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Increasing the emphasis on the child in the resolution of custody disputes Strickland, Steven Andrew 1979

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INCREASING THE EMPHASIS ON THE CHILD IN THE RESOLUTION OF CUSTODY DISPUTES  by  Steven Andrew Strickland LL.B (Hons.) University of Adelaide, 1972  thesis submitted i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t of the requirements f o r the degree of Master of Laws  in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Department of Law)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia September, 1979  © S t e v e n Andrew Strickland, 1979  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r  an advanced d e g r e e a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and I f u r t h e r agree that permission f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  f o r extensive copying  be g r a n t e d  study.  of t h i s thesis  by the Head, o f my Department o r  It i s understood that copying  or p u b l i c a t i o n  o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my written  permission.  Department n f  L a w  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , Canada V6T 1W5 n .P a t  3rd Sept.  1979  ii ABSTRACT  The problem which i s confronted p e r e n n i a l one;  i n t h i s paper i s a  the r e s o l u t i o n of c h i l d custody  disputes.  However, i t i s not the aim of the paper to p r o v i d e a quick easy s o l u t i o n , even i f such were p o s s i b l e .  and  Instead, i t i s  contended t h a t a much more s a t i s f a c t o r y r e s u l t can be i f t h e r e i s more emphasis p l a c e d on the person who most a f f e c t e d by a c o u r t ' s d e c i s i o n , namely, the  achieved  i s the child  himself.  A d e t a i l e d examination of the p r i n c i p l e s used i n the t r a d i t i o n a l method of determining t h a t t h e r e i s a decided  c h i l d placement i n d i c a t e s  l a c k of i n p u t from the  child.  Unfortunately,  the blame can be l a i d at the f e e t o f not  the courts and  the lawyers,  public generally. employed without  but a l s o l e g i s l a t u r e s and  only  the  T r a d i t i o n a l methods of a d j u d i c a t i o n are an a p p r e c i a t i o n of the s p e c i a l nature  of the  problem a t hand.  F o r t u n a t e l y though, the s o l u t i o n i s not f a r away, and i t i s the major contention of t h i s paper t h a t a more e f f e c t i v e use of the methods and proceedings w i l l p r o v i d e the i n p u t necessary most d i f f i c u l t of i s s u e s .  a l r e a d y a t Qur  disposal  to i n f o r m a d e c i s i o n on  this  iii  The methods of p r o v i d i n g i n p u t from the c h i l d can d i v i d e d i n t o two  categories.  i n d i r e c t input.  The  be  There can be e i t h e r d i r e c t or  former category  comprises evidence  the c h i l d and i n t e r v i e w s by the judge, w h i l e the  latter  c o n s i s t s of independent r e p r e s e n t a t i o n by l e g a l counsel the u t i l i s a t i o n of b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s .  from  and  These methods  are examined i n g r e a t depth, and g u i d e l i n e s are suggested, as w e l l as p i t f a l l s  Finally,  identified.  as a concession  to those who  would chance  the system of c h i l d placement e n t i r e l y , t h i s paper looks at suggested a l t e r n a t i v e s , but concludes b e t t e r system than one  that there i s i n f a c t  i n v o l v i n g a d j u d i c a t i o n by a c o u r t ,  long as the same becomes l e s s parent o r i e n t a t e d and more child orientated.  as  no  iv TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter  Page  1.  Introduction  1  2.  H i s t o r i c a l Background and the A p p l i c a b l e  S t a t u t e Law  9  3.  The Best I n t e r e s t s of the C h i l d  4.  Improving  19  the Determination o f the Best  I n t e r e s t s of the C h i l d  132  ( l ) I n c r e a s i n g the Input from the C h i l d i n t o the Decision-making Process  132  (a) Is C h i l d Input F e a s i b l e ?  138  (b) The Methods o f A c h i e v i n g Input from C h i l d r e n  148  (i)  148  I n d i r e c t Methods Independent R e p r e s e n t a t i o n of C h i l d r e n  143  The U t i l i z a t i o n o f B e h a v i o u r a l Scientists  213  ( i i ) D i r e c t Methods  272  Evidence by the C h i l d  272  Interviews by the Judge  278  V  Chapter  Page  (2) Is a Judge the A p p r o p r i a t e A r b i t e r  of a Custody Dispute?  5.  297  Conclusion  351  Bibliography  355  1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION  The  time-worn adage t h a t c h i l d r e n should be seen and  not heard i s an apt d e s c r i p t i o n of. t h e i r treatment by the law.' For too long now c h i l d r e n have been deprived i n the o r d e r i n g  o f any involvement  of t h e i r f u t u r e , p a r t i c u l a r l y where l e g a l  proceedings are concerned.  T h i s a t t i t u d e o f the law i s premised on the assumption t h a t parents know what i s best the  f o r t h e i r children}" and t h e r e f o r e  law should not i n t e r f e r e i n the p a r e n t / c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p .  I t i s c e r t a i n l y true t h a t f a m i l i e s are not l e g a l i n s t i t u t i o n s .  1  They are moulded by s o c i e t y and do not n e c e s s a r i l y bend with changes i n the law.  However, i n c r i s i s  s i t u a t i o n s the pressures  i n s o c i e t y cannot cope, being tuned t o an i n t e g r a t e d Accordingly,  the law must step i n and take over from s o c i e t y  as the instrument f o r o r d e r i n g importantly,  family.  f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s , but, most  i t must do so on other than t r a d i t i o n a l  I t i s t o t a l l y inappropriate  precepts.  t o allow the parents t o speak and  act f o r the c h i l d when the f a m i l y u n i t d i s i n t e g r a t e s and c h i l d placement becomes the i s s u e . t h i s b a s i s , and there  Yet, i n f a c t , the law proceeds on  i s very l i t t l e  emphasis on the c h i l d as  an i n d i v i d u a l .  The  law's method of d e a l i n g with the h i g h l y emotive i s s u e  of c h i l d placement i s t o t h r u s t i t on a court steeped i n the  t r a d i t i o n s of c r i m i n a l and/or c i v i l j u r i s d i c t i o n ,  and  one  d e c e p t i v e l y simple g u i d e l i n e i s p r o v i d e d ; the c h i l d r e n s h a l l be p l a c e d i n accordance with t h e i r best i n t e r e s t s .  The  adversary process i s then s e t i n motion with the c h i l d r e n as the p r i z e or reward f o r the s u c c e s s f u l parent.  The  question can v a l i d l y be r a i s e d as to whether t h i s  i s the i d e a l s e t t i n g f o r a determination suggest not.  Admittedly,  of c h i l d placement. I  the l e g i s l a t i v e g u i d e l i n e i s there,  and the f a c t s can g e n e r a l l y be a s c e r t a i n e d with a r e l a t i v e l y high degree of c e r t a i n t y , but the important  step i s l i n k i n g  the f a c t s with the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d . p r o v i d e d with a d i s c r e t i o n t h a t i s extremely itself  creates d i f f i c u l t i e s .  R a r e l y do two  The  up  court i s  wide, but t h a t i n judges view what  i s i n the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d i n the same f a s h i o n , and judgements are as v a r i e d and as d i v e r s e as t h e r e are c h i l d r e n from broken homes.  Yet,  the judge hearing the matter i s the  s o l e a r b i t e r as to what w i l l enhance the w e l f a r e and of the c h i l d r e n before the c o u r t . The  happiness  comment can be made t h a t  i f a judge i s to be p l a c e d i n t h i s p o s i t i o n , then i t i s essential t h a t he be a p p r i s e d of the e n t i r e spectrum of p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n f l u e n c e s a t p l a y when c h i l d r e n are r u d e l y awakened from the s t a b i l i t y of a two p a r e n t household. be r e c e p t i v e to evidence  Thus, the c o u r t needs to  from the b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n c e s  r e c o g n i s e the inadequacies  of a s t r i c t  the i s s u e of c h i l d placement.  The  and  l e g a l i s t i c approach to  c o u r t must f e e l  satisfied  3 t h a t a l l the a v a i l a b l e evidence has been p l a c e d before i t . U n f o r t u n a t e l y though, t h i s cannot t r a d i t i o n a l adversary system. views the proceedings  be achieved w i t h i n the  Each parent, through  counsel,  as a b a t t l e ground, the aim being, to  convince the c o u r t t h a t the other parent i s u n f i t to have the care and own  c o n t r o l of the c h i l d r e n w h i l e e s t a b l i s h i n g h i s or her  s u i t a b i l i t y i n that regard.  p a r t i e s themselves  to determine  I t i s w i t h i n the power of the the extent of the i n f o r m a t i o n  t h a t w i l l be presented to the court i n order t o achieve purpose.  this  Thus, the evidence presented can be very s t i l t e d  and  p a r t i s a n ; not at a l l what the court r e q u i r e s i n order to base a d e c i s i o n designed t o promote the i n t e r e s t s of the  children.  A c c o r d i n g l y , t h e r e i s a need f o r a c o u n t e r b a l a n c i n g f a c t o r I suggest t h a t t h i s should be independent  information  i n g the c h i l d i t s e l f , p a r t i c u l a r l y the views, thoughts  of the  The  feelings  and  concernand  child.  e n t i r e f u t u r e of the c h i l d r e n i s at stake when a  f a m i l y u n i t d i s s o l v e s , and i t i s not unreasonable  to suggest 2  t h a t they, as the persons most a f f e c t e d by the d e c i s i o n , should have an.  independent  v o i c e i n the proceedings.  It i s  e n t i r e l y u n s a t i s f a c t o r y to r e l y on the squabbling parents to promote the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d r e n i n an unbiased f a s h i o n . Apart from the f a c t t h a t c h i l d r e n might have o p i n i o n s and i n t e r e s t s separate and d i f f e r e n t from those of the parents, the motives  of the l a t t e r i n urging claims over c h i l d r e n sometimes  4  comprise revenge a g a i n s t , and/or punishment o f , the other of them, and i t i s common f o r the c h i l d r e n to be viewed merely as  •3 4  c h a t t e l s to be bargained with.'  Nor  should the c o u r t i t s e l f  be  r e l i e d on as the s o l e p r o t e c t o r of the c h i l d r e n ' s best i n t e r e s t s , although suggest arena  t h i s has been the t r a d i t i o n a l approach.  t h a t i t i s unwise f o r the c o u r t to descend i n t o  of the proceedings  the  i n order to look beyond the i n t e r e s t s  of the parents.  The  r o l e o f advocate  f o r the c h i l d and p l a c e h i s o b j e c t i v i t y i n  question. adversary  danger i s t h a t the judge w i l l take on  Yet, t h i s has  I  been necessary  the  given the l i m i t s of the  system.  C l e a r l y though, the adversary system i s here to stay, at l e a s t f o r the p r e s e n t , p r i m a r i l y at how utilized  4  and t h e r e f o r e i t i s necessary to look  best the trappings of such a system can  to p r o v i d e the r e q u i r e d i n p u t .  The  obvious  be  response •5  i s f o r the c h i l d r e n to be independently represented i n court, and f o r them to be t r e a t e d as p a r t i e s to the a c t i o n i n the f u l l e s t p o s s i b l e sense.  Indeed, i t seems to me  t h a t a r i g h t to  be heard i n t h i s context i s as fundamental a r i g h t as  any.^  But i t does not stop t h e r e because separate r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i s not n e c e s s a r i l y the panacea t h a t i t seems.  I t s t i l l must be  r e a l i s e d t h a t custody determination d i f f e r s markedly from the r e c o g n i s e d model of a d j u d i c a t i o n .  Thus, other d e v i c e s , f o r e i g n 1  to the t r a d i t i o n a l approach of courts need t o be u t i l i z e d ; e.'g., the i n t e r v i e w i n g of c h i l d r e n by the judge,  and the e x t e n s i v e use  5  of evidence  from the b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n c e s , to mention j u s t  two  matters.  There a l s o needs to be a g e n e r a l r e c o g n i t i o n by  court and  the l i t i g a n t s t h a t the court room i s to be used only  as a l a s t r e s o r t . even conferences  L i b e r a l use of p r e - t r i a l conferences,  p r i o r to the i n s t i t u t i o n of proceedings  e s s e n t i a l to s o f t e n the traumatic  the  and is  e f f e c t of the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n  of the f a m i l y u n i t .  Simply s t a t e d , courts d e a l i n g with t h i s question  of c h i l d placement must become l e s s  and more c h i l d - o r i e n t a t e d .  difficult  parent-orientated  In other words :  "The c h i l d ' s p o i n t of view, what's f a i r to him, not merely the mens r e a of the one who w i e l d s the rod must be taken i n t o account." 7  To i l l u s t r a t e t h i s need f o r i n p u t from the c h i l d paper examines the e x i s t i n g method of r e s o l v i n g custody p a r t i c u l a r l y i n d i v o r c e proceedings,  this disputes,  being as i t i s the  u l t i m a t e d e s t r u c t i o n ( a p a r t from death) of the f a m i l y u n i t . However, i t i s easy to assume t h a t i n p u t from the c h i l d i s a f e a s i b l e concept, and b r i e f l y considered.  a c c o r d i n g l y the c a p a c i t y of a c h i l d i s T h i s review provides reason  f o r optimism  as to the p o t e n t i a l f o r d i r e c t i n p u t from the c h i l d , but i t i s a l s o e v i d e n t t h a t t h i s i n p u t can sometimes o n l y be what a t h i r d p a r t y p e r c e i v e s as the needs of the c h i l d .  Thus, there can  be.  both d i r e c t and i n d i r e c t i n p u t from c h i l d r e n i n t o the d e c i s i o n making process,  and the major p o r t i o n of t h i s paper i s  6  concerned w i t h i n v e s t i g a t i n g the methods f o r ensuring t h i s . ! However, i t w i l l be seen that these methods d i f f e r a c c o r d i n g to whether t h e r e i s d i r e c t or i n d i r e c t i n p u t .  In r e s p e c t of  the former, the methods comprise i n t e r v i e w s by the judge and evidence from the c h i l d i t s e l f , whereas the l a t t e r  comprises  methods such as r e p r e s e n t a t i o n by independent counsel and the utilization  of b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s .  The paper then concludes with a d i s c u s s i o n r e g a r d i n g the r e t e n t i o n of judges as the s o l e a r b i t e r s of custody d i s p u t e s .  7 FOOTNOTES, CHAPTER 1  1.  " I t i s not the benefit to the infant as conceived by the court, but i t must be the benefit to the infant having regard to the natural law which points out that the father knows far better as a rule what i s good for his children than a Court of J u s t i c e can". In A a a r - E l l i s (1883), 24 Ch. D. 377, at PP. 337-338. Also see Chisholm : "Obtaining and Weighing the Children's Wishes; Private Interviews with a Judge or Assessment by an Expert and Report" (1976), 23 R.F.L. 1  2.  Bersoff feels that children are most affected by divorce because they stand to lose the salutory effects of an i n t a c t family. Bersoff, "Representation for Children i n Custody Decisions - A l l that G l i t t e r s i s not Gault" (1976), 15 J . Fam. L. 27, at PP. 36-37.  3.  e.g., see the comments of a New Jersey Family Court Judge in Devine. "A Child's Right to Independent Counsel in Custody Proceedings : Providing E f f e c t i v e Best Interests' Determination Through the Use of a Legal Advocate," (1975),.6 Seton H a l l L. Rev. 303, at P. 312. Also see Chisholm, supra, footnote 1. 1  4.  Indeed, Mnookin, after an exhaustive examination of the alternatives, concluded that the abandonment of , adjudication for the resolution of private custody disputes was unlikely. Also see Foster., " T r i a l of Custody Issues and Alternatives to the Adversary Process", i n Baxter and Eberts (eds.), "The Child and the Courts" (1978), 55.  5.  In the words of Foster and Freed : "This matter of independent representation by counsel, so that children have their own lawyer when their disposition or welfare i s at stake, i s the most s i g n i f i c a n t and p r a c t i c a l reform that can be made i n the area of children and the law. Given our predilection for the adversary format and the small l i k e l i h o o d that i t w i l l be abandoned i n the foreseeable future ... i t i s clear that reform should be directed at making the process functional, and to permit a l l interested parties - including children to have independent counsel ..." (Foster and Freed. "A B i l l of Rights for Children" (1972), 6 Fam. L.Q. 343 at P. 356).  8  6.  The B r i t i s h Columbia Royal Commission on Family and C h i l d r e n ' s Law i n i t s F i f t h Report, P a r t i i i , " C h i l d r e n ' s R i g h t s " / (1975) at P.' 8, recommends t h a t c h i l d r e n should have "the r i g h t to'be consulted i n d e c i s i o n s r e l a t i n g to guardianship, custody and a determination of s t a t u s " , and "the r i g h t to independent a d u l t c o u n s e l l i n g and l e g a l assistance i n r e l a t i o n t o " such d e c i s i o n s .  7.4  F o s t e r and Freed,  supra,  footnote  5, at P. 345.'  9  CHAPTER 2 HISTORICAL BACKGCUND AND THE APPLICABLE STATUTE LAW  As i n a l l areas o f f a m i l y law, t h e custody o f c h i l d r e n commences w i t h t h e dominant p o s i t i o n o f t h e f a t h e r .  A t common  law t h e f a t h e r had t h e r i g h t t o t h e custody o f a l l o f h i s l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n , ^ such r i g h t being  correlative to h i s  duty t o p r o t e c t t h e same. .This r i g h t was such t h a t i t was o f a quasi-proprietary nature.  I t was a b s o l u t e  against a l l the  2 w o r l d i n c l u d i n g t h e mother, and she c o u l d n o t even e s t a b l i s h p r i o r i t y a f t e r t h e death o f t h e f a t h e r i f t h e l a t t e r had  3 a p p o i n t e d a t e s t a m e n t a r y g u a r d i a n i n t h e meantime.  However, i n i t s u s u a l f a s h i o n e q u i t y i n t e r v e n e d t o s o f t e n t h e impact o f t h e common law. i n t e r v e n t i o n only occurred  I n i t i a l l y though, such  where t h e r e was a danger t o t h e  c h i l d ' s l i f e , h e a l t h , and m o r a l s , o r where t h e common law r i g h t s o f t h e f a t h e r were being and  a r b i t r a r y manner.  4  e x e r c i s e d i n an u n r e a s o n a b l e  I t was n o t u n t i l much l a t e r t h a t  equity  e s t a b l i s h e d t h e p r i n c i p l e t h a t t h e w e l f a r e o f t h e c h i l d was the dominant c o n s i d e r a t i o n .  The  j u r i s d i c t i o n permitting equity to intervene  o r i g i n a t e d from the p r e r o g a t i v e power o f t h e Crown as parens 5 p a t r i a e t o p r o t e c t any person who was n o t f u l l y s u i j u r i s . Accordingly,  e q u i t y thought n o t h i n g  o f d i s r e g a r d i n g t h e common  law r i g h t s o f the f a t h e r i f such was n e c e s s a r y i n t h e i n t e r e s t s  10 of the c h i l d .  In the words of Lord Esher M.R.  i n R v Gynqall :  "The Court i s p l a c e d i n a p o s i t i o n by reason of the p r e r o g a t i v e of the Crown to a c t as supreme parent of the c h i l d , and must e x e r c i s e t h a t j u r i s d i c t i o n i n the manner i n which a wise, a f f e c t i o n a t e , and c a r e f u i parent would act f o r the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d . The n a t u r a l parent i n the p a r t i c u l a r case may be a f f e c t i o n a t e , and may be i n t e n d i n g to a c t f o r the c h i l d ' s good, but may be unwise,'and may not be doing what a wise, a f f e c t i o n a t e , and c a r e f u l parent would do. The Court may say i n such a case t h a t , although they can f i n d no misconduct on the p a r t of the parent, they w i l l not permit t h a t to be done w i t h the c h i l d which a wise, a f f e c t i o n a t e , and c a r e f u l parent would not do. The Court must, of course, be very cautious i n regard t o the circumstances under which they w i l l i n t e r f e r e w i t h the p a r e n t a l r i g h t . i . v i The Court must e x e r c i s e t h i s j u r i s d i c t i o n w i t h great care, and can o n l y act when i t i s shown t h a t e i t h e r the conduct of the parent, or the d e s c r i p t i o n of person he i s , or the p o s i t i o n i n which he i s p l a c e d , i s such as to render i t not merely b e t t e r , but - I w i l l not say ' e s s e n t i a l ' , ' but c l e a r i y r i g h t f o r the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d i n some very s e r i o u s , a n d important r e s p e c t t h a t the parent's r i g h t s should be suspended or superseded; but ,v<.i where i t i s so shown, the Court w i l l e x e r c i s e i t s j u r i s d i c t i o n a c c o r d i n g l y . "  E q u i t y even went as f a r as g r a n t i n g an i n j u n c t i o n to 7 restrain  an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a w r i t of habeas corpus  p r e v e n t i n g a person who  had a l r e a d y obtained a w r i t  ;  , and from  Q  i n t e r f e r i n g with the  child.  I t d i d not, however, p r o v i d e the mother w i t h p o s i t i v e r i g h t s to the custody of her c h i l d r e n .  T h i s was  l e f t to  P a r l i a m e n t , and s i n c e the middle of the n i n e t e e t h century i n England t h e r e has been a mass of l e g i s l a t i o n  enacted  affecting  11 the r i g h t s and d u t i e s o f parents.'  Y e t , i t was not u n t i l the  Q  Guardianship A c t , 1 9 7 3 ,  t h a t the process of a s s i m i l a t i n g the  parents'  l e g a l p o s i t i o n was completed by p r o v i d i n g  that i n  relation  to the custody of a c h i l d the mother had the same  r i g h t s and a u t h o r i t y as the father.' I t should  now be apparent why i t has been so d i f f i c u l t  f o r the law to s h i f t i t s focus concentrate  on the c h i l d r e n .  from the parents and I n i t i a l l y the law t a l k e d s o l e l y  i n terms o f the f a t h e r ' s r i g h t s , and then l a t e r , i n terms o f a f f o r d i n g the mother equal r i g h t s and a u t h o r i t y . emphasis, together  with s o c i e t y ' s conception  This  o f the c h i l d ' s  p l a c e i n the home, e f f e c t i v e l y kept c h i l d r e n i n the background.  A l l Canadian j u r i s d i c t i o n s have f o l l o w e d England i n the development of t h e i r c h i l d a d j u d i c a t i o n  1  laws." "^  Unfortunately  though, the r e l e v a n t l e g i s l a t i o n i s fragmented and e x i s t s a t two  l e v e l s , the F e d e r a l  l e v e l and the P r o v i n c i a l l e v e l .  :  This i s  o s t e n s i b l y because of the arrangement o f powers under the B r i t i s h North America Act,  1 8 6 7 (Imp.), pursuant t o which the  Dominion P a r l i a m e n t has l e g i s l a t i v e a u t h o r i t y over "marriage and  divorce",'*'"'" and each P r o v i n c i a l P a r l i a m e n t has l e g i s l a t i v e  1 2 power over "the solemnization o f marriage", "property and io - ' = 1 4 c i v i l rights" and the " a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f j u s t i c e " . !  12  The  legislation  enacted  a t the F e d e r a l l e v e l i s the  ;  ' 15 D i v o r c e A c t , 1968.'  This Act provides, i n t e r a l i a , f o r  orders t o be made f o r the "custody, c h i l d r e n of the marriage"  care and u p b r i n g i n g o f the  a n c i l l a r y t o proceedings  f o r divorce.  S e c t i o n 10 (b) o f the A c t provides f o r an i n t e r i m order t o be made according t o what the Court c o n s i d e r s i s " f i t and j u s t " . S e c t i o n 11 ( l ) empowers a Court, upon g r a n t i n g a decree of  nisi  d i v o r c e , and " i f i t t h i n k s i t f i t and j u s t t o do so having regard to the conduct o f the p a r t i e s and the c o n d i t i o n means and other circumstances o f them",  to make "an order p r o v i d i n g f o r the custody, of the c h i l d r e n of the marriage".  care and u p b r i n g i n g  S e c t i o n 11 (2) then permits the v a r i a t i o n or r e s c i s s i o n of an order i f the Court " t h i n k s i t f i t and j u s t t o do so having regard t o the conduct o f the p a r t i e s s i n c e the making of the order or any change i n the c o n d i t i o n , means or other circumstances o f e i t h e r of them". F i n a l l y , S e c t i o n 12 .(b) allows the Court t o "impose such terms,' c o n d i t i o n s or r e s t r i c t i o n s C o u r t - t h i n k s f i t and j u s t " when making an order pursuant  The  as the  t o S e c t i o n s 10 or 11.'  term " c h i l d r e n o f the marriage"  i s defined i n  S e c t i o n 2 of the s a i d A c t t o mean "each c h i l d of the husband and w i f e who at the m a t e r i a l time i s (a) under the age of s i x t e e n years, or  13  (b) s i x t e e n years o f age or over and under t h e i r charge but unable, by reason o f i l l n e s s , d i s a b i l i t y or other cause, t o withdraw h i m s e l f from t h e i r charge or t o p r o v i d e h i m s e l f w i t h necessaries of l i f e . " " C h i l d " o f a husband and w i f e i s i n turn d e f i n e d t o i n c l u d e "any person to whom the husband and w i f e stand i n loco p a r e n t i s and any person o f whom e i t h e r of t h e husband or the w i f e i s a parent and t o whom the other o f them stands i n l o c o p a r e n t i s . " The F e d e r a l Government has n o t yet seen f i t to t e s t i t s powers f u l l y under t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n , and i n t r o d u c e l e g i s l a t i o n d e a l i n g with q u e s t i o n s o f custody independent  of d i v o r c e . I t  i s i n d i s p u t a b l e t h a t t h e i n t e r e s t s o f a l l concerned would be best served by comprehensive only,  l e g i s l a t i o n e x i s t i n g a t one l e v e l  r a t h e r than a t present, where t o which c o u r t you go,  and which l e g i s l a t i o n governs, depends on whether the a p p l i c a t i o n f o r custody i s a n c i l l a r y t o d i v o r c e or not. There i s a l s o a precedent i n the A u s t r a l i a n Family Law A c t , 1975 as amended, entertain  f o r s e t t i n g up a F e d e r a l Court w i t h j u r i s d i c t i o n t o custody a p p l i c a t i o n s independent o f d i v o r c e .  The  arrangement o f powers between the Commonwealth Government and the S t a t e Governments i n the A u s t r a l i a n Constitution!).,is not d i s s i m i l a r from the Canadian  p o s i t i o n , the Commonwealth  Government i n A u s t r a l i a having power t o l e g i s l a t e i n r e s p e c t -19 of "marriage".' A c c o r d i n g l y , the way may be open f o r the Canadian F e d e r a l P a r l i a m e n t to take t h i s s t e p .  However, P a r l i a m e n t has  shown no i n c l i n a t i o n t o l e g i s l a t e comprehensively i n t h i s  field,  14  p r e f e r r i n g t o p l a c e p r e s s u r e on the P r o v i n c e s t o i n s t i t u t e l e g i s l a t i v e reform.  Perhaps the F e d e r a l Government has been  o f f - p u t by the hard fought b a t t l e s t o j u s t i f y S e c t i o n s 10 and 20 11 of t h e Divorce A c t , 1968 as being i n t r a v i r e s .  More  l i k e l y though, i s t h e f e a r of stepping on the toes o f some P r o v i n c e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y Quebec, which has an a l t o g e t h e r 21 d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l and f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e .  The major p i e c e o f P r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t i o n i n B r i t i s h Columbia i s the Family R e l a t i o n s A c t , 1978.'  This statute  allows f o r a custody or access a p p l i c a t i o n t o be made q u i t e independently of d i v o r c e proceedings.  In f a c t , an order can  be made pursuant to t h i s A c t i f d i v o r c e proceedings are 23 unsuccessful.  Pursuant to S e c t i o n 35 ( l ) o f the s a i d A c t a Court can order t h a t "one or more persons may e x e r c i s e custody over a c h i l d or have access t o the c h i l d . " 24 In a d d i t i o n , S e c t i o n 35 (4) a u t h o r i z e s the Court t o i n c l u d e i n an order f o r custody or access such terms and c o n d i t i o n s as i t " c o n s i d e r s necessary and reasonable i n t h e best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d . " A c h i l d i s d e f i n e d i n S e c t i o n 1 as meaning a person under the age o f nineteen years.  The  key s e c t i o n o f t h i s A c t i s S e c t i o n 24, which  provides  as f o l l o w s :  " ( l ) Where making, varying,' or r e s c i n d i n g an order under t h i s P a r t , a court s h a l l give paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n t o the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d and, i n a s s e s s i n g these i n t e r e s t s , s h a l l consider these f a c t o r s : (a) The.health and emotional w e l l b e i n g o f the c h i l d i n c l u d i n g any s p e c i a l needs f o r care and treatment; (b) Where appropriate,' the views o f the c h i l d ; (c) The l o v e , a f f e c t i o n and s i m i l a r t i e s t h a t e x i s t between the c h i l d and other persons (d) Education and t r a i n i n g f o r the c h i l d ; and (e) The c a p a e i t y ' o f each person t o whom g u a r d i a n s h i p , custody, or access r i g h t s and d u t i e s may be granted t o e x e r c i s e these r i g h t s and d u t i e s adequately; and g i y e emphasis t o each f a c t o r according t o t h e c h i l d ' s needs and circumstances .UJ ( 3 ) Where t h e conduct of a person does n o t s u b s t a n t i a l l y a f f e c t a f a c t o r s e t out i n subsection ( l ) .<.!.•>,. the c o u r t s h a l l n o t consider t h e conduct i n a proceeding r e s p e c t i n g an order under t h i s P a r t . ( 4 ) Where under subsection ( 3 ) t h e conduct o f a person may be considered by a court, the c o u r t s h a l l consider the conduct only t o the extent t h a t the conduct a f f e c t s a f a c t o r s e t out i n s u b s e c t i o n 1  (1)  .v.1  "  Interim orders are provided  f o r by S e c t i o n 9 ( l ) o f t h e  Act, and pursuant t o t h a t Section such i n t e r i m orders made as the Court c o n s i d e r s  can be  reasonable.'  T h i s i s the extent o f the a p p l i c a b l e l e g i s l a t i o n i n B r i t i s h Columbia, but i t i s a l s o necessary  t o emphasise t h a t i n  a d d i t i o n to t h i s t w o - t i e r e d system i t i s beyond doubt t h a t the Supreme Court o f B r i t i s h Columbia,' as parens p a t r i a e , can e x e r c i s e i n h e r e n t e q u i t a b l e j u r i s d i c t i o n over c h i l d r e n generally. the Court  T h i s power may be invoked and the Court  by anyone p r o p e r l y  can award custody  before  to whomever i t pleases  16  Moreover, i t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y u s e f u l where t h e r e i s no legislative  a u t h o r i t y f o r e i t h e r the order sought or the .,95  proposed by the Court.  1  order  17 FOOTNOTES. CHAPTER 2  1.  R v Howes (1860), 3 E l & E l 332; Re A g a r - E l l i s (1883), 24 Ch. D. 317; Thomasset v Thomasset (1894) P. 295. As regards i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n though, the f a t h e r had no such r i g h t (R v Soger (1793), 5 Term Rep. 278; Barnardo v McHuqh (18917 A.C. 388).  2.  R v De M a n n e v i l l e (1804), 5 E a s t 221.  3.  Tenures A b o l i t i o n A c t ,  4.  W e l l e s l e v v Duke o f Beaufort (1827). 2 Russ 1: De M a n n e v i l l e v De M a n n e v i l l e (1804), 10 Ves. 52.  5.  Eyre v Countess of S h a f t s b u r v (1722), 2 P. ,Wms.' 103, 118; Hope v Hope (1854). 4 De G.M. & G. 328, a t PP.  1660.  a t P.  3 4 4 - 3 4 5 .  6.  (1893) 2 Q.B.  232,  a t PP. 241-242.  7.  R v Barnardo. Jones's Case ( l 8 9 l ) 1 Q.B.  8.  Andrews v S a l t  9.  1973,  10.  But note t h a t i n New Brunswick the f a t h e r i s s t i l l adjudged to have a prima f a c i e r i g h t to the custody of the c h i l d r e n (Layton v Lavton (1973) 6 N.B.R. (2(d) 68).  11.  S e c t i o n 91  (26)  12.  S e c t i o n 92  (12)  13.  S e c t i o n 92  (13)  14.  S e c t i o n 92  (14)  15.  R.S.C., 1970,  16.  However, i t should be noted t h a t the weight of o p i n i o n i s i n favour of t h i s l e v e l being the P r o v i n c i a l , r a t h e r than the F e d e r a l (e.a., see Jordan " F e d e r a l D i v o r c e A c t (1968) and the C o n s t i t u t i o n " (1968), 14 M c G i l l L . J . 209). The d i f f i c u l t y with t h i s though, i s t h a t i t would r e q u i r e an amendment to the C o n s t i t u t i o n to t r a n s f e r the Marriage and D i v o r c e j u r i s d i c t i o n t o the P r o v i n c e s .  17.  The arrangement o f powers under the C o n s t i t u t i o n has not o n l y meant that the l e g i s l a t i o n i s fragmented, but a l s o  (1873) 8 Ch. App.  194  622  c. 29 (Eng. )  c. 8  18  t h a t the j u r i s d i c t i o n of the c o u r t s i s s p l i t . The P r o v i n c e s have no power t o confer upon a p r o v i n c i a l judge any j u r i s d i c t i o n t o d e a l with questions t h a t have u s u a l l y come w i t h i n the j u r i s d i c t i o n o f the S u p e r i o r Courts and the County Courts. The judges of these c o u r t s a r e appointed by t h e F e d e r a l Government pursuant to S e c t i o n 96 o f the B r i t i s h North America A c t , 1867, and i n c l u d e d i n the e x c l u s i v e j u r i s d i c t i o n o f the S u p e r i o r Courts i s j u r i s d i c t i o n oyer D i v o r c e and M a t r i m o n i a l P r o p e r t y . Thus, prima f a c i e , one judge cannot be c l o t h e d w i t h j u r i s d i c t i o n t o d e a l with a l l aspects o f a f a m i l y d i s p u t e . However, i t must be emphasised t h a t t h i s i s a contentious i s s u e and space does n o t permit a d e t a i l e d d i s c u s s i o n t h e r e o f i n t h i s paper. 