President's Report March - April 2010
President's Report March - April 2010
Welcome to 2010. Let’s hope we can achieve further and better changes to family law in Australia.
There has been a lot of debate and criticism lately over the shared responsibility laws and especially in the area of shared care of children.
This is a terrible shame and a ploy by the extreme feminists and some extreme researchers to destroy the child’s right to have shared care or equal time with both parents. These people have totally ignored the paramount rights of the child for their own selfish needs, to take out their spite and get back at the other party.
This has also been driven by the money side of the issue (Child Support), because in many shared care cases where incomes are close to equal there is less child support being paid.
There have been 3 studies done, but the largest and most comprehensive research was undertaken by the AIFS (Australian Institute of Family Studies) who showed that shared equal care cases are working well. It showed there was no proof that it causes violence, as some of the above mentioned would try to have the Australian community and the government believe.
It would be a very brave and foolish government that tried to overturn these laws. The Australian community would not be naïve enough to accept it. The Government would be red-faced if they even tried. They have been telling the Australian community that they make laws in the best interest and the paramount rights of the child. What is more important than for a child to have a shared equal time with both parents (nothing is). Parents divorce each other, children don’t divorce either parent, and the government has no right to force that situation on any child.
Under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16 (1) "Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution." This clearly means they have equal rights to share in their children’s lives (as a parent), not just equal rights to money or possessions.
Write or email your local Federal Member of Parliament and ask them not to support any unjust removal of parent’s rights.
Tell them that their party has no right to interfere with or overturn the laws relating to shared responsibility shared care of children.
Get your parents, brothers, sisters, other family and friends, even grandparents to do the same. If they overturn these laws, then it will be a step back to the past where not only dads but also many grandparents did not see their grandchildren. It is up to all of us to do our part and protect the rights and lives of our children and grandchildren.
The 2006 shared responsibility shared care laws were the biggest and fairest changes in family law since the introduction of the Family Law Act in 1975. Because of these changes, many dads and grandparents have now been able to see and spend substantially more time with their loved children and randchildren.
There are more than 1 million dads in Australia that see their children less then 4 times a year (some not at all!).
Most of these dads have done nothing wrong and most of them have court orders for access, but those orders are broken by the other parent. They do not have the right to have their orders upheld by the law. They only have the option to go back to court to try and have them upheld, but at tremendous costs for legal representation (which most can’t afford). I have assisted dads with thousands of cases exactly like this. In one case there were 43 contraventions of the orders by the other parent, resulting in a legal cost to the dad of over $150,000. He still did not get justice and the other parent was not reprimanded or penalized by the courts for disobeying the orders. This is not an isolated case.
This last Christmas holidays I dealt with 41 cases of devastated dads and one case of a devastated mum who were denied their access time with their children by the other parent. They all had court orders, but could not get them enforced.
In one case the man’s parents even rang me and said they were extremely concerned for their son’s wellbeing. His mum told me this was the third time his access was denied by the other parent. He had applied to the courts for action but got no help he was a good dad, was not violent and had no charges of any kind. He simply adored his children.
I rang the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney and asked to speak to a senior registrar.
I was put on to a lady who said she was one of the senior officers in that court. I explained to her the problem this man was facing and told her that he had court orders to have his children. I asked her if the court could issue an order for the Federal Police to pick up the children and deliver them to their dad. I was disappointed and disgusted by the response, but not surprised. She said they would not and that the dad would have to lodge an affidavit and the mother respond with an affidavit. If he wanted to do this, the court would be able to look at his case towards the end of February and it would likely be many months before any decision. So, again the man did not get to see his kids.
Yet a lady I helped in Brisbane, who was also denied her access, was able to have the police get her children from their father for her access. This was a great outcome for her, but reinforces both the weaknesses and inconsistencies of enforcement of Family Court orders.
Even worse was ten days before Christmas and before I assisted all of those people, I contacted the Family Court to find out if there would be a service set up to deal with these problems. I was told there would be (except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day). Sadly it did not happen and many of the people I directed to the court service stated that they could only get an answering service to leave a message. They received no contact even if they did leave a message.
One must ask the why none of these recent research reports on shared care (costing the Australian taxpayer $11million) never touched on the most destructive, devastating and costly problem of denial of access. Probably because it provides the legal industry with unknown amounts of weeping parents dollars.
Wake up Australia and help us to get rid of these injustices.
Join LFAA and boost our numbers to be even a much stronger voice.
You can join as a full member or social member, or even a silent member.
LFAA is the Peak Body of Family Law in Australia, and we are proud to boast that we have a great deal of women members 33% and growing these women are great and put their children’s rights first. They believe that the children have the natural and paramount right to have either shared care or substantial time with the other parent, and they don’t use their children as pawns for their own selfish needs.
Barry Williams BEM, JP, CMC