Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Divorced B.C. father kept from seeing child

In the article from the CBC below Mr. Geesing has done the right thing by taking this matter public. For many years courts have given sole physical custody to moms (90% in Canada).  Possession of children is not 9/10's of the law it is 10/10's. When mom has the kids she directly controls dad and often in a very twisted manner using the children as pawns. The courts will not enforce access. Mom's know this, as do lawyers, and use it as leverage.

The courts and the lawyers are picking the pockets of vulnerable families including the child's future financial integrity, and will not change without public knowledge and intervention.

It is a gamble because courts tend to use it against the parent who does go public. They do not believe it is in the "child's best interest". It will be if enough men go public, and we number in the tens of thousands, so men get involved and support Billl C-422 for equal shared parenting. Lawyers do not like this bill because it will reduce their business and they intimidated Rob Nicholson, the conservative member for Niagara, and Canada's Federal Justice Minister, at their annual general meeting in Ireland in 2009 so much he said he didn't support it.

Think about this for a minute. The Canadian Bar Association represent lawyers across Canada. They are a lobby group. Nicholson is a member of this group. He is also the Minister responsible for the creation and administration of Canadian Law. Bill C-422 will reduce divorce and lawyer's income. Isn't there something ethically wrong with this? 

A few Human Rights Complaints against government policies and bureaucrats down the road will help to steer the ship into more equal waters as the system, whether it be DV or Family Law to name just two, is way out of whack in favour of the feminist mythology that dads and men are just plain bad.MJM  

June 22, 2010

By CBC News
CBC News

A divorced B.C. father who hasn't seen his daughter for months blames the family court system and is joining others in a call for change.

A divorced B.C. father who hasn't seen his young daughter for several months blames the family court system and is joining others in a call for change.

"Before all this happened, my daughter had a great relationship with me," said Dieter Geesing. "I feel really helpless. This is not right."

Geesing said his ex-wife has been allowed to bar him from his daughter because a court order requiring her to co-operate is unenforceable.

"I love my child. It's not fair to her. You are cheating her of her childhood," he said tearfully. "This child has a right to interact with her father."

Geesing is a forestry specialist and his daughter is his only child. He and his wife separated in 2008, when the girl was eight years old. Since then, he said, his wife has tried to shut him out of his daughter's life completely.

No contact for 15 months


"When I phone, I get the message 'She doesn't want to talk to you,'" said Geesing. "On her 10th birthday, I left flowers on her doorstep - that's it."

Geesing has had no contact with his child since March 2009.

A court order in June 2009 gave the parents joint guardianship, with the child's "primary residence" at her mother's home.

The court also instructed the mother to pay for and attend counselling to help establish a "healthier" relationship between father and daughter. A letter from the counsellor to the judge shows Geesing's ex-wife has since failed to co-operate.

"For me it's quite obvious here is somebody who doesn't want this child to have any contact," said Geesing.

Records show there have been no consequences for the child's mother. Geesing has been told he has no legal recourse but to go back to court to ask the judge for help, which could take several months.

No comment from mother


Because she is the custodial parent, CBC News is not identifying the mother by name, to help protect the child's identity. When contacted, Geesing's ex-wife refused comment. Her lawyer did not respond to messages.

Geesing is one of several parents and family advocates calling on Ottawa to change the Divorce Act to give non-abusive divorcing parents automatic, equal roles in their children's lives.

"Why am I supposed to be the lesser parent?" asked Geesing. "The default [in the courts] should be equal, shared parenting. That should be the default."

When Geesing's divorce case got to trial, the child's mother wrongly accused him of inappropriate behaviour toward his daughter.

"It completely went out of control," said Geesing. "Nothing shook me as much as this accusation."

Ice cream photos called 'inappropriate'


Evidence of what Geesing's ex-wife deemed inappropriate included pictures he took of his daughter showing off her first permanent teeth and pictures of her eating an ice cream cone.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Burnyeat concluded, "Having reviewed the photographs that the plaintiff believes were inappropriate, I cannot reach that conclusion."

The mother also said it was wrong for Geesing to playfully nibble on his daughter's ear while they were watching a DVD together.

