Canada Court Watch - Family Justice Review Committee
Policy and Position Statements

In matters relating to the the rights of children affected by separation or divorce (Under Public Review)

Discussion

Members of the Family Justice Review Committee and the Canada Court Watch believe that the physical and emotional well-being of the youngest, most precious members of our community must be protected when affected by separation and divorce by having certain rights.  Although the list of rights below  has been developed as a guide to the fair and just treatment of children affected by separation and divorce, many of the rights listed can be applicable to children of intact families or children in the care of the state.  The Family Justice Review Committee is  dedicated to the promotion and protection of these basic children's rights.

THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN OF SEPARATION & DIVORCE

1)           THE RIGHT to be treated as an important human being, with unique feelings, ideas and desires and not as a source of argument between parents.

2)           THE RIGHT to a sense of security and belonging derived from being a part of a stable home, school and community environment.

3)           THE RIGHT to flourish in an environment that is free of negative social influences such as drugs, alcohol, crime, disrespect, bigotry, exploitation and neglect.

4)           THE RIGHT to a continuing relationship with both parents and their extended families, based on a fair and just arrangement that will provide the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, which includes the freedom to receive and express love for both.

5)           THE RIGHT to have “listening parents” who work cooperatively in the best interest of the child as well as all members of the family.

6)           THE RIGHT to express love and affection for each parent without having to stifle that love because of fear of disapproval by the other parent.

7)           THE RIGHT to know that their parents’ decision to separate or divorce is not their responsibility.

8)           THE RIGHT to continuing care and guidance from both parents, where they can be educated in mind, nourished in spirit, developed in body and surrounded by unconditional love.

9)           THE RIGHT to honest answers to questions about their changing family relationships.

10)       THE RIGHT to know and appreciate what is good in each parent without one parent degrading the other.

11)       THE RIGHT to a relaxed, secure relationship with both parents without being placed in a position to manipulate one parent against the other.

12)       THE RIGHT to have parents who will not undermine the child’s time with the other parent by suggesting tempting alternatives or by threatening to withhold activities or parenting time as a punishment for the child’s wrongdoing.

13)       THE RIGHT to be able to experience regular and consistent parental contact and the right to know the reason for not having regular contact.

14)       THE RIGHT to be a child, to be insulated from parental conflicts and problems.

15)       THE RIGHT to be taught, according to their developing levels, to understand values, to assume responsibility for their actions, and to cope with the consequences of their choices.

16)       THE RIGHT to be able to participate in their own destiny and to be taught about their family’s culture and history.

17)       THE RIGHT to be able to contact any parent or any member of either parent’s extended family without unreasonable objection or interference from either parent.

18)       THE RIGHT to be listened to by legal authorities and to have their age appropriate wishes and preferences made known to any court of law.

19)       The RIGHT to be supported and cared for, both financially and emotionally, by one’s own parents and extended family as the first option before the involvement of any government or other third party.

20)       THE RIGHT to be assisted by competent third parties whose responsibility it is to protect or advocate for children and to be provided this assistance by the parties without prejudice or bias in favor of, or against, either of the parents.