I have obtained an annulment of a marriage for the second time in 12 years. Although difficult to obtain, in this case the Supreme Court judge was of the view that the detention of a young lady by her family in her home until she agreed to proceed with a marriage was sufficient to take away her ability to consent to the marriage. The caselaw on duress, as summarised in R.H. v. R.T. 2011 BCSC 678, states that “the party alleging duress must prove that their mental state was so overborne by duress that they were actually in a state of “mental incompetence””. Annulment, not easy but it can be done.
Words like “parenting time”, “custody” and “access” are artificial constructs created so that the Court and parents can manage the changing family structure. The basic reality is that children will miss a parent they are separated from. They will want to spend time with that parent and will be excited to see them. Everyone and especially the children benefit when terms like “parenting time”, “custody” and “access” are left forgotten in the Court Orders and parent-child relationships are allowed to develop more naturally. This is accomplished by allowing the children and the distant parent to have unrestricted contact. Children, even young children, can use a telephone or a computer to have daily contact with a distant parent and thus have a daily relationship with both parents.
The challenge is that the primary residence parent may feel that contact with the other parent is intrusive if it is too frequent or if it is in excess of what the judge ordered. Children will sense this discomfort and parenting time becomes something that the children feel guilty about. They want to gratify the primary residence parent but they also want to spend time with the distant parent. This dilemma can cause deep emotional scars.
Happy and better adjusted children are ones who feel free to contact their distant parent easily and with no disapproval from the primary residence parent. For the primary residence parent, contact with the distance parent is an opportunity to have the children entertained without having to rely on the television or the computer.