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  • Family law must be fair
  • By Editorial
  • Herald Sun
  • 10/01/2010 Make a Comment (2)
  • Contributed by: MrNatural ( 12 articles in 2010 )
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FAMILY law is a vexed and emotionally charged area. It has been a source of controversy and review for decades - ever since 1975 when Lionel Murphy enacted the Family Law Act, which enshrined no-fault divorces.

But, after countless reviews and changes to the law, we are yet to get it right.

In 2006, the Howard government established the principle of shared parenting to encourage both parents to share responsibilities after divorce. It gave fathers a better chance of gaining custody or helping to rear their children.

Feminist groups have now mounted a campaign to have the shared parenting legislation rolled back and the Rudd Government is exploring the proposals. There have been no fewer than six official reviews of the Family Law Act.

Obviously, the protection of children is paramount in family law, but there needs to be a balance that ensures the rights of all parties are respected.

There is an increasing number of cases in which parents have been stopped from seeing their children because the system has been manipulated by the other parent. There have been cases in which parents who have abused children have been given custody or access to them.

Today, the Sunday Herald Sun exposes such a case. A mother, found by the Family Court to be violent, untruthful, lacking moral values and responsible for emotional and psychological abuse of her children, has been given custody.

Their father, described by a judge as "intelligent" and "courteous", was falsely accused by his former wife of sexual abuse of his daughters and has not had regular contact with the children since August 2005.

The Family Court ruled that the father was no threat to his daughters, but found that because of the time he spent apart from the children, it was best they not see each other.

The judge added: "It is a sad fact in the family law jurisdiction that a determination which is most consistent with the best interests of the children can appear to reward bad behaviour on the part of one parent and work in apparent injustice for the well-motivated, best-performing parent."

While the court's decision is understandable, it surely raises questions about the need for safeguards to prevent a parent being wrongly tagged as violent or abusive.

The system needs to be refined under the guiding principle that men and women should have equal opportunities to develop loving relationships with their children. It must protect and nurture all parties in a divorce. It must aim to be both compassionate and fair.

The law will never be perfect. But it can be better.


    By:Anthony from Victoria, Australia on January 20, 2010 @ 11:33 am
    Thre sole reason the family court is in existance is to break up families, extort their assets, turning generations of children into delinquents and prostitutes. See Child Stealing By The State on youtube (by Brian Gerrish)
    By:Johnno from Vic, Australia on January 16, 2010 @ 9:35 pm
    Family Law will never be fair just give it the ASS!!!!!!!

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