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
FURTHERING OUR COLLECTIVE UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR NEEDS IN POST-SEPARATION PARENTING PLANS
6th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights
17-20 March 2013
MARIE L. GORDON Q.C.
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……
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
Time moves fast for infants and toddlers
Less money to afford expensive help and/or assessments
A survey of case law from Canada
Breastfeeding of infants and toddlers
The use of parenting schedule guidelines
How the conversation looks from the outside
“tracking the conversation”
Solomon and George
Kelly and Lamb
Kline Pruett, Ebling and Insabella
McIntosh, Smyth, Keleher, Wells & Long
Cashmore & Parkinson
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
Cooperation on feeding and sleeping schedules
Sharing important info re: problems and changes
An attitude of support….
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
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)
Other materials of interest…
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….
The Use of Parenting Schedule “Guidelines” separation
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…)
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….