Canadian Judge Gives Homework To Divorcing Parents

29 October 2010 – In a judgment obtained Thursday over a divorce hearing, an Ontario Judge gave the parents of 11-year-old twins three books and homework that must be completed before their next court date in December.

The three books Justice David Price handed to them are concerned with parenting in a divorce situation. The assigned homework must be completed by November 30.

Mother Karen Garney and father Melvin MacNeil are basically being forced to learn something. They must write “a one-page summary for each book of one insight that they have gained from it and one strategy, if any, they are prepared to adopt based on it,” the Superior Court justice wrote.

The books in question include “Difficult Conversations” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen, “Parenting After Divorce” by Philip M. Stahl, and “Parenting from the Inside Out” by Harvard-educated child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell.

“This may improve their ability to communicate and resolve some of the issues that are still troubling them,” said Price trying to explain the reasoning behind this most unusual order. More specifically is the issue about access to the children.

The judge is trying to make the estranged couple understand that they must determine what’s in the best interest of the children. Garney has already read the books and says they should be recommended reading for any parents finding themselves in a similar situation. MacNeil is the one seeking to vary custody and says his rights to access are being violated. As of yet, he has not read any of the books.

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