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Men here been through a divorce in Canada?

  1. Jul 18, 2008 #1
    Have any men here been through a divorce in Canada? Any recommendations on getting full custody of our son?

    There has been no abuse of any sort, and we haven't separated as of yet, I just find it harder and harder to respect the opinions expressed by her church (which she embraces wholeheartedly, things like disrespect of other religious groups/homosexuals, etc). I don't want my son (1.5 y.o.) to grow up with those influences, so I have decided to separate from and divorce her, and pursue full custody of my son. Anyone who has been through something similar, or is more familiar with divorce/family law in canada, and could provide some advice on how to proceed, it would be greatly appreciated. I am also pretty sure that she will also want full custody, and will quite likely go to court over it.

    Money is an issue, as I have been in school, and she was on maternity leave until recently.

    As well, if anyone knows what laws there are relating to one parent simply absconding with the child, and what the other can do to prevent it from happening/get the child back after it happens, please let me know.

    Thank you in advance.

    PS. Before you ask, yes I have tried discussing these issues with her. Every time her religion comes up in conversation, she gets very defensive and it turns into a big fight. She wasn't so religious when we married, but she has changed since then.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
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  3. Jul 18, 2008 #2

    LowlyPion

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    Re: Divorce

    The one thing you can't change is that you both will always be his parents. Like her views or not, she will apparently always have them and she will always be his mother. Regardless of the legality of the options you are considering, you might want to weigh the love that she can be expected to give him, and that he will need, and that you no matter how you try, you may never be able to replace. As to sole custody based on ideological grounds, I shouldn't think the Canadian Courts will be fertile ground to entertain separating a child completely from his mother or from you either lest you get anxious in that regard.

    As to the idea of doing something extra-legal like absconding, you might want to ask yourself what kind of example would you be setting for your son when he is old enough? The laws and the courts don't look kindly on that kind of thinking.

    A better approach might be to try thinking of things from his perspective and what he might want (and not just your ideological concerns) and what he may need to become a successful adult and whatever answers you may come to then may be then the best that you can make of the situation.

    Good luck and good wishes.
     
  4. Jul 18, 2008 #3

    George Jones

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    Re: Divorce

    There are two sides to this coin. Maybe dmbj is concerned that if the court awards custody to him and access to the mother (or joint custody), then the mother might abscond.

    I can't tell from what was written.
     
  5. Jul 18, 2008 #4

    LowlyPion

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    Re: Divorce

    It's difficult to plan based on worrying that the other person would break the law. And such a thing would surely put her at odds with the law. That would give the courts cause to consider what the best interest of the child would be. And the parent abandoned has much higher standing.

    I guess I'd say if you are going to choose the side to be on, I'd choose the law, because once outside, it's a lifetime of never knowing when it might unravel. And ultimately the child may never forgive.
     
  6. Jul 18, 2008 #5

    LowlyPion

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  7. Jul 18, 2008 #6
    Re: Divorce

    My question was specifically about the legality of such a move. How much authority does one parent have to move the child, without consulting the other? If I move out, is there any reason why our son should stay with her, and not me? I am partly worried about her removing our son. I don't plan on going into hiding, to try and prevent her from seeing him, more wondering if I can take custody of him until the court date.
     
  8. Jul 18, 2008 #7
    Re: Divorce

    Nineteen years ago, after two years of freelance bickering, arguments, quarrels and polemic my sweetheart and I decided to take out a license to fight and we're still going at it. Differences over religion and how to raise the kids is only part of our problem. Obviously, I don't know your whole situation, but based merely on the small amount of information you have given us, I don't see sufficient cause for divorce. Would it help to make a list of all the things in your life that are better since you got married?
     
  9. Jul 18, 2008 #8
    Re: Divorce

    But it would also give her 'de facto custody' in the meantime, as well as influence on our son, depending on how long it takes to find her (if ever). She has told me before that if I were ever to leave her, she would do her best to ensure that I never see our son again (whether she meant this to include breaking the law, I don't know). I would rather plan for the worst.
     
  10. Jul 18, 2008 #9
  11. Jul 18, 2008 #10
    Re: Divorce

    If it were just belief in a different set of fairy tales, I could deal with it. My biggest problem is that her religion actively promotes bigotry and discrimination (against homosexuals and pretty much anyone not of their religion, or anyone who says anything against the church). I don't want my son to grow up being taught to hate this group or that group. Worse yet, what if 15 years from now he realizes he's gay? How will he feel when he's been told his whole life that he's sinful, worthless, deviant, etc.? I won't argue that my quality of life has improved since marriage, but I'm not concerned about my present quality of life, rather I'm worried about my son's future quality of life.

    Thank you for your advice though, and I will later today sit down and make a list of pros and cons.
     
  12. Jul 18, 2008 #11

    Moonbear

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    Re: Divorce

    When you ask about full custody, do you mean "primary" custody (i.e., the parent the child lives with and counts that home as their permanent address), or do you mean complete denial of visitation to the other parent?

    I don't know much about Canadian law, but I'd think they'd consider issues like ability to support the child financially. All other things being equal, I would hope that if one could demonstrate in court that the other parent is teaching hatred and discrimination of others, that it would weigh in favor of the parent who does not do that. I'm not sure how easy it is to prove such things though.

