Opposing Bill S-202: Joint custody is dangerous when there is a history of abuse
On December 13, 2017, Luke’s Place Legal Director Pamela Cross made a submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs about Bill S-202.
Pamela made the submission on behalf of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL).
Bill S-202 proposes amendments to Section 16 of the Divorce Act. The Bill would impose shared parenting on all families that undergo divorce.
From Pamela’s submission:
We oppose Bill S-202, as we have various other attempts to change the Divorce Act over the past two decades, because it does not reflect principles of women’s equality. In particular, these reforms would place women fleeing abusive relationships and their children at serious risk of ongoing abuse and violence by their former partners.
Bill S-202 would introduce what amounts to a presumption in favour of shared parenting. This is not appropriate, as the correct use of the best interests of the child test is significantly dependent on the unique circumstances of each child and their family. Case law has clearly established the inappropriateness of joint custody where parents cannot communicate effectively or where one parent is fearful of the other.