We the undersigned want to bring to the attention of the government the number of people who would like to see action taken to improve the current family law system.
Parents need all their emotional energy to raise children.
The current legal process for child residency, shared parenting, child support payments and mediation, are not good enough for the well being of our families.
The Family Courts are big, scary and very stressful places for families.
We want to see all but the most serious family matters taken care of in the local neighbourhood/ healthcare centres. That would mean a need for funding for extension of existing buildings and renovation to provide friendly, family oriented facilites so that parents can keep focused on parenting.
When asked, What separation issues are you and your family struggling with?
What do you think would improve the current family law system or help parents
more after separation?
This is what people on the Coast said:
1# Being able to settle residence of children at a local, family friendly facility
instead of traveling to Sydney or Newcastle Family Court
2# Make laws to prevent parent moving a long way away with kids more
3# Providing a centre for changeover to keep privacy and minimise tension,
positioned locally, particularly for women who fear DV during changeover.
4# Make settling of parenting orders compulsively quick and simple, eg making
mediation attendance by both parents compulsory
5# Let the children decide and request who they want to stay with from a younger
6# Appoint a childrens representative, instead of two seperate solicitors
representing only the parents
7# Stop overnight visitation for children under the age of 3, unless voluntarily
8# Make ongoing counselling & therapy compulsory and conditional of access for
9# Make random drug and alcohol testing compulsory for both parents,
grandparents and any other party who will share care of the child
10# Have a childrens care worker visit both parents randomly and provide a report
to the other parent on the routines, behaviour managment, types of household
11# Have the residential parent provide compulsory activities for the children, for
e.g. one at least of either swimming, soccer, music or dance lessons each week
12# Make children's healthy diet compulsory for both parents/carers enforcable by
Family Law Orders, for e.g. no consumption of artificial colors, additives, MSG,
caffiene or cola drinks, artificial sweeteners, cordial etc
13# Make the use of a contact diary between parents compulsory, to record all
that a child has eaten/ or not, sleeping, nappies, wellness, behavioural issues,
weaning, toilet training etc.
14# Have an expert, strictly nonjudgmental childrens worker available to check out
any concerns with the other parent immediatly and provide any necessary help?
15# Have a legal service at the local community centre to make changes to a
parenting order on short notice if neccessary (for e.g., change of work hours, after
school activity) where both parents agree, or provide assistance in reaching an
16# Make the payment of childsupport compulsory/ enforcable to be deducted from
wages if necessary.
17# Create a consequences system for non or late payment of child support. For
eg, late payment fee, fine for three incidences of nonpayment or late payment.
18# Make payments of child support for previous children seperate to new
payments, to be fair to all children. The current law is that any recent payments go
on any previous debts first. Payments should be two seperate amounts, one at the
correct current rate for the new child, others to payoff previous debt at an amount
agreed with CSA.
19# When making parenting orders the mothers right to breastfeed should be taken
into account, as should the child's right to be breastfed. Long days and overnights
should be banned untill child is weaned if under the age of two, limited to 12 hrs if
under the age of three.
20# A reward/ penalty system for parents: to help decide who is the more capable
of ensuring all of the childs needs are met while deciding orders, and to encourage
parents to continue acting in the best interests of the child afterwards.
21# All records of the parents history should be kept out of the current matter
unless they are of grave importance, for eg serious assault charges, history of
sexual abuse accusations by children, ongoing violent behaviour, history of drug/
alcohol abuse or serious mental health problems without treatment, in such a case
these issues should be immediately investigated, including thorough interviews of
all people involved, friends, family and unbiased strangers.
22# Incentives for police to respond to DV (domestic violence) in situations affected by family court orders. Currently they don't want to get involved because of the legalities of the orders.
We understand that these are extremely complicated and broad issues, and that funding is hard to come by. We as a community would like the opportunity to have a part in providing solutions.
Your leadership could inspire the international community to stand up and demand better for families around the country. Please help make a difference in the lives of thousands of parents and children by making their better future a priority today.
Thankyou, very much, for taking the time to read this letter.