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NSW Lack of Enforcement for Family Court Orders

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Joseph Sacca, 26 September 2015.

  1. Joseph Sacca

    Joseph Sacca Member

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    I am writing this post today to advise that there is a lack of enforcement of family court orders in this country. Police are only used at the disposal of primary carers, not to find just resolutions for all parties involved. My daughter recently has been a victim in these legal games, because the system requires delayed hearing times, expensive legal representation, and often justice is dismissed because events are taking place well outside of scheduled court times.

    More action needs to be taken for the enforcement of these orders. Perhaps creating a specialist policing organisation to hold those parties responsible on the agreements accountable for inaction, not fulfilling the responsibilities of the agreement, and not reporting or communicating with all parties involved. Get this right, and I can assure you that other household issues follow
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    What you've touched on here is just one small hole in a very broken bucket.

    Enforcement of orders is a challenge nearly every parent subject to the adversarial system will face. Police are powerless because it is outside of their jurisdiction, and there is no middle body to manage such matters, meaning parents are bottle-necked back into the very arduous process of even more court proceedings.

    This is mind-boggling beyond measure, particularly when compared to bodies such as the Child Support Agency. Why is it that one parent can unilaterally refuse the child's time with the other parent and then claim 100% care of a child while simultaneously paying $20,000 on legal proceedings where they're free to fabricate stories of violence to try and keep the child away from the other parent? Put it on a chalkboard and it's simply one parent paying for both sides of proceedings - their own side seeking time with the child, and the other side seeking to have that time restricted or removed.

    Yet, we have a formal body that will diligently and swiftly respond to complaints of non-compliance with child support assessments, but no formal body that will respond swiftly and diligently to complaints of non-compliance with parenting orders.

    There is also no deterrent against fabricating stories of violence. There is also a phenomenal lack of balanced education about what abuse actually is. Time and time and time again, I've dealt with parents who think a standard lovers' quarrel constitutes abuse, or that their own actions don't constitute abuse. On one occasion, a woman claimed her ex-husband had choked her and thus, she was refusing the child's time with the father, but as it turned out, the story was far more complicated than that. She had taken his phone without his consent and had a history of making threats to women found listed in his phone, so he had acted to recover it from her by putting his arm over her chest and taking it from her hand. Further, it was found she had repeatedly hit him, thrown objects at him, damaged his property, stalked him, contacted his workplace and threatened his colleagues, yet she didn't feel that she had abused him in any way at all.

    Yet, there is no punishment for parents who behave this way. To the contrary, parents are encouraged to do so because the court will order supervised time on a whim as interim orders to prevail through the duration of parenting proceedings, which can sometimes take upwards of two years. For the entire time, children either don't understand why they have to see mum or dad in this strange building, or they're being taught that mum or dad is dangerous, which is not an effect easily undone even with the most liberal of parenting orders determined at final hearing.

    Personally, I have also found there is a profound lack of education about how children are affected by parental disputes and games. Parents are responsible for their children during their most vulnerable years, and it's woefully common for parents to use that vulnerability to their advantage. I hear over and over again of how children under the age of eight or nine are saying they "don't want to go with the other parent", as though they've come up with that opinion of their own accord, but delve a little deeper into the matter and there are signs of alienation in frightening volumes. "I know you don't want to go to mum's, I would love it if you could stay here, but you have to go because the court said so." "If you want to come home at any time or feel scared or frightened at all, you just call me and I will come and get you straight away." These are subtle ways a parent makes a child feel bad - whether that feeling is sadness, guilt, anger or fear - about spending time with the other parent. Children of that age simply don't have opinions of their own. They come from someone they trust, and they cause irreparable damage to children long after they have become adults and parents themselves, and it's quite often the alienating parent that is estranged at the end of it.

    Collectively, all of these flaws are permitted under the existing family law system, and it's 100% toxic for our young. It's saddening in the extreme that adults need a deterrent from acting lice brats about their children, but here we are. The court is full to the brim with stubborn adults, some who consider themselves the more important parent, some who consider themselves the only parent their child needs, some who see no risk in manipulating their child and fabricating evidence to get what they want.

