Parents should choose civility over confrontation: Tailor
Effective co-parenting requires communication and an agreement as to what will happenif there is conflict or even divorce, says Mississauga family lawyer Deepa Tailor.
“Whenever I hear that a marriage is being torn apart by a contentious issue, the first thing that comes to mind is that the parties must try to make it less combative,” says Tailor, managing director of Tailor Law Professional Corporation.
“Both parties have the ability and the power to do that,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.
In the context of a separation or divorce, Tailor says quarrelsome issues just increase litigation costs.
“From a lawyer’s perspective, we often see parents squabbling over minor things and not taking reasonable positions,” she says.
“It’s just wasting money that otherwise would be available for their children, for extracurricular activities or future education,” Tailor says.
The lawyer encourages her clients to be civil to each other during the divorce process.
As a lawyer, she advocates for her clients based on the merits of their actual cases.
“We don’t believe that we should be part of the problem. We should be part of the solution,” she says.
Tailor says being reasonable with expectations and listening to the advice of legal counsel will lower court costs.
“Family lawyers deal with bickering parents day in and day out,” she says. “While the advice we give you is not necessarily what you want to hear, it’s probably the advice you need to hear.”
Behaviour in a Divorce
A parent’s behaviour in a divorce case will also have a significant impact on their children, Tailor says.
“You are indirectly teaching them about gender norms and how to treat a partner in a relationship,”
One parent will try to limit the other’s access to the child, or attempt to alienate the child from them.
“At the end of the day, children end up losing in those scenarios because they are saddled with the emotional harm that causes,” she says.
If parents hold different views on any contentious issue, Tailor says that can cause strife, citing a recent Toronto Star article about a Toronto father who launched a legal battle to have his children vaccinated against the wishes of his ex-wife.
The Star reports a family law arbitrator earlier ruled in the ex-wife’s favour, stating that “choosing not to vaccinate is not illegal, negligent nor immoral. It is a personal choice.”
Vaccine hesitancy is one of the top 10 global health threats in 2019, according to the World Health Organization. She urges them to find ways to effectively deal with whatever issues they are facing.
“Both parties have the opportunity to take a contentious issue, and turn it into something that’s less combative,” she says.
“At the end of the day, the responsibility lies with the parents about how they’re going to effectively co-parent,” Tailor says.
The court will always look at what is in the best interest of the child.
“The law is structured to maximize the amount of time that both parents get with their child,” Tailor says.
Family law counsel can make recommendations for co-parenting, and if the marriage falls apart, mediation is an alternative to court.
“Mediation is a good option because it allows both parties to vent their frustrations,” Tailor says. “Even if you don’t end up reaching a resolution, it helps to calm contentious issues when both parties have the opportunity to vocalize their positions,” she says.
This post was first published on AdvocateDaily.com (which is now Inactive). This is a re-published article.
By Paul Russell, AdvocateDaily.com Contributor. July 2, 2019