Australia – Details of eight (8) inquiries into Family Law Reforms

Up on Ration Shed – Egroup and BLOG – with thanks to John Flanagan – Australia – NSW – Thirroul – NCPP – Signed Equal Pet. Jan09

 

Come join FAMILY Orientated Authors.

Take note Go https://rationshed.wordpress.com/whole-natural-biological-family-authors-are-welcome

 

Onward – Jim

“““““““““

 

Hi to Everyone

I have provided details of eight (8) inquiries that are currently being conducted.

My first reaction was why bother? The people conducting these inquiries have not listened to our concerns in the past.

However maybe one time we will get someone to listen.

Therefore we have put a submission into each of the eight (8)inquiries. Copies of the first two (2) submissions are also provided below.

Appendix A (2 graphs) to the second submission is attached to this email.

Regards

John

________________________________

LIST OF THE EIGHT (8) INQUIRIES AND CONTACT DETAILS.

1. Family Courts Violence Review

http://www.ag.gov.au

The Family Courts Violence Review,
C/- Family Law Branch,
Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department,
3-5 National Circuit,
BARTON.  ACT.  2600.
Fax no (02) 6141 3248
familycourts.violencereview@ag.gov.au

2. Evaluation of the Family Law Reforms

http://www.aifs.gov.au

Australian Institute of Family Studies
Level 20,
485 La Trobe Street,
MELBOURNE. VIC 3000
Freecall 1800 352 275
Phone 03 9214 7888
Fax 03 9214 7839
familylawevaluation@aifs.gov.au

3. Family Violence Inquiry

http://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/current/family-violence/terms.html

The Executive Director,
Australian Law Reform Commission,
GPO Box 3708,
SYDNEY. NSW. 2001.
violence@alrc.gov.au

4. Inquiry into Suicide in Australia

http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/clac_ctte/index.htm

Committee Secretary,
Senate Community Affairs References Committee,
PO Box 6100,
Parliament House.
CANBERRA. ACT. 2600.
community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au

5. Inquiry into Access to Justice.

http://www.ag.gov.au/a2j
http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Consultationsreformsandreviews_AccesstoJusticeConsultation

Access to Justice Division,
Attorney-General’s Department,
3-5 National Circuit,
BARTON. ACT. 2600.
Tel: (02)6141 6666
a2jtaskforce@ag.gov.au

6. Delivering Quality Outcomes Review

Child Support Agency.
DeliveringQualityOutcomes@csa.gov.au

Attention: David Richmond AO

7. Family Violence Research Project.

University of South Australia, James Cook University and Monash
University.

Attention  Professor Thea Brown
Thea.Brown@med.monash.edu.au

8. Shared Parental Responsibility Research Project

Social Policy Research Centre,
University of New South Wales,
SYDNEY. NSW. 2052
Tel: 02 9385 7800
Fax: 02 9385 7838
SPRC@unsw.edu.au

EXAMPLES OF TWO (2) TYPICAL NCPP(EP) SUBMISSIONS

NCPP(EP) SUBMISSION NO. 1

Family Courts Violence Review,
C/- Family Law Branch,
Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department,
3-5 National Circuit,
BARTON.  ACT.  2600.
Fax no (02) 6141 3248
familycourts.violencereview@ag.gov.au

Dear Sir
                      Family Courts Violence Review

We would like a submission to the Family Courts Violence Review.

No one supports anyone that is guilty of a crime of violence, domestic or otherwise.

However we believe that children from separated families should have the right of contact with both parents.

There is a need for the implementation of a rebuttable presumption of equal time shared parenting into the Family Law legislation.

There is a direct link between applications for a family violence order* (AVO, protection order, restraining order or intervention order) and the contact and residence arrangements made for children of separated families.

An easily gained family violence order will give one parent, normally the mother, an advantage. This is both in terms of custody and also financial benefits.

Sole custody brings with it significant financial gains. These financial gains include increased social security payments, child support payments and property settlement payouts.

The procedure to obtain sole custody of the children and win financial benefits is as follows.

1) An application for a family violence order is made in the local court or at the local police station.

2) The police with their limited resources will usually not investigate the allegations. As a result, the allegations will usually remain unproved during later court proceedings.

3) When the matter comes to court, the police prosecutor will then pressure the alleged offender to accept a family violence order “without admission”. This is a trap.

4) Once an order for a family violence order has been made, the initiating parent will then make an application for residence and contact orders in the Family Court.

5) Under section 68F of the Family Law Act, any issues of violence will be sufficient reason to restrict contact by the Family Court.

6) This then establishes effective sole custody of the children for the custodial parent. This goes hand in hand with increased child support payments and larger property settlement payouts.

As stated above, we abhor incidents of genuine domestic violence. The perpetrators of these incidents, once proven to be guilty, should be dealt with by the due process of law.

However the temptation to mis-use a family violence order is very often too great for some parents.

At the same time, our legislators are doing nothing about this problem – that is with regard to the implementation of a rebuttable presumption of equal time shared parenting. This is into the Family Law legislation.

Regards

John Flanagan
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting).

* NOTE.

Family violence orders are called different things in different states:

· In Queensland – Protection Orders.

· In New South Wales – Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO’s).

· In Victoria – Intervention Orders.

· In the Australian Capital Territory – Protection Orders.

