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Because I said so? Not according to my lawyer!
April 7, 2009 4:42 PM   Subscribe

'Either way, he doesn't have authority over this child anymore. She sued him because she doesn't respect his rules. It's very hard to raise a child who is the boss.' A Quebec father who was taken to court by his 12-year-old daughter after he grounded her in June 2008 has lost his appeal. via
posted by bitteroldman (61 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
You just put the pony in eponysterical.
posted by ooga_booga at 4:45 PM on April 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


News of the weird! Now try this tonic.
posted by Pants! at 4:47 PM on April 7, 2009


You mean I have to pay for your lawyer? The one who sued me? That's coming out of your allowance, missy!
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:48 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tony Danza's new French-Canadian tv show?
posted by mannequito at 4:50 PM on April 7, 2009


Dad: something broke in my computer...please get it fixed. Dad: sorry. Ran out of money because of court fees. You get a job and you will get it fixed, ok?
posted by Postroad at 4:50 PM on April 7, 2009


Quebec Superior Court rejected the Gatineau father's appeal of a lower court ruling that said his punishment was too severe for the wrongs he said his daughter committed.

I don't get it. How the hell does a court determine if grounding his daughter is too 'severe' a punishment?
posted by lullaby at 4:52 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, it's really about whether the authority in this case rested with the mother or the father, who are divorced. Mom gave permission, Dad did not. I don't think she actually asked for emancipation or anything close to it.
posted by GuyZero at 4:53 PM on April 7, 2009


I'm no lawyer (or particularly bright), but it seems to me the issue isn't about the father's right to impose rules for conduct on his daughter. Rather, the issue seems to be that the mother gave permission for the daughter to attend a school trip. The father subverted the mother's authority to do so - there wasn't any reasonable excuse to withhold his consent.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or what GuyZero said.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2009


So I see your link to a CBC article came via the CBC website. Huh. Who'd a thunk it?
posted by dersins at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2009


Legal notes: Quebec is a civil law jurisdiction, and I have no idea how it works, but basically judges have a lot of power, for running the trial, for asking direct questions, for making independent decisions, etc. I'm under the impression that civil law lawyers (avocats, in Quebec) are most like UK solicitors. Anyway, Quebec is crazy (and I love it.)
posted by Super Hans at 4:56 PM on April 7, 2009


I'll come back with a link, but this story has been around. Basically the kid has a court-appointed lawyer that looks after her interests; this happens when divorced parents are fucking it up. The parents were using her to fuck with each other, and the grounding was her father trying to get at her mother. Since the jackass was acting against the best interest of the child, her lawyer got an injunction.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:58 PM on April 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


She's 12. I'm sure she'll change her mind several times before she's 21
posted by fistynuts at 4:59 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


As I've said, the situation is more complex than it appears: previously on MeFi.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:02 PM on April 7, 2009


Or the mother was messing with the father by undermining his authority to dish out well-deserved discipline for the daughter posting webcam pix on lesvraislutes.com or somesuch. But yeah, the parents were power tripping here and apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
posted by GuyZero at 5:02 PM on April 7, 2009


Monday, stony Monday wrote: and the grounding was her father trying to get at her mother. Since the jackass was acting against the best interest of the child, her lawyer got an injunction.

Did you read the same article I did?
posted by wierdo at 5:04 PM on April 7, 2009


Her punishment: she was banned from her Grade 6 graduation trip to Quebec City in June 2008, for which her mother had already granted permission.

You know, I've been to Quebec City, and ... really ... she wasn't going to miss much.

Now, Montreal, on the other hand...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:08 PM on April 7, 2009


Happy wild speculation Tuesday, everyone!
posted by filthy light thief at 5:09 PM on April 7, 2009


The girl — who now lives with her mother

The hell you say.
posted by yoink at 5:10 PM on April 7, 2009


Maybe we wouldn't speculate so much if you weren't probably such an alcoholic, filthy light thief!
posted by Someone has just shot your horse! at 5:10 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]




I only drink to improve self-censorship. Back to the mini-bar.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:14 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rather, the issue seems to be that the mother gave permission for the daughter to attend a school trip. The father subverted the mother's authority to do so - there wasn't any reasonable excuse to withhold his consent.

Uh… does he need one? Back in my day, because I said so was completely unimpeachable.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:20 PM on April 7, 2009


Bureaucracy; the process of turning energy into solid waste.
posted by ZaneJ. at 5:20 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Happy wild speculation Tuesday, everyone!