18.  A c t No. 53 of 1975  19.  S e c t i o n 51 ( x x i ) o f the Commonwealth of A u s t r a l i a C o n s t i t u t i o n A c t 1901 (63 8. 64 V i c t o r i a , c. 12)  20.  The c o n s t i t u t i o n a l v a l i d i t y o f these s e c t i o n s has been e s t a b l i s h e d i n the l e a d i n g cases o f Papp v Papp (1970), 8 D.L.R. (3d) 384, Jackson v Jackson (1973), 29 D.L.R. (3d) 641, and Zacks v Z a c k s T l 9 7 1 ) . 10R.F.L. 53  21.  As the then Prime M i n i s t e r , Mr. Trudeau, i n d i c a t e d when p r e s e n t i n g the D i v o r c e B i l l t o P a r l i a m e n t , t h e r e was a d e s i r e to make the d i v o r c e l e g i s l a t i o n r e a l i s t i c a l l y comprehensive without d e s t r o y i n g the " c u r r e n t t r a d i t i o n s and laws i n the v a r i o u s P r o v i n c e s " . (Jordan. supra, f o o t n o t e 16, a t P. 268).  22.  S.B.C. 1978 c. 22  23.  I t has been h e l d i n Papp v Papp. supra, f o o t n o t e 20, t h a t a custody order can o n l y be made under S e c t i o n 11 ( l ) o f the Divorce A c t , 1968 i f a d i v o r c e i s a c t u a l l y granted.  24.  c f . the Divorce A c t , 1968, where an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r custody or access can o n l y be made by one of the p a r t i e s to the d i v o r c e a c t i o n , but an order can be made i n favour of a t h i r d p a r t y .  25.  Re S q u i r e (1974),  16 R.F.L. 264  19 CHAPTER 3 THE  BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD  " I f the a l t e r n a t i v e s are s i d e by s i d e , choose the one on the l e f t ; i f they're consecutive i n time, choose the earlier. I f n e i t h e r of these a p p l i e s , choose the a l t e r n a t i v e whose name begins with the e a r l i e r l e t t e r of the alphabet. These are the p r i n c i p l e s o f s i n i s t r a l i t y , antecedence, and a l p h a b e t i c a l p r i o r i t y t h e r e are others and they're a r b i t r a r y , but u s e f u l . " ! To many t h i s d e p i c t s the approach adopted by courts i n determining c h i l d placement.  Decisions  i n the area  are often  d i f f i c u l t to r e c o n c i l e and i t i s hard to e s t a b l i s h a c o n s i s t e n t l i n e of a u t h o r i t y .  I n e v i t a b l y , lawyers and l i t i g a n t s f e e l t h a t  the outcome of t h e i r cases w i l l depend to a l a r g e degree on the luck o f the draw as to which judge i s . a s s i g n e d to hear the action.  I t a l l seems r a t h e r a l o t t e r y , but as we have seen,  there i s o s t e n s i b l y one guiding p r i n c i p l e ; placement i s  o determined according  t o the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d .  Indeed, the term " i n t h e best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d " has almost become a household phrase.  I t i s used c o n s t a n t l y by  courts i n t h e i r judgements, by commentators i n t h e i r w r i t i n g s , by b a r r i s t e r s i n t h e i r submissions, and by the p u b l i c  generally.  With a usage of t h i s magnitude i t would be reasonable t o expect that l i t t l e  criticism  custody d i s p u t e s . reality.  could be -levelled a t the r e s u l t s o f  However, nothing  could be f u r t h e r from  Courts are f r e q u e n t l y c r i t i c i z e d f o r t h e i r  assessment  of the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d r e n , even to the extent  that  the r o l e o f the court i n r e s o l v i n g custody matters has been questioned.  20 In determining n e c e s s a r i l y has  the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d r e n a court  a wide d i s c r e t i o n a l l o w i n g i t to take many  f a c t o r s i n t o account.  T h i s d i s c r e t i o n i s present  the r e l e v a n t l e g i s l a t i o n must have r e g a r d .  The  even where  s p e c i f i e s the f a c t o r s to which a court  paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n i s always the 3  w e l f a r e and happiness of the c h i l d , how  s p e c i f i c the l e g i s l a t i o n may  ride this principle.  and t h i s i s so no matter  be.'  No..other f a c t o r can  over-  In the words of Lord MacDermott i n the  c e l e b r a t e d House of Lords' d e c i s i o n of J v : " I t seems to me t h a t (the words, s h a l l regard the w e l f a r e of the i n f a n t as the f i r s t and paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n ' ) must mean more than t h a t the c h i l d ' s w e l f a r e i s to be t r e a t e d as the top item i n a l i s t of items r e l e v a n t to the matter i n q u e s t i o n . I t h i n k they connote a process whereby, when a l l the r e l e v a n t f a c t s , r e l a t i o n s h i p s , claims and wishes of parents, r i s k s , choices and other circumstances are taken i n t o account and weighed, the course to be f o l l o w e d w i l l be t h a t which i s most i n the i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d ' s w e l f a r e as t h a t term has now to be understood. That i s the f i r s t c o n s i d e r a t i o n because i t i s of f i r s t importance and the paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n because i t r u l e s upon or determines the course to be followed." 1  There are o b v i o u s l y many f a c t o r s which make up w e l f a r e of a c h i l d .  the  For i n s t a n c e :  " I t means the m a t e r i a l w e l l - b e i n g of the c h i l d r e n e q u a l l y with t h e i r p s y c h o l o g i c a l and s p i r i t u a l w e l l being; i t means t h a t t h e i r need f o r food and c l o t h i n g and s h e l t e r i s to be given c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n c o n j u n c t i o n with t h e i r r e a l need f o r love and a f f e c t i o n and p a r e n t a l care and t r a i n i n g . I t means the development of a young human being."5 However, h i s t o r y has at  shown t h a t d i f f e r e n t f a c t o r s are  emphasised  d i f f e r e n t times a c c o r d i n g to s o c i e t y ' s p r e v a i l i n g mores and  21  the l e v e l of comprehension of c h i l d development.  For  i n the n i n e t e e n t h  h e l d sway  century,  s o c i a l and moral values  example,  .7  i n custody d i s p u t e s ,  w h i l e today the t r e n d i s to emphasise  the  Q psychological well-being emphasis i s f a c i l i t a t e d  of the c h i l d . by the use  best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d , and  T h i s change i n  of a vague t e s t such as  one wonders whether the  the  current  push to l e g i s l a t e comprehensive g u i d e l i n e s f o r courts i s wise. I t may  ;  prevent necessary changes i n emphasis by p u t t i n g i n t o Q  permanent form the values The  of contemporary s o c i e t y .  argument o f t - u s e d i n promoting f i x e d g u i d e l i n e s i s  t h a t many judges and  lawyers are t o t a l l y u n f a m i l i a r ••- w i t h  the  requirements of custody a d j u d i c a t i o n , c o n t r a s t i n g as i t does w i t h the kinds  of determinations u s u a l l y r e q u i r e d of  1  courts. ^  S p e c i f i c s t a t u t o r y d i r e c t i o n s would s p e l l out the s o c i a l p o l i c y to be a p p l i e d and would serve  as a b a s i s f o r n e g o t i a t i n g  settlements."'""''  However,' the q u e s t i o n  t h a t needs to be answered i s  whether i t i s p o s s i b l e to p r o v i d e of the  adequate g u i d e l i n e s .  e x i s t i n g method of determination  1  Critics  are concerned at  width of the d i s c r e t i o n reposed i n judges, arguing  the  that  the  the g u i d e l i n e s t h a t  are  12 process i s too s p e c u l a t i v e .  Yet,  suggested are g e n e r a l l y vague i n themselves and s t a t e the o b v i o u s . the problem.  1 3  One  commentator, M n o o k i n ,  do no more than 14  He p o s t u l a t e s t h a t the determination  has  recognised  of what i s  22  "best" or " l e a s t d e t r i m e n t a l " f o r a p a r t i c u l a r c h i l d i s u s u a l l y indeterminate and  s p e c u l a t i v e because e x i s t i n g  p s y c h o l o g i c a l t h e o r i e s do not allow c o n f i d e n t p r e d i c t i o n of the e f f e c t s o f a l t e r n a t e custody d i s p o s i t i o n s , and  because s o c i e t y  lacks a c l e a r - c u t consensus about what values should i n f o r m the  •15 determination of what i s "best" or " l e a s t d e t r i m e n t a l " . These u n d e r l y i n g reasons  f o r the indeterminacy i n t u r n render-  the f o r m u l a t i o n of r u l e s e s p e c i a l l y p r o b l e m a t i c . an e x t e n s i v e survey, Mnookin concludes  Indeed, a f t e r  t h a t there i s no  a l t e r n a t i v e which i s " p l a i n l y s u p e r i o r to a d j u d i c a t i o n under the best i n t e r e s t s p r i n c i p l e . "  indeterminate  However, t h i s i s not the o n l y d i f f i c u l t y w i t h  legislating  17 guidelines.  P r o f e s s o r s Gosse and Payne h i g h l i g h t  the  circumstance  t h a t , even assuming an acceptable l i s t  of f a c t o r s  can be found,  :  i t must be determined  whether the same should 18 e x c l u s i v e or i n c l u s i v e . They argue as f o l l o w s : " I f i t were to be i n c l u s i v e , then t h e r e would,be u n s p e c i f i e d matters t h a t could be looked to On the other hand, a l i s t of f a c t o r s which were to be e x c l u s i v e l y considered could have g r e a t e r drawbacks. I t would be e s s e n t i a l f o r such a l i s t to be d r a f t e d so as to cover a l l the d e s i r a b l e f a c t o r s f o r c o n s i d e r a t i o n . Judges would be c o n f i n e d to the s t r i c t terms of the s t a t u t e and consequently i n t e r p r e t a t i o n problems could g i v e r i s e to what would be an u n d e s i r a b l e number of appeals. In a d d i t i o n , the l i s t i n g of f a c t o r s might create a tendency to g i v e these f a c t o r s equal weight when i n the circumstances of p a r t i c u l a r cases, such equal weight w i l l seldom,"' i f ever, be warranted." (  1  be  23  Nevertheless, and  d e s p i t e these drawbacks, both commentators  l e g i s l a t o r s have proceeded apace i n f o r m u l a t i n g  guidelines.  statutory  With some, the aim i s t o ensure t h a t a t l e a s t the .  judge reviews those f a c t o r s deemed t o be important, even i f -19 they a r e not meant t o be exclusive.]  Even Gosse and Payne  20 conclude  t h a t i t i s p r e f e r a b l e to have s t a t u t o r y g u i d e l i n e s ,  and t h e i r ^ p r o p o s a l  was p i c k e d up by t h e Law Reform Commission  of Canada i n i t s Report on Family Law (l976).i  Examples o f  r e c e n t Canadian l e g i s l a t i o n s e t t i n g up g u i d e l i n e s can a l s o be 22 " 23 found i n B r i t i s h Columbia and Ontario, although one notable exception i n the l a t t e r p r o v i n c e i s S e c t i o n 35 ( l ) o f the Family 3  1  ..=,94  Law  Reform Act,  1  1978.1  That S e c t i o n  simply  d i r e c t s placement  i n accordance with t h e c h i l d ' s best i n t e r e s t s .  Interestingly  though, t h e courts have d i v i d e d i n t h e i r a p p l i c a t i o n o f t h i s Section,  some h o l d i n g t h a t the f a c t o r s t o be taken i n t o account 25 are t h e same as under previous l e g i s l a t i o n , others h o l d i n g ~26  t h a t common law p r i n c i p l e s continue t o apply,  and s t i l l  others  h o l d i n g t h a t a f r e s h and modern approach t o f a m i l y law i s required.. However, whether these attempts t o provide will  guidelines  l e a d t o l e s s indeterminacy and l e s s s p e c u l a t i v e  i s debatable, and I suggest t h a t c h i l d placement w i l l  decisions continue  ... 90  to be a h i g h l y i n d i v i d u a l i s e d  determination.  1  A r a t h e r unfortunate consequence o f t h i s approach i s  24  t h a t although  the bottom l i n e i n any custody  dispute i s that  the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d p r e v a i l , courts have sometimes allowed  other c o n s i d e r a t i o n s to v i t a l l y a f f e c t t h e i r d e c i s i o n s ^  They do t h i s by t r e a t i n g them as f a c t o r s to be looked a t i n a d d i t i o n t o the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d , i n s t e a d o f r e g a r d i n g them as f a c t o r s to be weighed i n a s s e s s i n g how the best i n t e r e s t s o f t h e c h i l d can be served.  Generally,  these  c o n s i d e r a t i o n s are centred around t h e conduct o f t h e parents and the concept  of p a r e n t a l r i g h t s , which h i g h l i g h t s the i n a b i l i t y  of courts t o a p p r e c i a t e the s p e c i a l nature o f the problem c o n f r o n t i n g them and the need t o r i d themselves of the p a t e r n a l i s t i c n o t i o n s of the past.  1  PARENTAL RIGHTS  I t i s a t r a i t o f areas o f the lawwhere courts are provided with an extremely wide d i s c r e t i o n f o r presumptions t o be 29 developed  i n order t o p r o v i d e some guidance.  This i s  c e r t a i n l y the case i n the law r e l a t i n g to the custody o f children,' and p a r t i c u l a r l y so because o f the need t o o f f s e t the p a u c i t y o f evidence  t h a t i s presented  by the feuding  parents  concerning what i s a c t u a l l y i n the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d , ! The  danger though,' i s t h a t the presumptions may develop i n t o 3 0 hard and f a s t p r i n c i p l e s . For example, the c o n c e n t r a t i o n by ;  1  25 courts on p a r e n t a l r i g h t s produced the presumption t h a t i n custody  disputes between a parent and a stranger t h e n a t u r a l  parent p r e v a i l e d unless nature her.  the l a t t e r ' s behaviour was of such a  t h a t i t would be improper to leave the c h i l d with him or As I have i n d i c a t e d , g r e a t e r s t r e s s was p l a c e d on t h i s 31  p r i n c i p l e than on the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d .  T h i s anomaly was compounded i n many cases  by t h e f a c t  t h a t o f t e n the s u b j e c t c h i l d had been i n the de f a c t o care and c o n t r o l o f t h i r d p a r t i e s , such as f o s t e r parents,  for sufficient  time to create strong bonds o f a f f e c t i o n between them. Y e t , courts would c a s t a s i d e the p o s s i b l e d e l e t e r i o u s e f f e c t s of r e t u r n i n g the c h i l d t o the n a t u r a l parent i n the name o f 3 2 p r e s e r v i n g the f a m i l y u n i t and i t s blood  ties.  However, the w e l f a r e o f the c h i l d i s g r a d u a l l y g a i n i n g dominance over t h i s presumption and the t r e n d was given a 33 h e a l t h y boost i n England by t h e House o f Lords i n J v C; There, t h e court h e l d t h a t t h e best i n t e r e s t s of t h e c h i l d demanded t h a t he be l e f t with f o s t e r parents r e t u r n e d to h i s n a t u r a l p a r e n t s .  r a t h e r than be  In Canada the approach of the 34 House o f Lords was taken up i n Re Moores and F e l d s t e i n e t a l . 3 5 There, Dubin J.A. s a i d t h i s "I f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t t o approach a custody case by adhering to a formula. As p o i n t e d out by Megarry J . i n the case o f Re F (An I n f a n t ) . (1969), 3W.L.R. 165, i n cases such as these, the c o u r t is. d e a l i n g with t h e l i v e s o f human beings and these cannot be r e g u l a t e d by  26  forumulae ... Although i n most cases i t i s t o be expected t h a t a c h i l d w i l l b e n e f i t by the t i e s o f a f f e c t i o n of a p a r e n t and what n a t u r a l l y flows from i t , t h a t must be a q u e s t i o n of f a c t i n every case, and I do not t h i n k t h a t I am bound by precedent to proceed on the assumption t h a t i t i s i n e v i t a b l y so." A f t e r having r e g a r d to a l l the circumstances i n the case a t hand he then concluded  :  " C o n s i d e r i n g the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d i n i t s broadest aspect and g i v i n g due c o n s i d e r a t i o n to the f a c t t h a t i t i s the mother who i s now seeking her r e t u r n , i n my view, the w e l f a r e of t h i s c h i l d w i l l b e s t be served i f l e f t i n i t s p r e s e n t happy surroundings, and I have concluded t h a t the t i e of a f f e c t i o n of a mother t o a c h i l d i s not the o v e r b a l a n c i n g c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n t h i s case."3'  However, t h i s has been f a r from the end of the matter because there i s a d i f f i c u l t y i n c o u r t s a p p l y i n g Re Moores and Feldstein.  I t i s o n l y a d e c i s i o n o f the Ontario Court of  Appeal, whereas the r e l e v a n t Supreme Court of Canada a u t h o r i t y op  i s Hepton v Maat,  a case which espoused  the presumption  favour o f the n a t u r a l p a r e n t i n the s t r o n g e s t of terms. J.A.  i n Re Moores and F e l d s t e i n attempted  case by saying t h a t the c o u r t was  in Dubin  to dispose o f t h i s  r e a l l y a p p l y i n g the best  i n t e r e s t s t e s t , and the n a t u r a l parent happened to succeed on 39 the p a r t i c u l a r , f a c t s .  However, t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n does not  square w i t h the c l e a r statements Supreme C o u r t .  4 0  of p r i n c i p l e made by the  Thus, there i s some doubt as to the  effect  t h a t Re Moores and F e l d s t e i n has on Hepton v Maat, and t h i s i s r e f l e c t e d i n the subsequent cases such as Re S q u i r e  4 1  case law.  On the one hand t h e r e are  and C.A.C. v F.D.R.  42  which welcomed  Re Moores and F e l d s t e i n with open arms and t r e a t e d i t as the  27 leading  current authority,  43  but on the other hand, some courts  have e i t h e r d e f e r r e d t o the binding Maat.  44  simply  a u t h o r i t y o f Hepton v  :eir attempted to d i s t i n g u i s h Re Moores and F e l d s t em.  r e s u r r e c t e d the language of the Supreme Court.  The  45  or  46  most l i k e l y r e s u l t o f t h i s j u d i c i a l c o n f l i c t i s t h a t 4  the use of the best i n t e r e s t s p r i n c i p l e w i l l p r e v a i l , *  7  however,  some commentators would view t h i s as an u n f o r t u n a t e development. I t i s recognised prospective  t h a t the need to make a choice between  custodians  i n most cases comes c l o s e t o over-  whelming human powers of p r e d i c t i o n and judgement.  Rational  g u i d e l i n e s are e s s e n t i a l to ease the t r i a l judge's burden. question  though, i s where are these t o come from.  l o g i c a l resource unfortunately  would be the b e h a v i o u r a l  The  The most  s c i e n c e s , but  i t has been demonstrated t h a t the same are not  always able to p r o v i d e  the judge w i t h s u f f i c i e n t r e l e v a n t data 48  to inform  h i s decision.  Accordingly  there has been a c a l l f o r  a r e t u r n t o the use o f presumptions, such as the p a r e n t a l r i g h t 49 p r i n c i p l e , u n t i l e m p i r i c a l research can p r o v i d e a b e t t e r method. There i s no doubt t h a t a presumption i n favour  o f the n a t u r a l 50  parent renders a judge's task  l e s s burdensome.  I t i s much  e a s i e r t o e s t a b l i s h b i o l o g i c a l parenthood than t o enter i n t o an 51 i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f the c h i l d ' s p s y c h o l o g i c a l  ties.  Of course though, the p r o f e s s i o n a l s a l l f e e l t h a t Re Moores and F e l d s t e i n i s the best approach, and they have  28  recognised i t as "a land-mark decision .•.!. not only because i t extend(ed) the p r i n c i p l e that the welfare of the c h i l d i s the paramount consideration to be considered i n custody disputes between parent and non-parent,* but because i t consider(ed) the welfare of the c h i l d apart from the wishes of the natural p a r e n t . " 52  Behavioural s c i e n t i s t s have been saying for a long time now that b i o l o g i c a l relationships are not determinative of the welfare of children.  5  To a c h i l d i t matters not whether the  person providing the necessary  love and attention i s the  natural parent or a stranger i n blood, the important  aspect i s  that there i s a strong attachment between the c h i l d and that  -53 1  care-giver. ' - I t i s just as traumatic to the child for this attachment to be broken where the care-giver i s a stranger i n blood as i t i s where the care-giver i s the natural parent.' Yet, the question can s t i l l be asked whether i t i s appropriate to i n t e r f e r e with the r e l a t i o n s h i p between a c h i l d and i t s natural parent;'  In the community of professionals i t  i s easy to say that a c h i l d should be placed with i t s psychological parent without regard to b i o l o g i c a l t i e s .  ;  However, outside this community there i s a conservative element i n society which views the natural family as the mainstay of society.  The concern i s that i f the r e l a t i o n s h i p between natural 1  parent and c h i l d can be e a s i l y disturbed, great inroads can be made into family s o l i d a r i t y .  1  There are many people who would  say that the State should not i n t e r f e r e with the family and that  29 the law ought to p r e s e r v e the same a g a i n s t p r o f e s s i o n a l 54 intrusion.  However, the trend towards the p r o f e s s i o n a l  takeover of the f a m i l y continues,  enhanced as i t i s by  the  i n d e t e r m i n a c y of the best i n t e r e s t s t e s t . The  c e l e b r a t e d authors, G o l d s t e i n , Freud and S o l n i t are  the c h i e f proponents of the concept of p s y c h o l o g i c a l p a r e n t 55 hood,  and  i t i s perhaps a p p r o p r i a t e  their theories.  Indeed no  best i n t e r e s t s of the reference  a t t h i s stage to  consider  d i s c u s s i o n of the concept of  the  c h i l d r e n would be complete w i t h o u t  to t h e i r w o r k . ^  The  i n i t i a l c r i t i c i s m made by the authors i s t h a t  concentrate  on the c h i l d ' s p h y s i c a l w e l l - b e i n g  placement i n , p r e f e r e n c e  as a guide t o  to the c h i l d ' s p s y c h o l o g i c a l  well-being  They charge t h a t courts have been slow i n r e c o g n i s i n g n e c e s s i t y of safe-guarding  t h i s aspect  courts  the  of a c h i l d ' s make-up,  p r i m a r i l y through a lack of understanding of the same.  A c h i l d develops an emotional attachment to an through day to day i n t e r a c t i o n , companionship and experiences. other  adult  shared  T h i s a d u l t can be a b i o l o g i c a l parent or  any  c a r e - g i v e r , but i t must be remembered t h a t a b i o l o g i c a l 57  parent i s not n e c e s s a r i l y a p s y c h o l o g i c a l parent.  C h i l d r e n need a p s y c h o l o g i c a l parent f o r t h e i r  emotional  30 development  58  and  they should have the o p p o r t u n i t y  of  being  p l a c e d w i t h a person or persons l i k e l y to become such a parent. On  t h i s b a s i s the authors propound three  component g u i d e l i n e s  f o r d e c i s i o n makers.  ( i ) Placement d e c i s i o n s should c o n t i n u i t y of r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  safeguard the c h i l d ' s need f o r T h i s i s now  g e n e r a l l y accepted  by  59 p r a c t i t i o n e r s of the b e h a v i o u r a l  sciences  and  i t i s an  important f a c t o r i n custody disputes where an attempt i s made to a l t e r a long-standing has  c u s t o d i a l arrangement  or where there  been a p r e - e x i s t i n g de factoy. c u s t o d i a l s i t u a t i o n . Both c o n t i n u i t y and  normal development, and the same.  The  s t a b i l i t y are important f o r a child's  d i s r u p t i o n s w i l l have s e r i o u s e f f e c t s on  authors consider  t h a t s t a b i l i t y of environment  i s n e c e s s a r y to o f f s e t the i n t e r n a l i n s t a b i l i t y experienced a developing  child.  He or she may  i n t e r n a l and  external disruptions.  not be able to cope with both N a t u r a l l y though, d i s r u p t i o n s  of c o n t i n u i t y evoke d i f f e r e n t r e a c t i o n s and d i f f e r e n t stages of development.  by  The  consequences a t  authors r e c o g n i s e  this,  but i n s t e a d of l o o k i n g a t developmental l e v e l s they f a l l i n t o the trap of using The  age  groupings to i l l u s t r a t e these d i f f e r e n c e s .  catch i s t h a t age  i s an extremely u n r e l i a b l e c r i t e r i o n from  which to draw c o n c l u s i o n s large.  In any  t h a t w i l l be r e l e v a n t to c h i l d r e n - a t -  event, the groupings i d e n t i f i e d are as  follows:  i n f a n c y - from b i r t h to 18 months; young c h i l d r e n under the  age  31  o f 5 years;  school-age c h i l d r e n ; adolescence; and a d u l t s  (who  1  as c h i l d r e n s u f f e r e d from d i s r u p t i o n s as t o continuity). ' although the e f f e c t s d i f f e r , "  the common thread  Now,  running  through these groups i s t h a t a l l s u f f e r adverse r e a c t i o n s from a d i s r u p t i o n of continuity.'  One c o n c l u s i o n which the authors come t o i s t h a t m u l t i p l e changes i n the c h i l d ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p s , surroundings, 65 and is  environmental i n f l u e n c e s must be avoided. argued t h a t , u n l i k e the present  should  be f i n a l and u n - c o n d i t i o n a l .  unacceptable p r o p o s i t i o n .  1  From t h i s i t  s i t u a t i o n , c h i l d placement :  However, t h i s i s an  Not only does i t assume t h a t the  c o u r t w i l l i n v a r i a b l y make the r i g h t c h o i c e ,  but t h a t  that  choice w i l l remain v a l i d throughout the c h i l d ' s m i n o r i t y . A d m i t t e d l y , i t may be p o s s i b l e f o r the f i r s t  assumption t o  become a r e a l i t y i f courts were more r e c e p t i v e t o the c h i l d ' s wishes and evidence from the b e h a v i o u r a l given  the d e t r i m e n t a l  sciences.  e f f e c t s o f a l t e r i n g a long  However, even  standing  custody arrangement, I doubt the f e a s i b i l i t y o f the second assumption. is  The authors are r e a l l y suggesting  so u n c e r t a i n  the law should  t h a t because  life  opt out and simply a l l o w the •66  p r i v a t e o r d e r i n g of i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  Yet,' i t  seems t o me t h a t i t i s p e c u l i a r l y w i t h i n the province as parens p a t r i a e t o promote the w e l f a r e i67 f o r changed circumstances.'  of a court  o f a c h i l d by c a t e r i n g  32  A l l i e d to t h i s p r o p o s a l o f f i n a l i t y o f placement i s an 68 aspect t h a t I w i l l touch on l a t e r , o f access  namely, t h a t the question  should be l e f t e n t i r e l y t o t h e d i s c r e t i o n o f the  c u s t o d i a l parent.' heartaches  In my experience  causes so many  t h a t I have some sympathy w i t h t h i s proposal.! Y e t ,  there are many i n h e r e n t d i f f i c u l t i e s same.  access  and disadvantages a l l the 1  The p r o p o s a l not o n l y ignores the other parent, but  a l s o the weight of evidence deprivation.  1  concerning  the e f f e c t s o f p a r e n t a l  There w i l l a l s o be a temptation  towards blackmail,'  e x t o r t i o n and i m p o s i t i o n i f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent wants to maintain  c o n t a c t with t h e c h i l d . '  may outweigh the advantages.  A c c o r d i n g l y , the disadvantages  1  ( i i ) The second g u i d e l i n e i s t h a t placement d e c i s i o n s r e f l e c t the c h i l d ' s and not the a d u l t ' s sense of time. argued t h a t a c h i l d experiences  maturity  to i t s  Thus a c h i l d , depending on h i s or her age or  l e v e l , may be unable t o a n t i c i p a t e the f u t u r e and  manage delay i n the way t h a t a d u l t s can. custody  It is  a time p e r i o d according t o h i s  or her p u r e l y s u b j e c t i v e f e e l i n g s and n o t according actual duration.  should  d i s p u t e i t i s necessary  Accordingly, i n a  to reachaccecision promptly i n  order t o maximize the c h i l d ' s chances o f r e s t o r i n g s t a b i l i t y to an e x i s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p , or of e s t a b l i s h i n g a new psychol o g i c a l relationship.'  T h i s i s a laudable objective,' but  70 i n v a r i a b l y court time i s l i m i t e d and delays occur.  1  The  answer here l i e s w i t h the persons r e s p o n s i b l e f o r s t a f f i n g the courts and a d m i n i s t e r i n g the same.  3 3  ( i i i ) The  t h i r d g u i d e l i n e i s t h a t account must be taken of the  law's i n c a p a c i t y to s u p e r v i s e i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , and the l i m i t s of knowledge to make long-range p r e d i c t i o n s . authors  consider t h a t a l l the law can do i s p r o v i d e  environment f o r r e l a t i o n s h i p s to develop/ relationship-;then takes intervention. I again  The  The  an  P r i v a t e o r d e r i n g of the  over and t h e r e i s no p l a c e f o r S t a t e  v i c i s s i t u d e s of l i f e are too g r e a t .  However,  s t r e s s t h a t t h i s i s not a v a l i d argument f o r p r e v e n t i n g  a c o u r t from a b r i t r a t i n g on changed circumstances. j u r i s d i c t i o n i s e s s e n t i a l to preserve  Such a  the best i n t e r e s t s of the  child.  Here though, the authors  have h i t upon the crux of the ,71  problem of c h i l d placement.  In t h e i r own  words,  "no-one - and p s y c h o a n a l y s i s c r e a t e s no exception - can f o r e c a s t j u s t what experiences, what events,' what changes a c h i l d , or f o r t h a t matter h i s a d u l t custodian w i l l a c t u a l l y encounter.^ Nor can anyone p r e d i c t i n d e t a i l how the u n f o l d i n g development of a c h i l d and h i s f a m i l y w i l l be r e f l e c t e d i n the long run i n the c h i l d ' s p e r s o n a l i t y and c h a r a c t e r f o r m a t i o n . " 7 2  I f these t h i n g s could be done then a l l custody would be e a s i l y r e s o l v e d . be achieved  disputes  In the meantime, the most t h a t can  i s to ensure t h a t the decision-maker i s p l a c e d i n  the best p o s i t i o n p o s s i b l e f o r r e n d e r i n g  judgement.'  o p i n i o n t h i s e n t a i l s the use of independent counsel, i n t e r e s t i n g l y enough the authors i s i n d i s p e n s i b l e i n determining  In 1  and,  too c o n s i d e r t h a t such c h i l d placement.  my  counsel  34  The  o v e r a l l g u i d e l i n e proposed by the authors i s "the l e a s t d e t r i m e n t a l a v a i l a b l e a l t e r n a t i v e f o r s a f e guarding the c h i l d ' s growth and development."  T h i s i s t o be used i n l i e u of t h e "best i n t e r e s t s " p r i n c i p l e and i t has as i t s major components the t h r e e g u i d e l i n e s d i s c u s s e d above.  It is  " t h a t s p e c i f i c placement and procedure f o r placement which maximizes, i n accord with the c h i l d ' s sense o f time and on the b a s i s of short-term p r e d i c t i o n s given the l i m i t a t i o n s of knowledge,- h i s or her o p p o r t u n i t y f o r being wanted and f o r m a i n t a i n i n g on a continuous b a s i s a r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h at l e a s t one aglult who i s or w i l l become h i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l parent"  The p r i n c i p a l reason  f o r the authors' r e j e c t i o n o f the  c u r r e n t p r e v a i l i n g c r i t e r i o n i s t h e i r f e e l i n g t h a t the same i s too a d u l t - c e n t r e d .  Often the c h i l d ' s i n t e r e s t s a r e p l a c e d i n  d i r e c t competition w i t h , and even subordinated t o , the i n t e r e s t s o f the l i t i g a n t s .  Although  l i p - s e r v i c e i s paid to  the p r i n c i p l e , d e c i s i o n s are f a s h i o n e d t o s u i t the requirements of the p a r t i e s .  1  T h i s , coupled with the delays i n h e r e n t i n the 74  court process o f t r i a l knowledge concerning  and appeal,'  and the lack o f adequate  a c h i l d ' s development, create a s o r r y  p i c t u r e indeed o f c h i l d placement.  Yet,' although I agree t h a t  these d e f e c t s e x i s t , I wonder whether i t i s not b e t t e r t o remedy the same and a l l o w "the best i n t e r e s t s " p r i n c i p l e t o operate i n a conducive  environment r a t h e r than  look t o an  e n t i r e l y new p r i n c i p l e which may i n time be plagued w i t h u n d e r l y i n g problems.;  similar  F r a n k l y , i f the c o n c e n t r a t i o n i n u s i n g  the e x i s t i n g p r i n c i p l e i s i n f a c t on the best i n t e r e s t s of the  35  child,  1  then i n many cases t h e r e w i l l be no d i f f e r e n c e between  the g u i d e l i n e s /  The c o u r t must s t i l l make a d e c i s i o n w e l l  knowing t h a t t h e r e a r e p o t e n t i a l dangers and disadvantages t o the c h i l d whether custody i s given to t h e mother, the f a t h e r or a third  party.  The  approach suggested  the impression  o f d e f e a t i s m from the outset.'  be saying t h a t the proper ing of  by t h e authors  appears t o c r e a t e The c o u r t would  environment f o r the c h i l d ' s  upbring-  has been l o s t and t h e task a t hand i s to choose t h e l e s s e r two e v i l s o r , where a p p l i c a b l e , the l e a s t o f a number of  evils.  