By the Honourable Justice Harvey P. Brownstone
We are all aware that the single most important area of law that touches more people's lives than any other is family law. This is because family breakdown has reached epidemic proportions in North America, due in part to the facility and speed with which the multiplicity of social networking websites on the internet have enabled people to embark upon and terminate relationships. In recent years, family courts across the continent have become clogged with an avalanche of unsuccessful short-term relationships – relationships that were just long enough to produce a child. There is every reason to assume that this trend will continue as more and more people choose to engage in intimate relationships with partners they barely know.
Despite the widespread incidence of relationship breakdown, most people I encounter in my courtroom are remarkably ignorant of even the most basic principles of family law. The fact that in most major centers in Canada, up to 70% of all family court litigants are self-represented, only makes the problem worse. And the fact that a great number of family court cases involve vulnerable children caught in the middle of high conflict parental disputes, makes the situation urgent for the parents and children involved...
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