    In terms of denying the other parent any visitation at all, regardless of what would legally be possible, I'd advise against it. I think it would only lead to more emotional issues for the child to be denied visitation with one of their parents, and it may lead to resentment of the custodial parent.

    I think the most important thing to consider with children in a divorce is they are still going to love both parents and still need the love of both parents. One should be extremely careful not to bad-mouth the other parent, no matter how little you respect them and their views any more. That doesn't mean you have to pretend you don't have your differences, afterall, if you seem to get along wonderfully and have no differences, it can be just as confusing to a child why it is you can't live together. It's more a matter of how the differences are expressed.

    For example, a BAD way to address these differences when your child comes home from visiting mom and talks about her views would be, "Don't listen to that nonsense; your mom is nuts, and believes all that hateful garbage her friends brainwash her with!"

    Instead, a BETTER way to address it might be calmly stating, "Yes, I know that's what your mom believes. We don't agree about that, and that's part of why we couldn't stay married. She still loves you very much and has the best of intentions for you, but there are other ways to think about people besides that one."
     
  13. Jul 18, 2008 #12
    Re: Divorce

    Let me know how it goes. Maybe I'll add some of yours (pros and cons) to my list. Also, you might consider googling the following:
    "children with two parents do better".
    I did, but I didn't read the articles. I just always took it for granted that they did better.
     
  14. Jul 18, 2008 #13

    BobG

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    Re: Divorce

    I'm not sure about Canadian law, but in the US, you don't need any more sufficient cause to get a divorce than not wanting to be married anymore (although Jimmy may have been speaking subjectively instead of legally). The court looks at the opposite point of view in that you can't force a person to stay married to someone they no longer love or may even despise.

    Of course, the custody is a completely different matter. There's nothing illegal about wanting to raise a child in a religious environment. The only way you can use her religious beliefs as a justification for sole custody is if her beliefs are affecting the physical health of your son (your wife believes in faith healing and actually denies your son medical treatment, for example).

    As for your son's mental health, you're free to brainwash your son with your own beliefs and your wife is free to brainwash your son with her beliefs as far as the court is concerned. The court will refuse to pass judgement on whose beliefs are more valid. In fact, the competition between the two of you may wind up making your son more open minded, having been exposed to two drastically different point of views.
     
  15. Jul 18, 2008 #14

    Moonbear

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    Re: Divorce

    I think you'd be best asking a lawyer about that. In the US, you could do that if it's prior to the divorce and prior to any custody hearings (there may quickly be a hearing for temporary custody pending divorce in a situation like that). For example, in cases of domestic abuse, the abused spouse is certainly permitted to take their child and leave and retain custody of the child until court proceedings are finalized. However, I'm not sure where the law falls if there is no such abuse (usually abuse cases involve things like restraining orders that make it all legal).

    If you can manage to document her making comments like "you'll never see your child again," either because she says it in front of witnesses or you manage to get it on tape or some such, that might help make a case that she shouldn't be the one with custody during the divorce proceedings.

    My view on it, but not at all a legal opinion, is that the best way to increase chances of getting the home and custody of the children is to NOT move out. If you have to sleep in separate bedrooms or one of you sleeps on the couch to be away from each other, do it, but it does seem harder to maintain custody if you give it up during the divorce process...at least in the US. It seems like walking out without the kids gets viewed more as abandonment.
     
  16. Jul 18, 2008 #15
    Re: Divorce

    It is likely that your son both loves his father and mother. In my opinion you should aim for joint custody for the sake of your son. If you force your way you may regret your actions later in life.
     
  17. Jul 18, 2008 #16
    Re: Divorce

    I apologize for any misunderstanding caused by my post. I know nothing about what constitutes legal grounds for divorce in the US and even less about Canada.
     
  18. Jul 18, 2008 #17

    BobG

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    Re: Divorce

    Based on the original post, the sole reason for the divorce is so that his son isn't exposed to his mother's views. A divorce with joint custody isn't going to do much good.

    If the religious beliefs are the only issue, then reaching some kind of compromise short of divorce is the only common sense solution (although constantly fighting over religious differences certainly could build up enough animosity that a divorce is inevitable).
     
  19. Jul 18, 2008 #18
    Re: Divorce

    This maybe true for some children, but in the cases I have been privy to the child has one parent that they actually like, and another parent that they despise. I think this is likely when one parent is selfishly pouring hate into the child, while the other parent has the child's welfare foremost in mind.

    Around age 10 or 12, the child starts to become adamant about not wanting to visit with the despised parent, and after that the only remnants of the divorce are the dreaded once or twice a year visits/meetings with the despised parent.

    But you are worried about that first 10 years, and my advice is to promote the good secular life, and let the kid learn to disregard religious hatred on his own. As an analogy, the best way to be healthy is not just to avoid junkfood, but to eat lots of healthy food. If you eat several servings of vegetables and whole grains every day, then candy bars taste bad and make your stomach sick!
     
  20. Jul 18, 2008 #19
    Re: Divorce

    The fighting over religion has certainly begun to erode the marriage, and I have tried to talk to her to reach some sort of compromise (which doesn't involve teaching certain of her views), to no avail.
     
  21. Jul 18, 2008 #20
    Re: Divorce

    When I say full custody, I do mean primary custody. As in I am the primary decision maker about education, religion, events, etc. I do not mean to completely deny her visitation rights.
     
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