Thursday, April 28, 2016
Father's suicide fuels battle over Divorce Act Man ordered to pay ex-wife amount twice his monthly income
Darrin White, a 34-year-old father of four from Prince George, B.C., hanged himself earlier this month after being ordered to make family support payments that amounted to twice his monthly income. His body was found in woods near the University of Northern British Columbia after he disappeared on March 12.
"Darrin White's death is an absolute tragedy, but entirely foreseeable," said Liberal MP Roger Gallaway, who co-chaired a high-profile Senate-House of Commons committee into custody and access two years ago. The committee's report, For the Sake of the Children, recommended many radical changes to the federal Divorce Act, including a new concept called shared parenting, which would automatically give both divorcing parents equal legal rights in the raising of their children.
"Family court judges across this country are being unrealistic," said Mr. Gallaway, who is urging the federal government to implement his committee's report. "Darrin White is the most public example yet, but I know of two other men in similar circumstances who have killed themselves."
Mr. White's four children are aged five, nine, 10 and 14. His estranged wife, Madeleine, 33, left the family home on Jan. 18 with the couple's three children. (Mr. White's eldest child lives with his first wife). Police charged Mr. White with wife assault on the same day. He denied the charge.