1. Justice Alex Pazaratz, an Ontario judge known for his candid and creative writing style, recently blasted two parents involved in a bitter custody dispute over spending a combined $500,000 during the course of the custody litigation when the issues could have easily been resolved between the parties years earlier. Here is a link to a Toronto Sun article referring to this case:
A copy of this case, entitled Jackson v Mayerle, 2016 ONSC 72 (CanLII), is available for free here:
2. I recommend all individuals thinking about embarking on a custody battle read this case, especially the following comments made by Judge Pararatz:
759 This was the worst type of custody case.
a.The evidence focussed on the bad rather than the good.
b. On who shouldn’t get custody, rather than who should.
c. We spent 36 days debating which parent we have to guard against.
d. Rather than focussing on how we protect and reassure a little girl who didn’t want her parents to be doing any of this.
e. That could have been a brief, pleasant and productive discussion.
760 There’s no doubt the Respondent will be deeply disappointed with the result.
761 But I’m disappointed too. As judges, we all are.
762 Somehow, no matter how hard we try, we don’t seem to be getting the message out to separating parents:
a. Nasty doesn’t work.
b. Withholding the child doesn’t work.
c. Sarcastic e-mails don’t work.
d. Bad-mouthing the other parent doesn’t work.
e. Twisting the child’s life to create a new status quo…doesn’t work.
f. Selfish decisions which may be emotionally satisfying in the short term, never look good in a courtroom.
763 In the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” there’s an extended fantasy sequence where Jimmy Stewart anguishes over had badly things would have turned out if he’d made a reckless, impulsive decision.
764 Perhaps family court should fund an instructional movie about this type of custody battle. “It’s a Terrible Life.” There could be a fantasy sequence about how happy a child might have been. If only…
3. Other notable quotes from Judge Pazaratz quoted by Michele Mandal in the Toronto Sun article are as follows:
Justice Alex Pazaratz’s judgments are considered a must-read by family lawyers.
His literary prowess can be traced back to his days as a newspaper intern before entering law school. A few of his compelling quotes:
“Breaking Bad, meet Breaking Bad Parents,” he wrote about another case in 2014. “The former is an acclaimed fictional TV show … The latter is a sad reality show playing out in family courts across the country.
“Breaking Bad Parents: When smart, loving, caring, sensible mothers and fathers suddenly lose their parental judgment and embark on relentless, nasty litigation, oblivious to the impact on their children.
“Spoiler Alert,” Pazaratz continued. “The main characters in both of these tragedies end up pretty much the same. Miserable. Financially ruined. And worst of all, hurting the children they claimed they were protecting.”