Court trumps dad over detention

Filed under: Teens, Divorce & Custody, Weird But True

Gee, I hope my kids don't read this story -- I don't need to show up in court every time I send them to sit on the stairs. You see, a twelve-year-old girl in Quebec, Canada didn't like being grounded -- and missing a graduation trip with her elementary school mates -- so she filed a lawsuit. Just over a week ago, Quebec Superior Court Judge Suzanne Tessier ruled that the father's punishment was out-of-line.

At first, the punishment was simply that the daughter was not allowed to go online because she had posted pictures of herself on an internet dating site, but then, when she got into a fight with her stepmother, the dad brought the hammer down -- "OK, it's final. You're not going," he told her, referring to the school trip. The girl took off and went to stay with her mother. She filed a motion asking the court to overturn the punishment.

The Judge's reasoning was that the girl had already been sufficiently punished and that, since she was currently living with her mother, the punishment wasn't really applicable. The father does have custody, but in Quebec, parents do have "joint parental authority," according to Miriam Grassby, a Quebec family lawyer, regardless of who has custody.

I don't know all the details of the situation, and it does seem that everyone considers this to be an anomaly, but I'd hate to see the already over-worked courts dealing with disgruntled teens on a regular basis. What do you think?

Should kids have recourse via the courts?
Yes, kids need to have a voice and neutral representation191 (5.3%)
No, this is a matter for parents only3420 (94.7%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.