Putting the cat among the pigeons
I see time and time again the same posters putting the same arguements, whatever the original person asked. Give us all a break. So many people seem to post and then disappear because of what is written.
Can you just see that some people are out to get whatever they can and do not care about the children and some people love their children to bits and would do anything they could for them, and the whole gamut inbetween. Notice I wrote PEOPLE not men, not women, not payees, not payers but PEOPLE. There are good and terrible mothers and good and terrible fathers out there and all shades of grey inbetween. There are people with personality disorders and mental health issues who are both mothers and fathers. None of this is confined to one gender. Give people a break. There are both mothers and fathers who get a raw deal through the courts. Nothing is confined to one gender.
My 2c worth - waiting for the backlash - but I can take it now, I have learnt my lessons posting and reading here!
Last edit: by MikeT
Well it looks like your response got moved
The reasons for the post being moved are explained in the following post (basically off-topic/topic creep and more suited to Hyde Park)
I agree with what your saying , but at the end of the day people are entitled to their opinion and they will often reflect on there own experiences , good bad or indifferent when replying to posts. That is the way information forums work and there are guidelines and moderators checking too and editing and moving posts when necessary which is a good thing.
People do love there children and that is the common thing for people on this forum .
I also enjoyreading the replies to posts on the forum when people do give their views and a little insight into there own situation . I can relate to many of the people here so that shows me that maybe we are not that different after all
Unfortunatley we have a system in this country which is broken.
I would like to ask you this question :
If we through the Family court in the bin along with CSA , lawyers , AVO's etc and we had to start again from scratch , tell me about the system you would propose . This system is equal and starts at 50/50 .
Last edit: by MikeT
I also don't believe that the reason for the courts (Family Court System) is because a one-size parenting plan isn't available/practical. It's because separating parents, one or both, cannot be responsible enough to agree on a parenting plan(arrangements). It's also an industry that keeps quite a few pockets far from empty. You can have complex systems, far more complex than parenting plans, that can cater for all. For example the tax return form, it caters for most it not all needs and few inputs or results are identical.
As for repetition, unfortunately, because many people don't really know how to find information, ask very much the same questions. I, being one of the most repetitive posters, wish that I didn't have to repeat posts, especially as some posts can take up a great deal of time as I try to be accurate and comprehensive. If you want a break, then be a responsible independent individual and take it for yourself, don't expect others to do it for you or try to demand that others act on your behalf. Again if you don't want to read 3 pages, then simply don't.
When it boils down to it, the moderators are the ones who will decide whether or not posts are acceptable or not. For instance (and as an explanation for yourself) this post was moved to Hyde Park because it contributed little, if anything, to the subject matter of the topic in which it was posted and that it is a general argument.
the age of the children; who has done the most parenting; why the marriage broke down; where the parents live; the financial situation of both parents pre and post separation; what both parents want; what the children want (if they are old enough to have a mature opinion); the amount of conflict between the parents; new partners; work situations; etc etc etc etc.
What system would I propose - interesting question. I suffer at the hands of an ex with a personality disorder of some sort and he certainly does not put the children first. His decisions appear to be based on whatever makes it harder for me without taking into account the needs wishes of the children. Now I could write a book as to how I came to this conclusion,and it took me 2 1/2 yrs post separation to come to this conclusion. I won't share it here. I have also been told he has a persecution complex by someone who is completely objective. I cannot reveal here in case my ex is reading and we are still going through court (for the second time!). I go to a support group for people with 'psychopathic manipulators' in their lives and there are a number of women there who say that the court does not see through these sort of people. Fortunately my ex seems unable to keep his personality disorder hidden and I have every confidence that when (if) we get all the way to a final hearing he will show himself up for what he is. He has already done so in a number of ways. So I don't think court is the way to do this, it makes us adversaries, and hearing all the lies and nastiness that comes out in trying to 'win' harms everyone and certainly doesn't help the children, which is what this is all about after all.
