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What Stops Men From Having Shared Care?

What Stops Men from Having Shared Care

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What are the issues which are barriers to men assuming shared care after divorce?

It has been worrying me for some time about what people think are the issues which stop shared care. Is it the law, the courts, womens attitudes, mens attitudes, capabilities, fears, money, - what exactly? The nature of this website is to concentrate on the legal issues but I also think the research, education, support and influencing roles are important.

So I would like to know - from all people - what they think stops men having shared care?

I would also like to put this into a bit of a context of what the barriers are for two groups:

1) Intact couples

2) Separated couples

Or in other words if we are to propose that 'society' needs to make decisions 'stopping' shared care then why shouldn't that apply to both groups?

Any takers?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
I've voted for the legal system, not that the actual legal system was my problem, my problem was likely more my fear of the perceived legal system combined with my state of health and fear of my ex. Looking back, the prime factor was that I did not contest the ex taking my son some 500 kms away, if it were not for that I guess that contact would be far greater. In fact I think that the legal system has helped, giving what I consider to be a clear indication to the ex that it would look toward what was right for my son.

I'd personally say that it is very much the attitude of society rather than specifically mothers, fathers, custodial parents or non-custodial parents views/attitudes and changing such attitudes is perhaps the key to changing the legislation.
In the younger generations, couples sharing care of children is much more the norm.

Here's an example from the other day though, my partner and I were having lunch out with his son. As the child is his son (and he doesn't have too much contact currently) he was caring for him. Feeding him lunch, doing the clean up, that sort of stuff. A lot of women made eye contact and murmered to me along the lines of, "good for you, you've got him trained well". I found this all a bit condescending. When we are out with all the children, we both sort various issue out for them, mostly depending on who is closest at the time.

So from my experience, I'd have to say it is society. With FMs being at the mature end of the spectrum, male and having careers that would not lend to a lot of "kid duty" you have to ask yourself what they bring from their own experience and how it colours the thinking.

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. 

Three major issues in parenting arrangements

Jon

Firstly there is no general agreement of what constitutes 'Shared Care' because it goes into the melting pot of substantial time and equal time. It is this confusion that has been an inherent weakness in proposals to change legislation. At least the SPCA and other group's were lobbying for a rebuttable presumption of 'Equal Time' which left the legislators in no doubt.

The three major issues in parenting arrangements are:

1. The practicalities

2. Emotive issues

3. Financial

Any or all of these may form 'barriers' or may be a reason that 'Shared Care' might occur.

Practicalities is a two way issue partially for men, many of whom do not work in father-friendly jobs that enable them to participate more fully in their children's lives. The second is distance and similar factors.

The Emotive Issues is a big factor when there are no genuine barriers to parenting arrangements but where one side takes an unreasonable 'stance' in opposition, which I describe as 'Mental Aberration' (You may call them attitudes, D4L includes 'Control' as part of this).

Financial Issues also play into the parenting issue, particularly when very young children are involved.

I always say 'Family Law' is about two main issues - the law itself and the emotive issues that surround it which is why this site is for more than just legal issues.

In theory at least the Courts do not (or should not) concern themselves with the emotive and mental aberration issues unless these are a danger to the children, but rather rule on the practicalities of any application. It is often the Courts inability to recognise the major changes that have occurred in Australian society that cause problems in the rulings on practicality.

Many parents fortunately do not enter the legal quagmire (where emotions and common sense are subjugated to the rule of Law) and make reasonable arrangements between themselves. These are the people that really put their children first -over and above any squabbles they may have.

No amount of legislation can change values or perceptions or attitudes amongst certain people but the Law should be 'there' in a 'just' way to overrule mental aberrations.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Social Conditioning

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.

Legal - Lawyers & Courts - Blockages to Shared Parenting

Agog said
The three major issues in parenting arrangements are:

1. The practicalities

2. Emotive issues

3. Financial
These are indeed significant factors.

I would add two others:

A. The need for relationship and human company (perhaps associated with "Emotive Issues"); and

B. The views and advice of lawyers and courts.

What both lawyers and courts do - "in the shadow of the law" - greatly contributes to fathers being dissuaded from shared care and residency.

Many fathers are discouraged upfront by their solicitor from applying for shared care.  They are told that there will be little chance of them getting it and that they would be just wasting their money ("Better to save your money and cut your losses.").

Even the man's OWN lawyers - often the barrister (but including the solicitor).  I have personally witnessed a barrister telling a man he had "no chance" and "should give up on this course now".  A year later, with different information, advice and legal support this father had substantial care of his two children!

