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Ontario family law and the debatable influence of science

Deciding to separate or divorce is challenging enough. When children are involved, the gravity of that decision is rendered even more agonizing by current socio-cultural views that either applaud or disparage the effects on children. Longstanding science studies maintain that the dissolution of a marriage can create an unhealthy living environment for a child, while more recent research points to the opposite. The presence of an experienced Ontario lawyer may provide reassurance that any family law adjudications do not rest on mercurial scientific recommendations.

Nonetheless, with an ear tuned to a vast information stream, a parent may come upon research studies that appear to denigrate his or her choices by subtly attributing fault. In one such study, researchers raised the decades-old "nature versus nurture" argument to consider whether the child of divorced parents is more likely to opt for divorce as an adult. The study parameters extended to children adopted by parents who eventually divorced and those raised by their biological parents who also divorced.

Respect for the advances of science is tempered by the knowledge that scientific assertions about the family unit remain, to this day, largely speculative. Instilling an angst that genetics, rather than real-life factors, will determine the fate of a child's adulthood choices can only work against the best intentions of a parent regarding his or her child. Rather than encouraging control over a life-altering decision, such intrusive anxiety defeats it.

Ultimately, the decision-making power must rest in the hands of each spouse, each a parent focused on the ongoing welfare of the children. This heartfelt concern is recognized in family law statutes which experienced attorneys in Ontario can help navigate. Their wide-ranging knowledge and guidance may assist in dispelling the sometimes overwhelming influence of well-meant, but often unhelpful, scientific conclusions.

Source:, "Our decision to divorce may be genetic", Ana Sandoiu, Oct. 8, 2017

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