Her mother is an alien, the father is from Earth and he was forbidding her from returning to Witch Mountain!
posted by GuyZero at 5:21 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter; the process of turning energy into solid waste.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:46 PM on April 7, 2009


Well we don't have to wildly speculate, we can get it straight from the horse's mouth [word doc] (for those of us who can read French, that is).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:47 PM on April 7, 2009


Does he pay child support? If so I'd stop that in a heartbeat, jail or not.
posted by Max Power at 5:50 PM on April 7, 2009


The fact there is so much speculation, despite the fact we all read the article, indicates the article sucks. The article says the punishment was too harsh, but it doesn't seem that harsh at all. Maybe very disappointing for the girl, but not that horrible.

It's too bad they aren't on speaking terms though. It sounds like they had a good relationship before this (apparently the girl actually wanted to live with her dad)

Does he pay child support? If so I'd stop that in a heartbeat, jail or not.

Uh, Why?
posted by delmoi at 5:59 PM on April 7, 2009


Here's google language tool's translation of the doc file
[1] THE COURT - Acting on an appeal from a ruling of 13 June 2008 by the Superior Court, district of Hull (the Honorable Suzanne Tessier), which authorized the respondent to participate with X its class a trip to Quebec;
[2] After reviewing the record, heard the parties and deliberate;
[3] For reasons of Justice Dalphond endorsed judges Gendreau and Brossard:
[4] dismissing the appeal, without costs.


Paul-Arthur Gendreau, J.C.A.


André Brossard, J.C.A.


J. PIERRE Dalphond, J.C.A.

Me Kim Beaudoin
Counsel for the appellant
Lucie Fortin
Counsel for the respondent X
Jean-Pierre R. Lalonde & Gagnon absentLalonde
Counsel for the respondent M. .. C. ..