Solicitors work on the father before court, while barristers work on the father at the court - in the foyer/lounge ("rollover room") - in time 'provided' by the court (a judge or magistrate) so that the court doesn't have to make a judgment.

In other words the judge provides the opportunity for lawyers to work over the father by pushing him out off the court room, and into the lounge area (or conference room), to ostensibly "work on an agreed solution" (so the court can appear 'reasonable' and doesn't have to do it's job).  Here, in a very emotional environment, immense pressure is brought to bear on a father to give in and agree.  He will be told that what he wants is 'unrealistic' and a judge won't allow it, so it will be best to minimise his loses, look reasonable and agree.  Months later he will realise that he was done over by his orders by consent and later that Rice and Asplund block subsequent changes.  Neat!  NOT!

Recently a solicitor related the following example of bias against fathers from a qualification course for lawyers practising in family law.  One topic covered was how to maximise property settlements for your client (the mother).  This solicitor asked the question about how to limit your client's (the father) losses in a property settlement.  Both the course instructor and the other course participants looked at him as though he was crazy and he was asked "Why would you want to do that?"  Admittedly this example is about property but it does indicate a bias and that bias DOES carrying across to child custody and residence.

It is a mistake to overlook the role of lawyers in negative outcomes for fathers and instead just blame the courts.  "In the shadow of the law" (the legislation and courts - thus these are by no means blameless) lawyers are perhaps more responsible for than any other for the separation of children and fathers.

Also see the thread containing Control and Money AND Companionship
On 1 January 2008 9:00am Jon Pearson said
I think the big issues around divorce are around MONEY and CONTROL.

Some people just can't lose control (even for a week at a time).

Some people expect to be given money - they expect money to be given to them - they don't expect to have to financially support themselves and the children without someone giving them MORE money.
On 1 January 2008 02:45pm dad4life said
Jon Pearson said
I think the big issues around divorce are around MONEY and CONTROL.
Agreed.  These are two of the BIG issues.

Until about three years ago, I used to think they were the only two, with the children taken so as to have control (ownership and power) and to use them as ('hostage') cash cows for the money.

Nowadays I have added a third key issue: companionship / relationship … the presence of human company in the household to obviate/quell any feelings of aloneness or loneliness.  This is a strong human driver or motivation and influencer of thinking and behaviour.

In most cases, children are taken, not only for control and money, but also to provide company and companionship for the custodial/residential parent (typically the mother).

It is also a significant motivation and consideration associated with limiting or frustrating contact time with the father: the mother does not want to and finds it very difficult to spend the time alone while the children are with their father.  Her world is empty and rather than fill it with other things she would prefer to fret, agonise and 'suffer'.  (There are, of course, other issues and reasons for seeking to diminish or dismiss father contact, and these may include a sense of ownership of the children, a drive to the only love and parent in the lives of the children, a competitive/envy fear that the children may get to know the father and may like/love him more than the mother, lack of control over the children [and father], hatred of the father, anger against the father [and not wanting him to have any joy in his life], revenge against the father, concerns that contact and residence time will reduce the mother's child support 'income', etc.)

In fact I would suggest that the companionship factor is possibly the prime motivating factor.  As humans we are made to live with others, and most people find it extremely difficult to live on their own.

Which makes the motivations and actions of non-contact mothers all the more cynical and evil.  They know what it is and means to have the company of the others (in this case children), and how bereft, grief stricken and depressed they would feel if they did not have the company of their children, but they are not only ready and willing, but eager, to excommunicate the father, in a cynical act of control and revenge, and to cast him out into a cold, barren wasteland of loneliness.

Little wonder that some fathers commit suicide after being deserted, evicted and having their children stolen.  AND realising there is no HOPE of it (legally) changing via courts or country.

The bottom line is

The possibility of two separated parents sharing care in a meaningful way is mostly dependent on the attitude of the parents concerned. Unfortunately it only takes one parent pursuing the concept of "Sole Parent" or "Primary Carer" to undermine any attempt at shared care.

The courts could do a lot more to discourage inappropriate attitudes, including enforcing orders, post separation parenting programs and other measures. Unfortunately many Judicial officers hold the opinion that the Court cannot force anybody to do anything and that it is not the courts role to re-educate parents.

To compound the problem, Social Research has been used to promote the concept (theory) of "Primary Attachment to the mother" in an attempt to trump any legal sense of equality between parents.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Primary attachment is one of the many categories of things they use to discriminate between men and women. Even if the law was adjusted to rebuttable presumption of shared care as long as 'the best interests of the children' exist then they can make up all sort of new things to say one parent 'parents' better than the other.