Although  t h i s may not be a s u b s t a n t i v e reason f o r  r e j e c t i n g the c r i t e r i a , I f e e l i t i s a v a l i d  c r i t i c i s m given the  need t o look p o s i t i v e l y towards the c h i l d ' s f u t u r e . what i s wrong with the aim of doing good? t h a t courts l o s e t h e i r way attempting best i n t e r e s t s o f a c h i l d l i e ,  I deed,  The authors  n  suggest  t o a s c e r t a i n where the  i n s t e a d of s e t t i n g t h e i r s i g h t s  lower by l o o k i n g a t the a v a i l a b l e a l t e r n a t i v e s and choosing which w i l l cause the l e a s t harm t o t h e c h i l d .  Y e t , I f a i l to  see how courts w i l l f i n d t h i s l a t t e r e x e r c i s e any e a s i e r ; a choice s t i l l has t o be made and the same f a c t o r s need t o be considered.'  There i s no magic i n framing  the i s s u e as  p r e v e n t i o n o f harm i n s t e a d o f promotion o f best i n t e r e s t s .  In  75  the words o f Mnookin  :  "What i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y l e a s t d e t r i m e n t a l w i l l ; u s u a l l y be no more determinate f o r expert and nonexpert a l i k e  36  than what i s i n a c h i l d ' s best i n t e r e s t s ; and t o reframe the question i n a way t h a t i n v i t e s p r e d i c t i o n s based on the use of l a b e l s and terminology developed f o r treatment i s both demeaning to the expert and c o r r u p t i n g f o r the j u d i c i a l process. 76 iM  In summary, although  I consider the aims of the  authors  to be sound,- namely to have c h i l d placement depend e n t i r e l y c o n s i d e r a t i o n f o r the c h i l d ' s own  inner situation  on  and  developmental needs, I remain unconvinced of the need to i n t r o d u c e a new  guideline.' With a l i t t l e  e f f o r t the  "best  i n t e r e s t s " p r i n c i p l e can be i d e a l l y s u i t e d to the r e s o l u t i o n of a custody  dispute.  Not u n n a t u r a l l y the t h e o r i e s expressed have a t t r a c t e d other disiplines. made use  "77 1  One  authors  c r i t i c i s m s from commentators i n v a r i o u s  7 8 l i n e of attack i s t h a t the authors  have only  of a l i m i t e d range of s o c i a l s c i e n c e m a t e r i a l , and  t h a t what they have considered without  by the  has  been accepted  a p p r e c i a t i n g opposing views.  too  readily  In p a r t i c u l a r , i t has  been  7 9 p o i n t e d out  t h a t t h e r e i s controversy  amongst s o c i a l  s c i e n t i s t s about whether i t i s s e p a r a t i o n per se or  the  r e l a t i v e d e p r i v a t i o n t h a t often f o l l o w s s e p a r a t i o n which i s harmful to c h i l d r e n . without again  The  authors  have accepted  mentioning t h i s controversy.  becomes a question  the former  I suppose though, i t  of whether the law r e l a t i n g t o  child  placement should be enveloped by p s y c h i a t r i c and p s y c h o l o g i c a l theory.  The  b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s w i l l answer i n the  37 a f f i r m a t i v e , but Parliament, w i l l balk a t t h i s suggestion, t h i s p o i n t o n l y too w e l l .  the courts and the l e g a l profession and perhaps the authors  appreciated  I t i s a question o f f i n d i n g the  happy medium between theory and the s o c i a l s c i e n c e s .  In  my view the c l o s e s t t o t h i s i d e a l i s f o r courts t o say t o the s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s , you p r o v i d e us with evaluate  the evidence  and apply the same t o the p a r t i c u l a r  and we w i l l  facts.  80 The  d i s t i n g u i s h e d j u r i s t Henry H. F o s t e r J r .  taken the authors  t o task f o r being  has a l s o  too i n f l e x i b l e with  their  presumptions, a n d f or n o t a l l o w i n g any leeway f o r e x c e p t i o n a l circumstances.  He agrees with most of the content, but B1 c o n s i d e r s t h a t there i s "a case of o v e r s e l l " . He says : "The authors ... i n t h e i r promulgation o f a b s o l u t e s overlook humane c o n s i d e r a t i o n s and i g n o r e the weighing and b a l a n c i n g process which i s the essence o f the law. "82  F o s t e r c o n s i d e r s t h a t courts w i l l have d i f f i c u l t y both i n a c c e p t i n g the absolutes i n d e a l i n g with  advanced by the authors  the p s y c h o l o g i c a l evidence  presented.  and He  questions whether the approach might n o t f l o u n d e r , given courts o n l y have a l i m i t e d c a p a c i t y t o a d j u d i c a t e upon c o n f l i c t i n g and c o n t r o v e r s i a l p s y c h i a t r i c o p i n i o n . ^  4  Yet another commentator has v a l i d l y c r i t i c i s e d the book f o r f a i l i n g to c o n s i d e r the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t h e a l t h y  that  38 t r a n s i t i o n s can occur and  from one  " p s y c h o l o g i c a l parent"  to another,  indeed f o r f a i l i n g to r e c o g n i s e the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t a  c h i l d might maintain  more than one p s y c h o l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p .  Nanette.Dembitz, a judge of the Family Court of New S t a t e perhaps foreshadowed the s c e p t i c i s m t h a t the  York  judiciary  86 have f o r the authors'  t h e o r i e s when she wrote  :  "the mission of (the) authors .... i s to p r o v i d e g u i d e l i n e s based on p s y c h o a n a l y t i c a l theory t o govern the judge's d e c i s i o n i n a l l types of c h i l d placement cases, the promise i s s e d u c t i v e but i m p o s s i b l e ; the authors f a i l to d e v i s e useable s c a l e s because the amalgams of f a c t o r s to be a p p r i s e d i n custody contests are too complex." R  In company with most other  c r i t i c s she f e e l s t h a t  on the need f o r c o n t i n u i t y i s laudable but one  7  concentration  should  i g n o r e the n e c e s s i t y f o r weighing c o n t i n u i t y a g a i n s t  not competing  , , 88 values.  The most important  i n d i c a t o r though, of the  practical  worth of a f r e s h approach i s the a t t i t u d e of the c o u r t s .  Here,  there have o n l y been s p o r a d i c examples of courts u t i l i z i n g  the  89 authors'  approach, even i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s .  experience  . From my  i n the A u s t r a l i a n j u r i s d i c t i o n judges do not  own feel 90  t h a t t h e r e i s much d i f f e r e n c e between the two given  t h a t i n the m a j o r i t y of cases  principles,  there are dangers  disadvantages whoever i s awarded custody.  and  Accordingly,  the  concept of the l e a s t d e t r i m e n t a l a l t e r n a t i v e i s r a r e l y , i f ever, r e f e r r e d to.  However, i f the book does nothing  e l s e i t should  39  awaken courts to the needdto pay more a t t e n t i o n to p s y c h o l o g i c a l , needs of c h i l d r e n and  the  l e s s to some of  the  u n r e a l i s t i c assumptions t h a t guide the r e s o l u t i o n of  custody  disputes.  CONDUCT OF THE  By  l o o k i n g at the  the c o u r t s neither  PARENTS  f i n d themselves d e a l i n g i n revenge or r e t r i b u t i o n ,  of which should  even under the guise The  conduct of the p a r t i e s i n p a r t i c u l a r ,  difficulty,  have any p a r t i n c h i l d placement,  of a d m i n i s t e r i n g  j u s t i c e to the  1968^  1  s p e c i f i c a l l y provides  conduct of the p a r t i e s to be taken i n t o account. mandate must be taken i n context,  1  and  1  assessment of what i s i n the  for  Yet,  11  the  this  i t i s perfectly  indeed d e s i r a b l e , f o r a court to  conduct o f the p a r t i e s which has  T h i s has  litigants.  though, i s t h a t l e g i s l a t i o n such as S e c t i o n  ( l ) of the Divorce A c t ,  l e g i t i m a t e , and  not  a d i r e c t bearing  best i n t e r e s t s of the  consider on  the  children.  been made q u i t e c l e a r i n the Family R e l a t i o n s  Act,'  -,09 1978.1  As we  have seen.  s t a t e s t h a t conduct can extent  Section  only be considered  t h a t i t a f f e c t s one  child.'  However, the  specifically  by a c o u r t to  or more of the f a c t o r s which  court i s d i r e c t e d to consider o f the  24 of t h a t A c t  i n assessing  the the  the best i n t e r e s t s  conduct must ."^substantially" a f f e c t  40 a f a c t o r before i t can  be taken i n t o account.  There i s also c l e a r a u t h o r i t y i n B r i t i s h Columbia supporting  t h i s need f o r a c a u s a l l i n k between conduct and  best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d r e n . ^ not a l l courts apply courts  4  the  But the d i f f i c u l t y i s t h a t  this link s t r i c t l y .  I t seems t h a t some  commence from the premise t h a t the w e l f a r e  of  c h i l d r e n i s paramount, then say t h a t every aspect  the  of the  of the p a r t i e s i s r e l e v a n t i n determining t h a t i s sue  conduct  and  render t h e i r d e c i s i o n on the b a s i s of such conduct as i t e f f e c t s the l i t i g a n t s .  A l t e r n a t i v e l y , ' courts are a l i t t l e more open  about t h e i r p r i o r i t i e s and  s t r e s s t h a t the w e l f a r e  i s the paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n  but i t i s not  the  of the  child  sole  95 consideration.  1  For example, courts have made a great d e a l of  mileage out of the f a c t t h a t one caused the breakdown of the i s t h a t a c h i l d has parent household and  spouse may  marriage.  1  The  be s a i d to have argument propounded  a n a t u r a l r i g h t to be brought up i n a t h a t a spouse who  .abuses t h i s r i g h t cannot  be considered  capable of p r o v i d i n g  child.'^  epitome of t h i s approach i s contained  The  judgement of Lord Denning M.R.  f o r the best i n t e r e s t s of  the  i n the ~97  i n the case of Re L J  There he  said this : 7 ' X i w h i l s t the judge i s r i g h t to g i v e great weight tg/the w e l f a r e of c h i l d r e n and indeed to make i t .1.1.1 the f i r s t and paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n , i t i s not the s o l e c o n s i d e r a t i o n . In t h i s case w h i l e no doubt the mother i s a good mother i n the sense of the word,' i n t h a t she looks a f t e r the c h i l d r e n w e l l , n  two  41  g i v i n g them love and, as f a r as she can, s e c u r i t y , one must remember t h a t t o be a good mother i n v o l v e s not o n l y l o o k i n g a f t e r the c h i l d r e n , but making and keeping a home f o r them with t h e i r father,' b r i n g i n g up the two c h i l d r e n i n the love and s e c u r i t y o f t h e home with both p a r e n t s . In so f a r as she h e r s e l f by her conduct ,broke up t h a t home, she i s n o t a good mother /// i t seems t o me t h a t a mother must r e a l i z e t h a t i f she leaves and breaks up her home i n t h i s way, she cannot as of r i g h t demand t o take the c h i l d r e n from the father.' I f the mother i n t h i s case were t o be e n t i t l e d t o t h e c h i l d r e n , i t would f o l l o w t h a t every g u i l t y mother (who was otherwise a good mother) would always be e n t i t l e d t o them, f o r no stronger case f o r the f a t h e r could be found. He has a good home f o r the c h i l d r e n / He i s ready t o f o r g i v e h i s w i f e and ready t o have her back/ A l l t h a t he wishes i s f o r her t o r e t u r n . I t i s a matter of simple j u s t i c e between them that;he should have the care and c o n t r o l . W h i l s t the w e l f a r e of t h e c h i l d r e n i s the f i r s t and paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n the claims of j u s t i c e cannot be overlooked",! 1  With t h e g r e a t e s t r e s p e c t I suggest t h a t "the claims of j u s t i c e " s i m p l i c i t e r o f the p a r t i e s should n o t be the determining i n a c h i l d custody d i s p u t e /  factor  The parent most capable o f meet-  i n g t h e p r e s e n t and f u t u r e needs of t h e c h i l d should be awarded custody, r e g a r d l e s s o f whether t h a t parent has p e r p e t r a t e d an i n j u s t i c e a g a i n s t the other spouse.  The court demeans i t s e l f  i n t a k i n g such a stance and, i n e f f e c t , the c h i l d becomes the p r i z e t o be awarded t o the unimpeachable parent.  Re L has been c i t e d with approval i n many Canadian d e c i s i o n s , ^ but more i m p o r t a n t l y i t appears  t o have been  p i c k e d up by the Supreme Court of Canada i n T a l s k y v T a l s k y and MacDonald v M a c D o n a l d .  101  1 Q Q  However, t o what extent i t i s  i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o the law of Canada, and the e f f e c t t h a t i t has," i s not e n t i r e l y c l e a r /  N e i t h e r case t r e a t s Re L as l a y i n g down  42  a p r i n c i p l e t h a t competes d i r e c t l y w i t h the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d , !  Rather,  the d e c i s i o n i s t r e a t e d as i n d i c a t i n g t h a t  the conduct  o f a parent as i t a f f e c t s the w e l f a r e of t h e c h i l d  should be taken i n t o account/  Admittedly,  the m a j o r i t y i n  T a l s k y v T a l s k y d i s t i n g u i s h e d Re L on the b a s i s t h a t the conduct  o f the wife was n o t o f the same order as t h a t of the  w i f e i n Re Ly but t h e i r conception o f where conduct  fits  i n was  made c l e a r when they agreed w i t h the t r i a l judge t h a t 4  1  "a w i f e who i s w e l l - n i g h i m p o s s i b l e as a w i f e may n e v e r t h e l e s s be a wonderful mother.i"102  The  d i f f i c u l t y though, i s t h a t a l b e i t t h i s i s a more  a c c e p t a b l e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f Re L from the p o i n t o f view of the c h i l d r e n , i t i s probably not the c o r r e c t one.' In f a c t ,  Lord  Denning appears to suggest an a d d i t i o n a l t e s t along the l i n e s of  ensuring j u s t i c e between the p a r t n e r s .  Thus, i t i s  u n f o r t u n a t e t h a t the Supreme Court chose t o r e f e r t o t h i s d e c i s i o n a t a l l , because i t means t h a t subsequent c o u r t s w i l l have t o be c a r e f u l t o t r e a t T a l s k y v T a l s k y and MacDonald v MacDonald as reading down Re L t o a more c o n s e r v a t i v e p r i n c i p l e ; namely, t h a t the conduct  o f a parent i s r e l e v a n t t o determining  the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d i n the sense t h a t i t can p r o v i d e an i n s i g h t i n t o how t h a t parent w i l l respond being the s o l e custodian.  1  t o the e x i g e n c i e s o f  F o r t u n a t e l y , t h e r e has a l r e a d y been 103  a subsequent Manitoba case i n which t h i s approach was taken, and B r i t i s h Columbian Courts i n p a r t i c u l a r w i l l need t o do the •"'104 same i n view o f the l i n e of a u t h o r i t y r e f e r r e d t o above. ; 1  43  The d e c i s i o n by the Supreme Court to r e f e r to Re L i s even more u n f o r t u n a t e when i t i s R e a l i s e d t h a t not long afterwards t h a t same case was I t was in  r e j e c t e d by the Courts i n EnglandfP^  f e l t t h a t Lord Denning's approach could no longer stand  l i g h t of the subsequent House of Lords d e c i s i o n i n J v  For example, i n Re K.  j1  C. ^  a f t e r r e f e r r i n g t o t h a t p o r t i o n of the  judgement of Lord MacDermott i n J v C reproduced 109 . L.J. s a i d t h i s  '108 above,* Stamp  "Applying the law so s t a t e d the Court of Appeal i n S v S, October 2l'j' 1975* h e l d t h a t (Re L ) w h e r e t h i s c o u r t appears to have balanced the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d a g a i n s t the wishes o f an unimpeachable parent or the j u s t i c e of the case between the p a r t i e s was no longer to be regarded as good law." !  The  conduct.of the p a r t i e s can a f f e c t the w e l f a r e of the  c h i l d i n many ways.'  Indeed, i t may  p r o v i d e the c o u r t w i t h an  i n s i g h t i n t o the c h a r a c t e r , p e r s o n a l i t y , and temperament of the p a r t i c u l a r parent.  For example, a c h i l d needs the love and  a f f e c t i o n t h a t can o n l y be provided i n an environment where there i s as much c o n t a c t between the parent and c h i l d possible.  Thus, i f t h e r e was  evidence t h a t the parent  as was  r a r e l y at home t h i s might v a l i d l y a f f e c t the court's d e c i s i o n . Again,  evidence t h a t one  matrimonial home may  spouse d e l i b e r a t e l y broke up  the  w e l l i n d i c a t e t h a t he or she i s ambivalent  towards the c h i l d r e n of the marriage wishes a t the f o r e f r o n t .  1 1 1 0  and p l a c e s h i s or her  I t i s r e a l l y a matter  own  f o r the  c o u r t , l o o k i n g a t the p a s t and present conduct of the spouse,' and making a judgement as to whether t h e r e are any  implications  44  for  11  t h e f u t u r e i f t h a t spouse was awarded custody. "'' I f  t h e r e are such i m p l i c a t i o n s , then t h e c o u r t can l e g i t i m a t e l y have r e g a r d t o t h a t conduct i n a s s e s s i n g where the best ;  L12  i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d r e n w i l l l i e . '  T h i s approach a p p l i e s r e g a r d l e s s o f the type o f 1  conduct involved. '  For example, a circumstance commonly 1  presented to the c o u r t s i s the s e x u a l conduct o f one spouse . T h i s can range from a s i n g l e a c t o f a d u l t e r y t o l i v i n g i n a common law r e l a t i o n s h i p .  1  1  Yet, no matter what the degree o f  such conduct, i f the same a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t s the moral w e l f a r e of the c h i l d t h i s w i l l weigh h e a v i l y a g a i n s t the spouse •113 i n such conduct.'  engaging  C o n v e r s e l y , i f the court c o n s i d e r s t h a t the  c h i l d ' s w e l f a r e and happiness would best be served i f custody was  awarded to t h e " o f f e n d i n g " spouse, then the c o u r t should  not  hesitate.  114  Inroads are even being made i n t o t h e p r e v i o u s l y taboo area o f homosexuals,- and i t i s i l l u s t r a t i v e v a r i o u s approaches t o t h i s q u e s t i o n .  t o c o n s i d e r the  In England t h e House of  Lords has r e c e n t l y s t a t e d t h a t homosexualism  i s not  " i n i t s e l f a reason f o r d e p r i v i n g t h e parent o f access to h i s or her c h i l d or f o r h o l d i n g t h a t such a parent i s unreasonably w i t h o l d i n g consent to adoption."115 1  However, t h i s d i d n o t prevent t h e court" from d e c i d i n g i n the particular  case before i t t h a t the homosexual f a t h e r was  45  unreasonably w i t h h o l d i n g h i s consent to the proposed The c o u r t was for  adoption.  c a r e f u l to say that the matter had t o be decided  reasons which were i n d i v i d u a l to i t and to the parents -1 1  themselves,  but the u n w i l l i n g n e s s of the court to e n t i r e l y  l e t go of the t r a d i t i o n a l p r e j u d i c e a g a i n s t homosexuality i s i l l u s t r a t e d by the f o l l o w i n g e x t r a c t from the judgement of 117 Lord W i l b e r f o r c e : "Whatever new a t t i t u d e s P a r l i a m e n t , or p u b l i c t o l e r a n c e , may have chosen to take as regards the behaviour of consenting a d u l t s over 21 i n t e r se, these should not e n t i t l e the c o u r t s to r e l a x , i n any degree, the v i g i l a n c e - and s e v e r i t y with which they should regard the r i s k of the c h i l d r e n , a t c r i t i c a l ages, being exposed or i n t r o d u c e d t o ways .of l i f e which, as t h i s case i l l u s t r a t e s , may l e a d to severance from normal s o c i e t y , to p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t r e s s e s and unhappiness and p o s s i b l y even t o p h y s i c a l experiences which may s c a r them f o r l i f e . "  As regards the s i t u a t i o n i n Canada the f i r s t d e c i s i o n to 118 r e f e r t o i s Case v Case. homosexuality  per se was  1  There the court considered t h a t not a bar t o o b t a i n i n g custody, i t was  j u s t one more f a c t o r to be taken i n t o account.'  However, i n the  end r e s u l t the court found a g a i n s t the homosexual parent,  one  reason being the f a i l u r e of the mother's p a r t n e r to g i v e 119 evidence. Then there i s the case of K v K where custody of a 6 year o l d g i r l was awarded t o the homosexual mother who was 120 l i v i n g w i t h her p a r t n e r . Rowe Prov.' J . s a i d t h i s "One must guard a g a i n s t magnifying the i s s u e of homosexuality as i t a p p l i e s to the c a p a c i t y f o r performing the d u t i e s of a parent. Heterosexuals produce c h i l d r e n who become homosexual and the evidence of the p s y c h i a t r i s t and p s y c h o l o g i s t i n  46  t h i s case d i d not i n d i c a t e the odds o f becoming or being a homosexual would i n c r e a s e s o l e l y by reason of being r e a r e d by a homosexual parent." 121 The c o u r t d i s t i n g u i s h e d Case v Case  on s e v e r a l grounds :  (a) Mrs. K's p a r t n e r gave evidence and reassured the judge. (b) U n l i k e Mrs/ Case, Mrs. K. had c l e a r - c u t plans f o r t h e f u t u r e care of the c h i l d . 1  (c) Mrs. Case had l e f t the c h i l d w i t h the f a t h e r f o r a lengthy p e r i o d o f 15 months t o pursue an a f f a i r . (d) There was  evidence t h a t Mrs. K/ was a b e t t e r mother than  Mrs/ Case. (e) Mr. K,1 used drugs whereas Mr. Case's c h a r a c t e r and conduct were exemplary.  1  :  ( f ) Mrs. K/ was not as a c t i v e and p u b l i c a homosexual as Mrs Case. However, one f a c t o r which had a v i t a l e f f e c t on the c o u r t i n K v K, and which i s borne out i n the above e x t r a c t from the judgement, was the circumstance t h a t counsel f o r the mother presented s u b s t a n t i a l medical evidence which was f a v o u r a b l e t o h i s c l i e n t and downplayed the r e l e v a n c e of homosexuality/ A c c o r d i n g l y , t h i s can be an important s t r a t e g y on the p a r t of counsel a c t i n g f o r a homosexual p a r e n t / Although no a u t h o r i t i e s were c i t e d , the approach o f the ~122 court i n K v K was adopted i n the r e c e n t case o f D v D.I There, custody was awarded to the homosexual f a t h e r and one o f the p r i n c i p a l grounds f o r so d e c i d i n g was t h a t he was not a  47 p u b l i c homosexual.  From t h i s review of the cases i t would seem t h a t although homosexuality custody,  i s not a bar per se to an award of  the c o u r t w i l l s t i l l  examine the  circumstances  surrounding the p r a c t i c e s of the homosexual parent very carefully.  Yet,' t h i s may  not be a bad t h i n g because t h e r e w i l l  always be a danger of c o u r t s o v e r l o o k i n g the c a p a c i t y of the c h i l d to cope with the f a c t of having a homosexual custodian as he or she grows up.  In other words too much emphasis can  given t o the p s y c h o l o g i c a l t i e s between the c h i l d and  be  the 123  parent and not enough to the s o c i a l i n t e r e s t s of the  child.  J u s t pausing a t t h i s stage, i t can be seen a l r e a d y from the two  f a c t o r s of s e x u a l conduct and  the marriage  how  changing  on the f u t u r e of a c h i l d . reflects  causing the breakdown of  s o c i a l mores * can have a v i t a l e f f e c t The  approach of the judges o b v i o u s l y  these changes i n the a t t i t u d e s of s o c i e t y .  Courts a l s o f a c e a dilemna where one spouse has kidnapped  the c h i l d .  The temptation i s t o punish the " o f f e n d e r "  by awarding custody to the other spouse, but the c o u r t must look beyond t h i s .  :  One  of two  E i t h e r the abductor i s merely  s i t u a t i o n s w i l l be p r e s e n t . attempting  to gain revenge a g a i n s t  the other spouse, or the c h i l d i s not being adequately  looked  a f t e r and abduction i s seen as the o n l y a l t e r n a t i v e , a l b e i t  the  43  c h i l d might be a f f e c t e d by such a t r a u m a t i c experience. suggest t h a t i n the former  case the kidnapper  I  should  experience 124 the f u l l wrath of the law, but otherwise i n the l a t t e r i n s t a n c e .  I t i s c l e a r l y d i f f i c u l t f o r c o u r t s to turn a b l i n d eye to the a c t i o n s o f a l i t i g a n t , which i n a normal s i t u a t i o n would c a l l f o r some form o f r e t r i b u t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y where the other p a r t y i s beyond reproach.  Y e t , t h i s i s r e q u i r e d i n some  d i s p u t e s concerning custody and i t emphasises the s p e c i a l nature of such d i s p u t e s and the corresponding need f o r a change of a t t i t u d e from t h a t p r e v a i l i n g i n the t r a d i t i o n a l c o u r t room , ,125 drama.' 3  m  2  Of course, the presence  of q u e s t i o n a b l e conduct on the  p a r t o f one spouse i s n o t the o n l y source of d i f f i c u l t y f o r a court.  Headaches a l s o abound where the conduct o f both p a r t i e s  has r e l e v a n c e to the happiness  and w e l f a r e o f the c h i l d .  the c o u r t i s f a c e d w i t h a r e a l dilemna attempt  and, i n e f f e c t , must  t o p l a c e the c h i l d where the l e a s t harm w i l l  For example, i n the case of Re Mjlsom.  Here,  occur.  the f a t h e r presented  as being o v e r l y p e r m i s s i v e to a r i d i c u l o u s degree, w h i l e the mother lacked the a b i l i t y t o p r o j e c t warmth and l o v e , and had d i f f i c u l t y i n suppressing h o s t i l e expression.'  Robertson J.A.'  h i g h l i g h t e d the d i f f i c u l t i e s c o n f r o n t i n g the c o u r t on these f a c t s when he pronounced the r e s u l t o f the case i n these 1 97 words  :  49  "The b e t t e r gamble - and t h a t i s r e a l l y a l l t h a t i t I s - seems to be to l e t the f a t h e r have the custody.'" However, i t i s a l s o important to note t h a t one which swayed the court to t h i s c o n c l u s i o n was  circumstance the wishes of  the c h i l d r e n ; each c h i l d gave evidence t h a t favoured father.  Otherwise, the d e c i s i o n may  the  have been d i f f e r e n t .  Thus, conduct and p a r e n t a l r i g h t s both have t h e i r p l a c e i n determining the best i n t e r e s t s of a c h i l d . they provide  content to the assessment of where the  i n t e r e s t s l i e , and  circumstances which a l s o provide  making  THE  look a t some of  content to the  CONDITION AND  CAPACITY OF THE  be on the c h i l d r e n and  considered Act,  the  decision-  PARENTS  PARENTS  Although i t i s c l e a r t h a t the prime should  courts  process/  FACTORS RELATING TO THE  (l)  best  i n order to f u r t h e r i l l u s t r a t e how  determine c h i l d placement today I w i l l now other  Where r e l e v a n t ,  i n vacuo. 12  1  t h e i r needs, they cannot  Accordingly,  1968 ^ also requires  concentration  S e c t i o n 11 of the  consideration  be Divorce  of the " c o n d i t i o n " of  50 the p a r t i e s , and S e c t i o n 24 ( l ) o f the Family R e l a t i o n s  Act,  130 1978  s p e c i f i e s t h a t the c a p a c i t y of the spouses must be taken  i n t o account. considered  1  As w i t h  conduct though, the f a c t o r s t o be  have to be a l i g n e d with t h e w e l f a r e  and happiness  of t h e c h i l d r e n . T h i s r e q u i r e s r e g a r d to be had t o such aspects 131 132 as t h e age and h e a l t h of the p a r t i e s , t h e i r character 133 and temperament, t h e i r r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s , and g e n e r a l l y t h e i r 134 p o s i t i o n and s t a t u s i n l i f e and s o c i e t y .  The  r u b r i c can a l s o encompass such important  a t i o n s as t h e a b i l i t y o f the parents  consider-  t o d i s c i p l i n e the  •135 children,-  and p r o v i d e  them with  the necessary love and  1 3  affection. ^ The  parents  a r e placed under a microscope by t h e courts 137  and t h e i r e n t i r e l i f e - s t y l e i s examined. stakes omitted  1  Indeed, with t h e  so high, a c o u r t would be f a i l i n g i n i t s duty i f i t t o do this.'  I t i s a l s o important to s t r e s s t h a t the  enquiry i s n o t c o n f i n e d to the parent  i n i s o l a t i o n but, o f  n e c e s s i t y , i n c l u d e s t h i r d p a r t i e s with whom the c h i l d would be associating.'  T h i s would i n v o l v e a f u t u r e surrogate  parent, a  common law spouse, any c h i l d r e n o f such a spouse, a housekeeper, a b a b y s i t t e r , and any r e l a t i v e s who may care f o r t h e c h i l d .  As  we have seen, i f the parent i s i n f a c t l i v i n g i n a common law r e l a t i o n s h i p the court should not enter-"into the m o r a l i t y o f of such an arrangement except t o the extent  t h a t thei.welfare  51  of the children i s d i r e c t l y affected thereby.  The court i s  here concerned with whether i t i s i n the best interests of the children to be exposed to the presence of such t h i r d parties. Accordingly, i t i s essential that the court have the opportunity to assess these persons at f i r s t hand and they 138 139 should a l l be called as witnesses at the hearing.  However, as c r u c i a l as i t i,s to examine the l i f e - s t y l e s of a l l concerned, i t i s another matter to determine which l i f e - s t y l e w i l l afford the c h i l d the best opportunity to succeed i n the future.  This i s the r e a l dilemna f o r a judge,  and i t i s i l l u s t r a t e d very well by the much publicised case of Painter v B a n n i s t e r .  1 4 0  There, the competing  natural father and the maternal grandparents.  parties were the The former  presented a l i f e - s t y l e described by the Supreme Court of Iowa as "unstable, unconventional, arty, bohemian, and probably intellectually stimulating", "stable, dependable, 1 49 background."  141  while the l a t t e r provided a  conventional, middle-class, middle-west  In the end r e s u l t , the court decided that the  grandparents should be awarded custody because of the likelihood of seriously disrupting the child's development i f he was 143 returned to the father's "unusual" household..  Of course,  factors other than the l i f e - s t y l e s of the l i t i g a n t s were important here, but the court was e s s e n t i a l l y l e f t to make a choice between two e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t philosophies of l i f e .  52  A p e r u s a l of the judgement i n d i c a t e s t h a t i n making t h i s choice the court allowed i t s own p r e j u d i c e s to i n f l u e n c e i t s •144 decision,  but i t attempted to j u s t i f y the same by a f f o r d i n g  great weight t o the evidence  given by t h e only b e h a v i o u r a l  s c i e n t i s t c a l l e d i n the case. flaws i n h i s assessment.  However, there were  obvious  He was a c h i l d p s y c h o l o g i s t presented  on b e h a l f o f the grandparents.'  He based h i s opinions on o n l y  a minimal number of i n t e r v i e w s with the c h i l d and on what he was t o l d by the grandparents.  He d i d not see the f a t h e r a t a l l , 145  and t h e r e was l i t t l e meaningful crossexamination.  Obviously,  t h i s was not the way to achieve a s a t i s f a c t o r y r e s o l u t i o n o f the problem c o n f r o n t i n g the court.  I d e a l l y the judge should  have an open mind about what i s best f o r the c h i l d and reach a d e c i s i o n on an adequate i n f o r m a t i o n base. still  b r i n g s i n t o sharp r e l i e f the dilemna i n which a court  can f i n d i t s e l f when confronted with d i v e r s e (2)  However, the case  life-styles.  THE MEANS OF THE PARTIES  The means of the p a r t i e s could r i g h t l y be considered as j u s t one aspect of the c a p a c i t y of the p a r t i e s and, indeed, t h i s i s how i t seems to be d e a l t with i n S e c t i o n 24 ( l ) (e) o f the Family R e l a t i o n s A c t , 1 9 7 8 / Divorce A c t , 1 9 6 8  1 4 7  1 4 6  However,' S e c t i o n 11 of the  s p e c i f i c a l l y d i r e c t s the court t o have  r e g a r d t o t h i s f a c t o r i n determining  what i s f i t and j u s t , and  a c c o r d i n g l y I have chosen t o d i s c u s s i t as a separate  topic.  53  Courts have taken a v e r y low-key a t t i t u d e t o t h i s aspect.  5  For some reason judges a r e n o t taken w i t h the thought o f weigh14  i n g comparative m a t e r i a l a d v a n t a g e s , ^ y e t i t seems t o me t h a t the economic i n t e r e s t s of c h i l d r e n are as important as t h e i r emotional ww e l l --bbeeiinnig .  Indeed, t h e l a t t e r can f o l l o w  •149 d i r e c t l y from the former.  Of course, where both spouses a r e able to p r o v i d e an adequate environment f o r the c h i l d r e n , t h e i r placement should not n e c e s s a r i l y be determined by asking which parent has the g r e a t e r wealth.  Y e t , r a r e l y a r e both parents able t o p r o v i d e  adequate environments, and a c c o r d i n g l y the f i n a n c i a l l y  superior  spouse would appear t o have an advantage r e g a r d i n g custody. However, most courts are quick to say t h a t the spouse who has a c o n s i d e r a b l e f o r t u n e i s b e t t e r able to make proper and adequate p r o v i s i o n f o r c h i l d maintenance, and thus, t h e r e i s 150 no advantage.  