The judge didn't buy that either, concluding, "I am satisfied that the plaintiff overreacted to what might be viewed by many as an innocent sign of affection between a father and his daughter."

A detailed psychological analysis of the family found no evidence the child had been abused, but concluded instead that the mother had alienated her from her father. It also recommended that if the mother didn't change her behaviour, the child should live with her father.

"[The mother] has been using control as a coping mechanism of ...perverse anxiety," wrote the psychologist. "There has clearly been a campaign of parental alienation."

"All of this court, this fighting, for nothing," said Geesing.

Access denial 'common'


"I know fathers who have been to court 50 times - in front of a judge - only to be told that they will get access but they do not," said Jerry Arthur-Wong, the executive director at Vancouver's only men's resource centre.

"It's like the court appearance had no impact on the other parent."

He said the extreme problems he sees are with the minority of protracted, acrimonious divorces, where the parents go all the way to trial to fight it out.

A 2009 study by Edward Kruk at the University of B.C.'s school of social work took a detailed look at the parental roles of 82 Vancouver-area fathers, from all walks of life, post-divorce.

Of the 82, 56 reported "lack of access" as their No. 1 problem. Thirty of the 82 fathers reported being completely disengaged from their children's lives.

Arthur-Wong also wants the Divorce Act amended to make equal, shared parenting the norm, except in cases where one parent is deemed unfit.

Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott is sponsoring a private member's bill that would make shared parenting the starting position in all cases that go to court. The bill passed first reading, but won't be debated in Ottawa for several months, if at all.

Government undecided on bill


A spokesperson for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said he wasn't available for comment and the government has not decided whether to support the initiative.

"Our government is committed to promoting positive outcomes for the entire family during separation or divorce," wrote Nicholson's press secretary, Pamela Stephens. "Since parents usually understand their children better than anyone else, our government strongly encourages parents co-operate to make parenting arrangements in their children's best interests."

Arthur-Wong said the government has delayed taking definitive action for far too long.

"Denial of access is pretty common," he said. "That is child abuse and that is not acceptable in this society."
He thinks provinces should set up registries of parents who ignore court-ordered access, similar to the maintenance enforcement agencies that penalize parents who default on child-support payments.

"Those who say that it would be impossible to keep a registry of access denial, I say let's try it with the more extreme cases," he said.

Geesing doesn't expect to get another court date until the fall.

"I don't even know what I will do the first time, if I ever see her," said Geesing. "Should I shake her hand? Give her my business card or something like this? What do I do? I feel afraid to do anything."

Even if he doesn't see his daughter until she grows up, Geesing said he hopes by seeing him tell his story publicly, she will know one day that he tried to be a good father.

"I think I owe it to her to let her know that this is wrong."


Robin T said...

This is travesty at its worst. How often does this have to happen before this lumbering hulk we know as our "legal system" pulls its head out of the sand, and the dollar trough. I am going through this very thing. Have been for going on 7 years. My daughter is now 9. We've now come to a trial (in severely back logged court) that will cost me in the area of $50,000, almost 3 years wages. For a possible ruling that will not be enforced, except via further court dates and expense. She is the most important thing in my life, yet, I am faced with having to drop all proceedings. Over the years I have paid for countless reports, all of which stress that my daughter is under no danger from access with her father. Thats all I'm after, the opportunity to visit my daughter with out supervision. and have a healthy relationship with my little girl.

Michael J. Murphy said...

In the past men had few channels with which to challenge the Family Law System and took their "medicine". Over the past 15 years things started to change with more advocacy and far more channels to fight the system led by greedy lawyers.

Very slow progress is occurring and we now have a Private Members Bill C-422 sitting in Parliament. This has little chance of passage but it shows far more momentum than in the past.

Dad's challenging the status quo is a phenomena in western democracies,some of whom have passed equal parenting laws. We need to keep advocating and stay in the fight even after our own cases have finished in the courts.

Deirdre said...

My brother was in a 3 year relationship with a woman who got pregnant this past year.When she was 7 months pregnant she broke up with him.She had her baby 2 days ago and refuses to name him as the father.So now he has to pay a lawyer to try and get a paternity test because he wants to be with his child.She is refusing to even let him see his son.Why are the laws all for the mother, yet the fathers have to spend thousands just to be in their childs life?Does anyone have some advise I can give him?He is devastated and so is my family.

