The strategy of the Family Law Reform Coalition !For many months a number of us have been working on a strategy and a direction to change the system that we currently operate in for Family Law matters after separation.
My colleagues, a small but dedicated bunch of professionals, have been living and breathing family law matters over countless weeks to develop a solution that would be supported by the mainstream and concerned citizens.
The momentum has been growing since the publication of the Shared Parenting Council policy developed over a lengthy period.
When I released my blog on the unfolding deterioration of the Family Court situation in my article "A sickness has fallen on the Family Law system" I did not expect such support. I have had hundreds of posts and emails. Since that article we have seen the amazing interest from Senator Madigan which resulted in the very well attended Melbourne town hall meeting, MP the Honourable George Christensen Federal Member for Dawson who has chaired the Child Support reform committee and Mr Craig Kelly, Federal Liberal member for Hughes who has spoken extensively in Parliament about the rorts in relation to report costs. It is a complete disgrace that from the commencement of an AVO or intervention proceeding by Police to a final hearing in a family court many years later will result in one parent loosing all contact with children on mere allegation and often the complete removal of one parent from the children forever.
The beginning of the end has started with releasing the strategy of the Family Law Reform Coalition.
A range of groups and key members have contributed to the draft which will be developed as we go forward to make a “tectonic change” to an archaic and failed system. The system, as is currently being operated, cannot sustain the non deliver of services to children and families in separation. Family violence is a direct result of the failed system and the parliamentary lobby is starting to realise a complete change to the way the separation business is handled is required. The extensive 2003 report 'Every Picture tells a story' published on the site here was only partially acted on and at that time called for significant changes.
It is misleading to suggest that the government adopted the majority of recommendations of the 2003 report. They did not adopt the key/core recommendation! A non-adversarial system, with the role of the courts reduced dramatically. The reasons for not adopting this are wrong, and have been proven so: the family court system remains inescapably unfit-for-purpose for all the reasons discussed in the “Children in Crisis” report;
Other important recommendations that have not been properly adopted include: "Community education to promote shared parenting”. This should have been a major, national advertising campaign - something as effective as the (in)famous 1987 AIDS ads, that jolts the community into a different way of thinking about parenting after divorce, and about it being (ab)normal for our society to accept thousands of children growing up without access to half of their families. I am unaware of any effective, widespread community education;
The 2003 report had at least one major flaw. When the report recommended "a presumption against shared parenting time where there is 'entrenched conflict’ " (and not just where there is proven violence or abuse), it negated a lot of the good it might otherwise have done. What this means, in effect, is that all one parent needs to do is to make a judge feel that the two parents really don’t get along (not a difficult perception to create after 2 or more years in court), any presumption of shared parenting (whether responsibility or time) goes out the window;
The beginning of the end movement has started with the release of our high level plan. The independent Senators are preparing a motion for release in the new year. What are you doing to start the journey to the end of this system and transition to a new workable system.
Please feel free to make comment. If you don’t like it let us know. If you support the thrust to make a tectonic shift to the present failed family law system please let us know as hundreds and thousands of hours are going into making the system better. If we are wasting our time we need to know. If you have a better idea let us know.
If you feel you want to do something positive bring this post and the material to the attention of your local Federal and State Members.