I think there needs to be a long careful process of professionals looking at the situation. Not a family report which is a snapshot and takes a few hours. But a proper indepth look at the family dynamics. It should not be one judge/magistrate making the decision either. But a 'board' of a few people including those professionals that have been involved in assessing the situation. The two parents should get the chance to discuss with the board their views, what they want and why. Not in the presence of the other parent. This Board could also come up with the financial side of things too - instead of a formula from the CSA. That is off the top of my head. but of course it won't happen. no lawyers needed - where are they gonna earn their money. no court needed. just a board of professionals - numbering maybe 3 or 5 so that it is fair and if one is biased there is someone who may see the other side. this should be able to pick out the real problems and those with personality disorders/false accusation. Maybe not but better than what we have now.
I wouldn't agree that all the parents on this forum love their children, or at least not in the way that the majority of parents would view love. My ex doesn't, if he did he would stop his hate campaign against me. he would actually ask his children what they want and lisen to them. He would stop using them as pawns. Lots of things which once again I will not go into here.
I also don't think 50/50 works. It so depends on so many factors and as the children get older you can see it works less. My children are middle school (starting high school and finishing primary). I have 2 step sons though who are older. When they do year 10 and upwards, they have so much homework and so much on that it is impractical to live in 2 houses. (here is a comment that I am sure someone is going to argue about!) They need to be settled in one place with all their books/study stuff/friends to study with nearby. My husband is 30 minutes from them and although the come every other weekend it doesn't always happen because of their workload. My husband and his ex wife were able to negotiate both the property settlement and children without any legal intervention at all. It happens. He pays way more maintenance that the CSA amount and is still paying although the eldest is at uni and 20 years old. I can see it from both sides because my ex tries to get out of paying every cent he can - reducing and reducing his maintenance, although he earns more than twice what my husband earns and pays less maintenance.
I don't tar all people with the same brush because I can see two ways of doing things. And I know which is best for the children.
I was sent a link to the following by my online group for coparenting with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. It makes interesting reading. I did not post it here originally because I though it would be shot down in flames as 'feminist' claptrap. However I know from personal experience that 50/50 does not work for all and would not work for either my children or my stepchildren and the two coparenting relationships could not be more different.
long answer but interesting discussion. happy to continue if it doesn't get deleted or moved!
Yes happy to continue the discussion , it is a topic which obviously interests me as I think the whole system is broken and I often sit back and ponder about creating my own system which can cover everyone and has the ability to also treat poeple as individuals with dignity and respect. If we get a system like that then surely it will be in the best interests of the children.
I like the panel idea , to add to that perhaps each parent is assigned an advocate/counsellor to support them through the process. The children are also assigned there own Advocate/counsellor.
I mentioned that the system is equal . 50/50 . I wasn't referring to the percentage of time that each parent spends with the child . IT is a starting point where all matters are looked at .
Another idea I have is that we have Parent A Parent B and Child C - the panel doesnt need too know the sex of each parent until final decision. The advocates do all the presenting until that stage . Do you think this could remove gender bias from the panel ?
oh , money is no object , the family court lawyers have gladly offered to fund the entire system as they think it is only fair that they gave something back
The panel should also be made up of mixed gender panelists. Equal in number. I did think it should be an odd number but this is not about voting and winning or losing, but the panel discussing together what is best for the children.
Another cat among the pigeons but do you not think that if there is one parent that the children live with most of the time that the amount of stress and difficulties placed on that person by the other parent affects the children. It certainly does in my case, however hard I try and protect them they are suffering too. I think that is something that needs to be taken into account when making decisions about 'orders'.
I also think there should be a better way to revisit the orders if they are not working. Maybe they should be revisited every 2 years unless they are working, and as much as possible the same panel of people review them with both parents to see what is and isn't working and amend as necessary. For so many of us circumstances change or things we thought would work when we agreed to the orders are now not working. Or people relocate etc etc. The same panel should be involved in contravention applications. Apart from personality/mental disorders, there would have to a reason an order is breached and rather than go to court as adversaries there should be a fair way of looking at why the breach occured. What is going on here? Is it shear bloodymindedness, a mental problem or are the orders not working?
I will think some more. Interesting subject.
Yes I do think that the stress and difficulties caused by the other parent affects the children and probably as children get older they understand more about what is happening and they see stressed and upset parents and probably start to balem themselves as they may think its their fault which it isnt. I face the same thing myself and I find dealing with this is best served by acceptance ,non reaction , no resistance and focussing on the positives .
