Family Law: Shared Parenting 2006 Amendment

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Jenny (2) McIntosh is a child psychologist, family therapist and research consultant and is also the director of Family Transitions. She stated that “Since July 2006, a quiet revolution has been occurring in family law, following the amendment to the family law (shared parental responsibility) act. Although the new law promotes shared parenting, it’s a model that doesn’t always work. There’s still a long way to go.” Welcome, in this speech I will be outlining the key flaws of the shared parenting Act and how this is impacting on children, parents and the family unit. This (3) speech will establish the background of shared parenting, together with an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the most recent amendment. I am Ryan Baldwin, family lawyer for the Department of child services. Dr. Jenny McIntosh maintains that the 2006 amendment to the Family law (Shared parental responsibilities) Act, was not a negative amendment, though it did not address the problematic issues, arising in the courts when dealing with parenting orders. Currently there are “significant numbers of children are being damaged by our shared-parenting laws . University of Sydney professor, Patrick(4) Parkinson, also questioned the presumption of shared parenting, saying it "only works if both parents live closely together and there is co-operation". The notion of shared care doesn’t always work; it is a flawed premise, idealistic and impractical. The Family Law Act provides a framework for parents to have “meaningful involvement in their children’s lives(5)” “It's the quality of the relationship that's important, not the quantity. And one of the unfortunate effects… of the 2006 legislation has been that it's focused people very much on time. The courts want equal time and it's taken the focus away from what's best for the child". The current legislation has been regarded to favour the parent’s best wishes over the Childs. The law still has a long way to go to provide an equitable Family Law system. To understand what the amendment adjusted, we must first understand the history of shared parenting in Australian legislation. The(6) Family Law (shared parental responsibilities) Amendment Act (2006) (commonwealth) amended the Family Law Act (1975) ,commonwealth) [FLA] to provide further access and equity for parents and children, in the making of parenting orders. The amendment is not the first legislative attempt to address perceived inadequacies of the Family Law Act. The 1975 Act had issues regarding: fathers with shared parenting, re-location of children ,and children being regarded more as property than a responsibility. For the past 35 years, the Family Court of Australia has treated most separated fathers, as if an access visit every second weekend and half the school holidays was enough. Sue Price said “Shared parenting laws are under(7) threat from feminists, with no intention of giving fathers a fair go. In 1996 the Family law act was amended in what was a paradigm shift, by providing for independent representation of children in disputes, so is to protect their rights. This introduced, child advocates. Further amendments to the FLA sought to neutralise terminology, by changing the language in parenting orders such as; custody were replaced with new terms such as residential and non-residential, access and contact. In 2006, the Australian Government introduced a series of changes to the family law system. The “Family law act 1975 was amended to the “Family Law Amendment, (Shared Parental Responsibilities) Act ,2006, commonwealth> (SPR, Act, 2006). This amendment introduced, “rebuttable presumption of shared parents responsibilities” and acknowledged parents ,“right to have a meaningful relationship with their children”. The new amendment did not encourage equal time between parents and children, rather equal responsibilities. Due to the new change of equal responsibilities shared between parents, this allowed for relocation much...
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