- Custody penalties ripped / Group: Jail moms who deny access
- March 31, 1998, by Philip Lee-Shanok, The Toronto Sun
Mons who deny their ex-spouses legal access to their children should be jailed, a joint Senate-House of Commons committee on child custody and access heard yesterday.
Groups representing men who have been denied visitation rights complained there was a bias in the family law system favoring women as custodial parents after divorce.
Stacy Robb, of the advocacy group Dads and Divorce Strategies (DADS), said there should be increasingly tougher penalties, including jail time.
"On first offence, the party should attend a class to educate them; on the second, community service, but on the third, a jail term. On the fourth, change the custody orders," Robb told the 23 member committee.
"Children have rights"
Grant Wilson of Mississauga Children's Rights also called for tougher penalties. "Children have a right to see both parents as judged by the court" he said.
Wilson cited the case of Mississauga mom Lisa Barbosa, 31, who was jailed after she barred her five-year-old daughter from seeing the child's dad, Barbosa was sentenced to 60 days in Metro West Eetention Centrs Feb. 23 for contempt. She is free pending an appeal.
In Alberta and B.C., counselling is mandatory before a couple with children can divorce. Such out-of-court programs could help solve some problems, panel member and Liberal MP Fr. Carolyn Bennett suggested.
copyright 1998 The Toronto Sun