Hearing date: 13 January 2009



MEMORANDUM OF COURT Dalphond


[5] The appellant appeals against a decision of the Superior Court that allowed her daughter, respondent X, age 12, to participate in a trip to end of primary school with the rest of his class when he s 's objection. The respondent Mr. .. C. .., mother, authorized participation and had even agreed to pay the costs (over $ 300) and accompany the group, but had been reluctant to initiate legal proceedings. That's when the girl contacted the lawyer who represented the past year in the changes to ancillary to divorce, which was addressed to the Superior Court by an application for safeguard measures. This request was granted, hence the appeal. In the meantime, the trip was made by X.
[6] This appeal does not address the merits of punishment that would impose a father to his daughter or the merits of the opposing position taken by the mother, but only the power of the Superior Court to intervene in such case.
CLAIMS OF THE PARTIES
[7] According to the appellant, who had been given interim custody of his daughter and his twin brother, he could only allow participation in extracurricular activities since it was a decision of the nature those of a custodial parent can take, without consulting the other parent. He added that the Superior Court has no jurisdiction to review at the request of a child a punishment imposed by the custodial parent.
[8] Counsel for the child replied that it was a clear case of conflict between parents on the exercise of parental authority and that, given the exceptional circumstances of the case, his client could turn to the Superior Court pursuant to Art. 159 of the Civil Code of Québec (C.c.Q.).
[9] The mother, who endorsed the position of his daughter in the Superior Court and filed a motion to dismiss appeal, she chose not to file memory and did not attend the hearing on the merits of the appeal.
IMPLEMENTATION CONTEXT
[10] X [...] was born on 1996 and has a twin brother. His parents were separated on 20 November 2000 and have since rebuilt their lives. The mother is remarried. As a father, he and his new partner are the parents of two young children.
[11] For some time, shared parenting is the subject of debate in court due to a lack of functional communication between both parents. This unfortunate situation has caused serious tensions reflecting on children's behavior. In May 2007, a lawyer is appointed to represent them.
[12] On 28 September 2007, ruling on the request for interim measures made in the divorce, the Superior Court awarded custody of children to the appellant at the rate of 9 to 14 days, approximately 64% of the time. It can not therefore speak of shared custody, but joint custody to the father with extended access rights for the mother (5 days out of 14).
[13] In September 2007, a psychosocial assessment is ordered. Despite the parents' consent to it, they are unable to agree on the choice of the expert, so much so that it is to be appointed by the Superior Court in January 2008. Thereafter, the expert meeting the children, their parents and some speakers, and then produces a report on June 9
[14] In the meantime, on 14 May 2008, a serious dispute broke out with X when she was in the caller. The appellant argues that it follows from punishment imposed on her daughter, while the latter said he was shown the door after a bitter exchange with the wife of his father.
[15] As is often the case, the outlook is different about the incident, but nobody questioned the severity of its consequences.
[16] First, the appellant believes that the behavior of her daughter had not been satisfactory and in line with what it had announced previously as punishment for failure, notify the School Board that it is no longer permitted to participate in the extracurricular activity to take place from 16 to 18 June in Quebec, leaving the classroom supervised by teachers and parents to celebrate the end of primary school and the 400th anniversary of Quebec City. It seeks reimbursement for the school fees paid ($ 319) and argues that it is the guardian of the child under the ruling of September 2007. Similarly, he refuses to give his daughter or his mother, despite a formal request of counsel for the mother, clothes for the dance year end [...], 6 and 7 June, in which event it may be involved.
[17] On the other hand, since then, X has no more contact with his father. She now resides permanently with his mother who asked the judicial recognition of this care (procedures not disputed by the appellant). After discussions with X, the mother gives permission for the participation of his daughter and shall pay the amount required by the School Board. The latter, before the formal refusal of the father who insists on his status as guardian of the child under a decision, refuses to settle and does not involve X-journey. I would add that the brother of X is permitted by both parents to participate and that the mother was chosen by the school as an accompanist of the group.
[18] Against this background, the daughter of his own initiative, addressed to counsel children with whom she had many contacts since May 2007. She asks him to get his clothes and dance to be permitted to travel. She refers to it that travel is very important to her that her father objects, his mother agrees that the School Board does not decide.
[19] After a few steps from the School Board to try to settle the matter, counsel for children finds that only a decision of the Superior Court could resolve the impasse seen the opposition's appeal, reaffirmed by the company's lawyer. On 10 June 2008, it served to parents and the school board a request for safeguard measures where the "plaintiff" is described as the mother, but the introductory paragraph and the conclusions sought indicates that the request is made by the Children X.
[20] This application is twofold: first, it requests permission for X to act directly in court under art. 159 al. 2 CCQ, then, she asked to declare that it can participate in the extracurricular activity.
[21] The same day, copies of the psychosocial assessment, just received by the lawyer for children, are given to parents. In its report, the expert points out in many places the lack of effective communication between parents and the degree of aggressiveness and resentment that feed to one another. He noted that the poor quality of relationships is reflected in the children and their development suffers. On several occasions in his report, the expert calls on the parties to participate in family therapy that would allow both parents to realize the negative consequences of their present attitude, the danger involved for the future development of children and the need to develop a minimum of communication and collaboration to achieve a better educational plan for children.
[22] In response to the request, the mother produced a sworn statement on 12 June 2008, where she claims to be in agreement with the approach of his daughter, the out-of-pocket expenses for travel and be a parent volunteer coach for this activity it also demonstrated his total disagreement with the position of the father.
[23] As to the appellant, it shall file a sworn statement where he explains that his daughter is becoming more rebellious and that participation in extracurricular activities at the end of the year is a privilege that no has not earned. He cites, among others, his early sexual behavior and insults allegedly made against him and his wife. He believed that his daughter takes advantage of the situation by manipulating his parents to his advantage. He also had doubts about the safety of travel in Quebec (inadequate supervision of her daughter).
[24] The school board does not act, if it is sent by his lawyer a letter confirming that X qualifies for the trip (good academic performance and good behavior) and that place has been reserved for it if the court to authorize his participation. The letter concludes by stressing that the school must be notified no later than 14 am on Friday, June 13
[25] The application for safeguard measures is presented on 13 June 2008. This point it is welcomed by the trial judge, hence the appeal.
[26] Before concluding this formal context, it should be noted that the appellant before us that he did not wish to resume contact with his daughter for as long as it will not recognize its authority d to impose sanctions and its obligation to comply. As for the twin brother, he continues to live with her father and her mother, 9 days with the first 5 days and the second cycle of two weeks.
JUDGMENT ATTACK
[27] After noting that the authorization provided for in art. 159 al. 2 C.c.Q. should be granted only in exceptional cases, as a general rule it is up to parents to enforce the rights of their child, the trial judge approves the submission of the request. In her view, the context is sufficiently exceptional to justify the approach to the child. It also stresses that the mother told her she would have made such a request if her daughter had not done so and accepted the request in court.
[28] Then, proceeding on the merits, it indicates that parental authority is for both parents and in case of conflict, it is the court to decide in accordance with Art. 604 CCQ, and in the best interest of the child. Depending on the evidence submitted, it concludes that the trip is safe, as organized by the School Board and supervised by teachers and parents, which rule the grounds of the objection of the father. As for another reason, namely that the child could not go there because of the punishment imposed by him and which the court had no jurisdiction, it rejects it. It concludes that the girl has been sufficiently punished by being prevented, a few days earlier to participate in another extracurricular activity at the end of the year (dance end of year) and that the refusal to allow participation Travel to isolate the girl from her peers as they prepare to take new paths. She also believes that the mother is now vested with the authority to make such decisions since X lies exclusively with her.
ANALYSIS

