Tuesday, October 21, 2003

80-20 Family Court rule irrational: Martian

A Martian came down from Mars and he noticed that children were the products of a father and a mother. When the family split up the children were still the products of a father and a mother.

The Martian saw the mother and the father go to court because they couldn't arrange a proper and fair arrangement between themselves. Questions were raised like whose fault it was for the essence of the breakdown and who didn't put the garbage out.

Mum and Dad had developed a personality clash between them and couldn't agree about the children, because their emotional levels and the value and principals (children) were very high.

But the Judge at the Family Court said the husband should pay a gross penalty here because he/she had decided or was influenced to believe that the mother was the best person to raise the child.

The Martian was surprised at the outcome. When he went back to Mars and sat on the Martian Council, explaining to his fellow Martians that the Family Court was "irrational" about shared parenting. The children were the product of both parents he said but there was an 80-20 rule in the court, which was unequal.

If parents were not judged equally and were not given an equal opportunity to share an equal amount of time with their children, when the children were the products of both the father and the mother and the family was split, then this was irrational.

Not just that, he explained, but what if after the orders were made by the court and during the course of the already unequal status, one parent decided to move interstate or overseas fragmenting altogether, the contact by one parent to the children of the marriage?

What if one parent who had custody was just a pain in the neck and decided the other parent was never going to see their children again? Did the custodial parent have an advantage, to throttle the other parent?

Of course this is a danger and some parents never accepted the result. Some parents killed themselves over it, some parents killed their spouse, and some parents killed their children.

Why? Because some parents had less social skills and limited social contacts, low self-esteem and self-worth and didn't make the connection, that it was "their fault". These parents were placed under considerable pressure or had limited resources to deal with this incredible penalty metered out by authorities.

Research has been around for years that the majority of children who live with one parent developed long-lasting psychological problems, and were confused and some even anti-social.

Such arrangements caused enduring "disorganised attachment" with one parent in 80 per cent of juveniles because of split marriages says Gregory Kable from Justice Action.

"Family therapist make mince meat out of these families. Families who disagree and who go on to be used as fodder for this victim industry. You'll probably read about psychologists and family therapists in the Herald today screaming that they have the answer."

"But most likely if you ask them "do you have children of your own?" they fall flat on there arse, because they were too busy doing their degree. But they still have all the answers?"

"It's too hard for them to ask people who have lived through the unfairness. They don't ask where are your children today."

My answer is, "I don't know, perhaps there on Mars." Some old children and adults, have developed "alarming levels of emotional insecurity and poor ability to regulate strong emotion" being detached and having no sense of identity, because of the detachment from one parent or the other, or one family or the other for that matter.

Gregory Kable called the presumption of 50-50 shared parenting, the focus of a federal parliamentary inquiry into child custody, "an equal idea". Mr Kable's research, history and experience in the Family Court and dealing with marriage breakdown is extensive and in fact the NSW government prevented him seeing his children by passing a law. Mr Kable agreed that the sensitive involvement of both parents was vital to children's adjustment after family breakdown but said the greatest damage came from continuing parental conflict over the 80-20 rule, whatever the living arrangements.

"Single parenting in the absence of a father figure and one side of the family respectively cannot support the necessary balance for children. It causes long term damage for the children particularly seen in confused and anti-social teenagers," he said.

"Equally, shared parenting and arrangements, balanced the developmental needs for a secure predictable long term existence with the children's family attachment figures, the father, mother, siblings and grandparents, even if the family breaks down"

A bond with both parents could profoundly influence a child's development, but prolonged absences from one parent or the other parent or from one family or the other family and multiple indecisions confused children, especially when parents were in conflict over unequal access.

For children who had regular access to both parents, attachment was well as can be expected given the reality of the marriage breakdown. Shared residence in early adolescence was a viable and useful solution to marriage breakdown, providing parents managed their conflict and the child was allowed some choice.

A mediator from Relationships Australia, Dianne Gibson, said it was best for young children to spend some time with both parents.

Clinical psychologists involved in family law benefit from the 80-20 situation because of the additional tension created by the rule. For instances when judges order psychologists to interview the family including the children of the marriage and report to the court. These people are worse than the pharmaceutical companies.

Professor Lawrie Moloney, from La Trobe University, says the assumption of joint custody is offensive.

"You don't treat the child as an object," he said.

Mr Kable said, "Professor Lawrie Moloney is not helping anyone understand the issue because the court is deciding on the breakdown of a family into parts in the first place because their parents don't get on."

"It is my understanding that you're deciding where each part should be satisfied equally."

By My Favourite October 21 03


Fatherless Society "80-20 rule Vs 50-50 rule" family law
A Federal Parliamentary inquiry has heard that more children will grow up without fathers unless changes are made to family law. The committee is considering whether separated parents should share equal custody of their children.

