Bickering parents lose their judge in B.C. custody dispute

Dyer found their disputes and behaviour to be “heavy handed” and “sheer nonsense” at times.
Dyer found their disputes and behaviour to be “heavy handed” and “sheer nonsense” at times. (Photo: iStock).

Not every dispute in a custody fight should be brought in front of a judge as these British Columbia parents found out.

A judge in British Columbia went as far as to remove himself from the case in order to get the parents resolve their issues between themselves instead of going through him.

Judge Bruce A. Dyer of the Provincial Court of British Columbia was overseeing a custody case that stretched over two years, where the parents of one daughter fought over many issues, when he decided to no longer hear the case.

Unimpressed that the parents couldn’t or wouldn’t resolve these disputes with each other, Dyer commented “This is not rocket science, but unhappily compromising is a concept that these two parents seem to struggle with at times.”

The parents had split up when their daughter was an infant and appeared in front of the judge since late 2013. They asked the judge to settle many of their issues even if, as per Dyer, such issues could be resolved by “learning to compromise.”

Some of their disputes included:

  • The nap time schedule of their daughter;
  • Who would be their daughter’s dentist;
  • The behaviour of the father’s brother; and
  • When the mother could call her daughter on FaceTime while she was with her father.

Dyer found their disputes and behaviour to be “heavy handed” and “sheer nonsense” at times.

As a result Dyer ordered that there was to be a “minimum two years' peace between these two parents,” during which he told them to “practice their compromising skills.”

Finally, Dyer told the parents that he was taking himself off the case, “I believe the time has come for me to direct that I will not in future hear matters pertaining to these parties, unless there is some emergent situation and no other judge is available.”

Dyer felt that that his involvement in the case was preventing the parents from trying to work out custody issues themselves. Instead, they were looking to Dyer to solve their disputes.

He concluded that if the parents faced a judge who didn’t know them or their case, it could be a “strong incentive” to talk to each other instead of running to court when a problem arose.

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