I. Remarks:

[29] First, it seems indisputable that we have a conflict with the exercise of parental authority. On the one hand, we have a father who opposes the involvement of his daughter to an extracurricular activity and has asked to be reimbursed the amount he had paid for this purpose and, second, a mother which not only agrees to the involvement of his daughter to this activity, but participates as an accompanist and has paid the school fees of the trip in place of the father.
[30] While it is true that the refusal of the father due to the imposition of punishment as a result of certain actions taken by his daughter, the fact remains that the Superior Court had before of what had become a conflict of parental authority between parents separated, one opposed to the participation of girls in extracurricular activities and other, on the contrary, very much in favor of participation.
[31] Furthermore, the position of a third party, the school board, which motivates judicial intervention. Indeed, aware of the disagreement between parents and anxious to avoid any legal problem or other, it does not allow the participation of the girl to travel despite the advance registration accepted, receiving payment and required the consent of the mother guardian de facto exclusive X.
[32] Secondly, we must stress that the two respondents, the daughter and mother have filed motions to dismiss that appeal to the Court, on September 2, rejected on the grounds that even if the appeal had become moot a matter of fact, the journey having taken place, it nevertheless raises questions of law which should be analyzed by a panel of the Court sitting at the bottom.
[33] These questions, two in number, are the jurisdiction of the Superior Court to act in such circumstances and the possibility for a minor to file an appeal if this court has jurisdiction.
[34] In sum, this appeal is not aimed at determining whether the punishment imposed was appropriate or not, but only if the Superior Court had jurisdiction to intervene, and on the initiative of the child. For reasons that follow, I would answer yes to both questions.

II. Relevant Legislation:

[35] The relevant articles of the Civil Code are:
33. Decisions concerning the child must be taken in its interests and the respect of his rights.
Are taken into account, besides the needs moral, intellectual, emotional and physical aspects of the child, his age, his health, his character, his family and other aspects of his situation.
34. The court shall, whenever it receives a request involving the interests of a child, giving him an opportunity to be heard if his age and power of discernment permit it.
159. The minor must be represented in court by his guardian, his actions are brought on behalf of the latter.
However, the minor may, with leave of the court, institute alone an action relating to his condition, the exercise of parental authority or an act for which he may act alone, in these cases it can act alone in defense.
192. In addition to the rights and duties related to parental authority, the father and mother, they are major or emancipated, are automatically guardians of their minor child, to ensure its representation in the exercise of his civil rights and to administer its assets.
They are their child conceived but not yet born, and they are responsible to act for him in all cases where his patrimonial interests require.
193. The father and mother exercise tutorship together, unless one is deceased or is unable to express his will or to do so in due course.
195. When the child is the subject of a sentence, the Trust continues to be exercised by the father and mother, unless the court, for grave reasons, decides otherwise.
196. In case of disagreement with the exercise of supervision between the father and mother, one or the other may enter the court of the dispute.
The court decides in the interest of the minor after fostering the conciliation of the parties and obtaining, if necessary, the opinion of the tutorship council.
598. The child remains under the authority of his father and mother until his majority or emancipation.
600. The father and mother exercise parental authority together.
(...)
604. In case of difficulties relating to the exercise of parental authority, parental authority may refer to the court which will decide in the interest of the child after fostering the conciliation of the parties.
605. That the child was entrusted to a parent or a third person, whatever the reasons, the father and mother retain the right to monitor the maintenance and education and are required to contribute to proportion of their faculties.
(emphasis added)

