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It's my divorce too ! - Discuss the Sunday Life feature story in the Sun Herald 27 January 2008

According to 2006 figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about half the 50,000 Australian divorces annually involve children – a figure that doesn't include de facto relationships. Yet their voices are rarely heard.

Firstly our thanks to Georgina Jordan the Editorial Coordinator for Sunday Life who supplied the article researched and written by By Claire Scobie. The lift out featured last weekend in the Sun Herald / The Sunday Age (27 January 2008)and is generating a lot of discussion about Shared Parenting.

For the children, divorce can be a minefield of parental absences, new homes, new rules - and even new family members. Here, kids who have been through the "big bang" talk about how the separation affected their lives.

Until now, much of the legal and psychological attention has focused on how a child reacts to the "big bang" and its aftershocks. However, new research from the US by psychologist Judith Wallerstein, who has studied the long-term effects of divorce for 25 years, suggests that the critical experience for the child comes much later, when new family units are being built.

Since July 2006, a quiet revolution has been going on in family law, following the amendment to the Family Law (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act. The changes recognise a child's right to a meaningful relationship with both parents (except where violence or child abuse are involved) and encourages mediation with the assistance of nationwide Family Relationship Centres. :thumbs:

You can read the article in the News section here

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Thanks Secretary SPCA for taking the trouble to post this interesting article.

The side of reason and sensibility… No wonder Michael Green QC is so highly regarded and has people like Jill Burrett working as co-author to his new shared parenting book.
Psychologist Jill Burrett, co-author with Michael Green of the book Shared Parenting: Raising Your Children Cooperatively After Separation said
 Instead of saying we'll ration out appointed time to Dad with access or visitation, we say we'll now start halfway.

But there's a long way to go !

80 per cent of children from separated families still live in sole-mother custody arrangements and as many as one third have little or no contact with their father.

Still, if children sense their parents want a 50/50 timeshare because each parent can't bear the other having more time, the children feel more like possessions to be fought over than people to be loved. This sense of being an emotional football is deeply corrosive
Then you get the "Dark Side" who would see us going back to accepting the tender years doctrine espoused elsewhere on this site. The old Government doctrines in the 1940's to encourage returning servicemen to leave the home , give up parenting and get to the workforce.
Dr Jenn McIntosh, adjunct associate professor at La Trobe University's school of public health and the clinical director of Family Transitions, a family psychology consultancy said
Although the law promotes shared parenting, it's a model that doesn't always work with infants, who can inadvertently lose attachment with both parents.

It's a huge developmental dilemma for infants and toddlers when given shared time between parents. A two-year-old can?t cope with four overnights away from their primary carer.

It's terribly important for adults to get the pace right. Teens often cope better or with their feet.

Shared parental care also doesn't work where there?s ongoing conflict.

These children live between two deeply divided worlds and they become divided rather than a shared child. They have to cross a no-man's land and put up with hostile fire from one parent about the other.
In respect to Dr McIntosh and her commentary regarding ongoing conflict.

What a lot of "hogwash"! The primary reason for parental conflict in all my research is the withholding of contact, by one vindictive and controlling parent from the other. The spoils of an often protracted separation go to one parent. That is why such extensive changes were made in the July 2006 legislation to say to these wayward and delinquent parents "enough is enough". I suggest to Dr Dr McIntosh she gets to read the legislation in full and especially the detailed explanatory accompanying papers and see what is required these days.

Is it any wonder (predominately fathers) become frustrated, disillusioned, despairing and angry. Give me a break. What about the huge number of shared parenting outcomes reached through mediation and out of court arrangements? has Dr McIntosh been in some time warp and just arrived back?
Any other comments about the article?

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
The article resonates with my experiences somewhat.

One of the main things which change is that when parents are together - they are IN CHARGE. They direct and control life and choices and lead by example with the children.

After divorce and court- parents are no LONGER IN CHARGE - in many cases ONE PARENT WINS and is seen to win. The other is cast as a loser and impotent.  This of course is clearly how the court sees people - stripping them of assets and children and rights.

The "shared parenting does not work where there is conflict" idea IS RUBBISH and emotional claptrap. There is no end for people who HAVE NO IDEA postulating reasons to CAUSE DAMAGE TO MEN AND CHILDREN by maintaining arguments supporting removal of children from men and giving children and assets to women. They never stop pushing their "Theory" so courts can intervene in people's lives.

My ex hated me (and did all she could to damage me constantly) but we had shared care. I just never had to see her or talk to her. Who in the right mind would? And there was very little which NEEDED to be communicated about anyway.

Government (courts) decision making - causes the BIGGEST damage to children - because CHILDREN SEE HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS. My children are under no illusions as to what can happen when they grow older and get into relationships - and the madness is broadcast every day in every way. (White ribbon day, violence against women, removing women and children from detention centres (AND leaving men there), Paul McCartney, etc). It's a never ending BOMBARDMENT of INEQUALITY and UNSUPPORTED, ILLOGICAL ASSERTIONS.

This is the REAL damage to relationships which is being caused.  The latest "IDEA" (from ex-Democrat Natash Despoja) to pay women to have babies, be pregnant, not work, be carers (whatever that means) WILL NOT solve problems with relationships in Australia today - it will make it worse. Systematic GOVERNMENT ABUSE of people has become more and more acceptable. Those who participate in it are either - evil, too stupid to see it, not ethical enough or prefer their "employment and money" to doing a decent job.

Children survive their own experiences and learn from it.

Having seen what is happening to everyone around them - who in their right mind would want to get married or have children?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
It's not my experience with my own child or my DSS that 2 year olds can't manage 4 overnights. What they do need is predictability. Kids can't tell time, but they sense it's passing and know that it's "getting close to spending time with Dad". It all depends on the attitude of the parents. I really think it depends on the child.

I think it should be attempted, then adjusted if the child isn't coping. Although, that opens the door a crack to PAS parents who will use that to drive a wedge. Suddenly the "I think he would do better with just weekends" becomes not at all.

I also think that there is a notion of "the perfect childhood" that everyone is entitled to. It doesn't exist. Even in intact families, you will find favouratism and other issues. Families are how we start to learn about the world and they are not perfect places. Due to the scrutiny of a break up, I think that you are held to a higher standard and have to justify yourself a lot more.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Uhhm if the rules that were applied to separated families were applied to intact families. I can't even imagine what the result would be.
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