    If 50:50 was the presumption and parents had to argue why 50:50 isn't in the child's best interests, rather than why it is in the child's best interests as the system expects now, would parents be more willing to compromise than go to court? If a post-separation parenting course was a mandatory pre-procedure before proceedings could be filed, would it improve the co-parenting capacity of parents who will otherwise become adversaries in a court of law? If we stopped rewarding parents with child support funds when they refuse the child's time with the other parent, would they be so compelled to do so? If we had a responsive and diligent formal body in place to act swiftly on the enforcement of parenting orders, would parents be so inclined to contravene them?

    Yes, we need reform, but every person who enters the system in pursuit of time with their kids is simultaneously gagged by section 121, which stops parents from sharing their stories in any way that makes a party identifiable. With so many parents silenced, it's hard to get the reforms we need to truly and genuinely protect what's best for the children.
     
    Nick Handson likes this.
  3. Blue Grass

    Blue Grass Well-Known Member

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    All for her. One of the best written pieces I have read in a very long time !

    Just a few comments.
    Agree that if one parent refuses access providing there is no legal reason why access should be with held, then if there Child Support were to be stopped that may be a step in the right direction but I think it also needs to work in reverse as well. If one partner refuses to pay child support especially those who are obviously financially able to do so, were to have there access stopped this would see thousands of dollars worth of outstanding child support paid.

    A body to oversee compliance with family court orders. Oh what a wonderful idea !! Orders are dangled like a carrot on a stick by some parents, give me what I want and I might comply. Items that a child needs, not returned at the end of access unless you agree to XX? Orders twisted to suit one or other parent. All these cause huge disagreements with the child front and centre. So very wrong. To have a body like child support who either parent could ring for clarification and both parties then required by law to comply with the decision made would save so much heart ache.

    Would very much like to see this line of thought taken much further, as it might just lesson some of the Domestic Violence we are now seeing. Rather than a disagreement getting totally out of hand and turning violent. To be able to go to this shall we call it Family Court Orders Line, which must be free might stop an escalation into something far more serious.

    One other thing I would like to see is that all decisions in regards to children must be made by both parents and not include either parents new partner, having a "stranger" interfering and trying to make decisions in regards to a child can cause all sorts of resentment.

    I have seen many times partner's new partner stand up in court and back everything one person is saying putting the other parent in a very difficult situation. Of course a new partner is going to support the person they are now living with against the ex partner.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your sentiment on child support being a two-way street, but I'm of the view child support should have a cap that reflects a nationally indexed average on costs associated with child-rearing. If either parent falls in under the standard, then the other should pay child support, but where one parent is paying $400 or $500 a week in child support, as they do under the current system, it starts to look less like child support and more like spousal maintenance.

    I think there should also be a clear understanding about what child support is designed to cover. Too often, I hear parents arguing that 'Your child support barely covers a meal for your child!', but child support shouldn't be covering food at all, because that's a cost incurred when the child is in their physical care. The paying parent has the same costs when the child is with them, and if either one wants to reduce those costs or have them covered by the other parent, they should negotiate care arrangements whereby the other parent has the child in their care more often. Outside of that, child support should cover the costs of child-rearing that exist no matter which parent the child is spending time with. This is things like school fees, school uniforms, books, day care for days both parents are at work.

    With that said, I think there will always be two sides to the argument, and it'll never be a system that reflects the demands of everyone.

    In regards to new partners, I'm not sure I agree with excommunicating step-parents in the way that you've suggested, but I do agree there must be boundaries as to the extent of their involvement in the co-parenting relationship. It's not appropriate, for example, for a new partner to communicate on behalf of their spouse, and it's not appropriate for a new partner to refer to themselves as a step-parent when they've only been in the picture for a few short months. I also think it's bordering on psychological abuse to encourage a child to, or fail to discourage a child from, calling a step-parent 'mum' or 'dad', and I think it's just as important for step-parents as it is for parents that they be educated about the delicate situation in which they find themselves. Step-parents should consider themselves as role models, not parents, yet there's a social consensus that step-parents should be commended for 'treating their step-children like their own', despite the blaring consequences of doing so.