III. In Quebec, parental authority belongs to both parents:

[36] Under the Civil Code, parental authority, such as guardianship, is automatically to both parents (art. 192 and 598 CCQ). These responsibilities are joint and neither one nor the other parents do in this regard to the greater authority or right of veto, whether married or not, they live together or not ( art. 193 and 600 CCQ).
[37] In an ideal world, the legal equality between parents should be reflected in the joint development of an educational project designed in the best interest of their child and making decisions that align with this project.
[38] The mere fact that a trial entrust the custody of a child to a parent does not invest any parental authority, nor give him guardianship role (art. 195 and 605 CCQ). Parental responsibilities continue to be joint (co) (D. (W.) v. A. (G.), [2003] RJQ 1411 (CA)).
[39] The theory of single-parent to exercise parental authority, which supports the parent to whom the custody is vested with all the parental authority over the child and may decide any matter relating to the child has no place in Quebec (see, inter alia, analysis of Albert Mayrand, "La garde conjointe, readjustment of parental authority" (1988) 67 Can. 193 and Nicole Roy, "Parental authority and the support obligation of parents towards their child: two institutions offering a conception of the interests of the child and the family", 2001 R. du B. 51). It has also been set aside in France, Belgium, United Kingdom and Australia.
[40] The fact that shared parenting stems from a ruling under the Divorce Act rather than the Civil Code does not change anything (D. (W.) v. A. (G.) , supra).
[41] Admittedly, in fact, the parent with whom the child resides only performs various manifestations of this parental authority: for example, get the child to school, take him to the cinema, require that it a helmet for cycling or skiing, set meal times and bedtime, etc..
[42] In reality, the responsibility for decision making on issues routine follows the child.
[43] In this respect, the situation is not different from that where a parent is traveling abroad and children remain at home with the other parent.
[44] This does not mean that the parent who is not with the child is deprived of parental authority, legally, it remains invested. This status will enable him, if necessary, to apply to the Superior Court if it concludes that certain decisions of the other parent with respect to questions, even routine, endanger the security, development or health of the child under its right of supervision of the maintenance and education of her child (art. 605 CCQ).
[45] As regards the decisions of greater importance as medical treatments, the choice of schools, participation in a trip abroad, the inclusion in extracurricular activities that will continue for several weeks or who has significant risks etc. the parents who live together naturally consult.
[46] As noted earlier, when parents are separated and that custody is entrusted to one of them, the custodial parent is not invested suddenly all the authority now sufficient to take only such decision. The other parent continues to exercise his parental authority and, as such, has the right to participate in important decisions. In the absence of dialogue, the latter may challenge the validity under the law to monitor the maintenance and education of her child (art. 605 CCQ).
[47] The philosophy underlying the provisions of the Civil Code seems to be encouraging participation, rather than excluding the non-custodial parent, which could also lead to long term for his selflessness' child and its development and the loss to be found for the child to the presence of a parental figure.
[48] In the case of conflict between parents on the exercise of parental authority, the parent who believes that the issue is so important for the best interests of the child should be a third address may ask the Superior Court (art. 604 CCQ). The latter, after fostering the conciliation of the parties, decide, and this always in the best interest of the child (art. 33 and 604 CCQ).
[49] In this case, if you can qualify to participate in extracurricular activities at the end of primary education as a decision on a routine question that follows the child, he returned to the mother to take, X with whom she resided permanently now, what she did. As against, if of the opinion that the permission to participate compromising security, development or health of X or is contrary to the educational project agreed with the mother, the father could under its right of supervision of maintenance and the education of his child (art. 605 CCQ) grasp the Superior Court (art. 604 CCQ) in the absence of parents to agree on a solution.
[50] The appellant has instead turned to the School Board that before a genuine conflict of parental authority on X, decided to refuse participation while reserving him a place. Given the stalemate between the two parents, only the Superior Court could intervene in accordance with Art. 604 C.c.Q. This answers the first question of law mentioned above.
[51] I turn to the second question, or referral to the Superior Court by the child.
[52] Art. 159 C.c.Q. recognizes the possibility for a child to apply himself to the court in case of dispute concerning the exercise of parental authority to her. When adopting the new Civil Code, the Minister of Justice commented:
This article reproduces the rule in section 304 CCBC, proving that the minor is legally represented by his guardian. However, it changes the previous law in two ways. First, it allows the minor to act alone in court with the permission of the court in an action relating to his condition, an act he can do alone or with the exercise of parental authority: on this last point, it covers both the conflicts related to the exercise of authority by the minor himself against his own child, that conflicts related to the exercise of the authority of his father and mother to him.
These changes are justified by the fact that these are matters which primarily relate to minors and the recognition of a degree of autonomy granted to them by sections 156 to 158.
(emphasis added)
[53] This new opportunity once again reflects the modern conception of the child subject of rights and not mere object of interest to parents. It must, however, remain outstanding for several reasons.
[54] First, the Civil Code sets out the requirement that the juvenile court is addressed only through a guardian (art. 159 CCQ). Second, conflicts with the exercise of parental authority are generally between the two parents, so that one of them will address the Superior Court to end the deadlock when the interests of the child required by the importance of the question on his health, safety or development (art. 604 CCQ).
[55] Proof of the exceptional nature of the action brought by the child itself, art. 159 C.c.Q. specifies that it must be authorized by a judge.
[56] This authority will, of course, be granted lightly, as pointed out rightly the trial judge. The Superior Court does not become a forum before which a child may come to challenge a punishment imposed by a parent or a mutual agreement. In fact, except in cases where there is injury or threat of physical, moral or psychological, a judge should exercise the utmost restraint when a minor seeks permission to challenge a decision from the exercise of 'parental rights of a parent the other parent does not.
[57] In other words, the Superior Court is not the place to solve the quarrels of a child unsatisfied with the decision of a parent, unless his health, safety or education is jeopardized.
[58] What was it in this instance? First, we have a girl over twelve years of its complete primary school and demonstrates an ability to make decisions, such as to contact the lawyer and to express its expectations. Then, parents who are competing for several months with regard to the sharing of parental responsibilities and the report of an expert who found that children living painfully stress caused by the serious tension between their parents. Finally, divergent positions of the parents regarding the involvement of X to travel to Quebec and the decision of the school board not to let participate despite the authorization of his mother with whom she now resided permanently for a month .
[59] In this very emotionally charged that X turns spontaneously to advocate for children, on file in May 2007. It then attempts to resolve the problem through contacts with school authorities and the counsel for the appellant, but without success. The trip is imminent and actual receipt of a distress in X, the lawyer for children means the request for safeguard measures.
[60] It is also important to note that once the mother has accepted the position of his daughter and she testified that she was ready to continue the proceedings. Therefore, if the Superior Court had refused to allow the girl to carry through his lawyer, mother, itself assisted by a lawyer, would have endorsed the request and continue the company in Superior Court .
[61] In these very particular circumstances, I can not conclude that the trial judge abused his discretion by allowing X to act. I would add that I would not have been more inclined to conclude differently if the judge had not refused to allow the child to act and insisted that the mother carries s.. 604 C.c.Q.
[62] That the second rule of law.
[63] Before concluding, I will blame the judge is not required to have proof sufficiently complete, including a sworn statement X. The court had before it a request for safeguard measures, the affidavits of the parents confirming unambiguously conflict of authority and a letter from the school showing the limited time available for a decision. It is not unusual for judges of the Superior Court, in such circumstances, to proceed without hearing or statement of the child.
[64] Under Art. 34 CCQ in the context of a decision concerning a child, the opportunity should be given to be heard. This does not mean a child require the production of a statement under oath or assign it as a witness, but that expectations should be communicated to the Court, if it is able to formulate . Usually this is done through the parents, by the testimony of an expert who met the child or in some cases through the attorney to bring the child, the consent of the parties, about his client. It also happens that the judge meets with the child himself, but this is not mandatory. The position of the child may be communicated to the court by or through persons who speak on its behalf.
[65] In summary, an issue related to everyday life took such an extent that it became the scene of a confrontation on the exercise of parental authority. In the presence of such a conflict, which unfortunately was not been resolved by the intervention of counsel to the child or by conciliation, he returned to the Superior Court to stop it.
DEVICE
[66] For these reasons, and without ruling on the merits of the position taken by each parent, I propose to dismiss the appeal without charge under the circumstances.
posted by delmoi at 6:03 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