· In the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia – Restraining Orders.

· In Tasmania – Family Violence Orders (formerly called Restraint Orders)

NCPP(EP) SUBMISSION NO. 2.

Australian Institute of Family Studies
Level 20,
485 La Trobe Street,
MELBOURNE. VIC 3000
Freecall 1800 352 275
Phone 03 9214 7888
Fax 03 9214 7839
familylawevaluation@aifs.gov.au
http://www.aifs.gov.au

Dear Sir

                    Evaluation of the Family Law Reforms

We wish to make a submission to “the Legislation and Courts Project”.

Children from separated families should have the right of contact with both parents. The current legislation does not go nearly far enough.

There is a need for the actual implementation of a rebuttable presumption of equal time shared parenting into the Family Law  legislation.

One effect on contact has been the recent changes that the Government has made to the child support formula. The changes became effective on 1 July 2007.

When contact (by the payer with the children) is below 14 per cent (i.e. below 52 nights per year), the child support payments are increased considerably from what they were  before 1 July 2007. When contact is above 14 per cent, the child support payments are considerably reduced.

As a result, the new formula effectively made two (2) lots of child support payers and payees.

This approach by the Government lacks logic.

Graphs 1 and 2 in Appendix A provide examples of these changes.

Graph 1.  Low to Medium-High Income Earners.

(Approximately 75 per cent of child support clients would fall into this type of graph)

The Government has said that the taxable incomes of both parents are being taken into account. This is not true. If contact is kept below 14 percent (i.e. below 52 nights per year), then the child support payments are effectively based only on the payer’s taxable income.

As a result, there is a huge discouragement for child support payers to seek employment in higher income producing jobs.

If contact is14 per cent and above, then the child support payments are then based on both parents’ incomes.

From graph 1, it can be discerned that:

1. If contact is 14 per cent and above, the current child support payments are a lot less than what was paid prior to 1 July 2007.

2. If contract is reduced to below 14 percent (i.e. 51 nights or less), two (2) situations are created. The child support payments will remain the same when the payee’s taxable income is relatively low. Alternatively the payments can be increased by a factor of up to 4 times. This is in the case when the payee’s income is relatively high.

These changes effectively place a huge incentive on the custodial parent to reduce contact to below 14 per cent (i.e. item 2 above).

Graph 2. Medium–High Income Earners to High Income Earners.

(Approximately the remaining 25 per cent of child support clients would fall into this type of graph).

From graph 2, it can be discerned that:

1. If contact is kept below 14 per cent, there is little change to the current child support payments – both before and after 1 July 2007.

2. If contact is left at 14 per cent or above, there is a drop of 50 per cent in the child support payments to the custodial parent.

Again these changes effectively place a huge incentive on the custodial parent to reduce contact to below 14 per cent (i.e. item 1 above).

It is also interesting to note that there is little difference between child payments if contact is 14 per cent (52 nights) and above or 35 per cent (128 nights) and above.

This again emphasizes that the Government has failed to appreciate that contact and the amount of child support payments actually made are linked in direct proportion (not in the reverse).

Summary

What the Government has tried to do is to increase child support payments when contact is low. At the same time, the Government has tried to reduce child support payments when the contact is higher.

As stated previously in our submission, the Government has failed to appreciate that the amount of child support actually paid is directly proportional to the amount of contact that the child support payer/non-custodial parent has been with the children.

This is opposite to where the new formula is taking parents.

Also, because of the drop in child support payments, due to these changes and other reasons, the Government has been tinkering with the formula. These changes have been made in an attempt to increase payments.

This is without trying to solve the real problem. This is the lack of involvement of the parents in the decision-making process.

Examples of some of the more recent child support changes are:

1. Since 1 July 2008, child support payers who are on low incomes and who are not recipients of Centrelink benefits have had their child support payments arbitrarily increased. To date, 70,000 child support payers have been affected in this way (ref. CSA’s third report on the child support changes).

2. Since 1 July 2009, negative investment income has been added back into the child support formula. This has affected child support payers who purchased shares on borrowed money. Shares have gone down, the loan repayments remain and the child support liability has gone up.

3. From 1 July 2010, salary sacrifice contributions will be added back into the child support formula. The child support payer does not have the use of these funds. However the outgoing child support payments will increase.

As a result of these additional changes, the child support payer may not have the liquidity available to pay these increases. This can have disastrous financial consequences for the persons affected by these changes.

In making these additional changes, the Government has just made the problem worse.

This is because the Government has failed to appreciate that the amount of child support actually paid is directly proportional to the amount of contact that the child support payer has been with the children

What we need is a platform from where contact can be started. This can be achieved with the implementation of a rebuttable presumption of equal time shared parenting into the Family Law legislation.

Yours faithfully

John Flanagan
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting).

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One Response to Australia – Details of eight (8) inquiries into Family Law Reforms

  1. Vanessa Baker says:

    RE: Your submission to the Family Courts Violence Review. You are spot on with your statement in regards to protection orders and sole custody of children. I am a mother of two boys and this is exactly how I was seperated from my children. I have a very long story how the misuse of orders and injustice in the Family Law Courts have ruined our lives.Nastiness and lies rule in this domain. The courts have a lot to answer for. The victims are the children they are supposedly acting in the best interests of. Please keep up the good work.

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