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INFANTS AND TODDLERS:. FURTHERING OUR COLLECTIVE UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR NEEDS IN POST-SEPARATION PARENTING PLANS 6 th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights Sydney, Australia 17-20 March 2013 MARIE L. GORDON Q.C. Edmonton, Alberta CANADA. Introduction

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Infants and toddlers

INFANTS AND TODDLERS:

FURTHERING OUR COLLECTIVE UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR NEEDS IN POST-SEPARATION PARENTING PLANS

6th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights

Sydney, Australia

17-20 March 2013

MARIE L. GORDON Q.C.

Edmonton, Alberta

CANADA


Infants and toddlers

Introduction

These are the most difficult of files for the family law practitioner, the judge, mental health professionals and client

Huge diversity of opinion on attachment/overnights/breast-feeding, even amongst the professionals

Further factors that offer challenges……


Infants and toddlers

Little or no relationship history between parents

Huge amount of fear on the part of all players

“What if we don’t get this right?”

Lots of first time parents

Younger parents without parenting experience

Couples with no experience handling conflict with each other

Participation(good and bad) from grandparents and extended family

Children so young they have no voice

Mistrust and hostility

“Father Fear”

Time moves fast for infants and toddlers

Less money to afford expensive help and/or assessments


Infants and toddlers

Early childhood development/what the experts say

A survey of case law from Canada

Breastfeeding of infants and toddlers

Judicial notice?

The use of parenting schedule guidelines

Conclusion


Infants and toddlers

Early Childhood Development and What the Experts Have to Say…

How the conversation looks from the outside

“tracking the conversation”

Bowlby

Solomon and George

Kelly and Lamb

Kline Pruett, Ebling and Insabella

Warshak


Garber mcintosh smyth keleher wells long cashmore parkinson summary

Garber

McIntosh, Smyth, Keleher, Wells & Long

Cashmore & Parkinson

SUMMARY


Infants and toddlers

CANADIAN CASE SURVEY AND TRENDS NOTED:

What’s happening in the Canadian scene?

Moving from “when do overnights start”

Radical changes over the last 10 years

What are the important messages concerning post-separation arrangements for infants and toddlers (and what’s frequently in short supply)?

Need for open and positive communication

Peaceful transitions

Close proximity

Cooperation on feeding and sleeping schedules

Sharing important info re: problems and changes

An attitude of support….


Infants and toddlers

When do overnights start?

A review of Canadian cases - the last 10 years

Overnights and beyond?

Additional terms and Conditions for Infants and Toddlers

Summary of Trends in Canadian jurisprudence


Infants and toddlers

Breastfeeding of Infants and Toddlers – Keeping Abreast of the Issues…

and at one end of the spectrum we have…

and at the other end…

What does a survey of Canadian case law tell us (about adjudicated outcomes) ?

Important case comments/articles

Professor Fiona Kelley “Custody and Access Decision-Making and the Breastfeeding Child” (2009 Canada)

L. Sweet and C. Power “Family Law As a Determinant of Child Health and Welfare: Shared Parenting, Breastfeeding and the Best Interests of the Child” (2009 Australia)


Infants and toddlers

A Survey of Canadian Cases and Trends on Breastfeeding after separation

Other materials of interest…

Mammary Summary


Infants and toddlers

Judicial Notice: Use of Social Science Literature in Court

To what extent can/should judges rely on social science literature on attachment issues in decision-making?

Reliance on SS literature in Canada – two sides of the coin….

Judicial Notice defined…narrowly and broadly

Modern judicial education (multidisciplinary – more than the law…)

Controversies over use of SS material

Who cites it?

Relying on law review articles v. social science research?

Citing and re-citing….


Infants and toddlers

The Use of Parenting Schedule “Guidelines”

law is the balancing act between

perfectly customized solutions , and

rules and guidelines

Growth of guidelines in family law…

The problem with imposition of ‘standard’ guidelines…

A sampling of parenting schedule guidelines…. ( and a little bit about what they say…)


Infants and toddlers

CONCLUSION:

we need specialized understanding of cases involving infants and toddlers..

the special struggles of parents dealing with this cohort of children

the huge mountain of writing by social science experts/researchers/clinicians – how do we make sense of it?

where is there consensus?

drawing on the Canadian experience

Controversies over presumptions in favour of shared parenting???

Use of guidelines – a help or hindrance?

Hoping for a future with more qualitative and quantitative research to reduce litigation and conflict….


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