As I understand it, the whole thing happened because the father went to the School Board to forbid his daughter (X) from going on the trip, instead of either a) talking to the mother and coming to an agreement with her, or, barring a), suing her.

It's really exceptional that a kid sues her parent, but in this case, the mother was willing to sue the father if the court had denied X's request.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:15 PM on April 7, 2009


Why Delmoi? Because this girl took him to court to prevent him from making decisions about her life and the actions she takes conducting it.
posted by Max Power at 6:50 PM on April 7, 2009


Delmoi, you may have just posted the least-read comment on metafilter ever.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


apparently the girl actually wanted to live with her dad

Mission accomplished for her mother, then, I guess.
posted by rodgerd at 6:57 PM on April 7, 2009


Where was this judge when my dad flushed all my weed down the toilet?
posted by cjets at 6:58 PM on April 7, 2009


Does he pay child support? If so I'd stop that in a heartbeat, jail or not.

You wouldn't go to jail -- we don't do that in Quebec.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:13 PM on April 7, 2009


I truly feel sorry for these parents. Even with both parents in total agreement, raising children can seem a monumental task. It often seems the only memory my grown daughter can recall from her childhood is when I gave her a single swat on the rear for going swimming in an unsupervised pool after I strictly forbade her to do so.
posted by digsrus at 7:13 PM on April 7, 2009


Original judgment (French).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:18 PM on April 7, 2009


This is absolutely absurd. There are parents who get away with seriously dangerous things like beating their children, feeding them poorly, or raising them as Scientologists. But no, the guy grounds his daughter (12 years old!) and tells her she can't go on a field trip that hadn't even been paid for, and HE is the bad father?

This girl is going to grow up to be so spoiled. It's bad enough when divorced parents let the kids play off each other instead of being willing to enforce "the rules," but she's learned that if appealing to the other parent doesn't work, she can sue. Sometimes Quebec really does seem like a completely different country than the rest of Canada.
posted by explosion at 7:30 PM on April 7, 2009


What about the mother? At the time (in June 2008), she had de facto custody, and she wanted X to go on the trip.

It should also be noted that X was punished: she couldn't take part in the dance show at her school because her father wouldn't give back her dance clothes. By the time of the judgement (3 days before the trip), the dance had already come and gone.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:41 PM on April 7, 2009


JUDGMENT ATTACK!

