Mississauga News

MP pleased with ruling on divorce

Friday, January 1, 1999
Mississauga News

The state does have a place in the bedrooms of the nation at least when it comes to children caught in the middle of divorce proceedings - says a local MP.

Paul Szabo is pleased that a joint committee of the House of Commons and Senate has had the "courage" to recommend mandatory counselling for parents who can't agree on how their children should be dealt with after their divorce.

"The best interests of the children must come first and the proposed changes to The Divorce Act would go a long way to making that a reality," the Mississauga South Liberal says. "The fact is that the state has a place in the bedrooms of the nation when it affects the business of the nation - including promoting the well-being of children and reducing the prevalence of domestic violence."

The joint Commons-Senate report recommends that divorcing parents who can't agree on a plan for their children should be required to participate in an education program to make them aware of the potential impacts of divorce on children.

Szabo wrote a book on the same subject last year. He says it identified children as the real victims of divorce, He recommended intervention to reduce the acrimony of divorce from adversely affecting children.

In the past two Parliaments, Szabo introduced a private member's bill that would make it mandatory for parents to get counselling prior to receiving a divorce. The bill was strongly criticized in some quarters as an infringement by the government in private family matters.

The bills never got to the stage that they were voted on.