The Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail, which I read online, published an account of a family court judge's frustration with the unsolvable and intractible rage and outrageous conduct of two parents having serious deficits in their parenting capacity and access to socially acceptable behavior. In his opinion, Family Court Judge Quinn turned to ridicule to describe the parties' rage and their continuing insistence upon putting the children squarely in the middle. The 31-page decision was quite the verbal roast, beginning with the phrase: "Paging Dr. Freud, paging Dr. Freud."
“The harm is irreparable. Generally, it is unwise to place an immature 13-year-old in charge of her life. Here, however, Catherine and [her current partner] have engineered an alienation that is so complete as to leave the court with no feasible option.”
Judge Quinn said that Larry, 38, possesses “a near-empty parenting tool box,” and was fond of venting his anger by sending Catherine insulting text messages and giving her ‘the finger’ as he drove by her home. “A finger is worth a thousand words and therefore, is particularly useful should one have a vocabulary of less than a thousand words,” Judge Quinn noted.
According to the Globe article, Judge Quinn said that Catherine gave her children “advanced animosity-tutoring,” and repeatedly denied Larry access to them. Quinn said that on one occasion, Larry and his daughter were thrown out of a McDonald’s restaurant because she was yelling that he was ‘a deadbeat.’ “This is language she would have learned from Catherine" noted Judge Quinn, [and] “ . . . the result of persistent, behind-the-scenes brainwashing by Catherine.”
Quinn said that Catherine also warned the children several times that if they attempted to telephone their father, they would go to jail. She also once text messaged her daughter while she was on an access visit with Larry to ask: “Is dickhead there?” Judge Quinn, in a footnote, said: "The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘dickhead’ as ‘a stupid person.’ That would not have been my first guess."
Judge Quinn mocked the field of family law itself, saying that spousal support is “the roulette of family law – blindfolds, darts and Ouija boards being optional.” He awarded Catherine one dollar per month in spousal support.
All family court lawyers and family court judges reading the opinion likely will recognize that the venting was obviously therapeutic for the judge, who resented the expense and outrageous use of judicial and police resources that might have been better used on people more amenable to acceptable conduct and/or improvement in parenting styles. Will the judge's ideas make these parents better parents or change their parenting styles and personalities? Not likely given their enormous deficits. But . . . I am sure Judge Quinn signed that opinion with a flourish!
Read all of Judge Quinn's comments here.
Read the full article "In family court, a judge turns to ridicule to defuse the rage," byline Kirk Makin, in the Globe and Mail, Dec. 16, 2010
Toronto Court's Opinion. Bruni v Bruni. Read it here. Update: Attorney Samuel R. Bradley, of Sheffield Village, Ohio, http://bradleydivorcelaw.com/ has been so kind to provide us with a PDF file containing the opinion. Several other colleagues also sent me the opinion, including Jeffrey Zoeller of Lansing, Michigan, Dyan M. Medeiros of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Don Kilpatrick of London, Ontario, Canada. Thank you all.