Australia to tackle child abuse and rescue impoverished children?
A national report on child protection in the Northern Territory has blasted the system, saying it has abandoned the most impoverished children and families in Australia.

ATSIC call to smack kids?
The ATSIC commissioner said the high levels of regulation was not unlike the attention focused on Aboriginal families that led to the creation of a Stolen Generation of Aboriginal people. Mr Hill said he did not condone violence and admitted he did not smack his own children, but he stressed he wanted the issue of child discipline debated among Aboriginal people and community leaders.

No-Smacking Day for Children in NSW
Patmalar Ambikapathy the Children's Commissioner, HOBART Tasmania spoke to Gregory Kable a caseworker at Justice Action at the Controlling Crime Conference at Redfern in Sydney yesterday and we both realised how parallel our ideas about crime prevention were.

Judge renews child detainee release call
A Family Court judge, for a second time, has appealed to Immigration Minister, war criminal, Philip Ruddock to address the issue of children in detention.

Partnership to tackle Aboriginal children's health issues
Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley has called for a sense of urgency in tackling the serious health problems facing Aboriginal children.

Graffiti: What they see is what you get
Father David Equal, a community leader has described the graffiti as the response to neglect by Australia's leaders, and the mainstream media, who have discriminated against people, recently.

Ruddock to challenge Family Court ruling
Ruddock said it is unfortunate the Full Court of the Family Court made the decision. He said a successful High Court challenge could see the children returned to detention.

Men told to change role but what for?
Fathers must take an equal role in parenting before their marriages end in divorce if changes to child custody laws are going to work, Pru Goward said yesterday.

Parents on the inside leave children on the edge
They have been dubbed the forgotten generation - the innocent casualties of their parents' crimes. New research shows that in 2001 14,500 NSW children had a parent in jail. And 60,000 NSW children under 16 have experienced the incarceration of a parent, more than half enduring the trauma of separation before they turn five.

States to cooperate on school curriculums but social skills don't rate? State and territory education ministers say Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson's heavy-handed threats to school funding will not assist their ambitious initiative to develop consistent school curriculum’s in key subjects.[?]

Family Law: Shared parenting arrangements
My children were four and two years of age and it's been fourteen years since I seen my children who are now adults. I don't know where they are because the government fragmented us by order of the Family Court of Australia, which should be called, the Anti-Family Court of Australia. Big yawn!!!

School Curriculum needs balance? Life Skills and Academic Skills go hand in hand man Colin you need to be the students friends not their judge. Only when you can invite the students into the decision making process will you get an obligation by them to change their behaviour, because you Colin could lead by example and not by power.

Australian fathers under terrorist attack-by its Politicians
Ruthless terrorists tactics are used by the state deny devoted fathers their children, and place vulnerable children at risk when they are denied their fathers protection. Five hundred thousand Australian children are denied contact with their father usually resulting from orders of the state by the Family and other Courts.

When is Michael Richardson going to remove the offending Family Court affidavit from the NSW Parliament website? Criminal: Hills district MP Michael Richardson. When is he going to remove these uncorroborated lies and family court pleadings on the confidential Family Court affidavit from the NSW Parliament website?

NSW education professor warns further commitment needed
The author of a report on the New South Wales education system has urged the major political parties to do more for education in the election campaign.

Fiona Stanley, the children's crusader
It is all about prevention. As Fiona Stanley sees it, with one in five Australian teenagers experiencing significant mental health problems, there are just not enough treatment services to cope with the demand.

Parents call for feedback on social skills
Parents are calling for the same level of feedback on their children's social development as on their academic progress, according to a national survey.

Call to update suicide prevention strategy: study
A four-year study of suicides by people under the age of 18 in New South Wales, has found little difference between rates of suicide in rural and regional areas and cities.

Alcohol is just the beginning
People who start using alcohol by their mid teens are more than twice as likely as others to experiment with different drugs and to become dependent on drugs a major Australian study has found.

The punishment: Is the 'crime'
The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".

Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.

The Seed
Respect, you only get out what you have put in. What about Life Skills, Communication and Conflict Resolution. Evolution, perhaps some children and adults miss the whole or part of the course. I did, and so how surprised do you think I was when I realised my parents missed the course as well. Things like Compromise, Win Win, Empathy, and Love. Invisible energy and other skills like public speaking, how to Relate, Assuming, Blaming, Forgiveness, Freedom and Discrimination. This is how I learned respect. If you don't know what it is then how do you relate?

The Law According to Gregory Wayne Kable
I was sharply separated from both my children aged just 4 years and two years and sent to prison for the manslaughter of my wife. I cared for my children when my wife worked and I believe that I still had a responsibility to them even after the crisis situation and tragedy. I wanted to reassure them now and find out how they were doing.