Court Cases & Orders

Judge Orders Mother to Stop Putting Father’s E-mails in the Junk Folder, and Other Things


Judge Orders Mother to Stop Putting Father’s E-mails in the Junk Folder, and Other Things

We wrote recently about a decision in “When a Judge “Breaks Up” with a Squabbling Couple”, where a judge decided that the squabbling former spouses who were appearing before him in court would be better served if their matter was switched to a new judge, one who could view their disputes afresh and without regard to the regrettable back-story of acrimony.

That case involved another interesting feature: the judge issued a series of admonishments directing the couple on how to get along.

First, the judge cautioned them not to use the court process to try to strong-arm each other:

There is to be a minimum two years’ peace between these two parents during which they can practise their compromising skills … The litigation process is not to be used by one to either bully or seek control over the other.

Next, the judge ordered the couple to communicate by e-mail, and more to the point directed the mother to actually read the father’s correspondence:

I note in passing that the Mother must read the Father’s emails, as this is the mode I am ordering them to use to deal with all changes in parenting time in future. Her current methodology of putting them in her junk file in her computer is sheer nonsense, in my view, and must end immediately.

Finally, the judge gave the father pointed instructions on being mindful of the tone and frequency of his that correspondence to the mother:

The Father must, for his part, appreciate that his emails are to be polite and not bullying in content. Judges regularly get to read parents’ emails, and if they are wretched in content or overly frequent in transmission, judges can form negative opinions of their authors.

Is the judge on the right track with this very specific guidance and admonishment? Should more judges to this? What are your thoughts?

For the full text of the decision, see:

Z.S.R. v. R.S., 2016 BCPC 200 (CanLII)

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.