Breaking Bad–Canadian Judicial Version

Breaking BadDon’t think for a minute that Canadian judges can’t keep up with American judges when it comes to Strange Judicial Opinions.  Wild and crazy judicial happenings in Canada are here, here and here.

Now comes a new hit TV series, I mean, an order in a divorce case, entered by Superior Court Justice Pazaratz, where the court analogized the parties’ ugly divorce to the hit television show, Breaking Bad. Excerpts from the order include:

1.  Breaking Bad, meet Breaking Bad Parents.

2.  The former is an acclaimed fictional TV show whose title needed a bit of explaining:  “BREAKING BAD:  A southern U.S. expression for when a good person suddenly loses their moral compass and starts doing bad things”.

3.  The latter is a sad reality show playing out in family courts across the country.  “BREAKING BAD PARENTS:  When smart, loving, caring, sensible mothers and fathers suddenly lose their parental judgment and embark on relentless, nasty litigation; oblivious to the impact on their children”.

4.  SPOILER ALERT:  The main characters in both of these tragedies end up pretty much the same:  Miserable.  Financially ruined. And worst of all, hurting the children they claimed they were protecting.

5.  To prolong the tortured metaphor only slightly, the “urgent” motion before me might be regarded as this family’s pilot episode.  Will these parents sign up for the permanent cast of Breaking Bad Parents?  Will they become regulars in our family court building, recognizable by face and disposition?  Or will they come to their senses; salvage their lives, dignity (and finances); and give their children the truly priceless gifts of maturity and permission to love.

6.  Stay tuned.

[The court proceeds to recount the parties’ inability to work together, accusations and counter-accusations, and their deadlock in trying to reach a custody sharing arrangement.  The Court decides on a reasonable arrangement before wrapping things up.]

36.  One final comment:

37.  I hope I didn’t offend the parties with my Breaking Bad Parents analogy.  They’re not bad parents.  Yet.

38.  Mainly, I was trying to give both parties a sobering warning: Stop!

39.  Stop being nasty.

40.  Stop jockeying for position.

41.  Stop playing hardball.

42.  Stop acting like you hate your ex more than you love your children.

All good advice, Justice Pazaratz, but you’ve just ruined the potential for the TV series.

–Coe v. Tope, Case No. 2839/14, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (July 3, 2014). Thanks to whoever sent this along. We lost track of the original email.  Let us hear from you!

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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