My good friend Wayne Butler from the Shared Parenting Council would contend, in his courageous and exhaustive article reprinted in part below, that A Sickness has Fallen on the Family Law System. The team at Dads4Kids would contend that a sickness has fallen on society at large and this sickness is now being reflected more and more in its institutions and laws.
That condition is seen in the current push for homosexual marriage which is nothing more than institutionalised fatherlessness on steroids. At times our societal problems seem overwhelming. Does that mean we should not do anything to fix the problem in the Family Law System? The answer is most assuredly no! Rather, we should do all we can to fix this aberration for the sake of our children and our children’s children.
Over one million children will go to sleep tonight in a fatherless home in Australia. Moral decadence and ‘no fault divorce’ laws must bear the brunt of the burden, but the Family Law System merely pours petrol on the burning fire. The tragedy is that many of our children are being consumed in the flames of our own apathy. I will let Wayne Butler tell the story.
It has now been 12 years since a comprehensive review of the Family Law system occurred. The last review was commenced in 2003 under the Howard Government resulting in the report “Every Picture Tells a Story”.
Looking back at changes after the implementation of the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Bill 2005 and the more recent 2010 changes in the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2010 it is very clear to practitioners that we have again reached a crises point in the family law system.
Not all systemic problems were fixed by the previous legislation and many old problems and as well serious new problems are emerging that are causing extensive delays in reconnecting parents with their children.
The family law system is simply crumbling under a weight of impossible constraints placed on the judicial system and is fast nearing a complete meltdown.
There are many clients in the family law system waiting for in excess of two years and some three years and more, trying to deal with obstacles in the system preventing them from seeing their children.
At the same time they face denial of contact time with their children, they further have to deal with complex issues such as re-establishing accommodation. Many parents find that working is almost impossible with the huge impost placed on them by a legal system that is laboriously slow, exhibits no urgency to reach resolution, but consumes all their available time, energy and finances In some cases we are aware of parents losing employment directly due to the time they have had to be involved in court and related appearances.
When separating couples are arguing about contact and financial arrangements the system that they enter is a system that results in extraordinary delays and in many cases, a complete annihilation of one parent’s relationship with their children.
Contraventions of court contact orders are not able to be dealt with expeditiously or in a common sense way. Participants in an action often say they came out with no resolution or a judicial officer throwing their hands in the air with little option available to deal with a wayward parent who simply refuses to allow parent-child contact to happen.
The ability of one parent to withhold contact on baseless false allegations is out of control…
In conclusion, very significant and fundamental change is required, including a start-up presumption of equally shared parenting time where there is no proven physical violence, or a look at using the AAT to handle less serious matters where contact is sought…
Whatever the options might be for reducing gridlock in the family court and child support systems, they need to be explored and implemented urgently. It is simply not good enough to allow this broken system to keep churning along in a state of complete disrepair.
Without fast and efficient services, parents and children will needlessly suffer long absences and uncertainly about their futures. The aim must surely be to allow children to know and love and have meaningful relationships with both their parents…
The time has come for renewed vigour for an inquiry at the highest level to find a new solution to the vexed problems that surround the current system. If we cannot develop a completely new way of doing business for separating families the financial impost will simply grow past any sustainable level for future generations.
I am calling on my colleagues, families and hard done by parents to get behind a new push for a “tectonic shift” to the broken, archaic and aged family law industry and help establish at the very least an inquiry into a better system.
Read the full article here:
I can hear many of our readers saying, “Well Family Law is not my problem” and I am glad that is the case for you. But we are all connected. We are all in this together. What hurts one child hurts another child and will ultimately hurt your child. We are all Australians and this is the land of the ‘fair go’ or certainly once was, and we can make is so again. Tony Abbott, our Prime Minister, says in a very good article in The Australian on Friday 31 July 2015, asking rhetorically, “Will there be a revival of support for the traditional family?…”
Surely it’s time for that much needed revival of family life. That’s what Dads4Kids is all about. While we are working on a revival of family life let us all, as Wayne Butler said, “Get behind a new push for a “tectonic shift” to the broken, archaic and aged family law industry and help establish at the very least an inquiry into a better system”.
I am asking you as a Dads4kids team member to read Wayne Butler’s article and write a letter to your local Federal Member of Parliament and tell him or her there is no more pressing issue in Australia today, which can be fixed by government, than fixing the decayed and decrepit Family Law System. Children need a mother and father and continued parenting after family separation is the only way forward. Ask your parliamentarian for an urgent inquiry into the Family Law System.
Find your local federal members contact details here. A letter is better but if you want to send an email to your local member and state senators with an urgent call for an Inquiry into the Family Law System it will still have a great effect. Let’s give it a go! Together we can make a difference.
Yours for a better future for our children
PS: We know this is short notice but Dads4Kids is helping Karla Lee from Voice4Kids organise a Summit at Parliament House. Karla Lee’s dream is to bring healing and hope for families experiencing divorce and separation by providing a voice for children.
This is our dream too, so we are helping her organise a Voice4Kids Summit at Parliament House, in Canberra on Wednesday 12th August. The Summit is following on from a Parliamentary Roundtable last October with Associate Professor from York University in Canada, Dr Robert Kenedy who introduced Australia to the concept of Continued Parenting. Karla Lee is a child of divorce. She was at the same roundtable and now she is running with the vision and Dads4Kids wants to help her achieve her goal. See more information in News and Info. Register to apply to come here but be quick, as places are filling up fast.