The revision of 60CC (3) (c) would unfairly discriminate against parents who previously worked to support their family
I agree and comment further
Wayne Butler, Secretary of the Shared Parenting Council saidExisting Section 60CC appears to have been left intact; which is an area where we had fully supported the existing Act.
(2) The primary considerations are:
(a) the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the childs parents; and
(b) the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.
However it is s60CC (3) (c ) that is problematic and deserves scrutiny and revision to the existing section.
Paragraph 60CC (3) (c )
(c ) the willingness and ability of each of the childs parents to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;
Is a fundamental and principal of the 2006 reforms that must be preserved.
The new provisions are:
18 Paragraph 60CC(3)(c )
Repeal the paragraph, substitute:
(c ) the extent to which each of the childs parents has taken, or
failed to take, the opportunity:
(i) to participate in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and
(ii) to spend time with the child; and
(iii) to communicate with the child;
(ca) the extent to which each of the childs parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parents obligations to maintain the child;
failed to take, the opportunity?
The Governments proposed revision of 60CC(3) will support the power imbalance which occurs during separation when one parent removes the children, often geographically far from home and denies contact to the other parent, usually the father. The opportunity to spend time with and communicate with the child is denied yet could be claimed or construed to mean a level of disinterest by the parent toward the welfare of his children. This clause would ignore a parental abduction by projecting the fault (of removal and denial of contact) onto the the alienated parent, and then proceed to further limit that parents time lived with his children even though he is powerless due to the abduction.
This clause is not bound by time limits; in fact it expands time and would allow judges to inquire into the pre-separation marital and parenting arrangements and the division of labour within the privacy of the home and family. These arrangements are private, agreed between the spouses and operate at the time in the best interests of the children and parents alike. However many of these arrangements are null and void after separation as both parents must re-design their lives, negotiate new living and work arrangements centric to their childrens needs. The new clause 60CC(3) would unjustly penalise parents and children by a retrospective judgement of past parental involvement and orders would be made that tended to repeat those arrangements into the future. Significantly for fathers who work, the court would use past parenting time and involvement to restrict future parenting time. The judgement and ordering of reduced parenting time based on the parents previous sacrifices to support the family denies the new reality of both fathers and mothers having a fresh opportunity to shape their working lives around being present for and residing with their children.
]The original section the willingness and ability of each of the childs parents to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent is forward looking, aspirational, testing the degree to which both parents are focused on their childrens needs and fundamental best interest to stay in relationship with the other parent.
The new clause the extent to which each of the childs parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity: is couched in the negative, and is designed to tease out reasons why the parents and their children should not enjoy shared parenting time post the separation. The clause is self defeating by finding reasons to fail the parents for carrying out their past joint parenting arrangements and parenting patterns.