Toronto Sun

Friday, March 28, 2003

Divorce quagmire

Changes won't help kids: Critics

By KATHLEEN HARRIS, OTTAWA BUREAU
Toronto Sun

OTTAWA -- Justice Minister Martin Cauchon's plan to help children of divorcing parents could backfire and create more bitter court battles, critics warn.

"This is not going to serve children at all -- it will only serve divorce professionals very well," said Steve Osborne, a St. John, N.B. dad who attended yesterday's meeting of the Commons justice committee.

Proposed changes to the Divorce Act aim to curb the "adversarial" relationships between parents going through divorce or separation. Cauchon wants to halt the "winners-and-losers mentality" in custody disputes and make children paramount.

Removing loaded words like "custody" and "access" and focusing on parental responsibilities instead of rights will create a system that's more fair and effective, he said.

But Canadian Alliance MP Jay Hill warned that excluding shared parenting from the law will do nothing to sweeten relations between ex-spouses. He also worried it could lead to more defaulters of child support.

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