Hello, and Welcome!

Most women facing the unfamiliar legal intricacies, of separation and divorce, appreciate the need for effective legal advice and assistance. Yet, in my legal practice, I have found the need, and opportunity, for valuable emotional support, and encouragement, is frequently overlooked, or unavailable.

That’s why I’ve decided to start a Kitchen Table Divorce Support Group, specifically created for women either considering separation or divorce, or those experiencing those daunting challenges first hand. (In the future, I anticipate forming a similar, men’s only, support group.)

After all, what better way to find emotional support, and understanding, than in the company of other women, with shared life experiences, and stories?

Discovering that you’re not alone, that yes, you can, take steps to effectively represent yourself in court, and protect your interests, is an incredibly empowering experience. An experience which has the potential to positively impact the rest of your life! Just ask those clients of mine (some of whom I hope will be in attendance to share their stories), who have followed the Kitchen Table Divorce approach, and successfully represented themselves in court!

Uncovering your true potential and taking control of your life, by accessing all the “right ingredients”, is your recipe for success, and the solid foundation of Kitchen Table Divorce, (blog www. kitchentabledivorce.ca).

I anticipate inviting, from time to time, various professionals, (ie. counselors, etc), to address questions and issues, raised by the group. How often the group will meet, and other details, will be decided by the group.

The inaugural group meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 10, 2010, from 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm at my office, located at #102 19610 64 Avenue in Langley. (For anyone unable to attend in person, I anticipate future arrangements to facilitate on-line attendance and participation.)

Please also feel free to invite any other women you think would benefit.

Because of limited seating, please RSVP by 5:00 pm Tuesday, March 9th.

Get ready to take your seat at the kitchen table!

Poison Control

Don’t risk becoming the “hated parent” to your own children, as a result of your separation or divorce.  Learn the antidote to poisoned minds, and counter the negative impact of “parental alienation syndrome”.

It’s an area of family law which both as a parent, and a family lawyer, I find most troublesome, and frustrating.  Of course, I’m referring to the often bitterly contested issues of custody and access.

Children often become mere pawns, manipulated by one, or the other spouse, to suit their own legal agendas.  It’s something which has come to be called “parental alienation syndrome.”  It’s a condition whereby children are essentially programmed by one parent, the “loved parent,” to reject, and despise, the other parent, the alleged “hated parent.”

Tactics used by a parent can include both conscious, and subconscious, techniques to “poison” a child’s mind against the other parent.

How do you recognize this syndrome?

There are several key characteristics.  Typically, a child will constantly denounce the “hated parent,” and, if asked to explain, such negative feelings will be unable to provide any rational explanation.

There will also be an unquestioned, and absolute approval, of the “loved parent,” including sharing the “loved parent’s” description for the “hated parent.”  In addition, the description of the “hated parent” will often appear to be consistent, and unchanging, suggesting that the child has been coached, or prompted, by the “loved parent” to provide a negative description.

Finally, and perhaps most damaging of all, the “loved parent” professes that the child’s own wishes, and views, must be respected, including their desire not to see the “hated parent.”

While in my own experience, courts have been slow to recognize and address this syndrome, there may be a glimmer of light, at the end of the tunnel.  An Ontario Superior Court Justice fined a woman $10,000.00 for “poisoning” the minds of her children, against their loving father.

Specifically, the woman, the custodial parent, had refused to comply with several orders, which required her, to facilitate contact between the children and their father, and to undertake family counseling.

The court could also have awarded sole custody of the children to the father, but felt such action was not appropriate, since the youngest child, now 16, was “so attached” to the mother, and soon to be fully independent.

Unfortunately, as this case readily demonstrates, once the emotional and psychological damage is done, there is no force on this earth strong enough to compel a child to maintain, or develop, a relationship with the other parent, regardless, of how loving, or well meaning, that parent may be.

What do I recommend as an “antidote” for such “poisoned minds?”

Firstly, if you and your spouse are separating, or divorcing, keep the legal matters out of court, if possible.  Going to court creates considerable stress and pressure on both parents, and children.  Minimizing both, may help salvage your short, and long term relationship, with your spouse, and children.

Secondly, I recommend counseling for all parties.  If you are an employee, your employer may have a benefits program which provides personal and family counseling.  If it does, take advantage of it.  In most cases, it will be free of charge, as well as being confidential.

Thirdly, and perhaps most significantly, I believe changes in the Divorce Act are urgently required.  Changes such as removing the divisive term “custody,” and replacing it with a more neutral, but vital, concept such as “parental responsibility.”

But rather than address this particular issue, which has been researched to death, and potentially impact thousands of separating, and divorcing families, each year, the Federal Government has other priorities.

It’s no surprise many doubt the Federal Government’s commitment to families, me among them.

The contents, opinions, and observations, contained in Scott Taylor’s Kitchen Table Divorce, are strictly intended for general information and entertainment purposes only, and are not intended to be relied upon, or to replace, legal advice.

It is recommended you obtain legal advice from Mr. Taylor,(604-534-6361or info@underappeal.com), or another lawyer, with respect to your specific jurisdiction, and legal circumstances.