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Anti-shared parenting article: 'Ping-pong' kids of divorce in hell

An article by Jill Singer. Several recent cases highlight the disaster the Howard government's patriarchal ideology foisted upon Australian families by introducing shared parenting laws in 1996.

Herald Sun
16 July 2009

'Ping-pong' kids of divorce in hell
By Jill Singer

How many more disastrous decisions does the Family Court have to make before the Rudd Government's promised review of the Family Law Act is completed and acted on?

Several recent cases highlight the disaster the Howard government's patriarchal ideology foisted upon Australian families by introducing shared parenting laws in 1996.

The idea behind shared parenting is based on the notion that children benefit by having frequent contact with both parents, preferably 50/50.

It works for some separated couples.

But as Prof John Wade, chairman of the Family Law Council sees it, the law is flawed and has led to some horrible decisions.

One Melbourne mother is defying a Family Court order to hand over her 19-month-old daughter to the baby's father, who lives in Darwin.

The baby has always been in the primary care of Ms A but is to be ripped from her and sent back to the father in Darwin.

Ms A incurred the wrath of the court because she left Darwin without the father's permission.

Originally from Melbourne, she met him in 2006 after taking up a teaching job.

They split in May this year, whereupon Ms A decided to come back to Melbourne with their baby.

She is now working two days a week and studying, while living with her mother, who helps with child care.

The court decreed Ms A did the wrong thing by not staying in Darwin and striving to share parenting equally.

Never mind that she's from Melbourne and has done the lion's share of parenting, that the father won't move from Darwin to spend time with his child, or that the baby has extended family here.

Shared parenting laws effectively shackle women to the fathers of their children.

A woman from Bendigo, for example, could get pregnant after a quick fling on a visit to Kalgoorlie – and be forced to stay there to share parenting.

Mrs B is another Melbourne mother hit by the changes.

Part of a large Italian family, she moved to Sydney in 2001 with her husband and their two children, now six and eight.

In 2005 the marriage fell apart and Mr B set up home with his personal assistant, whom he's now planning to have more children with.

Mrs B also wants to move on by returning to Melbourne with her children, but the court won't permit it.

If Mrs B wants to see her children regularly, she must suffer living near her happy ex-husband and his new girlfriend as they make a brand new family.

Then there's Mr and Mrs R, who lived together in Sydney for many years before their daughter was born in 2002.

In early 2007 he got a job in northwest Queensland and his wife and daughter moved with him.

The marriage broke up soon after and Mrs R returned to Sydney with their daughter.

Even though he could find suitable work in Sydney, Mr R doesn't want to move back home to share parenting, because, as he told the court, he just loves his job in outback Queensland – it's important to him and interesting.

Meanwhile, Mrs R claims to have felt emotionally and physically isolated living up north.

The legal upshot is that the daughter, aged seven, must go and live in northwest Queensland with her busy father.

Unless Mrs R returns there, she will rarely get to see her daughter.

There will always be bad mothers and good fathers, but this is not the point.

The good parent has their child's best interests at heart, and the same applies to good family laws.

I'm reminded of the biblical judgment of Solomon in which two women come before Solomon claiming to be the mother of the same baby.

How to decide the real mother?

Solomon suggests a 50/50 split between the women, to be achieved by slicing the baby in half with a sword.

Rather than see her baby die, the real mother immediately reveals herself by offering to relinquish her child to the lying woman.

Solomon, of course, gives custody to the genuine mother.

Before the law was changed, it was generally seen as being in the child's best interests to have a primary home with one or other parent.

The shift towards a 50/50 split between separated parents is seeing too many children's lives dangerously disrupted.

We're now seeing children under the age of two being shared week about and often forced to travel long distances, colloquially known as ping-pong kids - shuttled back and forth between homes.

Children this young are highly dependent little creatures who thrive on stability and routine - some are still breast-fed, but being denied primary care by their mothers.

The old rules might well have seen some fathers hard done by, but the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

Any father who could deny his baby a loving mother because of the location of his job or his new girlfriend is as bad as Solomon's lying mother - prepared to destroy a child's life for her own selfish needs.

And any law that condones it is even worse.
Jill Singer: another nasty father-hating, misandrist feminist.

Quote #1: How many more disastrous decisions does the Family Court have to make before the Rudd Government's promised review of the Family Law Act is completed and acted on? Several recent cases highlight the disaster the Howard government's patriarchal ideology foisted upon Australian families by introducing shared parenting laws in 1996.

Quote #2: Shared parenting laws effectively shackle women to the fathers of their children.

