Vance – General Denial – Kids? What Kids?

Frankly, as a family lawyer, my only concern regarding the affairs (pun intended) of former Chief of Canadian Defence Forces, General Vance, is not the partisan state of military, or political, gamesmanship but rather a sad reality, affecting myriads of single mothers across Canada. I’m referring to the two (2) children, allegedly fathered by Vance with a subordinate, while he was in command of Canadian Forces, apparently denied both child support, and parentage.

It is unlikely that the children have been able to avoid the glare of media, but there are disturbing aspects of this story to which other mothers can sadly relate.

Firstly, there are situations across Canada where children are born, without any sense financial of responsibility, or acknowledgement, on the part of the father. I have no idea in the Vance situation, whether, or not, the mother requested financial disclosure, or child support from Vance. But it doesn’t matter whether, or not, she did. The children deserved better.

Whether, or not, there was an Order or Agreement, if parentage can be determined, or acknowledged, child support is owed by the father pursuant to the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The matter of the amount of support is not subject to negotiation by the parties, based on the principle that support is the right of the children, not a mere trifle to be bulled or bargained away.

Secondly, there is a widely held concern, or belief, amongst mothers that requesting and receiving child support will automatically entitle the father to see his children. That is not the case. Paying child support does not entitle a parent to see their child, or children, unless it’s in the child’s best interests. Rarely, if ever, in my experience, will a father decide to begin a relationship with his children simply because he pays support.

If I was giving family law advice to this mother, or any mother, I would encourage them to pursue the father for both arrears of support, and continuing child support, for the children. I have no idea, the ages of the children, with the age of majority in Ontario being 18, but there is no automatic cut-off regarding the age of support, particularly if the children are attending a post-secondary institution.

To repeat, I believe the true tragedy in this situation is the unfair, and unjust, treatment of these two blameless children, and children everywhere across Canada in similar circumstances.
I hope their story helps other mothers, in similar circumstances, to know, and take steps to protect their rights, and that of their children, general denial or not.

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