On the other hand though, some c o u r t s have  not been dogmatic about t h i s i s s u e and have t r e a t e d the circumstance that one spouse can make b e t t e r f i n a n c i a l p r o v i s i o n f o r the c h i l d r e n as r e l e v a n t when c o n s i d e r i n g the t o t a l i t y of that spouse's s i t u a t i o n and t h e a b i l i t y t o meet t h e best 151 i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d .  C e r t a i n l y , a t the other end o f t h e  f i n a n c i a l s c a l e , courts have not h e s i t a t e d t o have r e g a r d t o the f a c t that a parent i s i n a poor economic p o s i t i o n and i s • 152 t h e r e f o r e unable to p r o v i d e adequate accommodation. J  8  54  (3)  SEPARATION AGREEMENTS  Parents f r e q u e n t l y enter i n t o a s e p a r a t i o n agreement when § f a m i l y u n i t d i s s o l v e s , and g e n e r a l l y the q u e s t i o n of custody i s d e a l t with i n such an agreement.  Unfortunately  though, parents cannot always be r e l i e d upon to g i v e precedence 153 to the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d , whether i n such circumstances  and the q u e s t i o n i s  courts are bound by the terms of "154  the agreement. Although  The  answer can only be i n the negative.  1  the f a c t t h a t one parent has agreed t h a t the other  should have custody i s a r e l e v a n t f a c t o r i n i t s e l f ,  courts  should not h e s i t a t e to i n v e s t i g a t e the circumstances  surround-  i n g the agreement i n determining what weight should be '155 to i t J  attached  T h i s should be the case whether the agreement i s  contained i n a w r i t t e n document entered i n t o p r i o r to the c o u r t 156 proceedings,  or whether i t takes the form of a consent  sought from the court.' one  The  l a t t e r s i t u a t i o n i s an  order  important  because i t i s common f o r p a r t i e s to s e t t l e t h e i r d i s p u t e  immediately  p r i o r to the a c t u a l hearing of the matter.  should not be hoodwinked i n t o a c c e p t i n g the p r o p o s a l  A court  presented  to i t without r e a c h i n g an independent c o n c l u s i o n t h a t the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d w i l l be served by making the order sought. To n e g l e c t to do t h i s i s to lapse i n t o the f a l s e sense of 157 s e c u r i t y c r e a t e d by the n o t i o n t h a t parents  know best.  I n v a r i a b l y ' t h e c h i l d would have had no say i n the reached  by the p a r e n t s , and i t may  settlement  have been a s i t u a t i o n where  5 5  custody was simply f o r f e i t e d to gain some form o f p r o p e r t y ;  r i g h t ; i. e.V the c h i l d r e n merely became p a r t o f the b a r g a i n i n g process.  However, a l l too f r e q u e n t l y courts are prepared consent  orders without  any i n q u i r y whatsoever.  to make  Whether t h i s  i s complacency, an u n w i l l i n g n e s s to i n t e r f e r e with the r e l a t i o n s h i p o f parent and c h i l d , or p u r e l y a matter o f pressure of c o u r t business, i t i s c e r t a i n l y lamentable occur.  t h a t i t can  Indeed,' courts go even f u r t h e r and r e g u l a r l y make  statements t o the e f f e c t t h a t i t would be much p r e f e r a b l e i f the parents were able to r e s o l v e the d i s p u t e amongst themselves.  1  No c r i t i c i s m can be made of t h i s approach i f i t  can be assumed t h a t t h e parents w i l l reach an agreement t h a t i s i n the best i n t e r e s t s o f t h e c h i l d r e n , and not simply one t h a t s u i t s t h e i r own conveniences,  but, as I have  i t i s r a r e t h a t t h i s assumption can be made.  suggested,  For a c h i l d who  i s p l a c e d i n a s i t u a t i o n which i s d e t r i m e n t a l to h i s or her w e l f a r e , there can be no comfort i n the f a c t t h a t the same was brought about by a n e g o t i a t e d r e s o l u t i o n between the parents, or t h a t he or she i s a b l e t o continue a r e l a t i o n s h i p with of them.'  both  159  A court should take one of two courses; i t should f u l l y i n v e s t i g a t e f o r i t s e l f whether the proposed order  either will  best serve the i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d r e n , or have the c h i l d r e n  56 s e p a r a t e l y represented  and r e c e i v e submissions on t h e i r  b e h a l f as t o the p r o p r i e t y o f the o r d e r . T h e Columbia Royal Commission on Family appreciated  British  and C h i l d r e n ' s Law  t h i s problem o f consent o r d e r s .  Under S e c t i o n 10  of P a r t i v of i t s D r a f t Model C h i l d r e n ' s A c t , 1 9 7 6 can o n l y make a consent order f o r guardianship, access without  t a k i n g evidence  l 6 i  a court  custody and  i f a f a m i l y advocate and a  f a m i l y court c o u n s e l l o r each c e r t i f y t h a t the c h i l d ' s circumstances  have been i n v e s t i g a t e d and t h a t each i s s a t i s f i e d  t h a t the terms and c o n d i t i o n s are i n the best i n t e r e s t s o f the child.  1  Unfortunately  though, Parliament  up i n the Family R e l a t i o n s Act,' 1 9 7 8 A c t provides taken,  l 6 3  has not taken  this  S e c t i o n 10 o f t h a t  t h a t an order can be made without  evidence  being  the only c o n d i t i o n being t h a t the w r i t t e n consent of  the p a r t y a g a i n s t whom- the order i s made must be o b t a i n e d .  P r o f e s s o r s Gosse and Payne, i n t h e i r r e s e a r c h paper 164 prepared  f o r the Law Reform Commission of Canada,  b r i n g to  l i g h t a p r o p o s a l i n t h i s area by an unnamed A l b e r t a lawyer who has acted' f r e q u e n t l y as amicus c u r i a e i n d i v o r c e The  p r o p o s a l i s that an a d m i n i s t r a t i v e t r i b u n a l be e s t a b l i s h e d  to review custody  agreements i n d i v o r c e cases.  would be an independent board appointed Governor-in-Council, and  cases.  ;  The t r i b u n a l  by the L i e u t e n a n t -  and c o n s i s t o f a lawyer, a s o c i a l worker  two l a y persons appointed  from the p u b l i c at l a r g e . I t s  f u n c t i o n would be to conduct an i n v e s t i g a t i o n and advise the  57  court whether the c h i l d should or should not have c o u n s e l . Frankly,though,  I c o n s i d e r such a t r i b u n a l unnecessary when  the c o u r t i t s e l f appoint  can  conduct the i n v e s t i g a t i o n or, p r e f e r a b l y ,  counsel on the assumption t h a t c h i l d r e n r e q u i r e a  v o i c e i n any d e c i s i o n t h a t v i t a l l y a f f e c t s t h e i r f u t u r e .  FACTORS RELATING TO THE  Now  we  CHILD  come to where the p r i n c i p a l emphasis i n  i n g c h i l d placement should always be. i n r e c e n t times  However, i t has o n l y been  that the need t o c o n s i d e r the circumstances  the c h i l d has gained  a prominent p l a c e i n custody  For example, nowhere i n S e c t i o n 11 1 9 6 8 , i s  determin-  1  legislation ^  5  ( l ) of the Divorce A c t ,  t h e r e any r e f e r e n c e to t h i s need.  Accordingly,  courts have had to s h i f t the c o n c e n t r a t i o n away from the and p l a c e the same on the c h i l d r e n by u t i l i z i n g the  parents  catch-all  p r o v i s i o n i n t h a t S e c t i o n which permits r e g a r d to be had "other circumstances"  of.  to  apart from conduct, c o n d i t i o n and means.  i f*n The  age,  health  and  s p e c i a l requirements  a l l been considered under t h i s r u b r i c . t h i s may  1  of the c h i l d r e n have  However, prima  facie,  be an u n j u s t i f i e d use of t h i s c a t c h - a l l p r o v i s i o n  because on i t s own  wording the "other circumstances"  considered are those r e l a t i n g to each of the p a r t i e s . f u l l y though, courts continue to i g n o r e t h i s  to be Thank-  restriction.  58 (l)  AGE  The question o f the age of the c h i l d has an i n t e r e s t i n g h i s t o r y and i t continues  t o provide controversy.  I t was once  c o n s i d e r e d a p r i n c i p l e o f law, or a t l e a s t a presumption o f 1  1  l a w , ^ t h a t during the years o f n u r t u r e ^ :  i n the care o f the mother. "tender  years" doctrine.-  a c h i l d should be  170  3  T h i s i s commonly known as the  C o r o l l a r i e s o f the d o c t r i n e are t h a t 171  g i r l s o f any age should be with t h e i r mothers,  and boys over  the age o f seven years should be i n the custody of t h e i r fathers/  1 7 2  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , some courts tended t o t r e a t t h i s d o c t r i n e as i n d i c a t i n g per se what was i n the best i n t e r e s t s o f the 173 child,  r a t h e r than a c c e p t i n g i t f o r what i t was; one o f the  many f a c t o r s t o be taken of the c h i l d .  i n t o account i n a s s e s s i n g the w e l f a r e  That t h i s was so was r e c o g n i s e d even i n the 174  c l a s s i c case o f A u s t i n v Austin.  1  There, Lord R o m i l l y M.R/j,  i n e x p r e s s i n g the d o c t r i n e , s t a t e d t h a t a c h i l d would be taken away from the mother i f i t was 175 " e s s e n t i a l t o the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d " / Yet, as I say, courts p a i d undue homage to the p r i n c i p l e ; a t the very l e a s t , to the extent of u t i l i z i n g t h i n g s were equal.  the same where a l l  F o r t u n a t e l y though, t h e r e have been  r e c e n t pronouncements b e r a t i n g such an approach.  I t has been  s a i d t h a t the d o c t r i n e i s not a r u l e o f law but simply a r u l e  59 177 o f common sense,'  and more emphasis has been given t o  l e g i s l a t i v e d i r e c t i o n s such as was contained i n S e c t i o n 5 o f -1 7R  the former Equal Guardianship  of Infants Act.  That S e c t i o n  provided t h a t n e i t h e r a husband nor a w i f e had a paramount r i g h t to t h e i r i n f a n t c h i l d r e n . '  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , the F m i l y a  -=179  R e l a t i o n s Act, 1978,  which r e p e a l e d t h i s Act, does not  contain as graphic a statement, but the same can be i m p l i e d from S e c t i o n s 27 and 34 t h e r e o f . In any event, is  some commentators f e e l t h a t the p r i n c i p l e  l o s i n g much o f i t s f o r c e as a r e s u l t of the gradual  a s s i m i l a t i o n o f the r o l e s of mother and f a t h e r i n today's • 180  society.  1  I t i s no longer the case t h a t i n a l l f a m i l i e s the  f a t h e r goes out to work while the mother stays home and minds the c h i l d r e n . With mothers becoming more and more a p a r t o f the workforce,' they have no more time t o devote t o the c h i l d 181  than the f a t h e r .  On the other hand, t h i s l e s s e n i n g o f the impact o f the d o c t r i n e does n o t appear to accord with the preponderance o f the a v a i l a b l e p s y c h o l o g i c a l evidence r e l a t i n g t o both and p a t e r n a l d e p r i v a t i o n o f c h i l d r e n .  1  The q u e s t i o n though, i s  whether the courts w i l l have regard t o such Admittedly, evidence  maternal  courts are becoming more attuned  evidence/ to r e c e i v i n g  from the b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n c e s but the time has not yet  come when they w i l l r e l y on such evidence without  question,  6 0  and,  as we s h a l l see, t h i s appears t o be a j u s t i f i a b l e  p o s i t i o n '-•182  There i s voluminous m a t e r i a l  i n d i c a t i n g the importance 183  of the r o l e of the mother i n the development o f her c h i l d r e n . 1  Indeed, some commentators b e l i e v e psychological  deprivation  that  a c h i l d ' s p h y s i c a l and  development w i l l cease e n t i r e l y i f t h e r e i s •-M84  of emotional c o n t a c t with the mother.  mental and p h y s i c a l  deficiencies i n children  1  Both  separated from  t h e i r mothers seems t o have been proved beyond reasonable doubt, and  the i n d i c a t o r s  a r e t h e r e t h a t the bond between mother and  c h i l d i s c r u c i a l f o r the development of r e l a t i o n s h i p s life;  i n later  1 1 8 5  Maternal deprivation  o b v i o u s l y has d i f f e r e n t  effects  according to the c h i l d ' s stage of development a t the time. However, commentators have t a l k e d i n terms o f the e f f e c t on age groups r a t h e r  than the e f f e c t on c h i l d r e n w i t h a p a r t i c u l a r  m a t u r i t y level." T h i s i s because o f l i m i t a t i o n s on the L86  experimental design u t i l i z e d stressed  by r e s e a r c h e r s .  As I have  before,' the d i f f i c u l t y i n r e f e r r i n g t o age groups i s  that age i s an u n r e l i a b l e  guide t o a c h i l d ' s c a p a c i t y ,  and  t h i s throws doubt on the v a l i d i t y o f the c o n c l u s i o n s so f a r as they r e l a t e t o e i t h e r an i n d i v i d u a l c h i l d , or c h i l d r e n i n general.  1  N e v e r t h e l e s s , these s t u d i e s  work w i t h a t the moment.  are a l l t h e r e are t o  61  Skard b e l i e v e s and  3£  t h a t the age-group between 6 months  years s u f f e r the most, and  months.-  On  t h a t the c r i t i c a l age i s 7  the other hand Bowlby i n h i s seminal work on 189  maternal d e p r i v a t i o n  b e l i e v e d t h a t the c r i t i c a l  concluded at approximately 18 months. to accommodate as many opinions  of 3 £  years.  Taking a broad approach  as p o s s i b l e , i t would appear  that a c h i l d w i l l s u f f e r adversely u n t i l the age  !  age  from maternal d e p r i v a t i o n  Between the age  7 years the evidence appears to be t h a t not a f f e c t e d by such d e p r i v a t i o n , and h e r e i n  of 3^  years  every c h i l d i s  l i e s the  difficulty.'  I t i s not yet p o s s i b l e to a s c e r t a i n e i t h e r the type of who  i s unaffected,  and  child  or the s e t of circumstances t h a t w i l l  a c h i l d not to be a f f e c t e d .  I f i t was,'  and  cause  courts were  prepared to accept such evidence,' then t h e i r task would be much simplified/  On  the other  court t h e o r e t i c a l l y has mother.  The  unaffected The  no  1  hand, i n a s t a t e of u n c e r t a i n t y  the  option but to award custody to  the  r i s k t h a t the p a r t i c u l a r c h i l d was  by maternal d e p r i v a t i o n would be too evidence regarding  one  of those  great.  p a t e r n a l d e p r i v a t i o n has  s i g n i f i c a n t l y l e s s i n magnitude than the evidence  regarding  maternal d e p r i v a t i o n , yet some assumptions have s t i l l 1  made. ^  0  been  In p a r t i c u l a r , i t appears t h a t a f t e r the p e r i o d :  nurture  been  the f a t h e r assumes a more prominent r o l e /  i n v o l v i n g delinquent  191 Studies  c h i l d r e n i n d i c a t e d t h a t delinquency  more apparent amongst boys where the f a t h e r was  of  absent,  was and  62  delinquency was more apparent amongst g i r l s where they were l i v i n g with t h e i r f a t h e r s o n l y or l i v i n g with n e i t h e r p a r e n t / There was a l s o evidence of immaturity, d i f f i c u l t y i n s o c i a l i z i n g , and d e f i c i e n c i e s i n mental a p t i t u d e amongst boys • 193 as a r e s u l t of p a t e r n a l deprivation.: there was very l i t t l e  U n f o r t u n a t e l y though,  evidence of t h e e f f e c t o f p a t e r n a l  d e p r i v a t i o n on g i r l s . ' What c o n c l u s i o n s then, can be drawn from t h i s One  commentator  evidence?  195 •;: has s a i d t h a t ,  " ( i ) n view o f the many areas o f r e s e a r c h i n t o d e p r i v a t i o n ' which lack sound data, i t would be q u i t e unappropriate to draw any f i r m c o n c l u s i o n s a t t h i s stage/" I  196 Yet, Bradbrook II  suggests  that,  ( t ) h e b o l d e s t j u s t i f i a b l e c o n c l u s i o n t h a t can be made on the s t r e n g t h o f the p r e v a i l i n g evidence i s t h a t , under normal circumstances, a c h i l d under t h e age of seven i s b e t t e r o f f with i t s mother, as i s a g i r l of any age. P e r s u a s i v e , though n o t q u i t e as s i g n i f i c a n t , , evidence f u r t h e r suggests t h a t a boy over t h e age o f seven i s b e t t e r o f f with h i s father"/ 197  However, as Bradbrook its  a l s o p o i n t s out,  i f t h i s was taken t o  l o g i c a l c o n c l u s i o n a boy would be p l a c e d i n the mother's  care u n t i l he reached the age o f 7 years and then custody would be t r a n s f e r r e d t o the father.  1  The d i f f i c u l t y i s t h a t from the  view p o i n t o f s t a b i l i t y of environment  i t may not be i n the  best i n t e r e s t s o f t h e c h i l d f o r custody t o be a l t e r e d a t t h a t 8  time.  198 An e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t s e t of p r e s s u r e s and adverse  r e a c t i o n s may become apparent.  The a l t e r n a t i v e would seem t o  63  be to p l a c e the  c h i l d w i t h the mother throughout  childhood.  However, i t must be remembered t h a t t h i s i s the a l t e r n a t i v e presented on the assumption t h a t the deprived  of the mother during  t h a t t h e r e may firstly,  the p e r i o d of nurture.  be I suggest  be c e r t a i n doubts concerning t h i s assumption,  because of the a s s i m i l a t i o n of the r o l e of mother  f a t h e r i n today's s o c i e t y , and studies  c h i l d should not  secondly, because of  concerning p a r e n t a l d e p r i v a t i o n . As  i t seems to me  and  recent  to the f i r s t  aspect,  t h a t the e m p i r i c a l data a v a i l a b l e i n thearea of  maternal d e p r i v a t i o n was  obtained on the b a s i s of the  traditional  r o l e s of the parents, namely w i t h the f a t h e r working and mother remaining home c a r i n g f o r the young c h i l d .  the  I t i s not  unreasonable to assume t h a t i f those t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e s were reversed  the  c h i l d would s t i l l  but v i a p a t e r n a l conclusions  and  s u f f e r the same adverse e f f e c t s ,  not maternal d e p r i v a t i o n .  regards the second aspect, i t i s now  s t u d i e s were made.  As  f e l t by some s c i e n t i s t s  consequences f o r so long a t t r i b u t e d s o l e l y to maternal  deprivation,  can  be e q u a l l y a t t r i b u t e d to p a t e r n a l  t h a t i t i s more accurate to use "parental  the  drawn from the evidence do not n e c e s s a r i l y take  account of the context i n which the  t h a t the  Thus,  deprivation".  loss,  and  a t o t a l concept such as  I t i s s a i d t h a t f o r too  / q u a l i t y of f a t h e r / c h i l d i n t e r a c t i o n s have been  long now ignored,  e s p e c i a l l y s i n c e s t u d i e s have i n d i c a t e d q u i t e c l e a r l y  the  199  that  f a t h e r s have a marked impact on t h e i r c h i l d ' s p e r s o n a l i t y development.Far  too much emphasis has  been p l a c e d  on  the  64  mother when i t i s c l e a r t h a t i t i s not n e c e s s a r i l y to her t h a t  201 a c h i l d becomes most attached.  Many c h i l d r e n develop  bonds  with s e v e r a l people and i t appears  l i k e l y t h a t these bonds a r e  902 basically similar.  However, the p r i n c i p a l bond need not  be with t h e b i o l o g i c a l parent, i t need n o t be with t h e c h i e f c a r e t a k e r , and i t need not be with a female.  The important  t h i n g i s t h a t a bond be formed and i t i s o f l e s s consequence  203 to whom t h e attachment i s made.  However, t h a t i s n o t to say  t h a t i t makes no d i f f e r e n c e i n terms o f i n d i v i d u a l p s y c h o l o g i c a l development w i t h whom t h e young c h i l d forms bonds. I t i s probable t h a t f o r o p t i m a l development bonds need t o be 2 0 4  formed with xes. I t a speople i l l u s t roaft iboth v e , Is esuggest, t h a t the more r e c e n t studies  do n o t concern themselves  w i t h p a t e r n a l or maternal  d e p r i v a t i o n • a s such, but r a t h e r w i t h t h e e f f e c t on the c h i l d o f say s e p a r a t i o n o r d i v o r c e , without r e f e r e n c e t o t h e sex o f t h e d e p a r t i n g parent.  However, whether t h i s i s because o f a  recognition of r o l e a s s i m i l a t i o n i s unclear.  In f a c t , the o n l y  t h i n g t h a t i s c l e a r concerning the evidence i n t h i s area i s t h a t v e r y l i t t l e i s c e r t a i n , and a g r e a t d e a l more study i s called for.  65 (2)  THE EFFECT OF DE FACTO CARE AND CONTROL  Another area where courts must look to the p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n f l u e n c e s a t p l a y i s where an a p p l i c a t i o n i s made f o r custody of a c h i l d who has been i n the de f a c t o care and c o n t r o l of the other parent f o r some time.  The courts f r e q u e n t l y f i n d  themselves i n a c l e f t - s t i c k here, and the question of j u s t i c e between the l i t i g a n t s may r a i s e i t s head once again.  De f a c t o  custody i s g e n e r a l l y determined without any s p e c i f i c r e f e r e n c e to the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d . f o r c e of circumstances.  I t u s u a l l y occurs by  For example, one p a r t y may have had no  a l t e r n a t i v e except t o leave the matrimonial home, but having no s u i t a b l e accommodation immediately the c h i l d with him or her.  a v a i l a b l e , could not take  Again, one parent may simply;  disappear without warning, t a k i n g the c h i l d as well.! A l t e r n a t i v e l y / there may be an abduction of the c h i l d by one parent.  Even the c o u r t i t s e l f may have created the s i t u a t i o n , 2 0  e i t h e r by an i n t e r i m order f o r c u s t o d y ^ or by a d e l a y i n  207 hearing the a p p l i c a t i o n .  The problem c o n f r o n t i n g the courts  here i s t h a t the de f a c t o s i t u a t i o n may have continued f o r such time as to c r e a t e a s t r o n g bond between-the c h i l d and the parent.  The c o u r t must then look v e r y c l o s e l y a t t h e e f f e c t  t h a t a change i n custody w i l l have on the c h i l d and h i s or her f u t u r e development/  T h i s must be the dominant f a c t o r i n a s s e s s -  i n g the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d , and the court cannot take i n t o account t h a t l e a v i n g custody w i t h the de. f a c t o c a r e - g i v e r  66 ••"'•908 may n o t be doing j u s t i c e to the other spouse,. There  will 7  o b v i o u s l y be hard cases, but hard cases do n o t make good law. ' The p r e s s u r e on the c o u r t i s immense, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n an abduction s i t u a t i o n . ' condoning  The c o u r t does n o t want to be seen as  t h i s type o f a c t i o n because an abduction i t s e l f can  be a t r a u m a t i c experience f o r the c h i l d and may have l o n g lasting effects.  1  The tug-of-war  i s between promoting the  i n t e r e s t s o f the p a r t i c u l a r c h i l d before the c o u r t , and sacrificing  t h a t c h i l d i n the hope t h a t would-be abductors can  be dissuaded by an adverse c o u r t d e c i s i o n .  One escape f o r the c o u r t i s t o f i n d t h a t t h e r e i s no p s y c h o l o g i c a l damage to a c h i l d when the s t a t u s quo i s altered.' Thus, i n the case o f In Re Thain (an i n f a n t )  2 0 9  Eve J .  210 remarked  :  " I t i s s a i d t h a t the l i t t l e g i r l w i l l be ,greatly d i s t r e s s e d and upset a t p a r t i n g from Mr. and Mrs,; J o n e s / I can q u i t e understand i t may be so, but, at her tender age/ one knows from experience how m e r c i f u l l y t r a n s i e n t are the e f f e c t s of p a r t i n g s and other sorrows, and how soon the n o v e l t y o f f r e s h surroundings and new a s s o c i a t i o n s e f f a c e s the r e c o l l e c t i o n o f former days and kind f r i e n d s , and I cannot a t t a c h much weight to t h i s aspect o f the case. " 2 H 1  However, courts have n o t been c o n s i s t e n t i n t h e i r approach t o t h i s i s s u e , and,' i n a sense, i t depends on what evidence i s p r e s e n t e d t o the c o u r t .  I f the c o u r t r e c e i v e s s u b s t a n t i a l  evidence from the b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n c e s , and accepts such evidence, then the chances of the s t a t u s quo being d i s t u r b e d where a bond has been formed, are minimal.  212 As we have seen,  67  t h e r e i s a growing  m e d i c a l concern about the r i s k s e n t a i l e d i n  moving a c h i l d from one  environment  and  custodian  and the concern i n c r e a s e s i n d i r e c t p r o p o r t i o n of changes imposed.*  to another,  t o the number  There tends to be a shallowness o f  a f f e c t i o n with a decrease i n r e a c t i o n a t each change; an index 213 of severe emotional d i s t u r b a n c e . are f o r g e d  Strong bonds of a f f e c t i o n  over a p e r i o d of time as a n a t u r a l consequence o f  the p a r e n t - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p , i n v o l v i n g as i t does c l o s e proximity  and a t t e n t i o n to the p h y s i c a l and emotional needs  of the c h i l d .  Of course though, blood t i e s alone do not  t h i s type of bond, and as we  create  have seen the important t h i n g i s  the nature and q u a l i t y of the bond r a t h e r than w i t h whom i t i s forged.  2 1 4  An  a p p r e c i a t i o n o f the need to consider  the presence  such a r e l a t i o n s h i p , and the consequences of i t s breach  of  appears  i n the f o l l o w i n g e x t r a c t from the judgement of Lord MacDermott 215 i n the case of J v C  :  "Some of the a u t h o r i t i e s convey the impression t h a t the upset caused to a c h i l d by a change o f custody i s t r a n s i e n t and a matter of s m a l l importance. For a l l I know t h a t may have been t r u e i n the cases c o n t a i n i n g d i c t a to t h a t e f f e c t . But I t h i n k a growing experience has shown t h a t i t i s not always so and t h a t s e r i o u s harm even t o young^people may, on o c c a s i o n , be caused by such a change."' I do not suggest t h a t the d i f f i c u l t i e s of t h i s s u b j e c t can be r e s o l v e d by p u r e l y t h e o r e t i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , or t h a t they need to be l e f t e n t i r e l y to expert o p i n i o n . But a c h i l d ' s f u t u r e happiness and sense of s e c u r i t y are always important f a c t o r s and the e f f e c t s of a change o f custody w i l l o f t e n be worthy of the eloseaand anxious a t t e n t i o n which they undoubtedly r e c e i v e d i n t h i s case.'"216  68 Of c o u r s e , t h e problems here a r e s i m i l a r t o those which hound t h e concept o f p a r e n t a l d e p r i v a t i o n , namely, how c o n c l u s i v e i s t h e e v i d e n c e and w i l l t h e c o u r t s be r e c e p t i v e t o such e v i d e n c e ?  As w i t h s t u d i e s c o n c e r n i n g  deprivation, i t i s  apparent t h a t n o t a l l c h i l d r e n a r e a f f e c t e d by an a l t e r a t i o n i n de f a c t o custody, and t h e r e i s a need f o r data i s o l a t i n g t h e 217 types o f c h i l d r e n so u n a f f e c t e d . forthcoming  U n t i l such data i s  t h e s a f e s t course f o r a judge i s t o assume t h a t  the b e s t i n t e r e s t s o f t h e c h i l d w i l l be served by m a i n t a i n i n g the s t a t u s quo u n l e s s indicates,-, o t h e r w i s e 218 case- a t b a r .  e v i d e n c e from t h e b e h a v i o u r a l  sciences  i n the p a r t i c u l a r circumstances  of the  However, even t h i s may be t o o s i m p l i s t i c an approach. 219  There a r e c o u n t l e s s v a r i a b l e s t o c o n s i d e r ,  i n c l u d i n g t h e age  o f t h e c h i l d ( o r r a t h e r h i s phase o f development), any a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g emotional  and mental problems, and t h e f a m i l i a r i t y o f  the s u r r o u n d i n g s .  Again,  t h e d i f f i c u l t y w i t h t h e age f a c t o r  i s t h a t t h e r e i s no consensus amongst p r a c t i t i o n e r s o f t h e b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n c e s as t o when t h e r i s k o f e m o t i o n a l disturbance i s greatest.  Of course,  a page may be taken o u t  of t h e p a r e n t a l d e p r i v a t i o n book, and t h e c o n c l u s i o n r e a c h e d t h a t t h e most t h a t can be s a i d i s t h a t encompassing t h e d i f f e r i n g views t h e e f f e c t w i l l be g r e a t e s t between c e r t a i n 220 ages.  Y e t , t h i s w i l l n o t a s s i s t t h e judge c o n f r o n t e d  the s i t u a t i o n where a c h i l d i s over t h e maximum age, and  with  69 p s y c h i a t r i c evidence i s presented t o the e f f e c t t h a t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r c h i l d w i l l be s e v e r e l y a f f e c t e d by a d i s t u r b a n c e o f the de f a c t o s i t u a t i o n .  I n e v i t a b l y , the court i s l e f t t o 221  make i t s own  judgement i n these circumstances.  N a t u r a l l y , where the c h i l d has a p r e - e x i s t i n g  emotional  d i s o r d e r the c o u r t w i l l need to be even more r e l i a n t on the medical evidence and the treatment requirements.  For example,  222 i n Davis v Davis  the c h i l d was  s u f f e r i n g from  s c h i z o p h r e n i a and the recommended evironment was emotional d i s t u r b a n c e was  limited.!  p r o v i d i n g such an environment  juvenile one where  The f a t h e r had been  f o r the preceding 15 months,' and,  a c c o r d i n g l y , the c o u r t had no h e s i t a t i o n i n l e a v i n g the of the c h i l d w i t h The factor.  custody  him.  f a m i l i a r i t y of the surroundings i s a s e l f - e v i d e n t  I f a c h i l d has been r e s i d i n g i n one p l a c e f o r a  lengthy p e r i o d of time he w i l l have a c l o s e a f f i n i t y with the people around him and with the neighbourhood  as a whole.  uproot him and p l a c e him i n a strange environment 1  have an e f f e c t on him,  To  w i l l obviously  and the g e n e r a l o p i n i o n i s t h a t  such 223  e f f e c t w i l l be an adverse one f o r h i s emotional I t i s perhaps  a q u e s t i o n of degree  though.  equilibrium.  The e f f e c t of the  change might be most traumatic where the c h i l d has never any c o n t a c t with the proposed  environment,  i s so f a r away from h i s present environment  had  and where the same as to e f f e c t i v e l y  70 prevent  the r e t e n t i o n of any  However, although  l i n k s with the  i n theory there may  latter.  be a number of  f a c t o r s bearing on whether a court w i l l defer to the accompli  presented  i t i s r a r e indeed  fait  by a s e t t l e d de f a c t o s i t u a t i o n , i n p r a c t i c e f o r a court to d i s t u r b a s e t t l e d  -224 environment. Court  T h i s i s c e r t a i n l y my  of A u s t r a l i a and  Supreme Court  experience  i n the  Family  i t would seem to be the case i n the  of .Ontario.  Bradbrook has  conducted an e m p i r i c a l  study of the a t t i t u d e s of the judges i n the l a t t e r c o u r t  and  the r e s u l t s are q u i t e r e v e a l i n g . His f i n d i n g s i n t h i s 225 p a r t i c u l a r area are as f o l l o w s : " A l l but one of the judges admitted t h a t they seldom upset the s t a t u s quo before the t r i a l , although the m a j o r i t y emphasised t h a t e v e r y t h i n g depends on the length of time t h a t the p r e - t r i a l arrangement has been i n operation. The m a j o r i t y o p i n i o n i s t h a t once one p a r t y has had possession of the c h i l d f o r s i x months or longer a presumption of continuance a r i s e s , but t h a t possession f o r a s h o r t e r time c a r r i e s l i t t l e weight. However, t h r e e judges remarked t h a t they would be r e l u c t a n t to change p o s s e s s i o n even where the parent with the c h i l d had . o n l y had possession f o r two months before the t r i a l . In sharp c o n t r a s t to h i s b r o t h e r s , one judge has no qualms at a l l about changing p o s s e s s i o n of the c h i l d , s i n c e the t r i a l i s intended to be a determination of the i s s u e , not n e c e s s a r i l y the maintenance of the s t a t u s quo: h i s o n l y p r o v i s o i s t h a t the parent without p o s s e s s i o n before the t r i a l must have kept i n r e g u l a r contact with the c h i l d at a l l stages or e l s e he or she w i l l become a s t r a n g e r and be u n l i k e l y to win custody. The only other o b s e r v a t i o n worthy of note i n t h i s context i s t h a t two judges are of o p i n i o n t h a t the time of the year of the t r i a l r a t h e r than the l e n g t h of the p r e t r i a l arrangement i s of importance: i f the c h i l d i s i n the middle of the s c h o o l year and would have to be uprooted i f the p a r t y without p o s s e s s i o n were to 1  1  71  gain custody then t h i s would be a very weighty f a c t o r i n favour o f the s t a t u s quo. The same judges commented t h a t i f the same case were t o be heard during the summer vacation they would be f a r more l i k e l y to r e v e r s e the s t a t u s quo." :  The maintaining  question  of i n t e r i m custody  i n t h i s context o f  the s t a t u s quo i s a l s o an important  a p p l i c a t i o n f o r i n t e r i m custody  one.  :  On an  the court has g e n e r a l l y l i t t l e  e l s e t o r e l y on other than the de f a c t o s i t u a t i o n .  I t i s not  p o s s i b l e f o r the i s s u e s t o be canvassed e x t e n s i v e l y a t t h a t stage and both parents may not even be present A c c o r d i n g l y , although  a t the h e a r i n g .  