Men’s rights groups will fight any planned rollback of the shared parenting laws, saying reports released yesterday prove an overwhelming majority of Australians support the right of children to know both their parents after divorce.
A 1,000-page review of the Howard government’s so-called shared parenting law, conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, found a reduction in the number of cases going to the Family Court since shared parenting was introduced in 2006.
It also found an increase in the number of parents willing to settle custody arrangements outside the court system, and it found children and parents were happy with shared care.
Shared care doesn’t mean a 50-50 time split, but it does mean the child spends “substantial time” with each parent.
The review, which took two years and involved 28,000 people, including 15,000 parents, found conflict between parents led to “worse outcomes” for children who lived in shared-care arrangements. But for most people it worked well.
Shared care advocate Michael Green QC said the report was “terrific“. “It shows 80 per cent of parents are co-operating, sorting things out for themselves.” He said the report made it clear “no change to the law is necessary“.
The AIFS report was one of three into family law released yesterday, and it made no recommendations, with the authors saying they were not asked to provide any.
Another report, by retired Family Court judge Richard Chisholm, recommends several changes to the law, saying judges needed to be able to decide each case on its merits.
Executive director of the Shared Parenting Council, Edward Dabrowski, said his organisation would resist any law change that would wind back the concept of shared parenting.