Breaking Up is Hard to Do

New mandatory conditions come into effect in Ontario today for anyone getting divorced.

Now the couple must attend a mandatory information session and mediation. That’s not a bad thing, really. Many couples get caught up in the stuff; both want the ugly gravy boat they got as a wedding present, for example. A bad example, but that’s the kind of thing that some will go to war over when really the war should be over at this point. If you’ve filed for divorce you’ve waved a white flag and surrendered.

Where the law gets it wrong is by not dividing divorcing couples up by who has children and who does not. Mediation sounds good in theory but all mediators really do is enforce the letter of the law. There’s something called equalization payments that require divorcing couples to have the same net worth when they leave the marriage, no matter what has taken place, who has earned what or what they’ve done to achieve their success. When you go through mediation, both mediators cuddle up to the ex with less on their books and band together to browbeat the one with more. And if you don’t have children and everything else is civil and fair, it’s not fair. It only takes into account a microcosm of the whole marriage, and without kids to consider, it’s just a cash grab on one side.

Our courts are clogged with nasty cases where parents are pulling on their kids in a selfish game of tug-of-war. Mediate the hell out of them, I agree. But if you’re going to siphon cash out of one bank account in favour of another, do some due diligence and get the whole story. It’s just another case where the law means well but ultimately can still get it wrong.