the w e l f a r e o f the c h i l d i s s t i l l the 226  paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n , to  i t i s common p r a c t i c e f o r courts  r e q u i r e more cogent evidence  t o d i s t u r b the de f a c t o  custody  227 s i t u a t i o n here, than on a f i n a l application.-  The  1  courts n a t u r a l l y take comfort i n the  circumstance  t h a t any order made i s an i n t e r i m one only, and t h a t i t would be harmful t o the c h i l d f o r the e x i s t i n g custody be a l t e r e d when the t r i a l o r i g i n a l c ustodian.  arrangement to  court might r e t u r n the c h i l d to the 1  However, t h i s reasoning  i s only  acceptable  i f t h e r e i s l i t t l e or no delay between the making of the i n t e r i m order and the a c t u a l t r i a l .  Otherwise, the c h i l d w i l l become  even more ensconced with the de f a c t o custodian, and the more r e l u c t a n t the t r i a l quo.  c o u r t w i l l be t o d i s t u r b the s t a t u s  Unfortunately  though, i n most j u r i s d i c t i o n s t h e r e are  delays i n b r i n g i n g a matter t o t r i a l simply  because o f the  72  p r e s s u r e of c o u r t business."  Thus,' t a c t i c a l l y the i n t e r i m  hearing can become q u i t e important and the temptation i s there for  p a r t i e s to gain p o s s e s s i o n of the c h i l d p r i o r to the  229 hearing by whatever means may  be a v a i l a b l e .  Of course, as  230 we have a l r e a d y seen,  the f a c t of abduction  simpliciter  should not n e c e s s a r i l y l e a d t o a r e t u r n of the c h i l d t o the o r i g i n a l custodian, but the a c t i o n s of the abductor may  still  231 have a bearing on h i s or her f i t n e s s as a parent.  Thus, i n  232 Johnson v Johnson e t a l . in  the methods u t i l i z e d by the f a t h e r  removing the c h i l d from the de f a c t o custody of the mother,  and the i n f e r e n c e t h a t he d i d so to gain a t a c t i c a l at for  advantage  the h e a r i n g , weighed h e a v i l y a g a i n s t him on h i s a p p l i c a t i o n i n t e r i m custody.  1  t h e r e i s a very t h i n  Courts must be c a r e f u l here though, because l i n e indeed between l o o k i n g a t the  justice  of the case v i s a v i s the parents, and t a k i n g the p a r t i e s conduct i n t o account i n a s s e s s i n g the best i n t e r e s t s of the child. The former should p l a y no p a r t what-so-ever i n  233 determining the i s s u e at hand. Courts sometimes go too f a r i n d e f e r r i n g to the de f a c t o s i t u a t i o n on an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r i n t e r i m custody, statements  and  can be found to t h e e f f e c t t h a t e x c e p t i o n a l evidence  suggesting p o s s i b l e harm to the c h i l d i s needed to d i s t u r b the s t a t u s quo.  Although i t i s reasonable f o r more weight  to be  attached to t h i s circumstance than normal, i t must s t i l l remembered t h a t i t i s o n l y a f a c t o r to be taken i n t o  be  account  73  i n determining the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d r e n , and i t does not o v e r r i d e the paramountcy of the  (3)  latter.  SEPARATION OF SIBLINGS  Where a f a m i l y u n i t i s comprised  of more than one  child,  r e l a t i o n s h i p s of v a r y i n g kinds and degrees w i l l e x i s t between the c h i l d r e n themselves.  A c c o r d i n g l y , i t i s e s s e n t i a l to  consider the i n t e r a c t i o n of the c h i l d r e n when a s s e s s i n g t h e i r best i n t e r e s t s .  In p a r t i c u l a r , the question i s whether the  c h i l d r e n should be kept together or separated.  Courts almost i n v a r i a b l y attempt to keep the  children  together i n order to r e t a i n some v e s t i g e s of the p r e v i o u s family unit.  :  I t i s considered t h a t each c h i l d  b e n e f i t from the presence  can o n l y  and companionship of h i s or her  siblings.  However, as always, paramount, and there may  the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d i s  be i n s t a n c e s where t h i s c o n s i d e r a t i o n 235  r e q u i r e s the c h i l d r e n to be separated.  5  The obvious  example  i s where the intended c u s t o d i a l parent i s unable to cope with 236 a l l the c h i l d r e n , e i t h e r because the f a m i l y i s too large,' or the f i n a n c i a l r e s o u r c e s are i n s u f f i c i e n t . would be l i t t l e advantage i n keeping there was  S i m i l a r l y there  c h i l d r e n together where  b i t t e r n e s s w i t h i n the f a m i l y , e i t h e r between the  74  c h i l d r e n themselves or between the  (4)  THE  WISHES OF THE  Now, we  from the p o i n t of view of the theme of t h i s paper f a c t o r of a l l ; the wishes of the  child.  The in  1  CHILD  come to the most important  subject  parents."237  c h i l d ' s wishes have long been considered  the determination  of a custody  dispute,  r e l a t i v e l y r e c e n t l y t h i s c o n s i d e r a t i o n has nature.  but  relevant  until  been of a haphazard  Today i t i s r a r e to f i n d a statement of the f a c t o r s to  be taken i n t o account i n a s s e s s i n g where the best i n t e r e s t s of  239 the c h i l d  l i e , which does not i n c l u d e the wishes of the  I t i s a l s o apparent t h a t commentators and  child.  courts a l i k e have  become i n c r e a s i n g l y aware of the need t o a s c e r t a i n the views of the c h i l d . ' )  2 4 0  However, to say t h a t the c h i l d i s to be  consulted  and h i s or her wishes are to be taken i n t o account i s only first in  step, and  t h i s paper.  one which w i l l be d i s c u s s e d e x t e n s i v e l y l a t e r For the present,  the v i t a l question i s what  e f f e c t w i l l those wishes have on the court's d e c i s i o n ? in  the  It is  t h i s area t h a t courts have been i n c o n s i s t e n t i n t h e i r  approach. A judge can u t i l i z e the expressed in  s e v e r a l ways.  He  can  wishes of the  simply g i v e them f u l l  t r e a t them as one f a c t o r to be considered  child  e f f e c t ; he  can  along with a l l the  75  other f a c t o r s i n a s s e s s i n g the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d ;  he  can d i s r e g a r d them e n t i r e l y ; or he can use them to determine b o r d e r - l i n e cases.'  Now,  i n accordance  w i t h the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n 241  of the best i n t e r e s t s t e s t expounded i n J v C, the c h i l d should be no more than one the judge.-  the wishes of  f a c t o r to be considered  However, i t would not seem unreasonable  to  by  suggest  t h a t those wishes should be a c o n t r o l l i n g i n f l u e n c e i n the c h i l d ' s placement.  A f t e r a l l , ' i t i s the c h i l d who  where the c o u r t determines,  has to r e s i d e  and i t stands to reason t h a t the  c h i l d w i l l be happier i n an environment where he or she wants 242 to be. However, the j u d i c i a r y has not bought t h i s argument, p r e f e r r i n g to say t h a t "the w e l f a r e of the i n f a n t s when i n i s s u e i s not to be confused with the wishes or w i l l of the infants."243 Most commonly a judge w i l l t r e a t the wishes of a c h i l d merely one of the f a c t o r s to be  There are at l e a s t two approach by the c o u r t s .  The  considered.  reasons  as  2 4 4  for this unenthusiastic  f i r s t i s r e l a t e d to the  p a t e r n a l i s t i c n o t i o n s of the past, namely, t h a t a c h i l d i s not a separate person  e n t i t l e d to h i s or her own  viewpoint,' and  parents i n v a r i a b l y know what i s best f o r t h e i r child.-  However,'  t h i s t h i n k i n g i s g r a d u a l l y being eroded with the strong push f o r l e g i s l a t i v e r e c o g n i t i o n of c h i l d r e n ' s r i g h t s i n the  last  decade, and courts are becoming more s e n s i t i v e to the "245 i n d i v i d u a l needs of each child.')  The  second reason  though,'  76  i s n o t as e a s i l y overcome.  Judges, c o n s e r v a t i v e c r e a t u r e s as  they are, have a n a t u r a l r e t i c e n c e t o a l l o w i n g a c h i l d t o 246 determine the r e s u l t o f a custody  dispute.;  f a c t o r here i s t h a t the weight assigned  The prime  t o the c h i l d ' s wishes  i s r e l a t e d t o the c a p a c i t y of the c h i l d t o make a reasoned choice.  Y e t , doubts i n v a r i a b l y e x i s t as t o t h i s c a p a c i t y ,  there being no i n f a l l i b l e standard  by which t o determine  whether the p a r t i c u l a r c h i l d possesses t h e necessary 247 making a b i l i t y .  decision-  Indeed, t h i s conundrum e x i s t s as w e l l  during the p r i o r stage o f determining  whether the c h i l d  should  be c o n s u l t e d a t a l l . ! The most commonly used touchstone has been the age o f the c h i l d . '  For i n s t a n c e , i n h i s e m p i r i c a l s t u d i e s of judges' 249  a t t i t u d e s i n O n t a r i o , Bradbrook found as f o l l o w s  :  "The m a j o r i t y took the l i n e t h a t the o p i n i o n o f a c h i l d over the age o f 10 years c a r r i e d great weight i n every case, but t h a t under the age o f 10 years the weight attached t o t h e o p i n i o n depends on the circumstances; i n t h e l a t t e r cases the c h i l d ' s o p i n i o n u s u a l l y o n l y s e t t l e d the case i n b o r d e r - l i n e s i t u a t i o n s , w h i l s t i n the former cases, the o p i n i o n o v e r r i d e s a l l but e x c e p t i o n a l evidence suggesting a c o n t r a r y judgement." However, a g e n e r a l p e r u s a l of the case law i n d i c a t e s t h a t no one p a r t i c u l a r age i s d e t e r m i n a t i v e ,  and the most t h a t can be  s a i d i s t h a t the o l d e r the c h i l d i s , the more weight t h a t i s *250 accorded  to h i s or her wishes."  of d i s c r e t i o n  (14 years  H i s t o r i c a l l y though, the age  of age f o r boys, and 16 years  of age  f o r g i r l s ) was a l l - i m p o r t a n t , and i t was a r u l e o f common law  77 t h a t t h e c h i l d ' s w i l l p r e v a i l e d over t h e parent's r i g h t t o custody  once t h e c h i l d had reached  t h a t age/ Indeed, a w r i t  of habeas corpus, which was the remedy f o r r e g a i n i n g  custody,  could n o t be i s s u e d i n r e s p e c t of a c h i l d over the age o f discretion/  T h i s common law r u l e was subsequently  adopted by  e q u i t y and became ensconced i n the D i v o r c e Court xn England/  There has a l s o been s t a t u t o r y i n t e r v e n t i o n i n t h i s r e n d e r i n g p a r t i c u l a r ages d e t e r m i n a t i v e .  area  For i n s t a n c e ,  S e c t i o n 64 ( l ) (b) o f the A u s t r a l i a n Family Law A c t , 1975 as 252 amended,  provides t h a t a c o u r t i s n o t permitted to make an  order w i t h r e s p e c t t o the custody,  or guardianship of, or  access t o , a c h i l d who has a t t a i n e d 14 years o f age i f such order. =253 would be c o n t r a r y to t h e wishes of t h a t c h i l d .  1  This i s not  an a b s o l u t e p r o h i b i t i o n though, and the c o u r t has a d i s c r e t i o n where i t i s s a t i s f i e d t h a t t h e r e a r e s p e c i a l =254 r e n d e r i n g such an order necessary.  circumstances  N e v e r t h e l e s s , the f a c t  remains t h a t t h i s i s a s i g n i f i c a n t r e v e r s a l of the accepted method o f a s s e s s i n g a c h i l d ' s best i n t e r e s t s .  By g i v i n g  full  e f f e c t t o the c h i l d ' s wishes they become the paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n r a t h e r than the court's conception o f what the 255 w e l f a r e of the c h i l d r e q u i r e s . There i s no e q u i v a l e n t o f t h i s l e g i s l a t i o n i n B r i t i s h Columbia except i n the area o f  256 adoptions.  S e c t i o n 8 ( l ) (a) o f the Adoption A c t  t h a t no adoption order i s t o be made without consent  provides  the w r i t t e n v.  of the c h i l d , i f over t h e age o f 12 years.'  However,  78  pursuant to sub-section  (6), the consent may  with i f the same ought, i n the o p i n i o n a l l the  dispensed  of the court,' and i n  circumstances of the case, to be dispensed  Now, to me  be  although age  i s an o f t - u s e d  t h a t too much emphasis has  with.  c r i t e r i o n , i t seems  been p l a c e d on t h i s factor.;  I suggest t h a t by i t s e l f i t i s an u n r e l i a b l e guage, and i t does not n e c e s s a r i l y p r o v i d e -?57 c a p a c i t y of the child.-  decision-making  As I have s a i d , t h e r e i s no  i n f a l l i b l e standard, and a l l the i n d i c i a i t can  i n s i g h t i n t o the  the best a c o u r t can  do i s look  f i n d , i n c l u d i n g the age,' the  and the i n t e l l i g e n c e of the c h i l d , as w e l l as h i s or environmental i n f l u e n c e s .  1  one to  maturity her  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t , I suggest, t h a t  i n almost a l l pronouncements d e a l i n g with t a k i n g the wishes of c h i l d r e n i n t o account, no one c o n t r o l l i n g g u i d e l i n e per  se.  f a c t o r i s h e l d out as  They do no more than d i r e c t  the c o u r t to look to the a b i l i t y of the 258 reasoned choice.I t seems to me  the  c h i l d to make a  t h a t even to suggest making the age  of  the c h i l d presumptively c o n t r o l l i n g as to i t s c a p a c i t y i s too "259 arbitrary.  Yet t h i s i s Leon's proposal.'  A l b e i t conceding  t h a t t h e r e i s no d i r e c t l y r e l e v a n t e m p i r i c a l data from s o c i a l s c i e n c e s / he u t i l i z e d what evidence he e s t a b l i s h r e b u t t a b l e presumptions. under 5 or 6 years of age  1  the  could f i n d  to  They a r e / that c h i l d r e n  are i n c a p a b l e ,  t h a t c h i l d r e n between  79 7 and  13 years  of age  have "a s u f f i c i e n t degree of c a p a c i t y to  j u s t i f y taking t h e i r preferences  2  into consideration", ^  t h a t c h i l d r e n over 13 years o f age  have the necessary  to allow " e f f e c t i v e p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the process."  Unfortunately,  and  capacity  decision-making  I suggest t h a t t h i s e x e r c i s e i s  too s p e c u l a t i v e to have any p r a c t i c a l worth.'  Of course,  the u n c e r t a i n t y surrounding  the c a p a c i t y of  a c h i l d i s not the o n l y reason f o r the r e l u c t a n c e to allow a c h i l d to determine the r e s u l t of a custody dispute.; a l s o the nagging doubt t h a t t h e c c h i l d has  There i s  been i n f l u e n c e d  by  262 one  of the parents.  1  T h i s can take the form of  i n f l u e n c e , such as a b r i b e or c o e r c i o n , or, more there may  direct importantly,  be s u b t l e i n f l u e n c e s at p l a y , such as the n a t u r a l  e f f e c t of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the c h i l d and the with whom he or she i s l i v i n g . bias towards t h a t parent.  1  T h i s e f f e c t i s one  strong  I t i s a d e l i c a t e e x e r c i s e to  d i s t i n g u i s h between the expression r a t i o n a l l y based/ and  of  parent  of a p o s i t i v e choice  a d e s i r e which i s the r e s u l t of an  emotional attachment to a p a r t i c u l a r parent. T h i s concern at the presence of i n f l u e n c e i n one or another i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n Spence J.*s 2  of McDonald v M c D o n a l d . ^ had  expressed a p r e f e r e n c e  t r i a l judge had  4  form  judgement i n the  case  There,' the three i n f a n t c h i l d r e n to stay with  t h e i r mother,' but  awarded custody to the father.'  Spence J.'  the  80  commented  on t h i s as f o l l o w s  :  "The learned t r i a l judge a s t u t e l y observed t h a t , i n f a c t , the c h i l d r e n had been w i t h t h e i r mother f o r about a year p r e v i o u s to the t r i a l . I t would o n l y be n a t u r a l that a parent who had custody of h i s or her c h i l d r e n f o r t h a t p e r i o d of time would see to i t t h a t those c h i l d r e n expressed a preference to have such a s i t u a t i o n continue."266 1  Unfortunately,  t h i s s t a t e of a f f a i r s occurs a l l too  and' i t i s a sad i n d i c a t i o n of how innocent  v i c t i m s of the  frequently,  c h i l d r e n can become the  c o n f l i c t between the parents.'  The  267 case of Kramer v Kramer and Merkelbaq i l l u s t r a t i v e of how f a t h e r had  is particularly :  f a r a parent i s prepared to go.  custody of the son,  and  There,  the mother custody of  the  the  daughter. The court r e f u s e d access because "the boy would a c t as h i s f a t h e r ' s instrument to d i s t u r b and upset the g i r l . " 2 6 8 There was  a  "strong i n d i c a t i o n t h a t h i s f a t h e r ha(d) i n f e c t e d him with h i s d e t e s t a t i o n of the co-defendent"269 and t h a t the f a t h e r  was  " w i l l i n g to d e s t r o y (the daughter's) happiness to revenge h i m s e l f on the defendents. "270 1  There can  be no denying t h a t the c a p a c i t y of a c h i l d  and the danger of undue i n f l u e n c e are major impediments to giving f u l l  e f f e c t to the wishes of a c h i l d .  1  Indeed, they are  impediments to u t i l i z i n g the wishes i n anyway whatsoever. 1  However, I suggest t h a t they are not insurmountable,' and there are a number of devices q u e l l i n g any doubts t h a t may  that  open to a court to a s s i s t i n exist.  They i n v o l v e the use  of  81  b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s and independent for  the c h i l d .  legal representation  Quite c l e a r l y / the q u e s t i o n o f the c a p a c i t y o f  a c h i l d i s one t h a t the judge  cannot hope to r e s o l v e h i m s e l f ,  and he should be p r o v i d e d with evidence from a s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t who has e v a l u a t e d the c h i l d and a l l i n t e r e s t e d '271 parties.'' r o l e here.  Independent l e g a l counsel can a l s o p l a y a major 5  A t the v e r y l e a s t , he can p r i z e the c h i l d from the  c l u t c h e s o f both the parent having de f a c t o custody and t h a t parent's counsel, and with the a s s i s t a n c e of b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s a s c e r t a i n whether the wishes o f the c h i l d are soundly based  or n o t / I f they are,' then the same can be put t o the  court i n t h e i r proper  context.  T h i s approach was adopted by  McDonald J.' i n C u r r i e v C u r r i e /  There,  e x h i b i t e d a d e s i r e t o be with her mother.  5  an 11^- year o l d g i r l However, McDonald J /  was n o t e n t i r e l y convinced t h a t t h i s was the c o r r e c t r e s u l t i n a l l the circumstances.  1  Indeed, he f e l t t h a t i f i t was n o t f o r  the d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f the c h i l d , custody should be awarded t o the f a t h e r . for to  1  A c c o r d i n g l y , he awarded t h e mother i n t e r i m  custody  a p e r i o d o f f o u r months,' a f t e r which time the matter was come back before him.  In the meantime, he d i r e c t e d the  appointment o f an amicus c u r i a e to r e p r e s e n t the c h i l d ' s 273 interests.' Of course, where a c o u r t i s s a t i s f i e d t h a t the c h i l d is  capable o f marking a conscious choice,' f u l l  274 g e n e r a l l y given to t h a t c h o i c e /  effect i s  Courts have even given  82  e f f e c t t o the wishes  of a c h i l d where the reasons f o r the same,  although r a t i o n a l and, to the c h i l d , e n t i r e l y cogent  and  compelling, are nonetheless "touched w i t h the immaturity of judgement which one would o r d i n a r i l y expect to f i n d " i n a young c h i l d . '  S i m i l a r l y , i n Shapiro v Shapiro  d e c i s i v e f a c t o r was  the  the honest wish of the c h i l d t o be w i t h her  f a t h e r , a l b e i t the l a t t e r had i n f l u e n c e d the c h i l d a g a i n s t her 277 mother.  Davey J.A.  said this  :  "As i n many cases,' t h e r e i s one d e c i s i v e element . which c o n t r o l s the d i s p o s i t i o n of t h i s case .i.i.(T)hat d e c i s i v e element i s the wish of the fifteen~ye§r,-old g i r l on the verge of womanhood/ who s e e m s V to be a person of some m a t u r i t y of judgement, t o be p l a c e d i n the custody of her father The g i r l has not o n l y expressed the wish, but she has f i l e d an a f f i d a v i t , ' the contents of which would i n d i c a t e t h a t the chances of her e s t a b l i s h i n g a s a t i s f a c t o r y R e l a t i o n s h i p with her mother are now v e r y remote .1.1. I assume f o r the moment t h a t the l e a r n e d . t r i a l judge i s r i g h t i n f i n d i n g t h a t the f a t h e r / by h i s conduct and h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the children/' has turned them a g a i n s t the mother/ t h a t he has secured t h e i r confidence by m a n i p u l a t i o n and by manoeuvering .U.; But n e v e r t h e l e s s / no matter how t h a t f e e l i n g on the p a r t of the daughter was i n d u c e d / i t i s p r e s e n t and r e a l , and the daughter n p W 2 7 8 h o n e s t l y wishes to be with her f a t h e r . " 1  1  1  The p r a c t i c a l i t i e s of the s i t u a t i o n must a l s o be borne i n mind.'  For i n s t a n c e , l i t t l e advantage w i l l accrue as a  r e s u l t of opposing the c l e a r l y expressed p r e f e r e n c e of an *27Q  older child.!  He or she w i l l make h i s or her own  anyway, and the c o u r t w i l l be r e l a t i v e l y powerless s u p e r v i s e the order.  1  choice to  83  T h i s i s s u e i s p a r t i c u l a r l y apparent i n the context of access where the c h i l d r e f u s e s to see the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent.  The  c h i l d ' s wishes i n such i n s t a n c e s w i l l u s u a l l y "  280  acceded  be  to by the court.'  Indeed,' in- the area of access  t h e r e seems to be a w i l l i n g n e s s on the p a r t of judges g e n e r a l l y to  give f u l l  e f f e c t t o the c h i l d ' s p r e f e r e n c e s , more so than i n  the area of custody." in  Doubtless they f e e l more comfortable  t a k i n g t h i s stance where a supposedly  decision i s required.  l e s s momentous  However, I suggest t h a t c h i l d r e n can  a f f e c t e d i n t h e i r f u t u r e development j u s t as much over as they can over One  be  access  custody.'  illustration  of the more l i b e r a l approach of the  courts i n access matters i s the r e c e n t trend of a l l o w i n g the c h i l d h i m s e l f to determine at  whether access w i l l take p l a c e , or  l e a s t , have a s i g n i f i c a n t say i n the terms and c o n d i t i o n s -  thereof.  For example, i n Tassou v Tassou  2R2  Bowen J.< ordered  28  " t h a t the f a t h e r have access f o r a t o t a l of 4 days i n each month; such days t o be determined by the father,' mother and c h i l d r e n " , with the c h i l d r e n ' s wishes to be paramount. case of McCann v McCann  the Nova S c o t i a Court of Appeal  a f f i r m e d the award of the t r i a l youngest  S i m i l a r l y , i n the  judge t h a t access to the  c h i l d r e n (8 and 6 years of age r e s p e c t i v e l y ) should 1  occur o n l y when they wished, while access to the two children their  two  oldest  (14 and 12 years of age r e s p e c t i v e l y ) be denied at 2  insistence. ^  84 There can be no denying for  t h a t there i s a d e f i n i t e p a r t  the c h i l d ' s wishes t o p l a y i n determining i t s f u t u r e 286  placement and r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  As Leon says  :  (  "In l i g h t o f the i n h e r e n t l y i n d e t e r m i n a t e and s p e c u l a t i v e ' as w e l l as value-laden nature o f custody determinations (Mnookin, "Child-Custody A d j u d i c a t i o n - J u d i c i a l Functions i n t h e Face of Indeterminacy", (1975), 39 Law and Contemporary Problems 226, a t P. 299) there i s much t o commend a t t a c h i n g s i g n i f i c a n t weight to the p r e f e r e n c e s of the competent "child, and a t l e a s t c o n s i d e r i n g those of the c h i l d with l e s s than f u l l c a p a c i t y . "  T h e i r wishes must be accorded a much higher  priority  than being j u s t one of the many f a c t o r s to be taken account.  into  Judges should shrug o f f any r e l u c t a n c e t o come to 9 8 7  terms with the expressed wishes of a c h i l d to  h i d e the same amongst these other f a c t o r s .  c h i l d ' s wishes simply.be It  and n o t attempt  used, t o determine  Nor should the 288  b o r d e r - l i n e cases.  seems incongruent to me t h a t the wishes should be  d e t e r m i n a t i v e i n these circumstances and not where t h e s c a l e s are unevenly necessary.  balanced.  Moreover, a word of c a u t i o n i s  I t i s a l l very w e l l to adopt t h i s approach where  there i s l i t t l e to choose between t h e parents because the i n t e r e s t of the c h i l d w i l l be served e q u a l l y as w e l l by both. Yet, I doubt i t s e f f i c a c y where the deadlock i s because n e i t h e r parent o f f e r s much of an a l t e r n a t i v e .  T h i s i s n o t to say t h a t  the wishes of the c h i l d should not be considered a t a l l i n such circumstances, but I f e e l t h a t t h i s i s one area where there i s a need f o r the court t o look to other  alternatives  85  amongst a v a i l a b l e t h i r d  parties.  On the other hand i t seems t o me t h a t i t i s n o t necessary to go overboard children.'  i n g i v i n g e f f e c t t o the wishes of  One p r o p o s a l which I c o n s i d e r t h a t does go too f a r 289  in  t h i s r e s p e c t i s t h a t espoused by B e r s o f f .  suggested  He has  t h a t the c h i l d ' s p r e f e r e n c e by presumptively  290 1  c o n t r o l l i n g , but n o t c o n c l u s i v e , of the outcome.  For a  c h i l d over 12 years o f age, h i s p r e f e r e n c e would o n l y be d i s r e g a r d e d i f he was made a v i c t i m of c r i m i n a l behaviour by the p r e f e r r e d parent.  1  For a c h i l d under 12 years o f age t h e r e  would need to be evidence t h a t placement with the n o n - p r e f e r r e d parent would p r o v i d e s i g n i f i c a n t advantages, e s s e n t i a l to the c h i l d ' s development which could not be s u b s t a n t i a l l y p r o v i d e d by t h e p r e f e r r e d parent.  Now i t seems to me t h a t i t i s a l l  v e r y w e l l t o accord c o n s i d e r a b l e weight t o t h e wishes of t h e c h i l d , but there i s s t i l l 291 p r e v i o u s l y quoted,  some t r u t h i n t h e statement  t o the e f f e c t t h a t the wishes o f t h e  c h i l d should n o t be confused with t h e w e l f a r e of t h a t It  child.  i s o n l y where the wishes o f the c h i l d are ad idem w i t h i t s  best i n t e r e s t s t h a t they should be given f u l l effect,"  In a l l  other cases i t i s a q u e s t i o n o f degree as to how much weight is  a f f o r d e d the c h i l d ' s preferences.  i t i s s t i l l necessary to  1  In both i n s t a n c e s though,  f o r the c o u r t to make a determination as  where the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d  r e c e i v i n g evidence o f i t s wishes.  1  lie,  1  as w e l l as  86  ESCAPE VALVES  The r e s o l u t i o n of a custody d i s p u t e i s an  extremely  d i f f i c u l t process f o r a judge/ p a r t i c u l a r l y where t h e r e i s little  t o choose between the p a r e n t s , or where the best  interests  of the c h i l d demand t h a t the rogue i n the a c t i o n  awarded custody.  However, t h e r e are avenues open to the  be  judge  to l e s s e n the burden on h i m s e l f , and a t the same time a m e l i o r a t e the apparent harshness  of a d e c i s i o n from the  292  u n s u c c e s s f u l - p a r e n t ' s viewpoint.  (1)  ACCESS The most commonly used d e v i c e i n t h i s regard i s to 293  award access to the n o n - c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t .  In f a c t , i t i s  very r a r e to f i n d access being r e f u s e d by a court and I suggest t h a t t h i s i l l u s t r a t e s i t s use as an escape v a l v e . As i n matters of custody, whether access i s granted on what c o n d i t i o n s , i s determined interests  of the c h i l d .  a c c o r d i n g to the best  T h i s i s the paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n .  Yet, given t h i s circumstance, i t may t h a t a parent who  and  seem somewhat i n c o n s i s t e n t  has been denied custody as a r e s u l t of t h i s  c o n s i d e r a t i o n , can be awarded access on the b a s i s of the same consideration.  The  answer given by the courts i s t h a t although  many of the same f a c t o r s are taken i n t o  account i n determining  87  both i s s u e s ,  1  d i f f e r e n t weight and emphasis i s accorded to  those f a c t o r s depending upon which i s s u e i s under •294 consideration.  To me t h i s i s n o t an e n t i r e l y  satisfactory  response. I t would appear t h a t many c o u r t s have n o t y e t r i d d e d themselves  of the anachronisms of the p a s t as f a r as access i s  concerned,  and approach the i s s u e on the b a s i s t h a t the parent  has a n a t u r a l r i g h t to access which w i l l o n l y be denied i f 295 danger t o the c h i l d i s apprehended.'  Indeed, t h i s " r i g h t " i s  sometimes p l a c e d on a p e d e s t a l i n d i r e c t competition with the =296 "best i n t e r e s t s "  principle.  1  The question may be posed though, whether t h i s i s an intentional  e x e r c i s e by the c o u r t .  I f i t i s c o r r e c t t o say  t h a t access i s used as a sop to the parent d e p r i v e d of custody, then i t may very w e l l be an u n t h i n k i n g a c t i o n on t h e p a r t o f the c o u r t i n many cases.  1  That t h i s may be so i s borne out by  my experience as a p r a c t i t i o n e r Australia.  1  i n the Family Court o f  In a s u i t i n v o l v i n g c h i l d r e n every one i s so  concerned with the q u e s t i o n o f custody,  and a l l the evidence and  a l l the energies of those i n v o l v e d i s d i r e c t e d to t h i s  issue,  t h a t once t h e same i s r e s o l v e d , very l i t t l e time and e f f o r t i s a f f o r d e d the question of access. f o l l o w s the event.  In most cases, i t simply  Of course, t h i s i s n o t the case where  custody has been agreed  and t h e o n l y i s s u e before t h e court i s  88  access.'  I t i s g e n e r a l l y i n these cases t h a t the law  relating  to access i s expounded.  N a t u r a l l y , there is  taken, and  are cases where the c o r r e c t approach  a s e n s i t i v i t y t o the needs of the c h i l d i s 297  displayed.  For example i n the case of Re Tuokimaki  the  298 court s a i d t h i s : "I cannot agree t h a t as a r u l e of g e n e r a l a p p l i c a t i o n access may not be r e f u s e d except i n cases where danger to a c h i l d i s apprehended.' I t h i n k the o v e r a l l w e l f a r e which of course i n c l u d e s not only the p h y s i c a l surroundings but the mental, moral and s p i r i t u a l , are to be considered as a whole .whenever p o s s i b l e , and the d e c i s i o n based on how the s c a l e s f a l l according to the i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d and not e i t h e r parent." £  o  1  299 Professor concentration  on  Davies  explains  away the  apparent  the p a r e n t a l r i g h t to access on the b a s i s  that  the c o u r t i s r e a l l y emphasising the need of a c h i l d f o r continuing  contact w i t h both parents.  I t i s s a i d t h a t even  though there i s a p a r t i n g of the ways when a f a m i l y u n i t d i s s o l v e s , the c h i l d r e t a i n s t i e s . w i t h both p a r e n t s . deprive  a c h i l d of a l l contact with one  withholding  the  parent e n t a i l s the  of the c o n t r i b u t i o n t h a t t h a t parent would normally  have made to the c h i l d ' s p h y s i c a l and development.  Thus, to  psychological  There i s a l s o the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t i n l a t e r  life  c h i l d w i l l grow to r e s e n t the c u s t o d i a l parent b e l i e v i n g  t h a t he or she i s r e s p o n s i b l e  f o r such d e p r i v a t i o n .  However,  t h i s again r a i s e s the i s s u e of the p s y c h o l o g i c a l influences' a t  89 p l a y , and as we  have seen i t i s extremely d i f f i c u l t to ,be  dogmatic i n t h i s area.  There i s a s c h o o l of thought  amongst  some c h i l d p s y c h o l o g i s t s t h a t access should not be the s u b j e c t of j u d i c i a l determination at a l l ,  1  but r a t h e r , should be  completely to the d i s c r e t i o n of the c u s t o d i a l p a r e n t . ^  left 0 0  The  b a s i s o f t h i s theory i s t h a t a c h i l d has d i f f i c u l t y i n r e l a t i n g to two  parents who  are i n c o n f l i c t .  L o y a l t i e s become s p l i t  there i s a danger of d e s t r o y i n g the c h i l d ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p s with both parents.'  and  positive  I t i s much more important  to  f o s t e r p o s i t i v e emotional t i e s with the c u s t o d i a l parent.  T h i s s l a n t on access has not yet been taken up by the .oni  courts,  but t h i s i s not to say t h a t the courts turn a b l i n d  eye to the u n s e t t l i n g e f f e c t t h a t access may  have upon the  child/  Where t h e r e i s c l e a r evidence t h a t c o n t a c t with the nonc u s t o d i a l parent w i l l cause the c h i l d to become e m o t i o n a l l y 302 upset the c o u r t w i l l deny a c c e s s /  In p a r t i c u l a r i t has been  r e c o g n i s e d t h a t access i s not f e a s i b l e where there i s g r e a t a n i m o s i t y between the p a r e n t s .  