Best Interest of the Child
The first ‘March for the Voice of the Children’ is being held in Hyde Park North, Sydney on Father’s Day, 1st Sept 2013. The march aims to raise awareness about the risks and problems associated with parental alienation, to make Australia a better place for children to grow up and a fairer place for fathers and their families.
This is a serious issue for society as according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2009-10 2 out 3 children do not have meaningful relationships with both their parents if they are no longer together. In nearly all cases the father is the alienated parent, sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity – but frequently not. So according to the Government’s numbers there are 750,000 Australian children alienated from their fathers.
This is more than the combined populations of the Sunshine Coast, Wollongong and Geelong – just imagine these towns full of fatherless children and you begin to realise the scale of the problem. And these are not just children from broken homes, disadvantaged groups or those with bad fathers. These are children from everyday families from all walks of life.
The march is a peaceful and silent march, representing the voice that our children do not have when they are alienated from loving parents. There will be speakers prior to the march, including the legendary Alby Schultz, former MP for Hume and long time campaigner around issues associated with parental alienation.
• Judges are merely experts in the law but make major decisions about children’s safety and lives and lack expertise in this field. They rely on the advice of Independent Children’s Solicitors who have basic degrees in law and usually avoid contact with the children whose best interests they supposedly represent.
• Judges take advice from court appointed clinicians who are not usually professionally qualified in child development or child abuse.
• Judges are knowingly placing children into the care of abusing parents or guardians with little forethought as to the ramifications of their actions, and thus failing their duty of care as civil servants of the crown.
Mediation expert Peter Sheehy said couples were often not aware of the costs of a court battle.
“All the asset pools are down, real estate is down or static,” Mr Sheehy said.
“An $800,000 pool may be reduced by $100,000.
“Why would you spend $200,000 on legal fees when the asset pool is only worth $800,000?”
The Federal Government has just increased the Family Law Court fees, with the cost of a one-day trial now $638.
Research by The Courier-Mail shows it costs $300 to $400 an hour for a lawyer and an expert witness, such as accountants and property valuers, and $4000 to $5000 per day for a barrister, which includes fees to read legal documents.
Editor: This article leaves out a lot of important information. For example, were the previous Orders “by consent” or handed down by the Court (which would be highly irregular)? Why was every weekend ever agreed to by the mother? Why was the father not provided with weekday plus weekend care (as in shared parenting), to share the burden equally? If anyone can post the citation to this case it would be most helpful.
The dad was also accused of failing to acknowledge the six-year-old girl was suffering from separation anxiety after spending every weekend of the school year with him.
The custody deal was described as “unusual in the extreme” and was pared back yesterday after the mother lodged an appeal in the Federal Magistrate Court in Brisbane.
Federal Magistrate John Coker granted a variation to the custody orders, allowing the girl from the “fairly brief” relationship to spend every second weekend with her mother, who is her primary carer.
But this mechanical engineer from Bedford, N.H., is also a married father of 1-year-old Ella, and he says being a dad has tempered his outlook.
He did a few jumps on the trip, he says, but “the very first thing that popped into my mind was ‘I can’t do that’ ” on “some of the higher-risk ones, where you have to clear some trees.”
Liadis isn’t alone in his altered frame of mind. While many studies in the past decade have shown that a father’s involvement can improve a child’s well-being, newer research finds that becoming a father affects the men, too. New fathers exhibit hormonal changes and, in turn, alter their behavior, which suggests that having children influences men in far-reaching ways.
“We’re finding that (fatherhood) does have mental health, well-being and actual physical health benefits,” says David DeGarmo, a research scientist at the non-profit Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene.
DeGarmo is lead author of an 18-month study of 230 divorced fathers of kids ages 4-11 that was published in 2010 in the American Journal of Men’s Health. It found that when a father was more involved with his kids, “he had better health, drank less and had lower substance use.”