Orders , yes I would scrap them in the new system , as we wouldn't need them .
Parents can enter into an agreement with the child - not the other parent.The ageement would then be based on the needs of the child .This would remove the game playing that goes on around consent orders , withholding children , making decisions without the other parents consent.
I think Parents fight about the child , not for the child and there is a big difference.
I need something written and I need it written clearly, unambigously and unquestionable. Otherwise all there are are arguements. I sat in a child dispute conference in which the mediator said over 10 times in as many different ways 'you two can't negotiate'. Therefore everything has to be in black and white in order to cause as few as possible conflicts. Of course all possibilities can't be covered but as many as you can think of at the time. And as the kids get older, change them. I can not see how it would work for me and my ex without orders. And neither can I see how it would work making an agreement with the children. In fact I think that would be a bad thing. the mediator said if you allow the children to choose where to stay on a day to day basis (when they are older) they will fight with one and say they are going to the other's house. if you aren't talking to the other parent neither of you will know where they are. She actually said it makes manipulative children and just doesnt work. So even older teenagers might not be the best age to make any decisions. Just give their views and have a responsible professional adult make the decision for them.
I thought of something else which is the money side of court REALLY REALLY needs to be removed from the equation. At one end you have one parent who receives legal aid and the other one doesn't and at the extreme other end, the really wealthy parent who can afford the best advice and go back to court again and again and take time off work and the parent struggling to pay legal fees. I am self represented and have an ex on really really good money. He can afford the legal costs, I can't. Does that mean he 'wins' because he can afford to pay for lawyers? Not neccesarily because in my case I have a very strong case, but sometimes that would be the case. How fair is that? the group of parents who go out and earn a reasonably decent wage and own a home and can't get legal aid, but cannot afford the exhorbitant costs of the legal profession. And not to mention the lives with parent who has to pay all the legal fees meaning there is less to spend on the children. I spent my children's 'gap year funds' and 'overseas trip funds' on legal fees first ime round. Can't afford it this time round. Particularly because he is the one that caused the problems with a relocation and unless we get all the way to a full hearing, I wouldn't get any legal fees back and even then it isn't definate.
I don't think there is any easy answer, which is why we have ended up with this deeply flawed system we have now. I don't know if there are any other better systems in any other countries around the world. I am sure if there were we would know about it and studies would have been done.
You can't legislate to make a parent fight for the child not about the child. And one thing everyone seems to forget is that the parents are no longer together for a reason!! if they couldn't make their marriage work, for whatever reason, how hard is it then to make a coparenting relationship work? All of us probably are guilty of not fighting for the children all the time. I know I am guilty of that sometimes, and make things difficult out of tit for tat or bloody mindedness because of everything he has done (not at the beginning - just recently after all the xxxx happened). however the difference between someone who does it ocasionally and someone doing it all the the time is the AWARENESS of doing it. That is what my ex,and probably many people, lack. The awareness of what they are doing and how it affects the kids.
under the new system conflict is dealt with by providing support and counselling to each individual , working through there own personal issues in relation to the breakdown of the relationship.In the rare cases of the amicable friendly /friendly parent the outcomes would be obviously be quicker.
The agreement is with the child - that doesnt mean the child makes and control the agreement.
Also under the new system we dont have to worry about the lawyers and costs and legal aid etc. The adversarial system doesnt exist anymore.
Its not easy to create a new system , but remember dont worry about the cost , and forget about the old system as we have a green field here
Just got a quiet day at work today!
There current system doesnt work so I was interested to see what you and other members could come up with if we had no boundarys in cost etc what a new system could look like.
And your right it probably aint gunna happen as there are too many powerfull self interested parties who will fight tooth and nail against anything that is gunna upset there apple cart.
Then again if enough separated parents rallied together anything is possible , and our numbers are growing daily .Just look at that brave parent who climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge to protest against the flawed system.