The r i s k to the  s t a b i l i t y of the c h i l d i s too g r e a t / 303 of Re Stroud and Stroud  emotional  For example, i n the  case  the parents had been engaged i n  b i t t e r feuding f o r most of the c h i l d ' s l i f e and they had used him as a weapon f o r t h e i r own  purposes.  1  His emotional ,  s t a b i l i t y had a l r e a d y been a f f e c t e d to the extent t h a t he exhibited "an almost panic r e a c t i o n when exposed to the of h i s father".304  presence  90 The r e p o r t s of b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s presented a t the t r i a l i n d i c a t e d t h a t the c h i l d ' s emotional w e l l - b e i n g might be permanently was  impaired u n l e s s the feuding ceased and the. c h i l d  p l a c e d i n a s t a b l e environment.  A c c o r d i n g l y , the c o u r t  denied access to the f a t h e r u n t i l such time as he and the mother could agree on a method of access, or u n t i l the c h i l d  reached  305 an age where he could b e t t e r cope w i t h the s i t u a t i o n .  A  s i m i l a r s e t of circumstances arose i n the case of K r o l l v Kroll.  There, the m e d i c a l evidence was  t h a t the  child's  f u t u r e development would be harmed by the continued a n i m o s i t y between her parents and, i n p a r t i c u l a r ,  However, A i k i n s Jwas  strong h a t r e d f o r the f a t h e r . prepared to r e s o l v e the problem  i n such an approach;  not  of access i n the same manner as  the c o u r t i n Re Stroud and Stroud. dangers  by the mother's very  He f e l t t h a t t h e r e were  firstly,  i f the c h i l d was  e n t i r e l y under the i n f l u e n c e of the mother, the r i f t  left  between  f a t h e r and c h i l d might become permanent, and secondly, the m e d i c a l evidence i n d i c a t e d t h a t the c h i l d might develop p s y c h i a t r i c problems i f she was  brought up exposed s o l e l y t o  the mother's h a t r e d . f o r the f a t h e r .  A c c o r d i n g l y , he made an  i n t e r i m order t h a t t h e r e be no access, but arranged f o r the c h i l d to r e c e i v e p s y c h i a t r i c treatment for  f o r up to 6 months and  the mother t o r e c e i v e a s s i s t a n c e from a s o c i a l worker.  the end of the 6 months, the matter before him f o r reassessment.  c o u l d be brought  back  At  91 Whether the r e a l reason f o r g r a n t i n g access i s , as P r o f e s s o r Davies suggests, the a l l e g e d b e n e f i t s thereby enuring to the c h i l d , or whether t h i s i s merely  camouflage to d i v e r t  a t t e n t i o n from the f a c t t h a t courts emphasise access as a n a t u r a l r i g h t of a p a r e n t , i s debatable, but i t i s s t i l l most'common approach  taken by the c o u r t s .  The  benefits  the said  to flow from access are g e n e r a l l y r e l a t e d to the r e t e n t i o n of as many of the aspects of a two-parent  household as p o s s i b l e .  1  For example, i f access i s ordered the c h i l d can experience the love and a t t e n t i o n of both parents and be guided  and  307 i n f l u e n c e d i n h i s or her development.  The  w i l l have a more balanced outlook on l i f e .  c h i l d presumably  There i s a l s o the  p o s s i b i l i t y of the u n t i m e l y demise of the c u s t o d i a l parent, a c o u r t w i l l not be so uneasy about  awarding  and  custody to the  s u r v i v i n g parent, i f t h a t parent has p l a y e d a r o l e i n the development of the  child.  Although there i s t h i s tendency  of courts to t h i n k i n  terms of a parent having a n a t u r a l r i g h t to access, some of t h e i r number have gone to the other extreme, and given access a very low p r i o r i t y .  For example, c o u r t s have not been  adverse  to denying access where the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent i s not paying maintenance.  How  t h i s can be j u s t i f i e d  as being i n the best  i n t e r e s t s of a c h i l d i s anybody's guess; the most t h a t can  be  s a i d i s t h a t the c o u r t i s making a value judgement as to whether access or maintenance i s more important to the c h i l d , '  92  F o r t u n a t e l y , the g e n e r a l consensus amongst courts i n Canada, England,  the U n i t e d S t a t e s of America, and A u s t r a l i a ,  1  i s that  access does not depend on maintenance, and v i c e v e r s a .  On  the other hand though, t h e r e have been d e c i s i o n s i n Canada, and some q u i t e r e c e n t l y , to the c o n t r a r y .  For example, i n  309 Greoson v Greqson reasonable  the court ordered t h a t the f a t h e r have  access to the c h i l d c o n d i t i o n a l upon him  310 the mother maintenance f o r the c h i l d . '  In  paying  Cartaqenora  O i l  (Lipson) v Lipson  G a r r e t t J . of the Ontario Supreme Court  made what he admitted was access.  an unusual  order w i t h r e s p e c t to  He ordered t h a t a f t e r the a r r e a r s of maintenance had  been p a i d , and when i t c o u l d be shown t h a t a l l c u r r e n t payments of maintenance had been p a i d , the f a t h e r could apply to the 312 court f o r access to the c h i l d r e n .  These d e c i s i o n s are  u n f o r t u n a t e ; i f the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d d i c t a t e t h a t the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent have access, then such access  should  not be f r u s t r a t e d i n anyway. The  courts a l s o possess  a c o n t r o l device when awarding  access i n t h a t i f any aspect of contact between the c h i l d the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent  causes concern,  terms and c o n d i t i o n s  can be imposed to overcome the d i f f i c u l t y . access  and  For example,  can be l i m i t e d to the day-time only, r e s t r i c t i o n s can  p l a c e d on the persons  with whom the c h i l d comes i n t o c o n t a c t ,  d i r e c t i o n s can be given as to the method of c o l l e c t i n g r e t u r n i n g the c h i l d ,  and  c o n d i t i o n s can be imposed on where the  be  93  c h i l d i s taken and on what a c t i v i t i e s a r e to be engaged i n ; the l i s t i s endless.  The c o u r t i s a l s o able t o order t h a t  •313 access be s u p e r v i s e d by a t h i r d party,' and t h i s i s an important o p t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y where the s u p e r v i s o r i s a -314 p s y c h i a t r i s t , a p s y c h o l o g i s t or even a s o c i a l worker/  In  the A u s t r a l i a n j u r i s d i c t i o n i t i s q u i t e common f o r access t o be s u p e r v i s e d by a Court C o u n s e l l o r , who i n turn submits a r e p o r t r e g a r d i n g access t o the judge. One  aspect t h a t should be emphasised i n t h i s context i s  t h a t i t i s important f o r the court t o make t h e p a r t i e s aware of  t h e e f f e c t of awarding custody t o one parent and access t o  the o t h e r .  In p a r t i c u l a r , the p a r t t h a t the parent  granted  access p l a y s i n the development of the c h i l d needs t o be clarified.  Strictly,  t h i s r o l e i s a v e r y l i m i t e d one, as 315 !  i l l u s t r a t e d by Spence J . i n Gubody v Gubody 11  :  ( t ) h e f a t h e r ' s c o n t a c t w i t h h i s daughter must be t h a t of a person who v i s i t s her, who-spends some time w i t h her," but who cannot change or a l t e r her mode of l i f e or have any g e n e r a l d i r e c t i o n of the c h i l d ' s conduct. That i s a matter of custody /.V (W)hat he i s e n t i t l e d to do i s t o be with h i s daughter and apart from the mother, but .Uv he i s o n l y to have t h e o r d i n a r y c o n t r o l o f a c h i l d necessary f o r the w e l l being o f the c h i l d during the hours they are t o g e t h e r , and he i s not to i n t e r f e r e i n any way w i t h the c h i l d ' s u p b r i n g i n g . " 1  T h i s sounds f i n e i n theory, but does n o t accord w i t h t h e r e a l i t i e s of the s i t u a t i o n .  Indeed, i t i s even a l i t t l e  i n c o n s i s t e n t with the reasons p r o f e r r e d f o r awarding access i n the f i r s t  p l a c e ; the enrichment  of the l i f e  o f the c h i l d  94  through  contact with the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent.  A child i s  bound to be-.influenced i n h i s or her development merely by the presence o f the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent and there i s nothing the c o u r t can do about that. concerned  1  What the courts are more  about though,' i s p o s i t i v e i n t e r f e r e n c e by the non-  c u s t o d i a l parent, an a l l too frequent occurrence.' parents  Many  consider i t t h e i r duty t o c o n s t a n t l y be l o o k i n g over  the shoulder o f the c u s t o d i a l parent, thus c r e a t i n g t e n s i o n and unpleasantness.  1  unnecessary  T h i s i n t u r n can have an adverse  e f f e c t on the c h i l d .  Nor  are parents adverse to u s i n g access as an  o p p o r t u n i t y to gain an advantage over the other p a r e n t .  Many  n o n - c u s t o d i a l parents use access p e r i o d s to i n f l u e n c e the c h i l d a g a i n s t the c u s t o d i a l parent i n the hope t h a t they  will  succeed i n an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a change i n custody. Similarly,  c u s t o d i a l parents o f t e n attempt  to frustrate  access  317 by i n f l u e n c i n g the c h i l d r e n a g a i n s t the other parent. Devices such as never having the c h i l d r e n ready on time, p r e t e n d i n g the c h i l d r e n are i l l ,  or t h a t other arrangements  have been made f o r the day are also common-place.  The sad  p a r t o f i t a l l i s t h a t the c h i l d r e n are the ones a f f e c t e d the most.  T h e i r emotional s t a b i l i t y i s o f t e n s e r i o u s l y  j e o p a r d i z e d by t h i s parents.  constant t o i n g and f r o i n g between the  95  However, what i s even more anomalous i s the f a c t t h a t r a r e l y does a court order s o l v e the problem.  Cutting off  access r i g h t s e n t i r e l y i s a course which i s sometimes taken,  318  but, as we  have seen,  319  the c h i l d even with t h i s approach.  t h e r e are disadvantages  to  The r e a l problem i s t h a t a  court u s u a l l y does not have the r e s o u r c e s at i t s d i s p o s a l t o s u p e r v i s e each access order i t makes, and p a r t i e s j u s t the b a t t l e . '  continue  The p r e f e r r e d s o l u t i o n i s to have the p a r t i e s  reach an agreement as to access  ( s u b j e c t to a c o u r t review,  of  course), and to t h i s end courts very o f t e n order t h a t a p a r t y have reasonable access t o the c h i l d i n the hope t h a t the p a r t i e s w i l l n e g o t i a t e the p a r t i c u l a r terms t h e r e o f . cannot  I f they  agree, or i f one or both spouses spurn the order, then  the dilemna  begins.  The  c o u r t g e n e r a l l y commences by making a  very d e t a i l e d order as t o access, but without s u p e r v i s i o n t h i s w i l l be of l i t t l e v a l u e i f the p a r t i e s are a n t a g o n i s t i c towards each other.  The options then a v a i l a b l e to the c o u r t ( a p a r t  from c u t t i n g o f f access e n t i r e l y ) are, a v a r i a t i o n of the custody or access r i g h t s , use of i t s contempt powers, or making the payment of maintenance c o n d i t i o n a l on the spouse w i t h custody p e r m i t t i n g a c c e s s . ^  2 0  Courts are most l i k e l y to use t h e i r contempt powers i n 391 this situation.  They are very r e l u c t a n t to u t i l i z e  the  f i r s t o p t i o n because the best i n t e r e s t s would have d i c t a t e d o r i g i n a l orders, and those-same i n t e r e s t s may  not r e q u i r e a  the  96  change. bandied  399  I t must be remembered t h a t c h i l d r e n are n o t to be  around i n t h e name of punishing  an e r r a n t spouse.  U n f o r t u n a t e l y though,' t h i s does occur, and t h e a c t i o n  develops  i n t o a b a t t l e between t h e judge and the d e f a u l t i n g spouse , with the i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d r e n being put a s i d e .  For example, i n 323  the case o f M a r t i n i u k v M a r t i n i u k and Kowerchuk r i g h t s o f the f a t h e r were continued  t h e access  even though t h e c h i l d r e n  d i d n o t want t o see him, and there was a strong p s y c h i a t r i c o p i n i o n t h a t the c h i l d r e n might be harmed, or at l e a s t pushed f u r t h e r away from the f a t h e r .  The c o u r t found t h a t the  c h i l d r e n ' s f e e l i n g s were as a r e s u l t o f the conduct and i n f l u e n c e o f the mother, and took the a t t i t u d e t h a t t o deny the f a t h e r h i s access r i g h t s would be t o allow t h e mother t o "beat the  system".  3 2 4  As regards  the t h i r d o p t i o n , t h e r e have been i n s t a n c e s  of c o u r t s u s i n g a f i n a n c i a l l e v e r i n t h i s f a s h i o n t o enforce access r i g h t s .  I t i s the r e v e r s e o f t h e s i t u a t i o n  e a r l i e r , namely, making access maintenance. overlooked  discussed  c o n d i t i o n a l on the payment o f  J u s t as I submitted  t h e r e t h a t the d e c i s i o n s  the best i n t e r e s t s o f t h e c h i l d r e n , I suggest  c h i l d r e n are t h e l o s e r s i n t h i s e x e r c i s e as w e l l .  Here, t h e  value judgement being made i s t h a t c o n t a c t with t h e nonc u s t o d i a l spouse i s more important  than  the payment o f  maintenance,' and again I c o n s i d e r t h i s to be an abuse o f discretion.  that  For example, i n the case o f K e t t v K e t t and  97  Mitchell  325  the mother had moved to another P r o v i n c e  p r e v e n t i n g the f a t h e r from e x e r c i s i n g the access 1  him.  The  effectively  awarded to  court held t h a t f u t u r e maintenance payments by  the  f a t h e r should be suspended u n t i l such time as the mother made some arrangement s a t i s f a c t o r y to the c o u r t to permit i n p r a c t i c a l terms the e x e r c i s e of the f a t h e r ' s r i g h t of  access.'  In r e a c h i n g t h i s d e c i s i o n the court d i s t i n g u i s h e d a case of 397 Wright v Wright  where the Court of Appeal had taken  view t h a t i n the circumstances there was  the  of a s e p a r a t i o n agreement where  no r e s t r i c t i o n on the r e s i d e n c e of the p a r t i e s , ' the  husband was  not e n t i t l e d to suspend u n i l a t e r a l l y the payment of  maintenance under the agreement as a counter-measure to the f r u s t r a t i o n of h i s r i g h t of access.  The  court s a i d t h a t i n an ooo  a p p l i c a t i o n under S e c t i o n 11 (2) of the Divorce A c t , 1968, "the court has a d i s c r e t i o n to a d j u s t matters by i t s order as i t c o n s i d e r s i n the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d r e n and of the p a r t i e s " . ' " a  3 2  The  d e f e c t i n the c o u r t ' s approach though, i s too much emphasis  on the a l l e g e d r i g h t of the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent to  access,  and not enough emphasis on p r o t e c t i n g the economic i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d r e n .  However, an even more d e p l o r a b l e d e c i s i o n i s the  case  330 of Tassou v Tassou. faced with  1  There, the A l b e r t a Supreme Court  was  the s i t u a t i o n where the c h i l d r e n had r e f u s e d to  t h e i r f a t h e r pursuant to an access 331 with the problem i n thxs way  order.  Bowen J.' d e a l t  see  98  "From a p r a c t i c a l p o i n t of view t h i s c o u r t has no e f f e c t i v e way of a c t u a l l y p h y s i c a l l y f o r c i n g the c h i l d r e n to see t h e i r f a t h e r . I do f e e l / however, t h a t the mother had a duty to do everything w i t h i n her power to see t h a t the boys see t h e i r f a t h e r and to c a r r y out the wishes of t h i s c o u r t as contained i n my o r i g i n a l judgement. I t i s her p o s i t i v e duty to assume t h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . I do not f e e l she has done so. I t i s the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of t h i s court to t r y to ensure t h a t i t s orders are not thwarted by the p a r t i e s to an a c t i o n and the o n l y e f f e c t i v e method t h a t I can use to have the access continued i s to use the payment or non-payment of maintenance as inducement to the w i f e to assume the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o u t l i n e d above.' I am t h e r e f o r e o r d e r i n g t h a t a l l maintenance payments s e t out i n my o r i g i n a l judgement w i l l be suspended f o r such l e n g t h of time t h a t the husband f a i l s to o b t a i n access to the c h i l d r e n . " 1  1  1  Unfortunately,  I f a i l to see how  t h i s can be j u s t i f i e d as a  v a l i d e x e r c i s e of the court's d i s c r e t i o n . r e s p e c t i t seems to me  1  With the g r e a t e s t  t h a t the c h i l d r e n are the l o s e r s i n the  e x e r c i s e proposed by Bowen J .  1  In the f i r s t place,' I do  not  consider i t a p p r o p r i a t e f o r the c h i l d r e n to be f o r c e d to the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parents  i f they do not wish to do so.  duty of t h e . c u s t o d i a l parent  see  1  The  should be to create an atmosphere  conducive to contact w i t h the other parent t a k i n g p l a c e , and not p l a c e any o b s t a c l e s i n the way  of such c o n t a c t .  second p l a c e , what the c u s t o d i a l parent access  In  does i n r e l a t i o n  the to  should have no e f f e c t on the maintenance o b l i g a t i o n of  the other parent.  The  needs of the c h i l d s t i l l  continue."  A c c o r d i n g l y , I do not consider t h i s option to be t h a t c o u r t s should have r e s o r t t o , and  one  the problem of  enforcement w i l l need to be r e s o l v e d i n another f a s h i o n , i f  to  99 indeed i t can be a t a l l .  Of course, t h i s d i f f i c u l t y i n e n f o r c i n g access  orders  332 was  one reason f o r G o l d s t e i n , Freud and S o l n i t  recommending  t h a t access r i g h t s be determined by the c u s t o d i a l spouse alone. However, as  I have suggested  a l r e a d y , i t i s d o u b t f u l whether  even t h i s r e s o l v e s t h e problem, and i t may c r e a t e f u r t h e r difficulties i n itself. (2)  SPLIT CUSTODY ORDERS  Another a l t e r n a t i v e t h a t i s open t o a court i s t o make an order f o r d i v i d e d custody.  1  Here the c h i l d i s p h y s i c a l l y  p l a c e d i n t h e care and c o n t r o l of one parent with the other parent having the custody o f the c h i l d i n the broad  sense;  i.'e., t h e r i g h t of s u p e r v i s i n g the education, r e l i g i o u s t r a i n i n g , and g e n e r a l u p b r i n g i n g of the c h i l d , and t h e r i g h t t o make d e c i s i o n s having a permanent e f f e c t on the c h i l d ' s 333 l i f e and development.  A s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t order f r e q u e n t l y made i n t h e p r e s e n t A u s t r a l i a n j u r i s d i c t i o n i s t o p l a c e a c h i l d i n the j o i n t custody o f the p a r t i e s , with one p a r t y e x e r c i s i n g the day-to-day care and c o n t r o l o f the c h i l d , and the other having 334 r e a s o n a b l e access.  Each parent r e t a i n s an equal v o i c e i n  the major d e c i s i o n s a f f e c t i n g the development o f t h e c h i l d ,  1  1 0 0  but the parent e x e r c i s i n g day-to-day care and c o n t r o l i s e n t i t l e d to make the more mundane d e c i s i o n s r e g a r d i n g w e l f a r e of the  The  the  child.  aim of both types of orders i s to prevent one p a r t y 335  becoming a mere "weekend" parent. problems.  The  c o n t r o l , or between mundane and major  U n f o r t u n a t e l y though, t h e r e i s no  p r o v i d i n g a d e f i n i t i v e answer here, l e f t to t h e i r own  devices.  Secondly,  case-law  and the p a r t i e s  to make the important  are  w i t h a d i v i d e d custody  order t h e r e i s the l o g i s t i c d i f f i c u l t y of the parent  child.  obvious  f i r s t i s to adequately d i f f e r e n t i a t e between  custody and care and decisions.  Yet, there are  d e c i s i o n s not having  entitled  " p o s s e s s i o n " of the  T h i s i s not a problem i n the case of a j o i n t  custody  order, but r a t h e r the d i f f i c u l t y t h e r e i s the n e c e s s i t y f o r a consensus between the parents on those d e c i s i o n s t h a t can termed "major".  be  Thus, i t i s evident t h a t both kinds of order  are o n l y a p p r o p r i a t e where the parents  are capable of working 337  together f o r the b e n e f i t of the c h i l d r e n .  N e i t h e r order i s  workable where there i s animosity and b i t t e r n e s s between the parents.  A c c o r d i n g l y , because i t i s common-place to f i n d  p a r t i e s a t loggerheads  when a marriage  breaks  the  down, i t has  t r a d i t i o n a l l y been f e l t t h a t such orders can o n l y be used i n 338 339 rare instances. However, commentators are now suggesting t h a t the f a c t t h a t p a r t i e s are not co-operating g e n e r a l l y , does not mean t h a t they cannot put t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s a s i d e when  101 d e a l i n g with i s s u e s concerning t h e i r c h i l d r e n .  Indeed, i t i s  s a i d t h a t the great m a j o r i t y o f parents can separate  their  emotional a t t i t u d e s towards each other when p r a c t i c a l conditions require i t .  I t i s f e l t t h a t j o i n t custody i s the  a p p r o p r i a t e s o l u t i o n because i t allows both parents t o e x e r c i s e t h e i r r i g h t s and to concentrate t h e i r e f f o r t s and energies, on being good p a r e n t s .  The r a t i o n a l e behind t h i s movement i s  t h a t more and more r e s e a r c h e r s are becoming aware o f the need f o r the c h i l d t o r e t a i n  emotional bonds with both p a r e n t s .  The  l o s s of e i t h e r parent i s p a i n f u l and traumatic to the c h i l d , yet t h i s i s the r e s u l t o f an award o f s o l e  custody.  3 4 0  Now, t h i s i s a l l very w e l l , but the aspect which concerns me i s whether too much i s being expected or indeed, o f the p a r e n t s .  o f the c h i l d ,  The p l a i n f a c t o f the matter i s  t h a t the f a m i l y u n i t no longer e x i s t s as such, and the p a r t i e s are separated both i n space and time, each attempting to e s t a b l i s h new l i v e s .  The c h i l d i s bound t o be t o r n between the  two parents and I suggest t h a t , a t the very l e a s t , the danger i s t h a t he w i l l be confused as to which one to look t o f o r 341 guidance.  Thus, I do not e n t i r e l y agree t h a t j o i n t  custody  i s the s o l u t i o n . F i n a l l y , one other type o f order t h a t should be mentioned i s where the p a r t i e s are awarded j o i n t custody o f the child,  and the c h i l d then spends p a r t o f the year with one  102  parent and p a r t with the other.'  Here, not o n l y must the parents  be c o - o p e r a t i v e but a l s o the c h i l d needs to be  extremely  342 flexible.  Otherwise,  with constant changes i n environment  and of care-givers,' t h e r e would be an e x t r a o r d i n a r y s t r a i n h i s or her emotional s t a b i l i t y .  on  In f a c t , i t i s d i f f i c u l t to  see how  such an order can be i n the best i n t e r e s t s of a c h i l d , 343 and I suggest t h a t i t too should be used s p a r i n g l y . (3)  CONDITIONS  J u s t as terms and c o n d i t i o n s can be imposed on access order,' the c o u r t can a m e l i o r a t e i t s d e c i s i o n custody by a t t a c h i n g c o n d i t i o n s thereto.'  an  concerning  For example, a c o u r t  sometimes wants to grant custody to a parent but i s unhappy about t h a t parent's a s s o c i a t i o n s .  Here, i t i s p o s s i b l e to  a t t a c h c o n d i t i o n s to the custody order to the e f f e c t t h a t the p a r e n t i s o n l y t o have custody as long as he or she from a s s o c i a t i n g with a named t h i r d p a r t y .  refrains  However, even so,  such c o n d i t i o n s should be imposed s p a r i n g l y , and o n l y when t h e r e i s p o s i t i v e evidence t h a t the t h i r d p a r t y i s a harmful 344 i n f l u e n c e on the  child.  103 FOOTNOTES. CHAPTER 3  B a r t h . "The End o f the Road", New York (1969) P. 85 2.  The t e s t i s sometimes phrased i n terms o f the "welfare and happiness o f the c h i l d " . In t h i s paper they a r e used i n t e r c h a n g e a b l y .  3.  McKee v McKee (1951) 2 D.L.R. 657, per Lord Simons a t P. 666. Although S e c t i o n 11 of the D i v o r c e A c t , 1968 (R.S.C., 1970, c. 8) does not s t a t e s p e c i f i c a l l y t h a t the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d i s the paramount c o n s i d e r a t i o n i t has been h e l d t h a t t h a t i s i n f a c t the case (Bray v Bray (1971) 1 O.R. 232 and Wittke v Wittke (I97477l6 R.F.L. 349). Note t h a t Laskin J.A. i n Dyment v Dyment, (1969) 2 O.R. 748, a t PP. 750, 751, put to r e s t any n o t i o n t h a t the common law r u l e o f a f a t h e r ' s p r i o r c l a i m to custody, a l l e l s e being equal, p r e v a i l e d under the Divorce A c t , 1968.  4^  (1970) A.C. 668, a t P. 710  5.  In Re Winsor (1963) 48 M.P.R. 445 a t 447, per F u r l o n g C.J.  6.  F i n l a v and Gold. "The Paramount I n t e r e s t of the C h i l d i n Law and P s y c h i a t r y " (1971), 45 A . L . J . 82, a t P. 82  7.  Re Besant (1879) 11 Ch. D. 508  8*  G o l d s t e i n . Freud and S o l n i t . "Beyond the Best I n t e r e s t s ir  of the Child Tl973') 9.  T r i b e , "Childhood, Suspect C l a s s i f i c a t i o n s , and C o n c l u s i v e Presumptions : Three Linked R i d d l e s " (1975;, 39 Law and Contemporary Problems 8, a t P. 29  10.  F o r an e x c e l l e n t d i s c u s s i o n o f the ways i n which the r e s o l u t i o n of custody disputes d i f f e r from the t r a d i t i o n a l model see Mnookin. " C h i l d Custody A d j u d i c a t i o n : J u d i c i a l Functions i n the Face of Indeterminacy" (1975) 39 Law and Contemporary Problems 8, a t P. 29.  11•  Gosse and Payne. " C h i l d r e n of D i v o r c i n g Spouses : P r o p o s a l s f o r Reform", Law Reform Commission of Canada, "Studies on D i v o r c e " , (1975), 99, a t P. 174. For a d e t a i l e d d i s c u s s i o n of the advantages (and the disadvantages) o f r u l e - l i k e standards and an i n d e t e r m i n a t e p r i n c i p l e see Mnookin supra, f o o t n o t e 10. ;  f  104  12.  There i s a s c h o o l of thought t h a t t h i s vagueness w i l l e v e n t u a l l y lead to a p r o f e s s i o n a l takeover of c h i l d placement. I t i s argued t h a t because the t e s t i s so vague, developments i n other d i s c i p l i n e s are too r e a d i l y accepted.  13.  See Gosse and Payne, supra, f o o t n o t e 11, at PP. 175-177, f o r some examples o f g u i d e l i n e s t h a t have been suggested.  14.  Mnookin, supra, f o o t n o t e 10. A l s o see Gosse and Payne, supra, f o o t n o t e 11, a t P. 175.  15.  A l s o see F i n l a v and Gold, supra, f o o t n o t e 6  16.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 10, a t P.  17.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 11, a t PP. 174-175  18.  Ibid  19.  e.'g.l see B r i t i s h Columbia Royal Commission on Family and C h i l d r e n ' s Law, F i f t h Report, P a r t v i , "Custody, Access and Guardianship" (1975). A l s o see S e c t i o n 402 o f the U n i t e d S t a t e s Uniform Marriage and D i v o r c e Act, an A c t approved i n 1970 by the N a t i o n a l Conference o f Commissioners on Uniform S t a t e Laws.  20.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 11, a t P.  21.  A t P.  292  177  55  22." S e c t i o n 24, F a m i l y R e l a t i o n s A c t , 1978 c.  (S.B.C,  1978,  22)  23.  S e c t i o n 1 (b) The C h i l d Welfare A c t , 1978  (S.O. 1978  c. 85)  24. 25.  S.O. 1978 c. 2 e.g., S e c t i o n 1 o f the I n f a n t s A c t (R.S.O. 1970 c. 222). Gibbs (1979), 1 F.L.R.R. 46 and Patton (1979), 1 F.L.R.R. 46  26.  Dittner,  27.  Re Gromoll (1979), 1 F.L.R.R. 76  28.  Note t h a t a p a r t from enumerating the f a c t o r s t o be taken i n t o account, presumptions have been developed i n an attempt to reduce the burden of t h i s d e t e r m i n a t i o n . However, t h i s approach has a l s o proven unacceptable and I  (1979), 1 F.L.R.R. 73  105  d i s c u s s the same l a t e r i n t h i s paper i n the context of p a r e n t a l r i g h t s . A l s o see Mnookin. supra, f o o t n o t e 10, at P. 227. 29.  Mnookin. i b i d , at PP. 262, 282-283, t a l k s of t h i s i n terms of the establishment of " i n t e r m e d i a t e premises or rules."  30.  Mnookin. idem, at P. 284, p o s t u l a t e s t h a t such p r i n c i p l e s have a d e t r i m e n t a l e f f e c t on p r i v a t e n e g o t i a t i o n s . For example, a r u l e p r o v i d i n g f o r maternal p r e f e r e n c e "gives mothers as a c l a s s more b a r g a i n i n g power than f a t h e r s i n n e g o t i a t i o n s over custody." In comparison, the " b e s t - i n t e r e s t s - o f - t h e - c h i l d standard provides a more n e u t r a l ' backdrop f o r both p r i v a t e n e g o t i a t i o n s and adjudication." 1  31.  Hepton v Maat (1957), 10 D.L.R. (2d) 1; M a r t i n et a l . v D u f f e l l (1950) 4 D.L.R. 1; Re A q a r - E l l i s (1883). 24 Ch. D. 317; M e i k e l v Authenac ( 1 9 7 0 ) 7 74 W.W.R. 699  32.  Hepton v Maat. i b i d . But note Re P e r r y . (1962), 33 D.L.R. (2d) 216. A l s o see F o s t e r and Freed, "A B i l l o f R i g h t s f o r C h i l d r e n " (1972) 6 Fam. L. Q. 343 a t P. 350  33.  Supra, footnote  34.  (1973) 3 O.R.  35.  I b i d at PP.  36.  Idem at P.  37.  For a case where Re Moores and F e l d s t e i n was accepted but where i t was found t h a t the t i e of a f f e c t i o n was the o v e r b a l a n c i n g c o n s i d e r a t i o n , see More v Primeau (1978), 2 R.F.L. (2d) 254.  38.  Supra, footnote  39.  Supra, footnote 34,  40.  e.g.  41.  (1974),  16 R.F.L.  42.  (1977),  21 N.S.R. (2d)  43.  A l s o see More v Primeau, supra, f o o t n o t e  at P.  4  921 926-927  933  31 at PP.  927-928  1 of the r e p o r t 266 631 37  106  44.  Funk v Funk (1968) 6 W.W.R. 137  45.  W i l t s h i r e v W i l t s h i r e (1975), 20 R.F.L.  46.  Duqav v Duqay (1978), 5 R.F.L. (2d)  47.  I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, S e c t i o n 1 of the new Ontario Family Law Reform Act, 1978, supra, f o o t n o t e 24, d e f i n e s "parent" i n a way which i s no longer c o n f i n e d e x c l u s i v e l y to a blood u n i t y .  48.  Leon, "Recent Developments i n L e g a l Representation of C h i l d r e n : A Growing Concern with the Concept of Capacity". (1978) 1 Can. J . Fam. L. 374, at PP. 421-422.  49.  E l l s w o r t h and Levy, " L e g i s l a t i v e Reform of C h i l d Custody A d j u d i c a t i o n : An E f f o r t to Rely on S o c i a l S c i e n c e Data i n Formulating L e g a l P o l i c i e s " (1969), 4 Law and S o c i e t y Review 167.  50.  Chisholm. "Obtaining and Weighing the C h i l d r e n ' s Wishes; P r i v a t e Interviews with a Judge or Assessment by an E x p e r t and Report" (1976), 23 R.F.L. 1, a t P. 1.  51.  As was s a i d by K a t k i n , B u l l i n g t o n , and Levine when p o i n t i n g out the u n d e s i r a b l e s i d e e f f e c t s of the p s y c h o l o g i c a l parent theory of G o l d s t e i n , Freud and S o l n i t (see i n f r a P. 29 et seq.) "(P)sychology does not o f f e r the same guarantees of c l e a r - c u t i s s u e s as b i o l o g y " . ( K a t k i n , B u l l i n g t o n and Levine "Above and Beyond the Best I n t e r e s t s of the C h i l d : An I n q u i r y i n t o the R e l a t i o n s h i p Between S o c i a l S c i e n c e and S o c i a l A c t i o n " (1974), 8 Law and S o c i e t y Rev. 669, at P. 679).  52.  W e i l e r and Berman, "Re Moores and F e l d s t e i n - A Case Comment and D i s c u s s i o n of Custody P r i n c i p l e s " (1974), 12 R.F.L. 294, a t P. 304.  53.  R u t t e r , "Maternal D e p r i v a t i o n Reassessed" (1972): Goodman. " C h i l d Custody A d j u d i c a t i o n ; The P o s s i b i l i t y of an I n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y Approach" (1976), 50 A.L.J. 644.  54.  e.g. see Guggenheim, " C r i s i s i n the Family" C i v i l L i b e r t i e s Review 76.  55.  However, the concept i t s e l f was r e c e i v e d i n t o l e g a l thoughtsome time ago; e.g. see " A l t e r n a t i v e to * P a r e n t a l R i g h t ' i n C h i l d Custody Disputes I n v o l v i n g T h i r d P a r t i e s " (1963), 73 Yale L . J . 151, 158 etseq.  50  33  (1978), 5  107  56.  G o l d s t e i n . Freud and S o l n i t . supra, footnote 8  57.  I d e a l l y they should be t h e same, but by f o r c e o f circumstances t h i s i s n o t always the case. For example, a c h i l d might be abandoned by the b i o l o g i c a l parent, or l e f t on a temporary b a s i s with t h i r d p a r t i e s .  58.  R u t t e r . supra, f o o t n o t e 53  59.  S k o l n i c k "The L i m i t s o f Childhood : Conceptions o f C h i l d Development and S o c i a l Context" (1975), 39 Law and. Contemporary Problems 38, a t P. 40, Bowlby: Freud and Burlinqham, " I n f a n t s Without F a m i l i e s : The "C~ase f o r and a g a i n s t R e s i d e n t i a l Nurseries" (1944), Napier. "Success and F a i l u r e i n F o s t e r Care" (1972) 2 B r i t . J . Soc. Work 187, E l l s w o r t h and L e w , supra, f o o t n o t e 49.  