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Political Issues This forum is for discussing the political aspects of divorce: reform to divorce laws, men's rights, women's rights, injustices in the divorce system, etc.

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Old 06-16-2010, 11:22 PM
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Default Australia, article: Shared parenting for divorce couples 'harmful to children'

Link to article: Shared parenting for divorce couples 'harmful to children' | Courier Mail


Shared parenting for divorce couples 'harmful to children'
  • Matthew Fynes-Clinton
  • November 09, 2008 11:00PM
"LANDMARK laws that promote equal parenting time for separated couples are emotionally damaging children, according to lawyers and psychologists.

Brisbane-based former Family Court judge Tim Carmody has branded the push towards shared parental responsibility and 50-50 parenting time "a failure".
Case study: Read Mia's sad storyHe said the onus to apply equal shared parenting orders was part of the reason he resigned from the bench in July.

"It created a real crisis for me," Mr Carmody said. "I just couldn't keep doing it."

The orders appear to fly in the face of exceptions to the legislation, such as family violence or when equal time with parents is not "reasonably practicable".


Melbourne child psychologist Jennifer McIntosh said children in 50-50 care risked developing higher than average levels of sadness, anxiety, clinginess and other mental health problems.

She said equal-time parenting could be especially damaging for children under three.

"I recently had a case of a two-year-old in week-about care, whose parents couldn't even agree what daycare centre the child went to," Dr McIntosh said.

"They both work full-time. So the child goes not only between the two houses but two day-care centres.

"The fragmentation of this little boy was significant."

Mr Carmody, SC, who has returned to the private bar after serving the Family Court for five years, said only 5 per cent of couples continued to trial after filing to the courts over child custody.

They amounted to the most hostile of marriage or de facto breakdowns.

Yet, under the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act, judicial orders for these couples must apply a presumption that "equal shared parental responsibility" is in the best interests of a child.

The changes - introduced by the Howard government in 2006 to assuage concerns about absent fathers - mean both parents are legally bound to jointly attempt to make "major long-term decisions" about their children's care, welfare and development.

Fifty-fifty parenting time is not automatic. But when equal shared parental responsibility is imposed, Mr Carmody says the court is required to "favourably" consider a further order that a child spend equal time with each of the parents.

The amendments were flawed because highly conflicted former partners never co-operated on decisions, Mr Carmody said.

He called for a "non-presumptive best interest-based solution".

"In most cases, (that) would be in a single principal place of residence (with children) spending more time with mothers than fathers," Mr Carmody said.

"For most people (in the past), that worked. Even though dads didn't like it and grumbled about it, it worked even for them."

Family litigation is mostly a Commonwealth matter, determined in either the Federal Magistrate's Court or the Family Court of Australia. "
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:39 PM
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Last edited by logicalvelocity; 06-16-2010 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:36 PM
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This link provides a very different perspective on Australia's program.

Top 5 Myths About Shared Parenting (Child Custody Laws) In Australia
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:07 PM
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In fact it has been argued that these laws have to a great extent "taken the heat out" of the most vexed issue in separation, namely that of a child's residence, precisely because of the more balanced and child-centric approach to such determinations.

Of course they have. If there is a presumption of shared parenting then it is up to the parents to prove that shared parenting is not appropriate. It is much harder to prove that it is inappropriate, as one would have to prove domestic violence, severe substance abuse etc and that would simply cost too much for most parents.


The frequency of change-overs is IDENTICAL in both cases

It's not the frequency of changeovers that hurts children, but the change in stability. If parents ensure that their children's lives are as stable as possible (same school, same friends, same activities , same rules) then shared parenting is possible and preferred. But that isn't always how it works. When parents can't work together then shared parenting may not be the best option, and it should not be imposed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against shared parenting at all. It is the presumption that it is the best solution that I have an issue with. I just don't think there is a cookie cutter solution for this. I don't want the judeg assuming anything before the facts are presented. Would you want your kid's fate decided by "what is best for most"??
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:08 PM
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USA's Glenn Sacks dissects another Australian article in the same vein here: "Aussie Paper Misrepresents Study in Order to Oppose Shared Parenting".

Generally these articles mirror family court tactics: long on emotionalism, short on fact. One wonders what individual or group initiates them, and for what reasons, and how they get published in reputable papers.

Perhaps those of us who have had success with shared parenting should respond to these reporters with a followup article "Shared Parenting Successes are Ignored by the Press and Family Courts."
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:17 PM
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Billiechic "It is the presumption that it is the best solution that I have an issue with. I just don't think there is a cookie cutter solution for this. "

Whats wrong with the starting point being a presumption that BOTH parents are good and capable people and have a right to raise their own children? To me, this is the ONLY fair starting point, with NO negative "presumptions" cast on either parent.

Then, it goes from there and any number of custody arrangements are decided. Because, as you say, a "cookie cutter" approach does not work, this in fact is the exact opposite of the cookie cutter approach. Plus, these articles don't relate the fact that 70% of Australians currently involved in shared parenting think it is working well. No, it doesn't work for every situation, that is why we start on neutral ground for everyone and go from there.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:26 PM
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As brought up before, my problem has to do with what "proof" would be needed to steer away from shared parenting. Just becasue both parents are good and capable doesn't mean that shared parenting is the best option. The history of parenting, the family dynamics, and many other factors play into what is really best for each child and family.