Quote #3: Any father who could deny his baby a loving mother because of the location of his job or his new girlfriend is as bad as Solomon's lying mother - prepared to destroy a child's life for her own selfish needs. And any law that condones it is even worse.

Jill Singer thinks she is Solomon

Jill Singer thinks she is Solomon. Adds a bit of humour I suppose. The article certainly seems to be strictly from a woman's point of view. The article would apply equally no doubt if the genders were switched about.

An article for an opposition would not be on gender, but on the positiveaspects perhaps, of shared parenting. Beginning, it must be difficult to write laws to cover each and every situation. Some cases that appear as a loophole case are actually cases where falsity has occurred, and those cases are mainstream, but in need of justice.

I do not have any official statistics on the positive effects of the new shared parenting laws, but one can imagine such exists because of the many cases of the past that were protested against in front of the Courts and Parliaments, and werelamented in pubs and private homes, etc. due to Court appointed single parenting.There must be many happy instances of separation. It is like they say, bad news travels faster.

Also, even years ago, many parents came to an amicable parenting agreement and never used the Courts, never became subject to the law of the country. Surely at least some of those parents and children have benefited from their shared parenting.

It is not our fault, nor the authors' fault, that shared parenting as law is a product of the current era only. We are at the beginning. People need to have time to let the education set in, and for them to absorb the law and marry with the expectation in mind that either parent could end up with the daily care of the kids if they seperate.

As for those cases mentioned in the paper-those cases could change in a relatively short space of time. The fathers may relocate in later years to wherever the mother has more ties/family, and give the mother a turn. Or, assist her with airfares and telephone bills so that relatives can be kept in the picture.

Perhaps, if one parent ends up with more than a fair share of the choices, they should have to compensate the other, however, I think that is just fuel for a lawyer. Each of those cases may have one point in common, an initial agreement was contracted between the two parents, and one parent chose to cease to abide by it.
Sorry!

What does the article above have to do with shared parenting?

Nothing!

Know thine Enemy

I hate having to using the term enemy in relation to anything to do with families but feel there is no choice.

But it seems to me the article by Ms Singer is another in series which suggest that the only person in need of consideration in family breakdown is the mother. The children's need are not a relavent consideration as long as the mother can do what ever she pleases and retains the right to change her mind about that too.

This is in spite of the evidence of the critical importance of an involved father to the balanced development of children. And this evence is coming from both the social Scientists (Psychology and Sociology) and the Health sector.

The article by Ms Singer certainly qualifies as a "Reaction to shared parenting", negative though it is. But to attempt to ignore the negative is to fail to understand what may be required to rebut the negative position. Therefore I think the post is in the correct forum.

And of course as is already pointed out previously in this topic. The mother in question didn't consider the needs of the child or the father in making an arbitary decison to follow what were exclusively her "Desires" in abitarily moving interstate.

It is a theme which appears all to regularly in our Family Courts, a parent confuses their own wants with the needs of any child(ren). Sometimes the court pick up on it, unfortunately, sometimes they don't. Much as I hate to admit the reality, some to allow relocation is the only viable option. But more often, it is not the best option for the child.

A final comment. As a parentI am often required to forgo my own desires and wants in favour of the needs of my child. I must always seek the balance which does the best meets everybody's needs and fullfils some of the desires.I don't feel deprived because I miss out, I accepted this would happen when I accepted the responsibility of parenthood. The joy I feel through parenting my child compensates me far in excess of anything I feel I might have missed out on.

But then I don't see parenting as a chore - To me it is a challenge, enjoyable and not the least boring. I also understand the biological reality is I am a father, but"parent" signifies a state of mind represent by my commitment to assist my child to develop "THEIR" full potential.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!

Media attacks on separated fathers, their children and shared parenting

Thanks very much AJ44 for posting this article in the "Shared Parenting Reactions" forum, which addresses "the judicial, administrative, bureaucratic and cultural denial of Equal Shared Parenting Time damaging our children and rendering a generation or more of children parentless, and fathers made childless."

This denial also includes both 'academic' and medial denial.

Jill Singer joins Caroline Overington as a feminist and mothers' rigths fifth columnist.

Both are part of a orchestrated mothers' rights campaign to wind back family law to the bad old days of sole mother custody and control.

That is not good for children.  Our children need protective parents - fathers - who can monitor and assess the care and welfare of their children in sole mother households, where, sadly, so many of them are abused.

Loving and caring fathers want to and are able to raise their children and protect them from the harms and hurts of bad mothers.


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