(woo! for Google Translate, delmoi!)

Now if only Law and Order would start saying that instead of DUH-duh!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:45 PM on April 7, 2009


To be fair, he only grounded her in English.
posted by klangklangston at 7:49 PM on April 7, 2009


And gay marriage is a bad thing WHY???
posted by matty at 8:30 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


This certainly doesn't sound like a run-of-the-mill custody dispute to me. The court actually decided that the father's grounding, to prevent her daughter "to celebrate the end of primary school and the 400th anniversary of Quebec City" (heaven forbid) was too harsh.

Because of the parent's disagreement, the court decided to make a decision on the harshness of the father's rules. Maybe this is considered run-of-the-mill in Quebec, but I've never heard of such a thing, anywhere.

It reminds me when that old guy killed a rat when the humane society wouldn't come to collect it, so they fined him $2000, and it became world-wide news. It is the same response: "Really, this is getting overblown. This is perfectly normal. Nothing to see here. Please go away".

These attempts to tell the public to go away never work when the public's sensibility is rubbed the wrong way.
posted by eye of newt at 9:22 PM on April 7, 2009


I'm just worried for what kind of precedent this will set for getting off my lawn.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:20 AM on April 8, 2009


You mean kids can now sue me for telling them to get off my goddamn lawn? Oh, Jesus -- there goes the chief source of pleasure in my pathetic life...
posted by steambadger at 12:44 AM on April 8, 2009



"And gay marriage is a bad thing WHY???
posted by matty at 4:30 AM on April 8"


You mean because gays and lesbians never raise children?
posted by kolophon at 6:24 AM on April 8, 2009


Wow is all I have to say about this. Well no there's more.

So in Quebec now you can't ground your children? How stupid was this judge? Now every time some smart ass brat kid doesn't like their punishment they can have the courts look into it?

This is how it should have been handled by all parties involved:

Judge: What is this shit? Reads to himself "girl acts like whore online and dad grounds her for it....." Nice job dad. Case dismissed.

Lawyer: What is this shit? You got grounded for acting like a whore online? Get out of here.

Girl: Dad really doesn't want me going to these site and acting like a slut. I should listen to him.

BUT NOOOOES! Some kid didn't like her deserved punishment and sued her dad. Then the courts said he didn't have enough evidence to punish her? How about this, certain sites are blocked. He doesn't go on them and she is the only other one in the house. Sounds like an open and shut case to me here.

Honestly I could care less what type of relationship the father and mother have, the bottom line is that the daughter did something wrong, a parent grounded her... end of story. Lets say I was married, had a kid, and now divorced. If I gave my daughter permission to go somewhere and she was acting like a slut on my ex's watch I would agree with the ex's grounding.

Now they (the courts) want to fix the riffed that their stupid decision created. Lord.

I blame these new cartoons. I sat and watched one with my nephew. Now whenever he is over he is NOT allowed to watch anything that cartoon network has on. All they are is the same guideline over and over again: young kid who is a know it all surrounded by stupid adults. The young kid constantly defies the adult in charge and everything works out in the end. Fox wants to bitch about Mr. Rogers and yet they say nothing about these shows?

This is why I may never have kids.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:45 AM on April 8, 2009


According to the appellant, who had been given interim custody of his daughter and his twin brother,
This stumped me until I realized it must have lost a comma. I take it to mean "According to X (who had been given custody) and his twin bro, blah happened."

So if I read that right, the dad was the custodial parent. Surely the custodial parent decides on the rules of the house and how to enforce such rules? Is the state actually saying that the custodial parent's one option of enforcement (grounding) was too harsh? Should he have beaten the girl instead? Starved her? Taken away her cell phone? Slapped her? Stopped her allowance? Cut off her hair? Spoken to her in a disapproving manner? Confiscated her computer? Cried in front of her until she felt remorseful? Will the court publish a list of allowable punishments so that parents can be guided by their superior knowledge?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:19 AM on April 8, 2009


all of this could've gone differently had the mother kept her legs closed.
posted by prototype_octavius at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2009


i keed.
posted by prototype_octavius at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2009


"And gay marriage is a bad thing WHY???
posted by matty at 4:30 AM on April 8"


Since we're talking about Quebec, the answer is: It's not. Who said anything about gay marriage?

don't get me started about gay divorce, though.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:01 AM on April 8, 2009


This is absolutely absurd. There are parents who get away with seriously dangerous things like beating their children, feeding them poorly, or raising them as Scientologists. But no, the guy grounds his daughter (12 years old!) and tells her she can't go on a field trip that hadn't even been paid for, and HE is the bad father?

No, the trip had been paid for and the father asked for a refund.