As for separated parents rallying together, I think that is a pipe dream unfortunately. You can see from this board that there are 2 camps, fathers and mothers (and the second wives/husbands involved in stepparenting). While some people see all mothers as money grabbing child withholding alienating parents and others see the fathers as money witholding uninvolved interfering controlling whatever whatever parents you will never get them to join together to fight for the same thing! and those that get on ok and don't think that about the other gender are probably the ones that don't end up in court and think the system isn't so bad! This is of course a generalisation which I am sure I will be pulled up for, but I just can't see the two 'sides' being able to unite against the family law system.
If one parent then witholds the children and it is proved then the court automatically on an urgent application removes the children to the other parent and grants limited or supervised time to the parent who tried to control time without seeking court interventions.
Also if one parent does not want the children then this results in child support being automatically granted once situation proved again in an urgent court application.
There you have 2 parents involved and financially supporting their children, reduced courts intervention and happier children I believe.
Sure beats a situation such as mine when 2 years in court and still only getting 7 hours per week due to court delays and backlogs.
The onus would then be on parents to automatically accept shared care and make it work for the children.
My son is not seeking shared care, but substansial time as we have now come to believe that shared care is a myth, a fairytale and about as obtainable as a rainbow. Children should have fairytales and rainbows in a perfect world.
With the professional investigation for want of a better word i assume this relates to a professional team looking at the needs of the children and make an objective assessment of what that child needs now .Moving forward I would assign this counsellor to the child long term ( like the child has a doctor / dentist) The agreement (order) is reviewed and changed as necessary.
I agree with your views on orders .Mine has a part in it which says something like changes can be made if both parents agree .Unfortunatley for me it sound like I have the same EX as you.I have found that quite often it is easier to just agree when she suddenly tries to change the time , day, or location for a pick up , or refuses to tell me the name of the doctor she has taken our son to , the standard response I get is " if you dont like the change I am making then you can take me to court."
I would be happy to just have a simple consnet order that says to both parents:
" Your a parent for goodness sake , Grow up , do whats best for your kids ,be involved in there lives , support and nurture them. Dont fight and argue with the EX over stupid trivial things , be flexible , reasonable , dont treat your kids like possessions , dont be selfish , other wise your gonna screw your kids up and they will grow up to hate you for it "
I know shared parenting works ( just to clarify in am not referring to 50/50 time here ) as I have seen divorced parents at sporting events watching their kids play ( actually sitting together !!!! ) there kids are happy , well adjusted and healthy . I actually asked the mum over a cup of coffee how they do it. She said "at first it was really hard , we hated each other and it took along time to get to where we are now .But I love my children too much to deny them their Father .the kids love him as much as they do me . So we sat down and worked it out.It takes time a hell of a long time but if you do whats best for your kids you get there eventually" They have both moved on have new partners and they only thing they have in common is their children and they are both very involved in the childrens lives .They talk about the needs of the children and make decisions together. The time split I think was 60/40 but she said they are both really flexible with and it justs changes when needed to fit in with the kids and work , holidays etc
I thanked her for telling me this and said that I wished she was my EX wife
I do not agree that shared care is always best for the children. It depends on so many factors. Now before I get lambasted for this I need to point out that I am not a feminist man basher, I do not withold my children from their other parent willy nilly for reasons of vengeance or whatever. I regard myself as the sane parent trying to do my best for my 2 sons who are suffering really badly from the shenanigans played by their father. He of course would say different but that is because he a) does not understand he has a problem and b)blames everything on me and c) has a personality disorder. Like I said, someone has told me he has a persecution complex and was going to try and talk some sense into him. This someone is totally objective and told me that he thought he was OK at the beginning! As long as you take my comments below on the basis that I am rational and reasonable and see things from both points of view (as much as I can anyway! - being married to someone who has sons who live with their mother and visit EOW and not even half school holidays anymore)
Firstly, if anyone ends up in court it is because they do not get on and can not make joint decisions for the best for their children. It can be done without court as I am sure we all know people who don't have orders at all and just sort it out amongst themselves.
Shared care DOES NOT WORK when the parents are not civil and do not put the needs of the children first.
If the maintenance and number of overnights were separated it would also make things far less antagonistic. How many people (not men, not women, people) are fighting over the amount of care because it is directly related to how much money they pay or receive? Lots, my ex included.
