Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

Australian Broadcasting Company

Committee proposes family law overhaul

Monday, December 29, 2003

John Howard set up the committee to examine child custody arrangements. (ABC TV)

A federal parliamentary inquiry has recommended a wide-ranging shake-up of Australia's family law, including an overhaul of child custody payments.

The House of Representatives Family and Community Affairs Committee has recommended that in family breakdown situations, a 50-50 share of a child's custody should be the "standard objective" but says that aim should not be enshrined in law.

Prime Minister John Howard set up the joint parliamentary committee in June, asking it to investigate Australia's child custody system and "in particular, whether there should be a presumption that children will spend equal time with each parent and if so, in what circumstances such a presumption could be rebutted".

"We have concluded that the goal for the majority of families should be one of equality of care and responsibility, along with substantially shared parenting time," the report says. "They should start with an expectation of equal care.

"However, the committee does not support forcing this outcome in potentially inappropriate circumstances by legislating a presumption (rebuttable or not) that children will spend equal time with each parent.

"Rather the committee agrees that, all things considered, each parent should have an equal say on where the child or children reside. Wherever possible, an equal amount of parenting time should be the standard objective, taking into account individual circumstances."

The committee recommends that in the first instance after a separation, there should be a "rebuttable presumption of equal shared parental responsibility".

The committee says 'shared parental responsibility' does not necessarily mean 'equal time residence' with each parent.

"The committee recommends 'shared parental responsibility' be defined as involving a requirement that parents consult with one another before making decisions about major issues relevant to the care, welfare and development of children," the report said.

Three-tier system

The committee has recommended a new three-tier system be established to deal with child custody matters after a family breakdown, including a new entry point to provide information to parents.

The second tier would be a newly created Families Tribunal, which would decide on child custody disputes, taking on much of the role currently performed by the Family Court.

The new tribunal would "make binding orders about all aspects of parenting responsibility", with accredited professionals in the family relationships field, including mediators and child psychologists, serving as decision-makers.

The courts would serve as the third tier of the system but would have a "significantly reduced" role, limited to cases involving entrenched conflict, violence or abuse, and to reviewing some tribunal decisions.

The committee recommends that the current structure of courts dealing with family matters be simplified to create one federal court.

Child support

The committee has also recommended that the minimum child payment should increase from $5 to $10 a week.

It says any direct link between the amount of child support payments and the time children spend with each parent should be removed.

The committee also wants to see greater recognition of grandparents' roles in many children's lives.

The committee's deputy chairwoman, Labor's Julia Irwin, has issued a plea to the Government to accept the findings.

"I urge the Prime Minister and I urge the Government to have the courage to take on the recommendations that are before you today for the sake of those 1 million children, for the sake of the families and also for the grandparents," she said.

2003 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Landmark Ruling Grants Father Custody of Children

PA News (U.K.), July 3, 2004

A key court decision to grant a father custody of his daughters after the mother flouted contact orders for four years was today welcomed by campaigners.

Fathers 4 Justice said that the High Court ruling was a vital victory and called for more judges to take a similar stance when faced with resistant parents.

The comments come after Mrs Justice Bracewell transferred the residence of two young girls to their father because the mother persistently refused him contact, despite court orders.  Read More ..

Family Conflict and Suicide Rates Among Men

by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995

Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues

A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men.

Toxic Parents Study Australia

Sydney Morning Herald

The sins of the mothers

The Sydney Morning Herald
September 12, 2008

Wayne Warburton, a research fellow at Macquarie University's Children and Families Research Centre, said: "Mothers have a really powerful effect on the way their kids view the world and themselves, probably because kids spend Read More with their mothers, especially in the crucial early years." Dr Warburton asked 441 university students to fill out detailed questionnaires on the parenting styles of their mothers and fathers, and on their own patterns of thinking. He asked them to recall 72 parenting behaviours, including "making a child feel ashamed", being unloving or rejecting, and frequently telling the child they were stupid or would fail. He also asked questions designed to uncover destructive thinking patterns in the students, such as being "clingy" out of a fear of being abandoned. He found young adults were two-thirds as likely to develop unhelpful patterns of thinking if the toxic parenting they had experienced came from their father rather than their mother.   Read More ..

Canada Flag

Health Canada

Aggressive Girls
Overview Paper

This overview paper summarizes recent research on girls who exhibit aggressive and violent behaviours. It defines relevant terms, outlines factors which may contribute to girls' aggression and violence, and presents ideas for preventing these behaviours. A list of resources is also included. 2002, 13p.