disposition? Or will they come to their senses; salvage their lives, dignity (and finances); and give their children the truly priceless gifts of maturity and permission to love? Stay tuned."
This all stems from a motion that Justice Pazaratz heard by the mother for custody of two children, aged 5 and 3 years old. The mother claimed the father was abusive. She claimed she was the primary caregiver throughout the children's lives and sought an order maintaining her as such. The father denied any abusive conduct and claimed the mother had prevented him from taking a more active role in caring for the children.
Co-parenting can work if both spouses put the children first
After much mud-slinging, the judge dismissed the mother's motion for custody and ordered the parents to share the parenting of the children equally. He found that both parents were capable and caring, as long as they put their animosity aside and the children's needs first.
Justice Pazaratz granted parenting times to be exercised on a 2 to 3 day cycle with each parent having alternate weekends with the children. The parents were awarded equal roles and responsibilities for communicating with professionals involved in the children's lives and equal decision-making authority.
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