When I read this morning that Brad and Angie were kaput, I didn’t believe it. After all, every month for the past several years some gossip magazine has splashed this headline across their cover page. Only it was never true.
But today it is, and to my surprise the liberal heroine of human rights, Ms. Jolie, wants to deprive her children of a basic human right: the right to have a full relationship with their father. Yes, children have a right to know both their parents, a right so precious that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child includes this provision in Article 18:
“State parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child.”
In this day and age when a mother, like Ms. Jolie, asks a court to award sole custody of the children to her, it can only be interpreted as a denunciation of the children’s father. In most family courts, a claim for sole custody in favour of one parent usually signals that the other parent is a drunk, an addict, a child molester, is in jail, or so mentally ill that he or she is incapable of taking care of the children.
Sole custody means that the custodial parent alone will decide where the children live, where they go to school, what kind of school they will attend and what religion will be taught to them.
In Canada a judge of the Supreme Court held that a non-custodial parent has no more rights than an “interested observer”- A shocking pronouncement for a parent who finds him or herself estranged from his children by virtue of relationship breakdown.
If reports that the Jolie-Pitt’s are frequently on different continents is accurate, it will be difficult to craft an equitable parenting schedule. Note that I didn’t say equal. That may be impossible, but children need stability as much as they need both parents in their lives.
Ms. Jolie has a reputation as a compassionate humanitarian and has undertaken massive charitable projects throughout the third world focusing on children’s rights. I believe that if she understood what her claim for sole custody really meant, she would resile from it.
I hope that for the children’s sake she does and does so very quickly.