What the NEVER seem to say is - the father works and earns money - therefore children should stay with him:

1) Because he is more able to provide for them

2) Better role model in society.

Instead they use court and CSA systems to make the father less well off and give the money to the mother - leaving only 2) above.

In that case the role modelling as a concept in parenting is  not seen as important - the role model of someone staying at home, getting money from government and ex partners and 'winning' using the legal system - is the ROLE MODEL the legal system encourages.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
That is very true Jon, the difficulty is in balancing work and care for the primary carer so there is enough income to live on, and time for the children. The systems in place now of child support, relying on govt handouts etc are all flawed, and fundamentally unfair on all concerned.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
There are many different circumstances why fathers don't get equal shared time.

I don't think the judges and legal system take sides with mothers. From my experience they are fair and, if the correct evidence is put forward, they make the fairest decisions.

The one who has done the wrong thing in the relationship will always be the one to suffer more and it's not always the fathers.

Magistrates are not stupid; they work it out. I know of a lot of mothers that pay child support.
Yeah I can vouch for that - I am supposed to pay child support despite the fact my ex cut his hours when he realised he had to pay, ensuring HE doesn't pay but I do. He also works cash in hand.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
Cooldad - is what you are saying is that men are worse parents than women - is that where you are coming from?

You think all the courts in the land make the fairest decisions about family matters and child support.

Then you propose the idea of wrongness and people being made to suffer. (By whom and how?)

Then the concept of you knowing mothers who pay child support - have you any idea of the statistics?

Is this what you meant to say?

Is this what you mean?

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
I think cooldad is talking based on his experience, and not everyone has negative experiences. I would be interested in figures showing who pays child support by gender, broken up into income amounts of both parents. It would be interesting to see if stats back up the general consensus on these boards that fathers pay more.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
Jadzia.

If I recall correctly, according to CSA figures, the amount of mothers who fail to pay or are behind in payments, is the reverse of fathers. That is something like 60-70% (i.e. 30-40% don't) of fathers pay and pay on time, whilst 60-70% of mothers don't. Also not taken into account, is that in my experience, many fathers who end up with custody, don't even try getting the mother to pay (perhaps due, amongst other things, to the societal conditioning that instils in us that fathers are the wallets).
That is certainly interesting, especially considering media attention to "deadbeat dads" and the fact that if you collect family payment you have to collect child support (ie if you don't then Centrelink don't pay you).

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
Centrelink only "don't pay you" if you are getting the maximum payments. I fell into this trap. I didn't want appear as the one taking the ex through CSA (to avoid the backlash) and assumed from incorrect CSA advise that as I was receiving a family payment, they would order an assessment. I signed the private agreement and was promptly shafted and over 3 years about $20K worse off.

ACA and the like are programs interested in ratings. They appeal to the lowest common denominator and only focus on the emotive side of issues. Beautiful, lovely, nurturing mummies and nasty, authoritarian, bad daddies. A topic as complex as CSA, Centrelink and families after divorce is way beyond their capability. This clearly lies in the realm of SBS or ABC to do an expose.

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. 

are men worse parents?

Jon Pearson said
Cooldad - is what you are saying is that men are worse parents than women - is that where you are coming from?

You think all the courts in the land make the fairest decisions about family matters and child support.

Then you propose the idea of wrongness and people being made to suffer. (By whom and how?)

Then the concept of you knowing mothers who pay child support - have you any idea of the statistics?

Is this what you meant to say?

Is this what you mean?
Of course not Jon.

I'm a good dad, and a good cook and can do everything a woman can do in a home, but the ex is better qualified I can't argue with that. I pay child support and provide many extras to my son and his mother, men are definitely not worse parents.
Neither is necessarily better or worse. Both can bring different things (which is why children benefit from having both a male and female figure involved).
Each to his own of course - that's the point of parenting - you both get to participate based on how you see things and what you agree.

I am reluctant to generalize TOO MUCH - most of the comments I make are actually based on research and statistics - as well my own observations and experience.

The point of this thread is to see what makes men think the women is 'better' in any way or the kids will be better off with them. The idea that by paying money - the males duty is done - seems to be a common idea - e.g. I'm a good dad because I pay CSA. I'm not a "deadbeat dad".This is a model which benefits the receiver of the money but does little to help anyone else.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
To me a "deadbeat dad" is someone who not only refuses to take financial responsibility for a child but shows no interest in the childs welfare or upbringing, or even worse uses the child as a weapon in his own personal war against the mother.  

There are a few "deadbeat mothers" too.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
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