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The Shared Parenting Council re-states its philosophy and policy

The Shared Parenting Council policy has always been about shared parenting is best for kids

The Shared Parenting Council has always maintained a commitment to the primary principal that each parent shall facilitate and encourage a close relationship with children ensuring that children have the benefit of both of their parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives and is working to deliver real shared parenting time outcomes for children.

The Shared Parenting Council believes in the fundamental principal of a presumption of equal time notwithstanding the safety of children is paramount and the ability of one or other of the parents to support equal or substantially equal time arrangements
The SPCA supports and will continue to promote equal time parenting as the preferred and normative starting point and final outcome for all separating couples who are fit parents and desire to continue and maximize their relationships with their children.

  • To promote the family as the fundamental social unit of society;
  • To encourage and support parents, to jointly and equitably share the rights, duties and responsibilities of parenthood;
  • To promote the fundamental rights of children to maintain frequent and continuing contact with both their mother and father following parental separation or divorce and to experience and enjoy, the love, guidance and companionship of both their parents in an equal and shared manner;
  • To advocate the enactment of Commonwealth and/or State legislation which establishes a rebuttable presumption in favour of both shared residence and shared parenting responsibility;
  • To bring to the attention of relevant Commonwealth and/or State authorities the social and legal circumstances of separated families, and to ensure their interests are safe-guarded in the implementation of legal and administrative systems affecting them;
  • To raise public and official awareness of social policy which acts against the best interests of children, and exposes them to unacceptable risk of emotional or physical harm;
  • To advocate the right of children to the continuing emotional, moral, physical and financial support of their mothers and fathers following separation or divorce;
  • To advocate the enactment of Commonwealth and/or State legislation which encourages the continuing involvement of their mothers and fathers in the support of their children following parental separation or divorce.
  • To ensure that appropriate wording is reflected in all legislative instruments and Acts that reflects a direction to make orders and policies that enact shared parenting outcomes.
The SPCA will continue to advocate that as much of the jointly held parental responsibility, duties and decision making, and time lived with children that is enjoyed by both parents in the intact home, be preserved for the rich benefit of children after separation or divorce. In particular the SPCA will advocate that court orders, which are injunctions on people's freedoms, be used sparingly to impact as little as possible on these relationships other than to ensure equal shared parental responsibility and maximize parenting time the child enjoys living with both parents. Children should thus be allowed, without injunction, to enjoy a rich childhood filled with the love and nurturance of both parents and all the affections of home that come with living equally with their mother and their father in both parents' respective homes.

The SPCA recognises that denial of contact between children and their parents on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations or to obtain a strategic advantage in custody proceedings or to punish the other parent is harmful and a form of child abuse. SPCA supports and advocates the principle of no unilateral summary exclusion of either parent immediately following a separation and that the law should protect the right of the child not to be excluded from the life of the other parent.

The SPCA advocates the abolition of the institutionalised segregation of children from one of their parents, grandparents, extended family and loved ones by the erroneous and expedient deference to the Best Interest Principle when no best interest is served by rendering a child parentless.

The SPCA recognises the presence of a Second Stolen Generation of children made parentless by misplaced social policies and institutionalised segregation and that all effort must be made to end incidents of segregation of children from their biological mother and father where both parents are fit and willing to parent their children.

The SPCA will maintain a continuing public education campaign to bring about further change in attitudes after separation

The SPCA believes in fairness in Child Support and supports the notion that children must be accommodated financially by both parents after separation.

After extensive work reviewing judgements during 2006 and 2007 the SPCA has commenced work on additional modifications to sections of the Family Law Act that preclude shared parenting time when one or other of the parental parties is requesting such time with children. An example of the required changes is:

65DAA Court to consider child spending equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent in certain circumstances:
Equal time 

              (1)  If a parenting order provides (or is to provide) that a child's parents are to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child, the court must: 

                      a)  consider whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents would be in the best interests of the child; and 

                      b)  consider whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents is reasonably practicable; and 

                      c)  if it is, (consider making now replaced with must make) (must make) an order to provide (or including a provision in the order) for the child to spend equal time (added or substantially equal) or substantially equal time with each of the parents.

The Shared Parenting Council looks forward to support from other groups in achieving constructive and beneficial change both in the Family Law legislation and in Child Support Legislation process and reforms that will have far reaching effects during 2007 and 2008.

Federal Director
Executive Secretary

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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