Shared care is not necessarily best for the children either. I think they need a stable home, with their things around them. certainty in their lives. I think it works least when they get older and start having a full life of their own and are studying for many hours. Like I say, I have experience of this because of my stepsons and how many times we have had to drive half an hour each way to drop of a book that got left behind or pick one up that is needed? I know this is partly because the child in question is forgetful, but the point is they shouldn't have to be thinking about those things while studying for their HSC. That is not to say it doesnt work I am just saying it doesn't always work. and I don't think it should be a starting point.
The age of the children makes a big difference, they can be too young or too old. The older ones probably want their own say and probably would choose to live in one household most of the time, it is easier. My eldest has quite clearly told me that, when his father relocates month on month off he wants to live with me during the week and see Dad on weekends, which is what I am proposing. And that doesn't take into account he may get a part time job.
Shared care as a principle is based on both parents being sane and reasonable. What happens when one isn't? Although the courts only stop children living with a parent at all if there is violence or real and obvious danger to the child, they don't take into account mental illnesses and personality disorders. My ex has a personality disorder that would might show up only after a lot of psychological testing, not a one hour appointment. Someone with PD makes coparenting a nightmare, I can not imagine the damage it would do to children to be shared with a parent like that by order of the court before any testing had been done. And in lots of cases the PD does not show up in testing and in any case courts do not take verbal and emotional abuse into account right now.
And then there is the question of distance. If the two households are right near eachother it is easier. What if they are more than say 10km apart, in a city with heavy traffic. The time spent travelling between 2 houses and between the house that isfurther from friends and school and after school activities will become onerous once kids are teenagers and have all that study.
So many other variables that I can't even think of right now.
I am not saying it doesn't work and I do know people who make it work reasonably well, but in all cases it is younger children. As one is getting older and approaching High School the parents are talking about changing the arrangement as it won't work. But most of all they cooperate and they talk. In fact the biological mother makes all arrangements with the stepmother which works for them. In another household I know the kids are older and it does work because they live really close and communicate well. I do think and agree with lots of studies, that the MAIN factor in making either shared care work, or what is best for the kids long term welfare is the parents being able to co-parent. If they can't and are in high conflict it just doesn't work. and if it is imposed on them by the courts and they are high conflict and one of them doesn't want it it would be even worst for the kids.
There is no doubt the current system stinks but that is what we all have to live with right now. In a new system I don't believe that starting off with shared care as the best for the kids is best for them at all. Each situation is different and all the variables have to be taken into account.
You asked, so here is my opinion for what it is worth!
Last edit: by larissap
I would just like to add that I have had the best and worst of this situation. EX#1 and I had and have an extremely amicable situation and very flexible. To us it was always about the child and they were the number one in all discussions. EX#2 is the complete opposite. They have labelled the children as possessions to do with what they wish, with no thought as to the childs needs or desires. To me, this is where the sysytem fails. When a parent is more concerned with "having what is owed to them" and not looking at the whole picture, then what may be an already acrimonious situation can become inflamed. Chidlren are not possessions, they are little people.
I too like the idea of a panel, but I also agree that there should be written orders as to all conclusions. I also like the idea of the child being "tracked" as to how the situation is working. It is all about the welfare of the child/
Just a thought - there seem to be many posters here that are determined to have the 50/50 time share of the children. If that is the case, was their care of the children 50/50 prior to separation? If not, then why do you feel it necessary to have 50/50 when it is outside the norm of what the child was used to? If it is yes, then yes I believe that the child should have what they are used, mindful of all exterior factors - school, living arrangements etc. Just because you are separated does not automatically give you 50%…the children are not property. What happened to quality versus quantity?
