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Andrew Feldstein

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Change Divorce Law in Canada. Now.

Posted: 09/25/2013 12:01 pm

Today, I launched an advocacy initiative called It's Time For Justice. For 20 years now, we have been talking about improving access to justice in Canada and we have made barely any progress. We need to reduce both the time and costs to get divorced.

In It's Time For Justice, I ask the politicians responsible for divorce law to recognize their obligations to all Canadians.

Just because nine-year-olds can't vote doesn't mean the local MP, MPP, or MLA does not represent them when laws about their parents' split are being improved, stalled or ignored. Quite the other way: we should all be worried about the negative impact of a lengthy and stressful divorce on children -- our next generation.

I have mailed to every federal Member of Parliament, to every Ontario MPP, and to dozens of other politicians across Canada, It's Time For Justice, the first in a six-edition series of white papers examining the processes that make separations take too long and cost too much.

The White Paper contains observations from the battlefields, so-to-speak, and is posted at www.itstimeforjustice.ca.

The Canadian divorce rate is currently at 38 per cent. This means that 38 per cent of Canadians are directly affected. But everyone in Canada is indirectly affected by family law: mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, grandmothers and grandfathers, and our sons and daughters. Everyone in Canada is affected directly or indirectly by family law.

The separation and divorce process itself, including child access, custody and support and spousal support, is subject to the Federal Divorce Act. This means federal MPs are responsible for changes to the act.

The division of property is governed by provincial law, which makes MPPs and MLAs across Canada responsible. Common law couples are often subject to different laws than married couples.

Change must start with new legislation. Federal and provincial politicians must change laws and regulations that drag out divorce, which increases costs.

First, we need ideas. Part of the job of politicians is to think of improvements to govern Canada. I'm nudging Canadian politicians to make family law more efficient and less bureaucratic.

And I have sent It's Time For Justice to more than 100 journalists. We ask journalists for their own ideas, too. I am asking journalists, editors, columnists, TV anchors and producers, radio hosts and producers as well as web producers to help hold Canadian politicians accountable.

Please don't stand back. Get involved. Stand up and be counted.

Help change family law in Canada. Now.

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  • Jennie Garth

    Peter Facinelli <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2012/03/28/peter-facinelli-divorce-jennie-garth/">filed for divorce</a> from Jennie Garth in March 2012, after <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20582221,00.html">11 years of marriage </a>and three children together. In November 2012, the former "90210" actress sat down with Jeff Probst to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/02/jennie-garth-divorce-actr_n_2066981.html">discuss her newly single status</a>. "The minute I think I’m ready to start dating I’m like, 'Oh no you’re not,'" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/02/jennie-garth-divorce-actr_n_2066981.html">she told the host</a>. "I just don't know how to date," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/02/jennie-garth-divorce-actr_n_2066981.html">she later admitted</a>. But apparently Garth is learning the ropes once again. She is rumored to be dating <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20663930,00.html">Big Giant drummer Jeremy Salken. </a>

  • Louis C.K.

    Louis C.K. and painter Alix Bailey <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/louis-ck-5-things-you-dont-know-2012219">divorced in 2008</a>. In a 2010 interview with <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/07/07/128343426/comedian-louis-c-k-finding-laughs-post-divorce">NPR's Terry Gross</a>, the comedian opened up about <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/07/07/128343426/comedian-louis-c-k-finding-laughs-post-divorce">his experience dating again</a> after the split. "You sort of feel like you just got out of prison," <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/07/07/128343426/comedian-louis-c-k-finding-laughs-post-divorce">C.K. explained. </a>"And they give you the suit you were convicted in. And they give you a paper bag with a watch and a wallet in it. And they give you eight bucks and a bus ticket and the cars are going way too fast and you can't cross the street -- and you're considering going into a motel and hanging yourself after carving your initials. And you know, there's not a lot of women my age who're single. If they're single it's because something happened -- or didn't happen -- so I started immediately dating women who were younger than me. That's a very strange dynamic. And from their point of view, it's like they're dating a dead person. It's like a corpse. That's how I see myself through their eyes."

  • Eva Longoria

    Eva Longoria <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2010/11/16/eva-longoria-tony-parker-divorce-san-antonio-spurs-desperate-housewives/">filed for divorce</a> from NBA basketball player Tony Parker in November 2010 amid <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20442932,00.html">rumors of his infidelity</a>. In <a href="http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/the-conversation-with-amanda-de-cadenet/episodes/season-1">May 2012</a>, the former "Desperate Housewives" star <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwaRJr9qUrA">sat down with Amanda de Cadenet </a>to talk about re-entering the dating world post-split. "I remember a friend of mine got divorced right before me when it wasn't even on my radar to be divorced and I go, 'How exciting! Aren't you excited? You get to date people, you get to have a first kiss, a first date, a first sex with somebody. Isn't that great? It's gonna be fun!'" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwaRJr9qUrA">Longoria said</a>. "And she was like, 'No, I'm terrified.' I'm like, 'Why?' She's beautiful, she's gorgeous, she's smart. And then when I got divorced, she was like, 'Aren't you excited?' And I was like, 'No, f*** you! Don't give me my advice!'"

  • Brandi Glanville

    Eddie Cibrian <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20300442,00.html">filed for divorce</a> from Brandi Glanville -- his wife of eight years -- in August 2009. In October 2012, the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/brandi-glanville-i-dont-date-but-i-make-out-with-everyone--20122310">spoke to Us Weekly </a>about her difficulties navigating the dating world after divorce. "I don't really 'date,'" <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/brandi-glanville-i-dont-date-but-i-make-out-with-everyone--20122310">she said</a>. "What is that? I make out! It's hard to meet guys because they want to date you because you are on TV, or there are guys who like you but don't want anything to do with you because you are on TV. It's a hard road."

  • Zooey Deschanel

    Zooey Deschanel <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2012/01/zooey-deschanel-divorce-ben-gibbard.html">filed for divorce</a> from Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard in December 2011 after <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20305870,00.html">two years of marriage</a>. The "New Girl" star talked about returning to the dating game in the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/zooey-deschanel-marie-claire-divorce-dating_n_1412486.html">May 2012 issue of Marie Claire. </a> “Honestly, I’m just going through a divorce, so I don’t really think that’s something I want to get into now," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/zooey-deschanel-marie-claire-divorce-dating_n_1412486.html">Deschanel said</a>. "I don’t have time to date. I literally –- don’t-have-time."

  • Courteney Cox

    After 11 years of marriage, Courteney Cox and David Arquette <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/david-arquette-why-courteney-cox-and-i-split-20101210">announced their separation</a> in October 2010. In February 2012, the "Cougar Town" actress opened up about how hard it was for her to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/courteney-cox-actress-has_n_1291379.html">date again after the split.</a> "I'm a homebody -- I don't really like to go out," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/courteney-cox-actress-has_n_1291379.html">Cox said</a>. "I love restaurants, I love to have people over to my house. But I'm not really one to do a lot of stuff -- so I don't know how that all that happens... that part's a little difficult." The estranged couple<a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20603919,00.html"> filed for divorce</a> in June 2012.


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