Discipline and the Courts

The courts can play a very important role in family life and structure across Canada.  They are sometimes the deciding authority in custody issues and are supposed to iron out details from an (arguably) objective stand-point between feuding parents or guardians.  When it comes to disciplining a minor of divorced parents, when and where should the courts intervene?

Anyone with children of their own, or anyone who lives with young children or teenagers is usually witness to the tantrums and argumentative questions that they seem to have in endless supply.  Sometimes every issue is up for debate and parents find themselves having to repetitively explain and justify the rules concerning their child’s upbringing and welfare.  The ever popular line of frustration voiced by parents everywhere “Because I said so!!” does not always suffice with our eager to grow up offspring.

Here, we look at a case in Canada that sparked some outrage from parents and shouts of victory from twelve year olds across the country.

A twelve year old girl whose parents are divorced and living separately, felt that she needed to right a wrong being imposed against her by her father. 

The issue was borne from the child in question posting a picture of herself on a dating website.  Her father, who had custody of her, revoked her access to the internet as punishment after he found out.  Allegedly, sometime after this there was a confrontation with her stepmother.  Her father then banned her from an upcoming school field trip that marked the graduation from elementary school.  When her father forbade her to go to the field trip, she decided to go live with her mother. 

Not long after that, the father was served with a motion to reverse the decision of punishment through the courts. 

After assessing the circumstances and reading the statements provided by both parents, the Judge decided that the punishment was excessive and redundant because the child had been sufficiently punished for her actions thus far.  The Judge noted that the specific event she was barred from warranted a reversal in her father’s decision and therefore found in her favour. 

The ruling came just before Father’s Day and the attorney who represented him said that he was truly devastated by the court’s actions.

 A lawyer’s role is to represent their client’s best interest above all else.  In this instance, the attorney representing the child was chosen by both parents.  The lawyer acted as a temporary guardian and stepped in as a third party to settle the disciplinary issues that could not be resolved by the parents. 

The law may vary throughout provinces and having a knowledgeable and professional law firm represent you is imperative to increasing your chances of success.  We at Zeidman Law know how difficult and sometimes painful these situations can be and we have substantial experience in handling these cases with empathy and compassion.  Call us today, or fill out our free online form and allow us to help you through this difficult period.

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