So in Quebec now you can't ground your children? How stupid was this judge? Now every time some smart ass brat kid doesn't like their punishment they can have the courts look into it?

No, read the judgement. Only in cases where one parent says yes and the other says no. Also, this wasn't "Just" a grounding, but rather a class trip that was supposedly very meaningful for the girl (at least in view of the judges)
posted by delmoi at 2:25 PM on April 8, 2009


Yeah, to put it in context, the celebrations from Quebec City for the 400th anniversary of the province's founding were broadcast across the country. It was like she was on a trip to go see Obama's inauguration - it had that level of importance for Quebecers.
posted by GuyZero at 2:56 PM on April 8, 2009


So if I read that right, the dad was the custodial parent.

The father was the de jure custodial parent. But it was a 9-days/5-days thing, and since the girl was living with her mother full-time, the mother was the de facto custodial parent.

The whole reason the court intervened is that the girl has two parents, and that, according to the Civil Code, they both have authority over her. Normally, they should consult with each other and agree to a punishment, but in this case they're not on speaking terms. Since they could not come to an agreement otherwise, the judge decided that, for the welfare of the child, it was better that the mother (who's as much a parent as the father) ger her way.

There was a ticking clock -- if the School Board didn't receive either the father's agreement or a court order by June 14, they wouldn't have allowed the daughter to go on the trip. The ruling was given on June 13.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:09 PM on April 8, 2009


"Usually children have lots of respect for their parents and they wouldn't go there," said Beaudoin.

Until now, that is.
posted by jadayne at 12:56 AM on April 9, 2009


Yeah, seriously people, read.

In Quebec, the non-custodial parent does not lose parental authority. In the case it was compared to a parent who's travelling. What parental rights do you want to give up while you're away on a business trip?

Also, enough with the slut-shaming.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:57 AM on April 9, 2009


The father was the de jure custodial parent. But it was a 9-days/5-days thing, and since the girl was living with her mother full-time, the mother was the de facto custodial parent.

Except that this isn't what happened.

The girl was living with the father. It was after he grounded her that she moved in with the mother. She was playing the parents off of each other. And why wouldn't the mother agree with canceling the grounding? Her reward is that she gets her daughter full time!

According to CBC: Two days later, the judge ruled the punishment was too severe because the girl had already been sufficiently disciplined, Beaudoin said. So the court didn't just side with the mother, the court made the parental discipline decision itself!

In the case it was compared to a parent who's travelling. What parental rights do you want to give up while you're away on a business trip?
When one parent is traveling, the other parent is in charge. Right? Otherwise you are undermining the authority of that parent. The court has done a really good job of that here!
posted by eye of newt at 8:16 AM on April 9, 2009


Ok, Newt...
When one parent is traveling, the other parent is in charge. Right? Otherwise you are undermining the authority of that parent. The court has done a really good job of that here!

So, you're travelling, and your kid's other parent signs them up to fundamentalist church camp w/o your permission. You come home and... you're stuck and have no say about they're going?

You're travelling, and your kid's other parent takes them to get baptized and converted to Christianity, or circumcised and converted to Judaism/Islam w/o your consent. No problem, right?

You're travelling, and your kid's other parent gives up parental authority of the kid to be adopted to somebody else. Well, he's in charge, and your parental authority was suspended during your travels, so no problem, right? Wouldn't want to undermine the non-travelling parent's authority!
posted by Salamandrous at 8:50 AM on April 9, 2009


Weren't we talking about discipline?

Show me a family where the non-traveling parent isn't in charge and I'll show you a non-functioning family.

Divorced families are by definition non-functioning, which is why, barring abuse, the custodial parent shouldn't have to call the other parent to get approval for discipline and why courts shouldn't intervene and give their own opinions on appropriate discipline.

Maybe the courts should come up with a list of appropriate parenting decisions in case this issue comes up again. "How to be a Parent, as determined and enforced by the Ottowa court system."
posted by eye of newt at 1:06 PM on April 9, 2009


On june 13, the mother had de facto custody. That's just how the law works.

In his judgment, the appeals court judge takes great pain to show that this was an exceptional situation, and that section 159 applied.

He also writes (something to the effect of): "[56] This authority will, of course, be granted lightly, as pointed out rightly the trial judge. The Superior Court does not become a forum before which a child may come to challenge a punishment imposed by a parent or a mutual agreement. In fact, except in cases where there is injury or threat of physical, moral or psychological, a judge should exercise the utmost restraint when a minor seeks permission to challenge a decision from the exercise of 'parental rights of a parent the other parent does not."

The original case was decided in Gatineau, on the Quebec side. The laws are different in Ontario -- as noted above, in Canada, only Quebec has a Civil Code. And I guess you'd like section 597.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:36 PM on April 9, 2009


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