The Children’s Law Reform Act governs custody and access in Ontario. Section 20 of this Act states that “the father and the mother of a child are equally entitled to custody of the child”.
So are husband and wife, father and mother treated equally under the law? In my opinion…..
|In my opinion–and remember this is only my opinion based on my experience—there is a double standard. Prevalent in our society is the deeply engrained belief that as we humans emerged from the primordial ooze, women were bestowed with an atavistic maternal instinct. Men, on the other hand, know how to hunt, swing from tree to tree, beat our chests and procreate; however, we are specially challenged when it comes to parenting. I find that all things being equal, women have a distinct advantage over men when it comes to custody disputes. |
Take for instance a situation where a woman, deciding the relationship is over, leaves the home with the child without any warning. If the man contacts the police, alarmed at the sudden disappearance of his spouse and child, the police will most likely locate the mother and child, ensure the parties are not in danger, and inform the man that this is a family law matter and that should retain a family lawyer. If the roles were reversed, and the man left the home with the child, the police might act in a similar fashion….or, the man might find himself in a spot of trouble.
|Tip for New Fathers |
What if both spouses are new parents? I would always advise a new father to take a parenting course. I would do so because I think a parenting course would benefit any new parent; but I also recommend a parenting course because I think it would be essential in helping the father protect his parenting rights if nasty litigation were to ensue. Of course, I would recommend a parenting course to a new mother. However, I do not think such a course is nearly as crucial from a legal/tactical perspective.
Please do not misconstrue my comments as misogynistic ravings. I would say that I have an equal split between male and female clients. I have great female clients and challenging female clients; the same can be said of my male clients. But in short, I do believe that mothers continue to have a distinct advantage over fathers when it comes to custody battles—even in this day and age.