As a divorced father who rolled over during Family Court proceedings last year, I agreed to alternate weekend contact as demanded by my children’s mother. I had located private rental in a cheap flat close to the children’s home, which wasn’t the most desirable dwelling for children to spend more than a couple of days at. Thirteen months later, I was able to purchase a modest unit with the notion that my children could stay with me for more than a weekend. I discussed my proposal to have 50/50 shared custody with my ex-wife, who sought advice from a Community Legal Centre solicitor, but we were unable to arrive at an agreement.
I then suggested that the matter could be resolved at the Family Court. I was informed that I would be wasting my time as there needs to be a significant negative change in the circumstances for an order to be changed. I sought preliminary legal advice and was told that if I was prepared to spend up to $30,000 this may be able to be achieved. Needless to say, I, like many others in my position, do not have access to $30,000.
We must focus on the best interests of the child, recognising the fact that fathers should be seen as being equally important to the wellbeing of their children and that children have a fundamental human right to an equal relationship with their mother and father following divorce or separation.
Name and address withheld
There’s more than one way to be a dad
Eight years ago I wanted a “week-about” shared arrangement with my children. My work situation was flexible. I was prepared to do whatever was necessary. I put forward my proposals to both my solicitor and my barrister, and was told I had a snowflake’s chance in the proverbial. After a lot of angst, I took their advice and backed off. And that was not easy for a person who had practised family law for 10 years.
So whatever the various “experts” might say, all I say to any father who may read this is that while the “system” remains unchanged, there are other ways you can demonstrate your love for and continue to be involved with your children.
Name and address withheld
Abusing the system
Nobody in the system wants to believe that a mother could be so callous, but the evidence is clear.
If shared parenting gets the nod, expect a similar jump until it is declared an epidemic, and the status quo is restored.
Brian Taylor, Brentwood, WA
To have the work of parents diminished to such drudgery is an insult and far from the truth. Bringing up children goes way beyond their physical needs. We have experienced the difficulties, but also the joy and wonder of watching each life with its own personality, intellect and gift for creativity unfold under our care. And in the process, we have discovered more about ourselves.
Mandy Ellwood, Camberwell,
Felicity Zwalf, Ashwood