60.  The authors would p l a c e a heavy onus on a person wanting to a l t e r such an arrangement. The burden would be t o show t h a t the c u r r e n t custodian i s u n f i t or t h a t the c h i l d i s unwanted i n the present family,and t h a t of the a v a i l a b l e a l t e r n a t i v e s , the person seeking custody p r o v i d e s the l e a s t d e t r i m e n t a l f o r the c h i l d ' s p h y s i c a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l w e l l - b e i n g .  61.  e.g., see Saxon v Saxon (1974) 6 W.W.R. 731, a t P. 739  62.  S k o l n i c k . supra, f o o t n o t e 59; Mnookin. supra, f o o t n o t e 10; In Re W (an i n f a n t ) ( l 9 7 l ) A X . 682; In Re S (1977) 3 W.L.R. 575.  63.  Leon, supra, f o o t n o t e 48; B e r s o f f . "Representation f o r C h i l d r e n i n Custody D e c i s i o n s - A l l t h a t G l i t t e r s i s not G a u l t " (1976), 15 J . Fam. L. 27, a t P. 42.  64.  Supra, footnote 8, a t PP. 32-34  65.  I b i d , a t P. 38  66.  B e r s o f f . supra, f o o t n o t e 63, a t P. 43, makes a s i m i l a r suggestion.  67.  I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note t h a t S e c t i o n 409 o f the U n i t e d S t a t e s Uniform Marriage and D i v o r c e Act, supra, f o o t n o t e 19, p r o v i d e s t h a t no a p p l i c a t i o n t o v a r y a custody order can be made w i t h i n 2 years a f t e r the making o f the order u n l e s s t h e r e i s reason t o b e l i e v e t h a t the c h i l d i s i n s e r i o u s danger.  68.  I n f r a P. 89  ;  108  69.. More v Primeau. supra, f o o t n o t e 37 70.  The A u s t r a l i a n Family Court f o r example has r e c e i v e d heavy c r i t i c i s m f o r delays i n h e a r i n g custody d i s p u t e s . G e n e r a l l y though i t has been unwarranted, and the blame can be t r a c e d to e i t h e r the l i t i g a n t s or t h e i r solicitors.  71.  Supra,  72.  Mnookin supra, f o o t n o t e 10, a t P. 2 6 l , a l s o sees p r e d i c t i v e a b i l i t y as a fundamental o b s t a c l e t o c u s t o d y resolution.  f o o t n o t e 8, a t P.  51  ;  t  n  73.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 8,  a t P.  74.  Smith v Goulet (1974), 50 D.L.R. (3d)  75.  Supra,  76.  A l s o see i b i d at P. 255,  77.  Of course, there have been f a v o u r a b l e comments as w e l l . See E p s t e i n , Book Review, (1973), 1 J . of P s y c h i a t r y and Law 377.  78.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 51  79.  I b i d , a t P.  80.  F o s t e r "A Review of Beyond the Best I n t e r e s t s of the C h i l d " , (1976) 12 W i l l a m e t t e L . J . 545.  81.  I b i d at P.  546  82.  Idem a t P.  551  83.  Indeed, t h i s o c c u r r e d i n the case of P i e r c e v Y e r k o v i c h . (1974), 363 N.Y.S. (2d) 403, where the c o u r t r e j e c t e d " the authors' t h e o r y r e l a t i n g to access. In so doing the c o u r t s a i d t h i s ( i b i d at P. 413) : "The concept of p s y c h o l o g i c a l parenthood should never be p e r m i t t e d to obscure the t r u t h t h a t the n a t u r a l father,' as w e l l as the n a t u r a l mother, remains a parent no matter how estranged parent and c h i l d become. A s t r a n g e r may by conduct become a f o s t e r parent; but no conduct can transmute a n a t u r a l parent i n t o a s t r a n g e r . ' (Beaumet v U.S. 344 U.S. 82,85 ... ( o p i n i o n , Douglas J . d i s s e n t i n g i n p a r t ) ) . "  f o o t n o t e 10, at P.  53 321  287 footnote  154  674  1  109  84.  See a l s o Read, Book Review, ( 1 9 7 4 ) , at P. 607  85.  Wechsler. Book Review, ( 1 9 7 3 ) , 1 J." of P s y c h i a t r y and Law 391. C f . Kubie. " P r o v i s i o n f o r t h e Care o f C h i l d r e n of Divorced Parents : A New L e g a l Instrument", ( 1 9 6 4 ) , 73 Y a l e L . J . 1197.  86.  Dembitz. "Beyond Any D i s c i p l i n e s Competence", (1974), 83 Y a l e L . J . 1304.  87.  A l s o see Mnookin.. supra, f o o t n o t e 10  88.  See Montgomery County Department o f S o c i a l S e r v i c e s v Sanders (1978) 4 Fam. L. Reporter 2152.  89.  De F o r e s t v De F o r e s t , (1975), 228 N.W. (2d) 919 and Reflow v Reflow, T l 9 7 6 ) , 545 P. (2d) 894  90.  Mnookin r s of the same o p i n i o n (supra, footnote 10, a t P. 255, f o o t n o t e 154).  91.  R.S.C, 1970, c. 8; c f . S e c t i o n 402 of the U n i t e d S t a t e s Uniform Marriage and Divorce A c t . (Supra, f o o t n o t e 19).  92.  S.B.C., 1978,  93.  Supra Chapter 1  94.  B e l f o c h i v B e l f o c h i (1920) 1 W.W.R. 248 a t P. 253: Re M o i l l i e t ( 1 9 6 0 ) . 56 W.W.R. 458; Re Chave ( 1 9 6 7 ) , 62 W.W.R. 193. A l s o see Re S q u i r e , supra, footnote 41.  95/  Re Pittman  96.  N i e l s e n v N i e l s e n (1971), 16 D.L.R. (3d) 33, a t P. 44.  97.  (1962) 3 A l l E.R. 1  98.  I b i d a t PP. 3,4  99.  Gauci v Gauci, supra, footnote 95; Conrad v Conrad ( 1 9 7 3 ) , 7 N.S.R. (2d) 684; Re Pittman and Pittman, supra, f o o t n o t e 95; K o r t e l i n g v K o r t e l i n q and Buse (19747, 19 R.F.L. 21. But see H i l l v H i l l ( 1 9 7 5 ) , 19 R.F.L. 119, a t P. 122, and note t h a t some c o u r t s have been a t pains to d i s t i n g u i s h Re L. For example, i n Dyment v Dyment. supra, f o o t n o t e 3, D i s b e r y J . disposed o f the case by h o l d i n g t h a t there was an adverse f i n d i n g by Lord Denning r e g a r d i n g the  13 J . of Fam. L. 601  c. 22  and Pittman  (1973) 1 O.R. 393.  (1972) 1 O.R. 347; Gauci v Gauci  110  f i t n e s s of the mother. In t r u t h though, the p l a i n f a c t of the matter was t h a t the mother was a good mother. 100/ (1975), 62 D.L.R. (3d) 267 101.  (1975), 62 D.L.R. (3d) 301  102. Supra, f o o t n o t e 100, a t PP. 278-279 103. Kravnvk v Kraynyk  (1978), 5 R.F.L. (2d) 17  104. Supra P. 40 105. S (B.D.) v S (D.J. ) (1977) 1 A l l E.R. 656; Re K (1977) 1 A l l . E.R. 647. 106. Supra, footnote 4 107. Supra, f o o t n o t e 105 108. Supra P. 20 109. Supra, f o o t n o t e 105, a t P. 649 110. N i e l s e n v N i e l s e n . supra, f o o t n o t e 96 HI.  Re F (1969) 2 A l l E.R. 766, a t PP. 769-770  112. Re M o i l l i e t . supra, footnote 94 113. Harareaves v Hargreaves (i960) 32 W.W.R. 157 114. Re Cvr I n f a n t s (1969), 68 W.W.R. 273; Richardson v Richardson e t a l . ( l 9 7 l ) , 17 D.L.R. (3d) 431; Torresan v Torresan (1972). 6 R.F.L. 16: H i l l v H i l l , supra, f o o t n o t e 99; Willoughbv v Willouqhby (19517 P. 184; P h i l l i p s v P h i l l i p s (1974) 44 D.L.R7(3d) 750. Contra see F r i d a y v F r i d a y (1976), 20 R.F.L. 202. There are even i n s t a n c e s where s e t t i n g up a home w i t h a de f a c t o w i f e can be p o s i t i v e l y advantageous. In M i l l e r v M i l l e r . (1976), 27 R.F.L. 189, custody o f three c h i l d r e n was t r a n s f e r r e d to the f a t h e r on t h e ground t h a t t h e c h i l d r e n would b e n e f i t from a two-parent r e l a t i o n s h i p . I t appeared t h a t the mother was l i k e l y t o remain s i n g l e , whereas the f a t h e r i n t e n d e d to marry t h e woman w i t h whom he was l i v i n g . 115. In Re D (1977) A.C. 602, per Lord Simon a t P. 640  Ill  116.  Lord Simon put i t s u c c i n c t l y when he c r i t i c i z e d the a p p e l l a t e judge f o r t r e a t i n g the matter as a "moral a b s t r a c t i o n , without r e g a r d to the a c t u a l evidence before the ( t r i a l ) judge" ( I b i d a t P. 637).  117.  Idem, a t P.  118.  (1974),  119.  (1976) 2 W.W.R. 462  120.  I b i d a t P.  121.  Supra, f o o t n o t e  122.  (1978),  123.  Indeed, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t G o l d s t e i n . Freud and S o l n i t . supra, f o o t n o t e 8, c o n s i d e r t h a t homosexual couples would not be adequate p s y c h o l o g i c a l parents. Parents, they b e l i e v e , who " r e j e c t t h e i r own male or female i d e n t i t y " ( i b i d a t P. 17) are unable to n u r t u r e a c h i l d ' s sense of i d e n t i t y and s e l f - w o r t h . ( A l s o see idem, at P. 15).  124.  T h i s dilemna presents a p a r t i c u l a r problem of j u r i s d i c t i o n where the c h i l d i s removed from one P r o v i n c e to another, or from one country to another, but i t i s not i n t e n d e d to d e a l w i t h t h i s problem i n t h i s paper. For a u s e f u l d i s c u s s i o n of t h i s aspect see Robinson. "Custody and Access" i n Mendes da Costa (ed.) "Studies i n Canadian Family Law""Tl9727 543, a t PP. 557-560, and the 1977 Supplement t h e r e t o a t PP. 218-222.  125.  C l a r k s o n v C l a r k s o n (1972), 19 F.L.R. 112; ( I n f a n t s ) (1973) 3 W.L.R. 408  126.  (1971),  127.  I b i d a t P.  128.  In the words of Mnookin, supra, f o o t n o t e 10, a t P. 251: "In a d i v o r c e custody f i g h t , a c o u r t must e v a l u a t e the a t t i t u d e s , d i s p o s i t i o n s , c a p a c i t i e s , and shortcomings of each parent to apply the best i n t e r e s t s standard".  129.  R.S.C, 1970,  629  18 R.F.L.  132  468 118  3 R.F.L. (2d)  4 R.F.L.  327  In Re  K  129  140  D.  8  112  130.  S.B.C., 1978,  c. 22  131.  Re McMaster and Smith e t _ a l . (1972) 1 O.R. 416; V o g h e l l v V o q h e l l and P r a t t " ( N o . 2) (1962), 35 D.L.R. (2d) 592.  132.  N i e l s e n v N i e l s e n , supra, f o o t n o t e 96; McGee v Waldern and Cunningham T I 9 7 1 ) 4 W.W.R. 684; C s i c s i r i v C s i c s i r i (1973), 13 R.F.L. 263, and l a t e r (1974) 17 R.F.L. 31  133.  Re Milsom  134.  0'Leary v 0'Learv (1923) 1 D.L.R. 949 at P. 977; v Barea (1972), 9 R.F.L. 78  135.  P i n n e r v Pinner, and Godfrey (1962), 40 W.W.R. 375  136.  Humphreys v Humphreys (1970), 4 R.F.L.  137.  I t has even been suggested t h a t t h e r e should always be an i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f the mental normalcy of the proposed c u s t o d i a n . T h i s d e r i v e s from s t u d i e s which conclude t h a t one of the most important f a c t o r s i n the development of a c h i l d , who i s i n the e x c l u s i v e custody of h i s or her mother, i s the mental normalcy of the mother. McCord, McCord and Thurber, "Some E f f e c t s of P a t e r n a l Absence on Male C h i l d r e n " (1962), 64 J . of Abnormal S o c i a l Psychology 361, at P. 364. A l s o see F i n l a y and Gold, supra, f o o t n o t e 6, and Gore v Gore (1978), 4 Fam. L. Reporter 2181.  138.  Except perhaps f o r any c h i l d i n v o l v e d . But t h i s depends upon h i s or her age and degree o f m a t u r i t y .  139.  See D v D, supra, f o o t n o t e 122,  140.  (1966), 140 N.W.  141.  I b i d a t P.  156  142.  Idem a t P.  154  143.  F o l l o w i n g the t r a g i c deaths of the n a t u r a l mother and another c h i l d of the marriage, the f a t h e r had t e m p o r a r i l y p l a c e d the s u b j e c t c h i l d with the maternal grandparents and he had remained t h e r e f o r 2 years before the matter came to t r i a l .  144.  For example, the c o u r t made statements such as the following :  (1971), 4 R.F.L. 129  (2d)  a t PP.  Barea  64  332-333  152  113  "We b e l i e v e s e c u r i t y and s t a b i l i t y i n the home are more important than i n t e l l e c t u a l s t i m u l a t i o n i n the proper development of a c h i l d . " (At P. 156). 145.  See F o s t e r . "Adoption and C h i l d Custody : Best I n t e r e s t s of the C h i l d ? " (1972), 22 B u f f a l o L. Rev. 1, a t P. 5. A l s o note the comments of the t r i a l c o u r t i n d i s r e g a r d i n g t h i s evidence (140 N.W. (2d) 152, a t P. 156).  146.  S.B.C, 1978,  c.  22  147.  R.S.C., 1970,  D.  8  148.  Hepton v Maat. supra, f o o t n o t e 31, per Rand J . a t P. 608; Peptuck v Deptuck (1966), 56 D.L.R. (2d) 634, a t P. 650. A l s o see Shanks v Shanks ( l 9 7 l ) , 3 R.F.L. 86.  149.  Robinson. supra, f o o t n o t e 124, at P. 594, r e f e r s to a study which concluded t h a t " v a r i a t i o n s i n c h i l d behaviour were d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to the socio-economic environment i n which the c h i l d was l i v i n g . " The study i s r e p o r t e d i n Thornes, " C h i l d r e n with Absent F a t h e r s " (1968) 30 J . of Marr. and Fam. 89.  150.  T a l s k y v T a l s k y . supra, f o o t n o t e 100; D.L.R. 23  Leboeuf v Leboeuf  1X928) 2 151.  McDonald v McDonald, supra, f o o t n o t e 101: Re F (1969) 2 A l l E.R. 766; Re A l l a n and A l l a n (1958) 16 D.L.R. (2d) 172; Beck v Beck~Tl950) 1 D.L.R. 492  152.  Re Bennett I n f a n t s (1952) 3 D.L.R. 699: Re A l l a n and A l l a n , i b i d ; Re B a l a s k i and P a t t e r s o n ( i 9 6 0 ) , 23 D.L.R. 2d 275; Re Baqqio (1971), 3 R.F.L. 74; Nelson v F i n d l a y and F i n d l a y (1974) 15 R.F.L. 181.  153.  The U n i t e d S t a t e s Supreme Court had t h i s to say i n Ford v Ford (1962), 371 U.S. 182, At P. 193 : "Experience has shown t h a t the q u e s t i o n of custody, so v i t a l to a c h i l d ' s happiness and w e l l - b e i n g , f r e q u e n t l y cannot be l e f t t o the d i s c r e t i o n of p a r e n t s . T h i s i s p a r t i c u l a r l y t r u e where ... the estrangement of husband and w i f e beclouds p a r e n t a l judgement w i t h emotional p r e j u d i c e . "  154.  Re A l l a n and A l l a n , supra, f o o t n o t e 151  155.  Laberqe v Laberqe 3 R.F.L. 107.  (1974), 16 R.F.L. 60; Re Lenard  (1971),  114  156.  Urmder S e c t i o n 74 (4) (b) of the Family R e l a t i o n s A c t , 1978 (S.B.C. 1978, c. 22), a p r o v i s i o n i n an agreement t h a t i s e n f o r c e a b l e under s u b - s e c t i o n (2) t h e r e o f can be a l t e r e d , v a r i e d or r e s c i n d e d by the c o u r t i n the same f a s h i o n as an order of such court. In a d d i t i o n , i t i s q u i t e c l e a r t h a t the c o u r t ' s power under S e c t i o n 35 of the A c t to make a custody order i s not f e t t e r e d by the e x i s t e n c e o f a custody agreement. See a l s o S e c t i o n 55 ( l ) of the O n t a r i o Family Law Reform A c t 1978, (S.O. 1978 c.2), which e x p l i c i t y p r o v i d e s t h a t a custody agreement i s s u b j e c t to the o v e r r i d i n g powers of a c o u r t .  157.  In the p a s t , c o u r t s have been content to d e f e r t o the suggestion t h a t "the f a t h e r knows f a r b e t t e r as a r u l e what i s good f o r h i s c h i l d r e n than a c o u r t o f j u s t i c e can". (Re A g a r - E l l i s . supra, f o o t n o t e 31 a t PP. 337-338; a l s o see M a r t i n e t a l . v D u f f e l l , supra, footnote 31 and Heoton v Maat, supra, f o o t n o t e 31). However, I submit t h a t t h i s does not accord with r e a l i t y i n many instances.  158.  In the context of access see B r o w n . C C H . , Family 2109 .  159.  On the other hand, Mnookin. supra, f o o t n o t e 10, a t P. 288, suggests t h a t "courts should not second-guess p a r e n t a l agreements" f o r these reasons. Unfortunately, I cannot agree w i t h him i n t h i s r e g a r d .  160.  L e a v a l l . "Custody Disputes and the Proposed Model A c t " TT968) 2 Ga. L. Rev. 162. In C o n n e c t i c u t , l e g i s l a t i o n p r o v i d e s t h a t the c o u r t s h a l l appoint counsel i n any case where an agreement has been submitted with r e s p e c t to a c h i l d (Conn. Laws 1973, P.A. 73-373 Amending Conn. Gen. S t a t . S e c t i o n 46.16).  161.  Supplement to the Commission's F i f t h Report, " C h i l d r e n ' s R i g h t s " (1975).  Part  Law,  iii,  162.  The Law Reform Commission of Canada i n i t s r e p o r t on Family Law (1976) recommended t h a t there s h o u l d be "review by the c o u r t o f p a r e n t a l agreements r e s p e c t i n g c h i l d r e n , with power to disapprove where s t a t u t o r y c r i t e r i a are not met" (At P. 49, and see P. 54).  163.  S.B.C, 1978, c. 22  115  164.  Gosse and Pavne. supra, f o o t n o t e 11  165.  E.g., see S e c t i o n 24 o f the Family R e l a t i o n s A c t , 1978  166.  R.S.C. 1970 D. 8  167.  N i e l s e n v N i e l s e n . supra, f o o t n o t e 96  168.  T h i s i s another example of a presumption developed t o p r o v i d e some guidance f o r the c o u r t i n view of the wide d i s c r e t i o n they have, and to o f f s e t the g e n e r a l l a c k o f evidence.  169.  i . e . , u n t i l the c h i l d reached the age of 7 years.  170.  A u s t i n v A u s t i n (1865), 34 Beav. 257  171.  B e l l v B e l l (1955) O.W.N. 341, per Roach J.A. a t P. 344; Dunn v Dunn and Hoicombe (1954) O.W.N. 561  172.  W v W (1968) 3 A l l E.R. 408; Kerr v Kerr (1971), 5 N.S.R. (2d) 528: Re C (A) (1970) 1 W.L.R. 288  173.  Re Orr (1933) O.R. 212; Weeks v Weeks (1955), 704.  174.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 170  175.  I b i d a t P. 257  176.  Gauci v Gauci. supra, f o o t n o t e 95. T h i s approach was taken even as r e c e n t l y as 1977 i n the case o f Knowles v Knowles (1977), 2 R.F.L. (2d) 396  177.  Talskly^v T a l s k y . supra, f o o t n o t e 100; Re Pittman and Pittman. supra, f o o t n o t e 95; Saxon v Saxon, supra f o o t n o t e 61; K v K (1976) 2 W.W.R. 462.  178.  R.S.B.C. 194S c. 139  179.  S.B.C, 1978, c. 22  180.  Power on D i v o r c e and Other M a t r i m o n i a l Causes, T h i r d e d i t i o n Volume 1 (1976); Chisholmy supra,' f o o t n o t e 50, at P. 3. A l s o see P h i l p o t t v P h i l o o t t (1955) O.W.N. 344 and D e s i l e t s v D e s i l e t s (1975), 22 R.F.L. 87. T h i s i s p a r t i c u l a r l y evident i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s ; e.g. Mnookin r e p o r t s as f o l l o w s (P. 235-236) : "At the present time, maternal-preference standards are being d i s p l a c e d by a f o r m a l i n s i s t e n c e on a n e u t r a l a p p l i c a t i o n o f the b e s t - i n t e r e s t s standard  3 D.L.R.  116  ... No f a u l t d i v o r c e , the changing s o c i a l conception of a p p r o p r i a t e sex r o l e s , and the women's movement are a l l c o n t r i b u t i n g to t h i s trend." 181.  Indeed, see Smith v Smith and Morrow (1978), 6 F.L.D. 291 where the t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e s were completely r e v e r s e d . T h i s change i n r o l e i s a l s o noted i n Guggenheim, supra, f o o t n o t e 54, a t P. 77.  182.  E l l s w o r t h and Levy,  183.  The concept of maternal d e p r i v a t i o n has gained very wide currency, and i t has been h e l d to be the cause o f c o n d i t i o n s as d i v e r s e as mental subnormality, delinquency, d e p r e s s i o n , dwarfism, acute d i s t r e s s and a f f e c t i o n l e s s psychopathy (Bowlby, "Maternal Care and Mental Health" (1952); Ainsworth. "The E f f e c t s of M a t e r n a l D e p r i v a t i o n : A Review of. F i n d i n g s and C o n t r o v e r s y i n the Context of Research S t r a t e g y " , i n D e p r i v a t i o n of Maternal Care : A Reassessment of i t s E f f e c t s , W.H..O. , Geneva (1962)). However, t h i s i s d e s p i t e severe m e t h o d o l o g i c a l and other c r i t i c i s m s (Casher. " P e r c e p t u a l D e p r i v a t i o n i n I n s t i t u t i o n a l S e t t i n g s " , i n Newton and Levine ( E d s . ) , " E a r l y Experience and Behaviour" (1968); Casher. "Maternal D e p r i v a t i o n : A C r i t i c a l Review of the L i t e r a t u r e . " Monog. Soc. Res. C h i l d D v e l . V o l . 26 No. 2 ( l 9 6 l ) ; Yarrow, "The C r u c i a l Nature of E a r l y Experience", i n G l a s s (Ed.) "Environmental I n f l u e n c e s " (1968).), with one problem i n p a r t i c u l a r being t h a t s t u d i e s of maternal d e p r i v a t i o n are g e n e r a l l y concerned with c h i l d r e n i n i n s t i t u t i o n s or f o s t e r homes. Thus, doubts can be r a i s e d as to the v a l u e o f t h i s evidence i n the r e s o l u t i o n of custody d i s p u t e s .  supra, f o o t n o t e 49  e  184.  S p i t z , "The Role of E c o l o g i c a l F a c t o r s i n Emotional Development i n I n f a n c y , " (1949), 20 C h i l d Development 145, a t P. 155. However, i t should be noted t h a t subsequent s t u d i e s have r e q u i r e d a r e a p p r a i s a l of such extreme b e l i e f s (Yarrow, "Separation from Parents During E a r l y Childhood", i n Hoffman and Hoffman (Eds.), Review of C h i l d Development Research V o l . 1 (1964)). I t i s now the case t h a t t h i s would be considered an i l l u s t r a t i v e example of what can happen, r a t h e r than a d e f i n i t i v e s t a t i s t i c a l account of what w i l l happen.  185.  For a b r i e f summary of both the s h o r t term and long term e f f e c t s of maternal d e p r i v a t i o n see R u t t e r , supra, f o o t n o t e 53, a t PP. 29-30, 33-34 r e s p e c t i v e l y . A l s o see H e i n i c k e and Westheimer, " B r i e f S e p a r a t i o n s " (1965)  117  186.  E l l s w o r t h and Levy, supra, f o o t n o t e 49, p o i n t out t h a t t h i s i s a common problem with s t u d i e s t h a t a r e i n any way r e l e v a n t t o custody a d j u d i c a t i o n .  187.  R u t t e r . supra, f o o t n o t e 53; B e r s o f f . supra, f o o t n o t e 63, at P. 42.  188.  Skard. "Maternal D e p r i v a t i o n : The Research and i t s I m p l i c a t i o n s " , (1965) J . Marriage and the Family 333, at PP. 338-341.  189.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 183, a t PP. 26-27. supra, f o o t n o t e 53.  190.  E l l s w o r t h and Levy, supra, f o o t n o t e 49; R u t t e r . supra, f o o t n o t e 53; Rosen, " J o i n t Custody : In the Best I n t e r e s t s of the C h i l d and P a r e n t s " (1978), 1 R.F.L. (2d) 116; B i l l e r . " P a t e r n a l D e p r i v a t i o n " ( l 9 7 4 ) .  191.  R.G. Andry, "Delinquency and Parent Pathology" ( i 9 6 0 ) . A l s o see W a l l e r s t e i n and K e l l y . "The E f f e c t o f P a r e n t a l Divorce : Experiences o f the C h i l d i n E a r l y Latency" (1976), 46 Am. J . o f O r t h o p s y c h i a t r y 20, a t PP. 26, 28, 31.  192.  Glueck and Glueck. " U n r a v e l l i n g J u v e n i l e Delinquency" (1950); Gregory, " A n t i r o s p e c t i v e Data F o l l o w i n g Childhood Loss o f a Parent" (1965) 13 A r c h . Gen. P s y c h i a t . 99, a t P. 102. Yet, these s t u d i e s cannot be considered c o n c l u s i v e because there has been other r e s e a r c h i n d i c a t i n g t h a t there i s very l i t t l e d i f f e r e n t a t i o n i n the r a t e of delinquency between boys l i v i n g i n f a t h e r - a b s e n t homes and boys l i v i n g i n homes where f a t h e r s are present (McCord, McCord and Thurber. supra, f o o t n o t e 137). I t i s a l s o important t o bear i n mind t h a t some s c i e n t i s t s suggest t h a t i t i s n o t the d e p r i v a t i o n which i s t h e prime cause o f the delinquency, but r a t h e r , the d i s c o r d and disharmony p r e c e d i n g the s e p a r a t i o n (see R u t t e r . supra, f o o t n o t e 53, a t P. 108, and the r e f e r e n c e s c i t e d therein).  193.  B i l l e r . supra, f o o t n o t e 190, and B i l l e r . "Father, C h i l d and Sex Roles : P a t e r n a l Determinants o f P e r s o n a l i t y Development." (1971).  194.  Most s t u d i e s t h a t have been made i n t h i s area a r e l i m i t e d i n t h e i r scope. For example, H e i l e r i n g t o n conducted a w e l l - c o n t r o l l e d study concerning f a t h e r absence and a g i r l ' s development, but i t was r e s t r i c t e d to g i r l s between the ages o f 13 and 17 years. I t a l s o seems t h a t  A l s o see R u t t e r .  118  the m a j o r i t y of r e s e a r c h has concentrated on j u s t one aspect, the e f f e c t of p a t e r n a l d e p r i v a t i o n on sex r o l e functioning ( B i l l e r . i b i d ) . 195.  R u t t e r . supra, f o o t n o t e 53, a t P.  196.  Bradbrook. "The Relevance of P s y c h o l o g i c a l and P s y c h i a t r i c S t u d i e s to the Future Development of the Laws Governing the Settlement of I n t e r - P a r e n t a l C h i l d Custody Disputes", (1971), 11 J . Fam. L. 557, at P. 586.  197.  Ibid  198.  F i n l a y and Gold, supra, f o o t n o t e 6, at P.  199.  Rosen, supra, f o o t n o t e 190,  200.  R u t t e r . supra, f o o t n o t e 53; B i l l e r ,  201.  In 1964 S c h a f f e r and Emerson found t h a t the s o l e p r i n c i p a l attachment was to the mother i n o n l y one h a l f of the 18 month o l d c h i l d r e n they s t u d i e d and i n n e a r l y one t h i r d of cases the main attachment was to the f a t h e r ( S c h a f f e r and Emerson. "The Development of S o c i a l Attachments i n Infancy," Monogr. Soc. Res. C h i l d Devel., V o l . 29, No. 94 (1964)).  202.  S c h a f f e r . "The Growth of S o c i a b i l i t y "  203.  Goodman, supra, f o o t n o t e 53, at P.  204.  B i l l e r . Supra, f o o t n o t e 190; Roman. "The D i s p o s a b l e P a r e n t " (1977), 15 C o n c i l i a t i o n Courts Review 1.  205.  See I r v i n g and S c h l e s i n q e r . " C h i l d Custody : Canada's other L o t t e r y " , i n Baxter and E b e r t s (Eds.) "The C h i l d and the C o u r t s " (1978) 71, at P. 74 et seq., and the r e f e r e n c e s c i t e d therein;- McDermott. "Divorce and i t s P s y c h i a t r i c Sequelae i n Children"77*1970), 23 A r c h i v e s of General Psychology 421.  206.  See I n f r a PP.  207.  More v Primeau, supra, f o o t n o t e 37; Smith v Goulet, supra, f o o t n o t e 74.  208.  S (B.D.) v S (D.J. ), supra, f o o t n o t e 105. Of course though, i t i s p e r f e c t l y i n order f o r the c o u r t to consider how the u n i l a t e r a l a c t i o n of the parent c r e a t i n g the s i t u a t i o n bears on h i s or her f i t n e s s as a parent (Dyment v Dyment. supra,, f o o t n o t e 3).  a t PP.  118  117,  89.  120-121  supra, f o o t n o t e  193  (l97l).  646  71-72  119  209.  (1926) Ch.  676  210.  I b i d a t P. 684  211.  A s i m i l a r c o n c l u s i o n was reached i n the more r e c e n t case o f Conrad v Conrad, supra, f o o t n o t e 99, i n d i c a t i n g t h a t the passage o f time has n o t n e c e s s a r i l y a f f e c t e d t h i s view. A l s o see Duqay v Duqay. supra, f o o t n o t e 46, a t P. 42, and Menasce v Menasce (1963) 48 M.P.R. 281, a t P. 295.  212.  See supra, f o o t n o t e 59, A l s o see Rosen, supra, 190, and Goodman. supra, f o o t n o t e 53.  213.  G o l d s t e i n . Freud and S o l n i t . supra, f o o t n o t e 8. see supra, f o o t n o t e 55.  214.  See Rosen, supra, f o o t n o t e 190, a t P. 117, where he says this : " C h i l d development s t u d i e s (have) e s t a b l i s h e d t h a t the strong bonds t h a t a c h i l d forms i n h i s attachment t o a l o v i n g and c a r i n g person i s e s s e n t i a l f o r h e a l t h y p e r s o n a l i t y growth and i f deprived o f such experience o f love and c a r i n g , or i f separated from the person g i v i n g the c a r i n g , the c h i l d w i l l s u f f e r degrees o f emotional trauma w i t h v e r y s e r i o u s consequences." A l s o see R u t t e r , supra, f o o t n o t e 53, a t P. 118-119  215.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 4, a t P. 715  216.  T h i s approach was approved by the Court o f Appeal i n Re Moores and F e l d s t e i n e t a l . . supra, f o o t n o t e 34, a t P. 929. A l s o see Berger v Berqer (1974), 17 R.F.L. 216 and Re S q u i r e , supra, f o o t n o t e 41. I t i s a l s o i l l u s t r a t i v e t o note t h a t courts i n England have taken j u d i c i a l n o t i c e o f the harmful e f f e c t s o f removal from a good s t a b l e home. See In Re W (an i n f a n t ) ( l 9 7 l ) A.C. 682 and In Re S (1977) 3 W.L.R. 575.  217.  Moreover, there i s evidence t h a t n o t a l l breaks i n c o n t i n u i t y i n v o l v e bond d i s r u p t i o n . I t depends on the r e l a t i o n s h i p i t s e l f , and, of course, on whether any bonds have been formed a t a l l . See R u t t e r . supra, f o o t n o t e 53.  218.  See In Re McGrath ( I n f a n t s ) (1893) 1 Ch. 143, a t P. 148 where L i n d l e y L . J . s a i d t h a t , " ( t ) h e duty o f the c o u r t ... i s t o leave the c h i l d alone, unless t h e c o u r t i s s a t i s f i e d t h a t i t i s f o r the w e l f a r e o f the c h i l d t h a t some other course should be taken."  footnote Also  120  219.  See g e n e r a l l y R u t t e r , supra, f o o t n o t e 53. More v Primeau, supra, f o o t n o t e 37.  A l s o see  220.  I t has been s a i d t h a t i n f a n t s under 3 months d i s p l a y no measurable adverse e f f e c t s from a change of parent; t h a t between 3 and 6 months t h e r e i s evidence of a p p r e c i a b l e d i s t r e s s consequent upon a change, but a t 5 years of age no r e s i d u a l e f f e c t s can be found; and t h a t c h i l d r e n between 6 and 12 months e x h i b i t marked d i s t r e s s with a change, and r e s i d u a l e f f e c t s are s t i l l p r e s e n t a t 5 years of age (Yarrow, supra, f o o t n o t e 183.) As regards c h i l d r e n over 12 months of age a l l t h a t can be s a i d i s t h a t a change of p a r e n t may r e s u l t i n prolonged p s y c h o l o g i c a l impairment (Bowlby, "Attachment and Loss" (1973) Volume Two, S e p a r a t i o n , PP. 25-32).  221.  e.g. see McGee v Walden and Cunningham, supra, f o o t n o t e 132.  222.  (1963), 42 W.W.R. 257. 2 F.L.D. 71.  223.  R u t t e r , supra, f o o t n o t e 53, a t P. 34 e t seg.: H e i n i c k e and Westheimer. supra, f o o t n o t e 185 at PP. 316-318. A l s o see Jones v Jones (i960) N.S.W.R. 762, at P. 770.  224.  Baxter, "Family Welfare and the C o u r t s " (1978), Bar. Rev. 37, a t P.< 41.  A l s o see In Re Jordan  (1973),  56  Can.  225. ' Bradbrook. "An E m p i r i c a l Study of the A t t i t u d e s of the Judges o f the Supreme Court of Ontario Regarding the Workings of the P r e s e n t C h i l d Custody A d j u d i c a t i o n Laws" (1971), 49 Can. Bar,Rev. 557 a t PP. 565-566. 226.  In S e c t i o n 10 (b) of the D i v o r c e A c t , 1968 ( R . S . C , 1970, D. 8 ) , the l e g i s l a t i v e d i r e c t i o n i s f o r the c o u r t to make "such i n t e r i m orders as i t t h i n k s f i t and j u s t " . S e c t i o n 9 ( l ) of the Family R e l a t i o n s A c t , 1978 ( S . B . C , 1978, c. 22), uses the term "as i t c o n s i d e r s r e a s o n a b l e " . A l s o see Papp v Papp, (1970) 1 O.R. 331; Dyment v Dyment, supra, f o o t n o t e 3; Hanson v Hanson (1974), 18 R.F.L. 301.  227.  Papp v Papp, i b i d ; Dyment v Dyment. i b i d ; Hryhoriw v H r v h o r i w ( l 9 7 3 ) , 9 R.F.L. 287; Cropper v C r o p p e r ~ T l 9 7 4 ) , 16 R.F.L. 114.  228.  T h i s was a l s o r e c o g n i s e d by the Law Reform Commission o f Canada i n i t s Report on Family Law (1976) a t P. 60.  121  229.  More v Primeau. supra, f o o t n o t e 37  230.  Supra PP. 47-48  231.  Dvment v Dyment. supra, f o o t n o t e 3  232.  (1971) 2 O.R. 516, af f' d (1972) 1 O.R. 212  233.  However, see Sobanski v Sobanski (1973), 9 R.F.L. 318 where Zuber J . s a i d t h i s ( a t B. 319) : "I am t o l d i n argument t h a t I should n o t d i s t u r b the s t a t u s quo by o r d e r i n g the c h i l d r e n t o go back t o the f a t h e r and the p a t e r n a l grandparents, yet r e a l l y i t i s the mother who d i s t u r b e d a s a t i s f a c t o r y s t a t u s quo by t a k i n g the c h i l d r e n i n the f i r s t p l a c e . I t would seem t o me to be an odd s t a t e o f a f f a i r s where she d i d something wrong to d i s t u r b the s t a t u s quo and now says the c o u r t i s c a s t l i n the r o l e o f the v i l l a i n which, by o r d e r i n g a second change i n custody, I s r e a l l y . the agency t h a t d i s t u r b s t h e s t a t u s quo. To accede t o t h i s argument would r e a l l y be to award her f o r having ... snatched the c h i l d r e n . " 5  234.  Re M o i l l i e t . supra, f o o t n o t e 94; N i e l s e n v N i e l s e n , supra, f o o t n o t e 96; S i n c l a i r v S i n c l a i r (1974), 17 R.F.L. 202;"Re Bennett i n f a n t s (1952), 3 D.L.R. 699; Knowles v Knowles. supra, f o o t n o t e 176.  235.  Z i n c k v Zinck (1973), 6 N.S.R. (2d) 622; C u r r i e v C u r r i e (1975), 18 R.F.L. 47.  236.  T o r r e s a n v T o r r e s a n . supra, f o o t n o t e 114  237.  Kramer v Kramer and Merkelbaq. (1968) 56 W.W.R. Kave v Kave (1974) 6 O.R. (2d) 65  238.  e.g., i n t a l k i n g about the p r a c t i c e o f the Court o f Chancery i n England, Kay L . J . o f the E n g l i s h Court of Appeal, had t h i s t o say i n The Queen v G y n q a l l . (1893) 2 QB 232, a t P. 251 : "When one comes t o consider what i t i s t h a t the Court o f Chancery had to^determine and what the main c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n e x e r c i s i n g i t s j u r i s d i c t i o n was, v i z . , what was r e a l l y f o r the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d , whose i n t e r e s t s were being d i s c u s s e d , i t i s obvious t h a t , i f t h e c h i l d were o f any reasonable age the Court would h a r d l y d e s i r e t o determine t h a t q u e s t i o n without seeing and speaking t o the c h i l d and a s c e r t a i n i n g i t s own views on the matter."  303;  122  239.  e.g.% see Section 24, Family Relations Act, 1978 (S.B.C., 1978, c. 22); Law Reform Commission of Canada Report on Family Law (1976), at P. 13; B r i t i s h Columbia Royal Commission on Family and Children's Law, F i f t h Report Part v i , "Custody Access and Guardianship", (1975), at PP. 13-14; Ontario Law Reform Commission, Report on Family Law, Part i i i - Children, (1973), at P. 121; Section 402 United States Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, supra, footnote 19. I t i s also interesting to note that one of the 12 basic rights of children proposed by the B r i t i s h Columbia Royal Commission on Family and Children's Law i s the r i g h t to be consulted i n a l l decisions r e l a t i n g to guardianship, custody, or a determination of status ( F i f t h Report, Part i i i , "Children's Rights", (1975) at P. 8).  240.  