Australian Law Reform Committee Report, Part Three

Australian Law Reform Committee Report, Part Three

April 15, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

This brings us to the nut of the matter in the Final Report of the Australian Law Reform Committee, i.e. its scrapping of the requirement that judges “consider” equal parenting time when parents divorce.  If the number of citations to pro-shared parenting documents and commentators is any indication, the committee entirely ignored any input that favors shared parenting.  Put simply, there are no citations to literature and no quotations of those on the side of shared parenting.

That’s true despite the fact that the report bemoans the current system as “too adversarial,” which it certainly is, and the detrimental effects of father absence.  Needless to say, a presumption of shared parenting would address, if not solve, both problems.  The committee is aware of the extreme imbalance in custody between mothers (69.4%) and fathers (under 9%).  Although it nowhere mentions it, the committee, composed as it is of a substantial number of lawyers and judges, must know that the current system, as a matter of precedent, refuses to enforce orders for access via the court’s power of contempt.  Therefore it must have some inkling of the fact that courts play a big role in the very father absence the report inveighs against.

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