T L Redan said...

I think Fathers have just as much rights as the mothers do, I've left my husband but I DID NOT take his rights away from him as a father. Just because him and I had problems, that didn't mean he had problems with his daughter. He loves his daughter very much and would do anything for her, he provides for her, takes her places and most importantly sees her just as much as he did when we were a family. And as long as he kept his part as a father I told him OUR daughter well be just fine. I think keeping a child away from a parent for NO reason is wrong, the child didn't deserve any of it, they didn't ask to be put in the middle. Children should be kept out of the adults problems, they NEED BOTH parents to love them and teach them. My prayers and thoughts go out to all parents that are having troubles...

Anonymous said...

This is horrible and I agree the family kangaroo court system needs to be changed. I have been in the court system to gain access to my daughter shortly after her birth. As a result of parent alientation, I have had to jump through every hoop for almost five years now.I have faced countless false accusations brought forth by my ex which are very damaging, yet there are no consequences for her for. Sole custody remains with her. My daughter is already showing signs of child abuse (mental) yet the Ministry of Children agrees all the signs and flags of child abuse are present but they can not prove
it. This is so wrong and it is happening all the time to fathers across Canada. It is time for fathers to stand up together and change the system ourselves

Anonymous said...

I was with my common-law wife three years. We had three children, the first one didn't make it. Followed by two Beautiful girls whom I love very much and we ended up seperating. Once we did that we filed in court to the effect of Join-Custody and Joint-Guardianship, her demanding Primary Residence (Surprise Surpise). I agreed to the terms because I didn't want a huge court-battle. Took my joint custody and was happy with that. We then arranged a visitation schedule without using mediation (looking back I'm kicking myself). Seven days on, and Seven days off of shared access. As the fighting and arguments continuously mounted over the phone and sometimes in person about our history and all of the nit-picking issues she had,I had decided to tell her that I didn't want anything to do with her directly unless it was an emergency (specificly for the kids), she claimed she was fine with that and then her behaviour started to change. She stopped answering my calls attempting to setup times/dates to pickup the Girls. She avoided me, my girlfriend and anyone else who tried to get in touch with her. The day I was supposed to pick them up finally came -- and she demanded that I sign a personal contract with her about changing diapers, brushing theit teeth, giving them stricter bedtimes etc etc, the list went on. She said that if I didn't sign the contract she wasn't going to let me have my kids during my visitation week. Joint-Custody? Dumfounded that she can even get away with something like that.

So then I agreed and submitted to her control for the sake of being able to have my girls. Another week lapses. Kids go back. Then during the following week we made calls to confirm for the next pickup date/time/location (usually daycare). She verbally confirms that the girls will be ready and AT daycare on the pickup day. I get there and find out that she instructed the staff that only SHE was allowed to pick them up. I turn around and call her directly and she stated that her reasons were that I'm smoking and drinking around my children (Never happens), and that the courts adivsed her (against my custody) to hold onto the kids until the court date. She had no existing order from the court (I called to make sure) and then just took my kids home with me from Daycare. She even tried to convince me on the phone that the kids weren't at Daycare and she didn't realize I was standing next to them and the staff.

Two days later, the police show up at my door and tell me that she applied for an interim exportei order and the police had the power to return the kids to her. Huh? Justice? Why did I even get Joint Custody if it had no meaning? So anyway, we attended the hearing, and she's asking for my access to be reduced from 7 days (with overnights) to 2 days a week, no over nights. Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking around my kids and a huge list of other nasty things she decided to try and claim. I have the occasional beer at home, but I don't ever do any of the things she's accusing me of. But she's intelligent enough to know how to work these wonderful system we have by throwing up a child-neglect flag, and mention "drugs" on it knowing that without evidence they'll just yank my children from me.

I can't eat, sleep or even think without having panic attacks over all this. I've been talking about it with friends, family and that only helps so much. Even though I've prepared my own defense to her accusations. I am still terrified and how biased the court system seems to be toward men in favor of mothers.

Any and all comments, helpful thoughts or advice would be most appreciated.

As for C-422, where do I sign?

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