Chisholm.  241.  Supra, footnote 4  242.  There i s some empirical data supporting t h i s . Ellsworth and Levy report as follows : "In a study of successes and f a i l u r e s of foster home placement, Malone (1942) found s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t differences i n the proportion of successes according to whether the c h i l d agreed to the arrangement (80% successes) or rejected i t (44% successes). " Ellsworth and Levy, supra, footnote 49  243.  Re Allan and A l l a n , supra, footnote 151, at P. 182; Stevenson v Florant. (1925) S.C.R. 532, aff'd (1927) A.C. 211; Saxon v Saxon, supra, footnote 61; Wakaluk v Wakaluk (1976) 25 R.F.L. 292.  244.  Sharpe v Sharpe. (1974), 14 R.F.L. 151; Currie y Currie. supra, footnote 235; Farden v Farden (No. 1) (1970X 3 R.F.L. 315; Re Allan and A l l a n , i b i d ; Saxon v Saxon, ibid.  245.  Chisholm.  246.  Re Allan and A l l a n , supra, footnote 151, per Sheppard J.A. at PP. 182-183; Saxon v Saxon, supra, footnote 61.  247.  See generally Leon. supra, footnote 48 and Bersoff, supra, footnote 63, at P. 42.  248.  Wakaluk v Wakaluk, supra, footnote 243  supra, footnote 50  supra, footnote 50  123  249.  Bradbrook. supra,  f o o t n o t e 225, a t P. 560.  250.  Sharpe V Sharpe. supra, f o o t n o t e 244; Shapiro v S h a p i r o . (1973), 33 D.L.R. (3d) 764; Re Keuhn. (1976), 29 R.F.L. 72. Smith v R e i d . (1974). 17 D.L.R. 59.  251.  Re A g a r - E l l i s . supra, f o o t n o t e 31; Thomasett v Thomasett. (1894) P. 295.  252.  A c t No. 53 o f 1975  253.  The p r a c t i c e o f the Court i s n o t even t o make a consent order without f i r s t a s c e r t a i n i n g the wishes o f t h e c h i l d .  254.  The o n l y example o f s p e c i a l circumstances t h a t has been accepted by t h e courts thus f a r i s where t h e r e i s evidence t h a t p h y s i c a l or moral danger w i l l r e s u l t i f the c h i l d ' s wishes are c a r r i e d out ( i n t h e Marriage o f Todd'(No. 2) (1976) 1 Fam. L.R. 11,186 per Watson J . at P. 11,191). I t s t i l l remains to be seen how t h i s exception w i l l be i n t e r p r e t e d .  255.  C . f . the s i t u a t i o n i n some areas o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s where c h i l d r e n o f a s t i p u l a t e d age are allowed t o s e l e c t t h e i r c u s t o d i a l parent. S e O ' N e i l . " C h i l d ' s Wishes as a F a c t o r i n Awarding Custody" (1965) 4 A.L.R. (3d) 1366, at P. 1399. e  256.  S.B.C., I960,, c. 4  257.  e.g., Stone r e p o r t s t h a t , "... l e a d i n g members o f the medical p r o f e s s i o n have expressed the o p i n i o n t h a t c h i l d r e n aged 6 or 7 years, even i f below normal i n t e l l i g e n c e , m a y have decided views about t h e i r c u s t o d i a n , and should be heard." (Stone. "The Welfare of t h e C h i l d " , Baxter and Eberts (Eds.), "The C h i l d and t h e C o u r t s " (1978) 229, a t P. 242.). A l s o see B r i t i s h Columbia Royal Commission on Family and C h i l d r e n ' s Law, P a r t v i , "Custody, Access and Guardianship" (1975), PP." 13-14.  258.  e.g. See the Model Custody A c t proposed by the Family • Law S e c t i o n o f the American Bar A s s o c i a t i o n (Fos°t§r and Freed, " C h i l d Custody ( P a r t I I ) " (1964), 39 N.Y.U.L. Rev. 615, a t PP. 628-629.). A l s o see t h e C a l i f o r n i a C i v i l Code (1954) S e c t i o n 138 and the r e f e r e n c e s c i t e d i n f o o t n o t e 239, supra.  259.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 247, a t P. 433  124  260.  Ibid  261.  Idem  262.  e.g., see H v H, (1976), 22 N.S.R. (2d) 67 a t P. 75. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , t h e r e i s a l s o a danger t h a t the p o s s i b i l i t y of i n f l u e n c e w i l l i n c r e a s e p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y with an i n c r e a s e d acceptance by the court o f a c h i l d ' s p r e f e r e n c e .  263.  In K r o l l v . K r o l l . (1976), 5 F.L.D. 92, though, the e f f e c t was one o f s t r o n g h a t r e d f o r the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent, t h e p s y c h i a t r i s t i n v o l v e d i n the matter i n d i c a t e d t h a t the i n t e n s e d i s l i k e o f the husband by the mother would be obvious t o the c h i l d , and i n s u b t l e ways would "rub o f f " on her. .  264.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 101  265.  I b i d a t P. 305  266.  S i m i l a r l y see Bradbrook. supra, f o o t n o t e 225, a t PP. 559-560, and More v Primeau. supra, footnote 37, a t P. 265.  267.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 237  268.  I b i d a t P. 308  269.  , Idem a t P. 307  270.  Idem a t P. 308  271.  In the case o f In"the Marriage o f Todd (No. 2 ) . supra, f o o t n o t e 254, Watson J . r e f e r r e d the c h i l d t o c o u n s e l l i n g by a Court c o u n s e l l o r before he would l e t her express her wishes d e f i n a t e l y t o him. A l s o see Smith v Smith and Morrow, supra, f o o t n o t e 181 and Sanness v Sanness"^ Cl977), 6 F.L.D. 61.  272.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 235  273.  But see Sanness v Sanness. supra, footnote 271, where the c o u r t thought i t best not t o have the c h i l d r e p r e s e n t e d a t the f u r t h e r h e a r i n g .  274.  e.g. Dominix v Dominix. (1972), 7 N.S.R. Re Keuhn, supra, f o o t n o t e 250; Johnston v (1975), 20 R.F.L. 211; Grypiuk v Grypiufc, R.F.L. 280; Robb v Robb, (1978). 2 R.F.L.  (2d) 207; Johnston, (1970), 2 (2d) 172.  125  275.  K r o l l v K r o l l . ' supra, f o o t n o t e 263, a t P. 95. C f . A r c h i b a l d v A r c h i b a l d . (1977), 6 F.L.D. 275 where Provenzano C.C.J, d i s r e g a r d e d the wishes of the o l d e s t c h i l d because he f e l t t h a t the same were o n l y expressed to escape the d i s c i p l i n e o f the ^ f a t h e r . He a l s o r e j e c t e d the p r e f e r e n c e s o f t h e younger c h i l d r e n because t h e i r reasons d i d n o t appear to him to be s u b s t a n t i a l ones.  276.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 25G  277.  I b i d a t PP. 765-766  278.  C f . Knowles v Knowles. supra, f o o t n o t e 176, where i t was h e l d that the p r e f e r e n c e o f a c h i l d as to custody should n o t be c o n s i d e r e d a t t h e age of 6 years.  279.  Sharpe v Sharpe. supra, f o o t n o t e 244; Re Bennett I n f a n t s , supra, f o o t n o t e 234; H v H (1976"), 71 D.L.R. (3d) 161; K r o l l v K r o l l . supra, f o o t n o t e 263.  280.  Re Milsom. supra, f o o t n o t e 133; K r o l l v K r o l l , i b i d . C f . Sadowski v Sadowski. (1975), 25 R.F.L. 240 and M a r t i n i u k v M a r t i n i u k and Kowerchuk. (1978), 2 R.F.L. (2d) 39.  281.  e.g., i n K r o l l v K r o l l . idem, the wishes o f the c h i l d as to access were accorded f u l l e f f e c t even though A i k i n s J . found ( a t P. 95) as f o l l o w s : "There i s nothing i n what was s a i d to me by ( t h e c h i l d ) , or i n any of t h e other evidence t h a t I have heard, which would support the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t the f a t h e r i s f o r any reason of conduct, c h a r a c t e r , or otherwise, u n f i t as a parent and t h a t he should n o t have access to h i s daughter".  282.  (1976), 28 R.F.L. 171  283.  I b i d a t P. 173  284.  (1974), 52 D.L.R. (3d) 318  285.  In the U n i t e d S t a t e s , a Supreme Court has r e c e n t l y h e l d t h a t a lower c o u r t e r r e d i n o r d e r i n g v i s i t a t i o n without a s c e r t a i n i n g t h e c h i l d r e n ' s wishes (Clark v C l a r k (1978), 4 Fam. L.* Reporter 2677). T  286.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 48, a t PP. 406-407. supra, f o o t n o t e 63, a t P. 43  A l s o see B e r s o f f .  126  287.  The case o f C u r r i e v C u r r i e . supra, f o o t n o t e 235, p r o v i d e s an e x c e l l e n t example o f the w r e s t l i n g t h a t a judge i s r e q u i r e d to undertake when confronted with the views of a c h i l d . F o r t u n a t e l y , t h e r e , McDonald J . was prepared t o come t o g r i p s with t h e same.  288.  e.'g., as i n Re Milsom. supra, f o o t n o t e 133. Bradbrook. supra, f o o t n o t e 225, a t P. 560.  289.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 63  290.  I b i d a t P. 40 e t seq.  291.  I n f r a a t P. 75  292.  I t must a l s o be a p p r e c i a t e d t h a t judges very o f t e n take comfort i n the f a c t t h a t an order f o r custody i s s u b j e c t to v a r i a t i o n i n t h e event of changed circumstances. Indeed, many judgements conclude w i t h remarks t o the e f f e c t t h a t i f the u n s u c c e s s f u l parent does t h i s or a l t e r s t h a t , then the d e c i s i o n w i i l be reviewed. Mnookin. supra, f o o t n o t e 10, a t P. 282, sees t h i s as an unavoidable consequence o f the use of an i n d e t e r m i n a t e standard such as the best i n t e r e s t s of a c h i l d f o r the r e s o l u t i o n o f a custody d i s p u t e .  293.  Although there i s s p e c i f i c p r o v i s i o n i n the Family R e l a t i o n s Act, 1978 ( S . B . C , 1978, c. 22) f o r t h e , g r a n t i n g o f access ( S e c t i o n 35), t h i s i s n o t the case under the D i v o r c e Act,.1968.(R.S.C., 1970, D. 8 ) . However, i t i s accepted t h a t the power t o award custody n e c e s s a r i l y i n c l u d e s the power t o award access.  294.  e.g., i n P r i c e v C a r g i n and C a r q i n (1956), 4 D.L.R. (2d) 652, a f f ' d 8 D.L.R. (2d).2, although the proven lack o f bona f i d e p a r e n t a l f e e l i n g s on t h e p a r t of t h e , f a t h e r played a d e c i s i v e r o l e i n the matter o f g r a n t i n g custody, such was not t h e case on the q u e s t i o n o f access. A l s o see Case v Case, supra, f o o t n o t e 118, where t h e mother's homosexuality a f f e c t e d custody but not access.  295.  A l d e r v McLaughlin e t a l . (1964), 46 D.L.R. (2d) 12; Podolskv v Podolskv (1975). 26 R.F.L. 321. An extreme example o f apprehended dangers t o the c h i l d o c c u r r e d i n Davis v Davis, supra, f o o t n o t e 222. There, the c h i l d was m e n t a l l y i l l and r e q u i r e d the environment p r o v i d e d by t h e unemotional f a t h e r r a t h e r than the humane and h i g h l y emotional atmosphere t h a t the mother could o f f e r . McPherson J . s a i d t h i s ( a t P. 262) : "The t e r r i b l e t h i n g t h a t I must do i n denying custody  A l s o see  127  and even access t o a w i f e who i s not g u i l t y o f any matrimonial o f f e n c e i s t o me a s h a t t e r i n g experience. Access i n t h i s modern day i s denied a parent o n l y i n extreme cases. I doubt i f anyone would suggest t h a t a more, extreme case would be found than t h i s one.- The access i s denied not because o f her behaviour but because o f the w e l f a r e o f the c h i l d . In my p r a c t i c e at the bar, which was e x t e n s i v e i n these cases, and i n my p e r i o d on the bench, I have never b e f o r e denied access to a mother. I hope and s i n c e r e l y pray t h a t I never s h a l l again." A l s o see S e c t i o n 407 o f t h e Uniform Marriage and D i v o r c e A c t , supra, f o o t n o t e 19, which i s q u i t e b l a t a n t i n g i v i n g the n o n - c u s t o d i a l parent a r i g h t to reasonable v i s i t a t i o n u n l e s s such " v i s i t a t i o n would endanger s e r i o u s l y the c h i l d ' s p h y s i c a l , mental, moral, or emotional h e a l t h . " 296.  Stroud v Stroud (1974) 4 O.R. (2d) 567 a t P. 574. However, i n t h i s case t h e c o u r t came down on the s i d e o f the best i n t e r e s t s o f t h e c h i l d . But see M a r t i n i u k v M a r t i n i u k and Kowerchuk. supra, f o o t n o t e 280, where the c o u r t not o n l y downplayed the concept of the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d but continued t h e f a t h e r ' s access r i g h t s i n the face of s t r o n g p s y c h i a t r i c evidence p r e d i c t i n g harm to t h e c h i l d r e n .  297.  (1971) 1 O.R. 333. A l s o see Re Wright (1964), 49 D.L.R. (2d) 460; K r o l l v K r o l l . supra, f o o t n o t e 263; 0 v 0 (1977), 28 R.F.L. 389.  298.  I b i d a t P. 338  299.  Power Oh D i v o r c e and Other M a t r i m o n i a l Causes, T h i r d E d i t i o n , Volume One, (1976), a t PP. 222-223.  300.  G o l d s t e i n . Freud and S o l n i t ,  301.  Indeed, i n P i e r c e v Y e r k o v i c h (1974), 363 N.Y.S. (2d) 403, the c u s t o d i a l parent c a l l e d P r o f e s s o r S o l n i t h i m s e l f to g i v e evidence on an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r access.' H i s evidence was i n terms o f the t h e s i s i n h i s book, y e t the c o u r t r e f u s e d t o accept h i s recommendation, saying ( a t P. 421) . "... the c o u r t t o t a l l y r e j e c t s the specious n o t i o n so ingenuously urged by P r o f e s s o r S o l n i t and h i s co-authors t h a t the c u s t o d i a l parent should have the s o l e r i g h t to determine i n the name o f t h e  supra, f o o t n o t e 8, a t P. 38.  128  best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d whether the nonc u s t o d i a l parent should be p e r m i t t e d or denied a s s o c i a t i o n with h i s own c h i l d . ' Experience and common-sense teach t h a t , given the i m p e r f e c t i o n s of human nature from which flow the b i t t e r n e s s and resentment which a l l too o f t e n accompany a m a r i t a l or i l l i c i t love a f f a i r breakup, no one parent can, under such circumstances, be s a f e l y e n t r u s t e d with a power so s u s c e p t i b l e of abuse. The authors' s o l u t i o n to the f r i c t i o n s engendered by the s e l f i s h d e s i r e s of separated parents e n v i s i o n s an u n a t t a i n a b l e i d e a l wherein the c u s t o d i a l parent always a c t s from the p u r e s t , n o b l e s t and l o f t i e s t motives- and never from s e l f i s h , base or crass ones. U n t i l such time as t h a t i d e a l i s more n e a r l y approached than experience shows i s p r e s e n t l y the case, t h i s c o u r t w i l l r e t a i n i t s p r e r o g a t i v e of making d e c i s i o n s , however d i f f i c u l t and f r e i g h t e d with p o t e n t i a l f o r good or i l l i n cases i n v o l v i n g the l i v e s and w e l f a r e of i t s wards." A l s o see 0 v 0 , supra, footnote 297, and Whitehouse v Whitehouse (1970) 1 R.F.L. 294, but note Reynolds v T o i (1975), 21 R.F.L. 171. Rosen, supra, f o o t n o t e 190, a t PP. 117-118, has a l s o taken the authors to task on the b a s i s of t h e i r theory and argued t h a t j o i n t custody i s the most a p p r o p r i a t e s o l u t i o n . 302.  Re Sharp. Sharp v Sharp (1962), 36 D.L.R. (2d) 328; Re M. and M. (1975), 55 D.L.R. (3d) 384; Re Milsom, supra, f o o t n o t e 133. But c f . M a r t i n i u k v M a r t i n i u k and Kowerchuk. supra, f o o t n o t e 280.  303.  Supra, f o o t n o t e  304.  I b i d at P.  305.  A l s o see Re Wright, supra, f o o t n o t e 297, but note Ader v McLaughlin et a l . . supra, f o o t n o t e 295 and M a r t i n i u k v M a r t i n i u k and Kowerchuk. supra, f o o t n o t e 280.  306.  Supra, f o o t n o t e  307.  C s i c s i r i v C s i c s i r i (1974), 17 R.F.L. 31; Gubody v Gubody (1955) O.W.N. 548; M v M (1973) 2 A l l E.R. 81; Ader v McLaughlin et a l . . supra, f o o t n o t e 295.  308.  S u t h e r l a n d v S u t h e r l a n d and Watt (1970), 3 R.F.L. Podowski v Podowski~Tl970). 2 R.F.L. 297.  296  574  263.  118;  129  309.  (1975), 4 F.L.D. 83  310.  A l s o Re Logan (1977), 18 N.B.R. (2d) 58; Re Alderman (1961), 32 D.L.R. (2d) 71: Robinson v Robinson and O l i v e r (1968), 62 W.W.R. 763.  311.  (1978),. 29 R.F.L. 369  312.  A l s o see P a r k i n s o n v Parkinson (1973) 3 O.R. 293  313.  C s i c s i r i v C s i c s i r i . supra, f o o t n o t e 307, and Sadowski v Sadowski. supra, f o o t n o t e 280.'  314.  The Ontario Supreme Court has even ordered t h a t during p e r i o d s o f s u p e r v i s i o n , the custody of the c h i l d r e n be i n the person e x e r c i s i n g such s u p e r v i s i o n . 0 v 0, supra, f o o t n o t e 297. ~"  315.  Supra," f o o t n o t e 307, a t PP. 550,552. v Evershed (1882), 46 L.T. 690.  A l s o see Evershed  316. ' In Farden v Farden (1972), 8 R.F.L. 183, the f a t h e r had been undermining the a u t h o r i t y o f the mother and i n f l u e n c i n g t h e c h i l d r e n a g a i n s t her. t o contend w i t h t h i s the c o u r t upheld a judgement s e v e r e l y l i m i t i n g t h e e x t e n s i v e r i g h t o f access t h a t t h e f a t h e r had been e n j o y i n g . A l s o see Re Stroud and Stroud, supra, f o o t n o t e 296, and Re Milsom. supra, f o o t n o t e 133. But note Shapiro v Shapiro, supra, f o o t n o t e 250. 317.  M a r t i n i u k v M a r t i n i u k and Kowerchuk, supra, f o o t n o t e 280.  318.  Re Stroud and Stroud, supra, f o o t n o t e 296; Re Mi Isom. supra, f o o t n o t e 133; M v M, supra, f o o t n o t e 307; Reynolds v T o i , supra, f o o t n o t e 301.  319.  Supra P. 90  320.  I t has been h e l d t h a t breach o f n e i t h e r an access order (R v Rupert (1974). 16 R.F.L. 325), nor a custody order (£ v Andrews (1977) 4 R.F.L. (2d) 224) i s p u n i s h a b l e under the Canadian C r i m i n a l Code (R.S., 1970, c. 34).  321.  R y Rupert, i b i d ;  322.  Re M a e s t r e l l o and M a e s t r e l l o (1975), 57 D.L.R. (3d) 663.  323.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 280  324.  I b i d a t P. 46  Re Saxon (1975), 20 R.F.L. 340.  130  325.  (1977), 28 R.F.L. 1  326.  See a l s o P a i r v P a i r (1973), 8 R.F.L. 330, where the c o u r t r e f u s e d to i n c l u d e an order f o r payment of a r r e a r s of maintenance i n the decree n i s i because the w i f e had taken no p r i o r steps to enforce the previous order and had denied access to the husband.  327.  (1974), 40 D.L.R. (3d)  328.  R.S.C., 1970,  329.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 206,  330.  Supra,  331.  I b i d a t PP.  332.  Supra, f o o t n o t e 8  333.  T h i s type of order i s v e r y common i n England. See Re W (1964) Ch. 202: Hewer v Bryant (1970) 1 Q.B. 357; Bromley "Family Law". 5th Ed. (1976), a t P. 305. Canadian Courts have a l s o made such orders a t times. See Huber v Huber. (1975), 18 R.F.L. 378; Farkash v Farkash (1972) 1 W.W.R. 429; McRae v McRae (1974). 15 R.F.L. 220: M i l l e r v M i l l e r (1974). 17 R.F.L. 92  334.  For a s i m i l a r order made by an E n g l i s h Court see Juna v Juna (1972) 2 A l l E.R. 600.  335.  Rosen, supra, f o o t n o t e  336.  See C a o o d i c i v C a p o d i c i (1967), 12 F.L.R. 129,  337.  Huber v Huber, supra, f o o t n o t e  338.  Indeed, i f the t h e o r i e s of G o l d s t e i n . Freud and S o l n i t . supra, f o o t n o t e 8, are accepted t h e r e can be no room f o r these orders a t a l l . A c c o r d i n g to the authors ( a t P. 38), one person must be awarded custody and he or she must then have s o l e a u t h o r i t y to decide under what . c o n d i t i o n s the c h i l d w i l l be r a i s e d .  339.  Rosen, supra, f o o t n o t e 190; O ' N e i l and Leonoff. " J o i n t Custody : An Option Worth Examining," (1977) P e r c e p t i o n 28.  340.  Rosen,  321  P. 8 at P.  4  footnote,282  ibid  172-173  190 a t P.  136  333  131  341.  M c C a h i l l v Robertson  (1974), 17 R.F.L. 23 a t PP. 23-24  342.  However, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note t h a t Rosen, supra, f o o t n o t e 190, suggests t h a t one f o l l o w s from the other; i . e . , i f the p a r e n t s can co-operate i n these circumstances then c h i l d r e n f i n d i t easy to adapt t o a v a r i e t y of arrangements.  343.  F v F and C (1966). 56 W.W.R. 368: M c C a h i l l v Robertson, supra, f o o t n o t e 341; Mnookin. supra, f o o t n o t e 10, a t P. 233 f o o t n o t e 26. A l s o see Dodd v Dodd. (1978), 4 Fam. L. Reporter 2302, a t P. 2304, f o r an i l l u s t r a t i v e d i s c u s s i o n concerning t h i s type o f order.  344.  Hill v Hill,  supra, f o o t n o t e 99  132  CHAPTER 4 IMPROVING THE DETERMINATION OF THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD  (1)  INCREASING THE INPUT FROM THE CHILD INTO THE DECISIONMAKING PROCESS  From the preceding principle  d i s c u s s i o n o f how courts t r e a t t h e  of the best i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d , i t can be seen  t h a t judges g e n e r a l l y tend t o s k i r t the i s s u e and attempt t o decide  c h i l d placement without  himself.  coming t o g r i p s with the c h i l d  I again s t r e s s t h a t t h i s i s inexcuseable  the circumstance  i n l i g h t of  t h a t the e n t i r e e x e r c i s e concerns the c h i l d  and how best to secure h i s or her f u t u r e development. v i t a l l y important,  It is  both to the c h i l d and to s o c i e t y i n g e n e r a l ,  t h a t the d e c i s i o n i s made which a f f o r d s the c h i l d the best o p p o r t u n i t y to become a r e s p o n s i b l e member o f the community. To be as c e r t a i n as p o s s i b l e o f a c h i e v i n g t h i s r e s u l t t h a t t h e r e i s a need f o r two fundamental changes.  I suggest  Firstly,  the i n p u t by the c h i l d needs t o be i n c r e a s e d , and secondly, the courts need t o be r e c e p t i v e to such i n p u t . alteration  i s an important  The l a t t e r  one because a l l t o often courts do  r e c e i v e i n p u t from a c h i l d i n v a r i o u s forms, but t h e same i s not accorded  the weight i t d e s e r v e s .  1  T h i s i s not to say t h a t  the c o u r t should n e c e s s a r i l y abdicate i t s f u n c t i o n as the f i n a l arbiter;  i t i s simply intended  orientated.  t h a t courts become more  child-  T h i s i n t u r n w i l l p r o v i d e the court with the  133  necessary balance and the proper foundation on which t o reach a d e c i s i o n which does i n f a c t promote the best i n t e r e s t s of the child.  Courts i n v a r i o u s j u r i s d i c t i o n s have attempted meal approach to t h i s change of emphasis.  a piece-  In other words, one  judge might simply i n t e r v i e w the c h i l d r e n , another  judge might  only order the c h i l d r e n t o be independently r e p r e s e n t e d , and yet  another might j u s t c a l l f o r a r e p o r t from a s o c i a l w e l f a r e  worker.  With the g r e a t e s t r e s p e c t , such an approach i s e n t i r e l y  inadequate.  What i s r e q u i r e d i s f o r t h e c o u r t to use every  a v a i l a b l e method at i t s d i s p o s a l i n order t o understand the c h i l d and h i s or her environment.  o Yet, as I have i n d i c a t e d p r e v i o u s l y , i t i s c l e a r l y d i f f i c u l t f o r a judge steeped i n the t r a d i t i o n s of the adversary system t o come to terms with t h i s emphasis on the child.  Such judges t r e a t d i s p u t e s r e g a r d i n g custody as no  d i f f e r e n t from any o r d i n a r y c i v i l s u i t ; the parents are the l i t i g a n t s with the c h i l d as the p r i z e .  The r i g h t s of t h e c h i l d  are i d e n t i f i e d with the r i g h t s of the parents, and i n t h i s f a s h i o n courts are able to t a l k i n the same breath of the best i n t e r e s t s o f the c h i l d and the r i g h t s o f the p a r e n t s . has proceeded  on the assumption  The law  t h a t parents can adequately  r e p r e s e n t the i n t e r e s t s of the c h i l d r e n .  T h i s may be t r u e i n  a s t a b l e and secure f a m i l y environment, but i t has i n h e r e n t  134  d i f f i c u l t i e s when t h a t f a m i l y environment d i s i n t e g r a t e s . then t h a t the d i f f e r e n c e s between c h i l d r e n and t h e i r  It is  parents 3  become so prominent.  1  As G o l d s t e i n , Freud and S o l n i t comment  :  " C h i l d r e n are hot a d u l t s i n m i n i a t u r e . They are beings per se, d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r e l d e r s i n t h e i r mental n a t u r e , t h e i r f u n c t i o n i n g , t h e i r understanding of events, and t h e i r r e a c t i o n s to them." There can be obvious  c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t .  The adversary system has been u n i v e r s a l l y blamed f o r the emphasis being p l a c e d on the parents r a t h e r than on children. it  the  Apart from p e r p e t u a t i n g the w i n n e r - l o s e r syndrome  allows f o r the c h i l d to be haggled over.  One  parent might  use custody or access to gain an advantage i n r e s p e c t of maintenance or p r o p e r t y settlement. experience of a custody t r i a l may parent who  Indeed, the t r a u m a t i c  o n l y eventuate  because a  i s not r e a l l y i n t e r e s t e d i n custody i s using-the  same as a l e v e r a g a i n s t the other p a r t y .  Y e t , i s must be remembered t h a t i t i s not o n l y the courts t h a t are t o blame.  Lawyers, too, r e v e l i n the  adversary  system because t h a t i s the system i n which they are t r a i n e d . The p u b l i c can be s i n g l e d out as w e l l .  There i s a p r e -  conceived n o t i o n of what should happen i n a court-room, not o n l y the p u b l i c , but the p a r t i e s themselves,  and  expect a  forum where t h e i r d i s p u t e can be r e s o l v e d i n t r a d i t i o n a l fashion."  But the r e a l c u l p r i t i s the l e g i s l a t u r e i n a l l o w i n g  135  f a m i l y matters to be handled i n t h i s f a s h i o n .  Only i n r e c e n t  times has i t been r e a l i z e d t h a t such matters r e q u i r e s p e c i a l i s t courts s t a f f e d by judges who  "by reason of t r a i n i n g ,  and p e r s o n a l i t y " , are s u i t a b l e persons of f a m i l y law".'  4  experience  "to d e a l w i t h matters  The push i n Canada over the l a s t few  years  has been to s e t up U n i f i e d Family Courts i n the P r o v i n c e s with the a s s i s t a n c e of the F e d e r a l Government.  Unfortunately  though, the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l d i v i s i o n of powers has  proven  d i f f i c u l t to overcome i n making these courts t r u l y  More s i g n i f i c a n t l y ,  unified.  even with the i n t r o d u c t i o n of these  s p e c i a l i z e d courts the adversary system  has continued to be i n  vogue, and again I suggest t h a t the same i s here t o s t a y , a t • l e a s t f o r the immediate f u t u r e .  In A u s t r a l i a t h e r e were grand  v i s i o n s of l e a v i n g the adversary system commencement of the new  behind with the  Family Court i n e a r l y 1976.  Judges  went t o g r e a t lengths to impress upon counsel and the p a r t i e s t h a t the proceedings were not adversary by nature. was  1  Indeed i t  f o r b i d d e n to r e f e r t o an a c t i o n as "Smith versus  the proper t i t l e ; , being "Smith e f f o r t s were to no a v a i l , hearing defended  and Smith".  Smith",  Yet, a l l these  because once t h e courts commenced  custody matters i n l a t e 1976,  the o l d h a b i t s  r e t u r n e d and the adversary process came to the f o r e once again. F o r t u n a t e l y though, the court now  had a t i t s d i s p o s a l a l l the  devices considered necessary to p l a c e the c h i l d ' s thoughts  and f e e l i n g s i n f o c u s .  views,  These i n c l u d e d the use of  136  support s t a f f comprising Court c o u n s e l l o r s and w e l f a r e  officers  and a simple s t r a i g h t - f o r w a r d power t o order t h a t a c h i l d be separately represented.  Thus the adversary process took on a  d i f f e r e n t s l a n t and the court was perhaps able to enjoy the best of both  worlds.  Whether the adversary process i s the c u l p r i t or not, the f i r s t p r i o r i t y i s to i n c r e a s e the i n p u t of the c h i l d the decision-making  process.  into  I suggest t h a t t h i s can be  achieved w i t h i n the e x i s t i n g scheme of t h i n g s by a  combination  5 of  methods and procedures.  The most important o f these i s the  separate r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the c h i l d , not o n l y during the a c t u a l hearing but as soon as p r a c t i c a b l e a f t e r the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f the f a m i l y u n i t .  Next there i s the  p r e s e n t a t i o n of evidence from the b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n c e s concerning  the p a r t i c u l a r p s y c h o l o g i c a l and s o c i a l i n f l u e n c e s a t p l a y .  Such evidence can take the form of r e p o r t s submitted by p s y c h i a t r i s t s , p s y c h o l o g i s t s and s o c i a l w e l f a r e workers, as w e l l as d i r e c t evidence from the same a t the h e a r i n g .  Nor should i t  be a case of the c h i l d being seen and n o t heard.  The question  of  an i n t e r v i e w by the judge should be canvassed  p r o s p e c t of the c h i l d . f i l i n g evidence/  Finally,  as w e l l as the  a f f i d a v i t s and g i v i n g  oral  emphasis should a l s o be p l a c e d on  conferences a t which the c h i l d i s r e p r e s e n t e d , both p r i o r t o the i n s t i t u t i o n of proceedings In  and p r i o r t o the a c t u a l h e a r i n g .  other words a t r i a l over custody must be seen as a l a s t  137  r e s o r t t o r e s o l v e the d i s p u t e .  Although these methods are n o t new, t h e i r use i n the past h a s . g e n e r a l l y been haphazard and s p o r a d i c .  Courts have  even taken the a t t i t u d e of p r e f e r r i n g one method over another.' However, each method must be viewed i n the context of i t s p a r t i c u l a r purpose or v a l u e . evidence informing  I t may be t r u e t o say t h a t  from a b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t i s a b e t t e r method o f the court of the thoughts and f e e l i n g s of a c h i l d  than d i r e c t evidence  by the c h i l d or an i n t e r v i e w by the judge,  but o n l y i n so f a r as i t provides the c o u r t with an i n s i g h t i n t o the psychology o f the c h i l d .  I t i s not n e c e s s a r i l y the  b e t t e r method f o r guaging the c h i l d ' s c h a r a c t e r and p e r s o n a l i t y . T h i s purpose i s i d e a l l y served by the judge having c o n t a c t with the c h i l d . '  direct  I suggest t h a t the methods should  each be viewed as a l i n k i n a chain l e a d i n g from the c h i l d t o the judge with  each l i n k supporting  the other.  Only i n t h i s  f a s h i o n can the judge be p l a c e d i n the best p o s i t i o n t o promote the w e l f a r e of the c h i l d r e n .  However, I again p o i n t out t h a t even i f the i n p u t of the c h i l d i s i n c r e a s e d by the use of these methods the c o u r t must still  be r e c e p t i v e t o such i n p u t .  The onus i s on the judge  here and he must be c a r e f u l not to lapse i n t o a l l o w i n g the i n t e r e s t s of the parents  t o dominate.  138 (a) IS CHILD INPUT FEASIBLE?  Before canvassing the methods of p r o v i d i n g i n p u t from the c h i l d i n t o the decision-making process, i t i s necessary t o b r i e f l y consider the q u e s t i o n of whether c h i l d r e n are capable of  p r o v i d i n g i n p u t i n the f i r s t p l a c e .  I say b r i e f l y  t h i s i s not as c r i t i c a l an i s s u e as i t may  because  seem at f i r s t b l u s h .  I t must be borne i n mind t h a t involvement by the c h i l d i s not n e c e s s a r i l y d i r e c t involvement, and, indeed, as we  s h a l l see,  d i r e c t p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the proceedings i s t o be discouraged because ment.  of the p o s s i b l e harmful e f f e c t s on emotional developRather, the i n p u t w i l l be of an i n d i r e c t n a t u r e .  It  w i l l be presented to the c o u r t by the c h i l d ' s counsel i n the form of evidence from t h i r d p a r t i e s , i n c l u d i n g b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s , and i n the form of submissions from such c o u n s e l . Admittedly, the judge w i l l need to assess t h i s i n p u t f o r h i m s e l f , but h o p e f u l l y he w i l l r e l y to a l a r g e extent on  independent  counsel and the b e h a v i o u r a l s c i e n t i s t s i n t h i s r e g a r d .  It will  only be where the c h i l d gives evidence i n the proceedings, or where the judge conducts an i n t e r v i e w , t h a t he w i l l  be  s p e c i f i c a l l y concerned with the q u e s t i o n of the c h i l d ' s  capacity.  Even here though, he can r e c e i v e v a l u a b l e a s s i s t a n c e from the c h i l d advocate and the s o c i a l  scientists.  I t must a l s o be remembered t h a t the i n p u t does not s o l e l y comprise the expressed views of the c h i l d .  Otherwise,  139 to say t h a t the i n p u t i s provided through an would count f o r nothing;  intermediary  i t would merely be pushing  the question  of the c a p a c i t y of the c h i l d one step away from the judge l e t t i n g the i n t e r m e d i a r y grapple with the same. to the wishes, thoughts, a significant circumstances,  In a d d i t i o n  f e e l i n g s and preferences  p a r t of any i n p u t w i l l be evidence  of the of the  child, child's  h i s p h y s i c a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l environment,  the r e s u l t s of indepth assessments of the c h i l d . of the c h i l d cannot be s a i d to be a necessary i n p u t of t h i s  and  The  and  capacity  i n g r e d i e n t of  nature.  However, the q u e s t i o n of the c a p a c i t y of the c h i l d i s not e l i m i n a t e d a l t o g e t h e r . when the c h i l d expresses  I t s p e c i f i c a l l y r a i s e s i t s head  wishes of i t s own,  best to r e p r e s e n t the c h i l d , how  the c h i l d should  The  and i n general, when  be t r e a t e d and  question i s one  beh