    But it's also important there we take this with a dose of reality. Step-parents are role models, in that they will play a role in the child's upbringing, and it is just as destructive in a co-parenting relationship to pretend, or argue that they shouldn't be involved as it is to have them excessively involved. At the end of the day, either parent is going to confide in their partner about the situation, because that's what partners do - they confide in each other and seek support and advice when they're unsure themselves, and it's not for the other co-parent to decide whether or not those conversations take place, and they would never be able to, in any case. Further to that, as nice as it would be for parents to be able to confide in each other about such issues instead of their respective partners, it's simply not realistic. If they could communicate with the same trust and openness that a person has with their partner, they probably wouldn't even be former spouses, let alone battling it out in court.

    The other complication with step-parents is what happens when there are other children involved. Step-parents quite often share biological children with the biological parent of their step-children, so what rank do the best interests of the those children take in the grand scheme of things? Do their best interests matter less because they're not subject to court proceedings? Should a step-parent not be entitled to voice concern when a decision between the biological parents of one child directly affects and interferes with the best interests of their own biological children? Take common Christmas changeover time as an example. Should a step-parent be expected to sit back while the biological parents negotiate equitable changeover times in consent orders that mean the step-parent's biological children can never travel to see their grandparents?

    There's a lot more at play than just new partner vs. old partner, and I'm of the view that their involvement should have limitations, but it certainly shouldn't be ignored. The problem is finding that balance, and I think that comes down to education. They offer courses for blended families and step-parents, but they focus on what goes on in their home, rather than how to conduct themselves around the fact that their step-children also have another home. There's a lot of emotionally draining challenges that come with being a step-parent, but far too often, I see step-parents exacerbating the situation to gain prominence over the biological parent that they're not dating, rather than keeping their involvement in the parental dispute to a minimum.

    Anyway, that's my thoughts on the situation. :)
     
  5. Blue Grass

    Blue Grass Well-Known Member

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    There's a lot of emotionally draining challenges that come with being a step-parent, but far too often, I see step-parents exacerbating the situation to gain prominence over the biological parent that they're not dating, rather than keeping their involvement in the parental dispute to a minimum.

    This sums up a great many of the most difficult situations. The insistance of calling the new mummy - Mummy ?? (name) or Daddy ?? (Name) the insistance of then taking it to the next level and we have the new step parent pushing there family into an already difficult situation with Aunty ?? or Granny ?? This is so confusing for young children and causes so much hurt and ill feeling in the biological family. How you solve the situation I have no idea.
     
  6. Joseph Sacca

    Joseph Sacca Member

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    What part of the creation did the step parents play a role in? Society is confused about the placement of these people seeking to interfere with the natural development of the children. Having these 'EXTRA' role models in their lives not only confuses the children and causes psychological issues later in life, but far too often the presence of the step parent is given prominence over the role of the natural parent. Step parents need to take a back seat, and authorities need to be allowed to enforce relevant articles from agreements for the benefit of the child's upbringing.

    What too many people fail to recognise is that the presence of the step-parent is not as important as the presence of the parent in the development of the child. Leaving a child to feel inadequate as they develop next to the nuclear family model is not ideal. If we create legislation to encourage relationships with both parents we may be fostering improvements in delinquency behaviours, juvenile crime reductions and balanced attitudes towards mothers and fathers instead of the continual father hate that we are constantly exposed to with this Generation.

    Thank you both for contributing your ideas.
     
  7. Blue Grass

    Blue Grass Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Joseph that is a very balanced view of the step parent situation. We are now seeing this in the youngest child. Totally distraught asking why they have to be a "step child" when non of there friends are.

    Holiday access is another issue with the child left in the care of a step parent while the biological parent goes to work.
    There is so much emphasis now on the "Blue Card" for working with children yet our family court system force children in to the care of an adult the other biological parent knows nothing about. Nothing about there back ground, there family back ground, how the child is or is not cared for or where the child is taken.
    When the child cries and says they dont want to go, it is then an automatic case of the other parent brain washing the child not to want to go.
    Something needs to be done and done in a hurry. To many children are being abused emotionally or worse still physically. Children mature far earlier these days. By the time they are 12 they should have the right to give there view on how much time they want to spend with each parent and that view accepted by the courts, rather than it desending into yet another court battle.
    If there is one person who know the truth about what happens in each house hold it is the child who lives it on a daily basis. Surely it is time to listen and act on what these children have to say.
     

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