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Good Morning,
The Poll below refers to strong legislation currently being sought to give children a better chance at remaining a strong part of both parents lives and not just rewarding one parent the "winner", as there is no winning for the kids when that happens.
Please vote YES on this poll and help Australian kids get a better chance at a happy, healthy and productive life - it is very important.
For my friends here in the US, this Bill before the Australian Parliament is what we all want, like HB529 in NH (teeth and all), and includes adjusted Child Support amounts for "actual" costs of rasing a child.  This is worth paying close attention to, and participating in - it is a World wide War we are fighting for our children, and we can all help each other.
Andrew Ryan
Success Depends on Where Intention Is
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2005 7:03 AM
Subject: Poll: Will the Family Law changes benefit children?

Poll: Will the changes to family law benefit children?


Yes: 73%
No:  27%  

Please vote at:

Custody law hands victory to fathers
By Adele Horin and Nadia Jamal
December 8, 2005
THE Family Court will be required to consider whether children in custody disputes should spend equal time with both parents under the most important changes to family law in 30 years.

A bill to be introduced into the House of Representatives today goes further than expected in meeting the demands of fathers' rights groups, which expressed disappointment at an earlier draft.

Under the proposed amendments to the Family Law Act 1975, the court will be required to consider equal time if it is in the child's best interests, and where parents already share parental responsibility for important decisions.

Where it is not in the child's best interest, and where it is not practical, the court must consider giving the non-resident parent "substantial and significant time" with the child.
As well, the Government will amend the existing definition of family violence to make clear that a fear or apprehension of violence must be "reasonable". This is a reaction to concerns that false claims of violence can be a way of denying access to children.

The bill also inserts a presumption of "equal" shared parental responsibility in important decisions - a significant hardening of earlier wording that called for "joint" parental responsibility.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, said: "The Government has recognised you can't divide a child 50/50. But we wanted to make sure parents could spend substantial and significant time with their children and they weren't just Disneyland dads or Movieworld mums."

Fathers' groups have fought a three-year campaign to obtain a presumption that children should divide their time equally between two households. The Government rejected making such a radical shift but has moved further in this direction than was indicated in the early draft of the bill released for comment in June.

This change is expected to generate a flood of litigation, family law experts say, with some non-resident parents expecting to get equal time or significantly more time with children than the usual orders for weekend access and half the school holidays under the current law.

The national president of the the Lone Fathers Association of Australia, Barry Williams, congratulated Mr Ruddock "for his persistence in this because he has had a lot of opposition to it from groups who don't want change". But Mr Williams said the court should only be able to stop equal time if a parent was proven to be a danger to a child.
"What we are saying is that we don't just want mere allegation we mean being charged and convicted," he said.

A convener of the National Council for Single Mothers and their Children, Elspeth McInnes, feared "a children's presumption to access to a home will be erased and instead they will have a timetable of parental attendance".

"If they have to be required to spend the maximum time possible with each parent, then a child's right to expect any claim to a continuity of residence and primary care is not available under these provisions," Dr McInnes said.

In other amendments that will be interpreted as "father friendly", the bill will strengthen the existing enforcement rules by giving courts a wider range of powers to deal with parents who breach contact orders.

Mr Ruddock's spokeswoman said the amendments would help change a culture of litigation, and put children's interests at the centre. Children's right to know both parents and their right to be protected from harm would be the main factors in the court determining what is in their best interests.



Ash Patil
fathers4equality - australia
email: president@fathers4equality-australia.org

Please help the cause and submit your demand for Equal Parent Time to every politician via the Parliamentary Megaphone! Have Your Say Now!