The first radical shake-up of family courts in decades is under way in the U.K. A dramatic list of consequences will befall any breach of court orders that flout court-endorsed arrangements for the care of children of separated parents. Children’s Minister Tim Loughton will announce that the Children Act 19879, which states that the child comes first in law courts, will be rewritten.
Henceforth the preferred option for the courts will be “the presumption that a child’s welfare is likely to furthered through safe involvement with both parents.” That is, in the absence of abuse, equal parenting, exactly the template we have been patiently awaiting in Canada, will be the default for splitting couples. Furthermore, mothers who refuse to permit access to the children may lose their passports, their driving licences or even their freedom of movement if they fail to comply.
Editor: I have not read the decision on this case, but at face value I find it rather extraordinary that a child needs to be told of her father’s apparent sexually deviant past. Now as we all know, being called a paedophile does not necessarily mean that you molested an infant. And in this case it is clear that the father has not been accused of abusing his own child.
What we do know however is that when the father was a child he committed an apparent paedophilic offence, but even though the man’s lineage reads like a horror story, the exact nature of his apparent offences are not made clear in the article.
However, I don’t profess to know the details of the offences, so perhaps someone can enlighten us here. My point however is about the child.
My burning issue is why is there a need to tell the child anything? How many other children who lose contact with their father are given a formal reason? Barring a recent exception, the answer is none. So why tell a child something as potentially scarring as this, especially when the Judge makes it clear that the child will in any case grow up in a challenging environment as it is.
A JUDGE has ordered that a five-year-old girl be told her father is a paedophile as soon as she is deemed old enough.
What matters most to people, and most affects their well-being, are close relationships, and above all family relationships. These are areas where politicians and bureaucrats can do only limited good but almost limitless harm, and huge harm is being done.
Here are some facts regarding Australia today. If there’s a marriage or relationship break-up involving children, and custody or access is in dispute, the parties must submit to an inquisition by Family Court social-workers or the latters’ pet psychologists regarding their past behaviour towards and in the presence of the children.
A major purpose of the exercise is to identify “family violence” by the male, with this being defined as any behaviour “actual or threatened” which causes any member of the family “to fear for, or reasonably to be apprehensive about, his or her personal well-being or safety”.
The term “well-being” is infinitely elastic, and meant to be, as are the other catch-all Family Court categories of “family violence”, such as “psychological violence/abuse”, “emotional violence/abuse”, and “controlling behaviours”.
In what a federal magistrate said was an ”unusual” and ”tragic” case, the grandparents sought court orders to re-establish contact with the two boys, aged 10 and six.
Failing agreement with the parents about seeing the children, the grandparents wanted court orders that included the grandchildren being able to contact them, as well as times set for meeting at Christmas and birthdays.
The relationship between the adults began to slide when the grandmother made a catty comment at the hairdresser’s about her daughter-in-law.
The comment got back, sparking tensions that drew in other members of the extended family.
It has been a hard fought battle which has seen only minor inroads being made, given the ferocious resistance from government funded women’s’ groups, who ironically had been set up in the first place to promote policies of equality amongst the sexes.
As many would know, Australia’s record on human rights had a significant setback last November 2011, when Australia’s world renowned Shared Parenting laws were watered down by the Australian Labor government, being replaced by a set of laws heavily laced with anti-fatherhood dogma, designed primarily to entrench a sole-mother, fatherless family unit post-divorce, regardless of the needs of the children or the qualities of the father.
Having said that, Shared Parenting is not out of the question, and a growing number of divorced mothers are ignoring the sexist overtures of the Gillard Labor government and opting for Shared Parenting arrangements post-divorce.
However, while Shared Parenting advocates continue to knock on the doors of open minded politicians lobbying for genuinely gender-neutral family laws in this country, an insidious, almost silent development has been occurring behind the scenes, a development that no-one ever voted for, and a development that has never been assessed in terms of whether it is in the best interests of the child.