I am going to make some generalisations here, which one has to in discussions such as these, bearing in mind that I have said over and over again each situation is unique. Generally speaking who gives up work to raise children. The mother. Who does the school pick up and drop off, who does the playgroup thing, who does the helping with homework? Which parent buys the school uniforms, the clothes, the nappies, which parent takes the children to the Doctor, the Dentist? Before the separation? I know I know a generalisation but lets face it the majority of this is done by the mother's. In my case the father worked in a job that had him away 4 weeks - 8 weeks at a time. Who did everything for the kids then? Me. He doesn't even know about taking kids to optician and dentist because he has never done it. Doesn't know how it works with private medical cover because this was brought up in mediation and he asked about how the extra was paid. He has taken them to the Dentist exactly never and the optician exactly never and the doctor once or twice. Even when he was home I did it all. He couldn't have had children if there hadn't been someone at home to look after them while he was away.
Many men have jobs that don't allow them to have the kids 50/50. They often work longer hours, or further from home. I know this too is a generalisation but it is probably a correct generalisation. It is often not possible to for the men to have the kids 50% of the time anyway.
And yes, they are not possesions to be fought over. They deserve a stable certain safe life and it isn't their fault their parents split. sending them between one home and another like parcels is not best for them. And in fact the studies are showing that shared care is not an ideal situation for kids. I really don't think it is. And I am not saying in all cases, just in many. Some do work, but they are few and far between and in fact I don't know many people who even want it. Most men I know in this situation are happy with EOW and half the school holidays. It is the minority of men that ask for it actually (in my experience anyway!)
Kids need both parents there is no doubt about that. But like you say 50% time does not mean 50% quality time. Why not have the kids on weekends when you aren't working and have quality time to spend with them. After all during the week they are at school most of the time, or doing homework or after school activities. Just think about what is best for the kids and it isn't split time, but quality time with both parents.
and one other thing to throw in the pot. We have no fault divorce now. But what if the reason for the divorce was taken into account as another factor when deciding the residence of the children. Would a man who cheated on his wife and got someone else pregnant causing the marriage to break down 'deserve' to have the children 50% of the time. I know this is controversial and it isn't about what the parents deserve, but what the children deserve, but hey if the marriage broke up because one person did the wrong thing should the other parent be punished by not having their children with them most of the time?!!! bet this gets some comments!
I too agree that children do need both parents in their life, but if one parent has barely been there and is now fighting for "more" is that going to be detrimental to the children, or not? Do they really know how to be a parent, rather than just the entertainer? Do they want the extra responsibilty? If they did, why where they not more involved before?
I am sure that someone will throw in here that there are mortgages to pay etc. Well, sell the house, downsize the car and live frugally if the time with the children is so importantant to you. Make the choice rather than give excuses.
Hmm…not sure about bringing back the "at fault" divorce, though I do think I understand your reasoning. I think that if it was bought back then it would certainly make things more "entertaining" lol. It would also bring a whole differnt factor into the fights and maybe make an amicable situation nasty.
Maybe one thing that should be a factor is a parenting scale. In that there are a series of sessions, maybe similar to the Triple P Program, that asses how you are as a parent - whether you are the provider, the entertainer, the carer etc. Maybe this could help in determining how many hours are bestspent with that child, and they are getting the best from you. For example - if you are not the type of person who can successfully organise 2 differnt sport drop offs and a music lesson on the one night, plus ensure that all homework is done and a cooked meal prepared alll whilst doing the clothes washing, then have time with the child so they get the best of you and there is no obligation (only enjoyment) on both sides. (I hope that this made sense)
My Wednesday night involves 2 soccer training sessions at overlapping times, inbetween I do the food shopping and come home and unpack while finishing the meal that has been cooking in the slow cooker all day (only way I can manage dinner on a night like that!). Can't see the ex being able to do that!!! In fact he had to take them to something last weekend and I gave him times and places and when noone had yet turned up for something he sms'd me to ask what to do!!! DUH - ask at the place - I am no longer your wife and you are responsible for the children while you have them, can't you think for yourself! Of course I didn't say this but that is what I thought! (and apparently a few minutes later they all turned up - he had just got there first!)
This is completely off topic which was off topic in the first place.
But yeah I like your idea of a parent assessment. Trouble is all of this would take heaps of time and heaps of money and inolve being 'observed' because if you just ask someone how do you know if you aren't just getting a pack of lies?
Not sure how you would get around any lies though I would like to think that the professionals who would be running this new system would be able to spot the liar, whomever that may be.
Where did everyone else go?