Put it this way. My ex is a good father. He is capable. Under this law the presumption would be for shared parenting. However, he is abusive, vindictive and no matter how hard I try to co-parent, it just isn't working. Would this law force my child into a shared parenting arrangement regardless of these facts? How hard would I have to fight to have the court recognize the situation as being not suitable for shared parenting? Would it do me any good to argue for ANYTHING different than shared parenting?

Like I said, I am not against shared parenting in the least, as long as it really is what is best for the child.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
As brought up before, my problem has to do with what "proof" would be needed to steer away from shared parenting. Just becasue both parents are good and capable doesn't mean that shared parenting is the best option. The history of parenting, the family dynamics, and many other factors play into what is really best for each child and family.

Put it this way. My ex is a good father. He is capable. Under this law the presumption would be for shared parenting. However, he is abusive, vindictive and no matter how hard I try to co-parent, it just isn't working. Would this law force my child into a shared parenting arrangement regardless of these facts? How hard would I have to fight to have the court recognize the situation as being not suitable for shared parenting? Would it do me any good to argue for ANYTHING different than shared parenting?

Like I said, I am not against shared parenting in the least, as long as it really is what is best for the child.
From my perspective, in your situation share parenting would be the best scenario, and here is why:

1. by your own admittance your ex is a good father and capable.

2. family dynamics are taken into consideration but aren't given much weight because, well...they shouldn't be. Each parent should capable of raising the children. While there are some households where one parent takes on more of a parenting role, the other parent shouldn't be punished because they weren't given the opportunity to do more.

3. your issues with him are between you and him. From all of your posts they don't seem to involve the children whatsoever. So it is an issue where the two of you need to go to parenting-after-divorce classes in order to remedy the issues you two have between you and move forward in the best interests of the children.

Your facts are that you two were incompatable and he was abusive to you, but not the children. You took on more of the parenting role, but you state that your ex is a good, capable father. Why should be denied the opportunity to parent the children at the same level as you because the two of you can't get along??

And shared parenting is what is in the children's best interests.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:23 PM
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I see your point Hammerdad, and from the outside it does look like shared parenting is best. Yes, the issues are somewhat between him and I , but mostly with himself. I don't want to deny him the opportunity to parent his child, just to remove the opportunity for him to control me, punish me, go against what is best for our child just to spite me. How can one parent who is initimidated into cooperation be best for the child? How can you say it is "best" to have shared custody when he has shown that he cannot do what is best for his daughter?

In fact you have just reinforced my point. From where you sit we look like an ideal shared parenting case. But the issues are much more in depth than what they appear. Decisions that are this important to a child's life and future should not be decided by meeting a formula for "x", "y" and "z" but rather on ALL the facts, both the undisputed ones and the ones that are not as easily seen

[quote=HammerDad;42123]
2. family dynamics are taken into consideration but aren't given much weight because, well...they shouldn't be. Each parent should capable of raising the children. While there are some households where one parent takes on more of a parenting role, the other parent shouldn't be punished because they weren't given the opportunity to do more.

quote]

I disagree. If one parent CHOOSES not to be involved, and the child has grown to depend on the other, why make the child suffer by forcing them to all of a sudden lose that stability. What YOU are arguing for is equal rights, which is not the same thing as "best interests of the child". Eventually being with each parent equally is good, but ripping away a child's stability is NEVER a good idea. It's all about building up the trust with both parents, and that takes TIME, not a court order.

I also want to point out that situations where abuse, neglect and substance abuse MUST be considered. You're right, it doesn't matter who took out the trash, brought home the bacon, or whatever. But it DOES matter HOW that came about. If one person acted to control the family, force another person into a submissive role, should the court continue to reinforce that inequality? Should the court award shared parenting to a person who would continue to squash the other parent until they felt they could not longer stand up for what they though best for their kids? How is that beneficial to the kids?
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:30 PM
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[quote=billiechic]

I disagree. If one parent CHOOSES not to be involved, and the child has grown to depend on the other, why make the child suffer by forcing them to all of a sudden lose that stability. What YOU are arguing for is equal rights, which is not the same thing as "best interests of the child". Eventually being with each parent equally is good, but ripping away a child's stability is NEVER a good idea. It's all about building up the trust with both parents, and that takes TIME, not a court order.

[quote]

Good post Billiechic! Not all parents want to be parents. Not all parents are thinking about the best interests of the child(ren).
Some are ok with part time, occasional so why try to take that away from the other parent who is doing everything to ensure that the child is being taken care of and has been making decisions on their own because of lack of interest from the other?
Some parents are just more "FIT" to be parents, to use judgement, to make decisions that are to better their child so why take that away from that parent?
Her ex is just punishing her for not staying together as a family.
In Billiechic's defense, no matter how co-operate, no matter what she does to try to foster a co-parenting plan with her ex, he doesn't understand what he did was wrong, he doesn't understand that their marriage is over and is using the child to get back at her for not wanting to continue with him. So, tell me how that's in the best interest of the child? To have to constantly fight over every decision she tries to make because he can't see past the hurt etc that he is feeling???
And you have no idea how long he will continue to be this way?? Some people get over it, move on and become better people, some take it as they will punish the other person the rest of their lives....

Last edited by tugofwar; 06-17-2010 at 04:37 PM.
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