My esteemed legal colleague JP Boyd writes in his blog about a recent case where a Provincial Court judge has decided that a failure to pay child support on time and in the full amount constitutes “family violence”. An excerpt from JP’s blog reads:
“In the recent decision of J.C.P. v J.B. the Provincial Court has characterized a person’s failure to “pay child support on time and in the full amount” as “family violence” within the meaning of s. 1 of the Family Law Act, and then applied this finding to determine the appropriate arrangements for the care of the parties’ child. This decision continues a trend toward the broad interpretation of “family violence”…
In J.C.P., Judge Merrick was asked to determine a range of issues including child support, parenting arrangements for a four-year-old, and whether family violence had occurred. Each of the parents made allegations of physical and sexual violence against each other, with the conflict in the evidence provided which is commonplace when such claims are raised, such that the court could not determine what had actually happened. The court was, however, able to conclude that the father had committed family violence as a result of a combination of his failure to pay the full amount of child support owing and his other behaviour.”
What was his “other behavior”? Here is the judge’s reasoning:
“I have come to this conclusion based on the following:
(a) [the father’s] repeated failures to pay monthly child support, as ordered, for more than a year despite having an ability to do so;
(b) [the father’s] communication to [the mother] that other than child support, what could he do to assist her in parenting [the child];
(c) [the father’s] actions in placing $20 in [the child’s] backpack which went back and forth with [the child] as if it was some form of an allowance for [the mother];
(d) [the father’s] view that child support was not due on the 1st of the month, as ordered by the court, and that he could choose to pay it within the month and whenever he chose to within the month;
(e) [the father’s] initial reluctance to contribute to the cost of [the child’s] required dental care; and
(f) [the father’s] steadfast refusal to pay child support despite the considerable number of urgings and the explanation by the court as to the importance of child support.”
Hopefully this decision of the Provincial Court will be appealed because it is nothing short of ludicrous. While I have no time for fathers who refuse to pay court ordered child support,(if the decision is wrong then appeal it!) but to equate non-payment or late payment of child support with domestic violence is a stretch that I cannot comprehend.
Another sign of political correctness run amok? Really, Judge Merrick?
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang