The Family Court system in Western Australia works well for a majority of family matters.
Take for instance a mum comes home for work and finds a note on her pillow from her husband. He has abandoned her, their three children, and the home they share. After 12 months’ separation the Family Court grants a divorce, the children are left in the care of their mother, and a small financial settlement is made. All good, right?
Whilst the real life example above worked out with mutual respect, the Family Court is under siege with perjury, restraining orders, parental alienation, and legalised asset stripping from one aggrieved partner to another.
Due to a lack of GST funding for law enforcement, the WA Family Court system is not coping with enforcement of orders, court perjury, or performing a detailed analysis on the impact on children after orders have been handed down.
The WESTERN AUSTRALIA PARTY held its first workshop on the Family Court system in April 2016 hosted by former Mayor Ron Norris and Party Convenor Julie Matheson in Mosman Park. More than 30 parents and grand parents participated. The workshop was filmed and parents told their stories.
What are the problems?
- Currently the Family Court of WA deems that equal shared care can include the removal of the child(ren) to another state.
- Default equal shared care including 50/50 parenting is amended to the standard default position enforced by the Family Court of WA. Where one or both parents are not fit, the presumption of equal shared care including 50/50 parenting should be fought against with evidence and proven facts.
- The allowance that a person giving evidence in the Family Court of WA is protected from prosecution for making false and misleading allegations and statements is removed.
- The division of marital/spouse assets and care of children is currently contested until the combined assets are completely exhausted by legal fees. Often parents will spend their superannuation and take out loans to continue the contest for the rights of their children.
So what’s to be done?
- Parenting orders, where a parent has primary care, should ensure the MINIMUM amount of contact a child has with the non-custodial parent. As such where a custodial parent openly breeches a parenting order a mandatory penalty should apply.
- The Family Law Act should declare that the best interests of the child will be served by maximising the time and involvement each parent is willing and able to contribute in raising their children – unless the Court finds on good grounds that the parent is a danger to the child.
- The Court should have its own professional body to investigate accusations of child abuse – which includes: Sustained alienation or denigration of the other parent : Preventing the other parent, under any pretext, carrying out their parental authority: Impeding the contact between the child or teenager and the other parent, or family.
- The best interests of the child are not served by access being denied. The best interests of the child will be served if the Court acts firmly against offenders. Not many cases would have to be resolved in this way before custodial parents took an entirely different attitude to access than they do now.
The Federal Attorney-General announced a merger of the Family Court system to create a new “super court” (May 2018) but without any real funding to solve the problems noted above.
We believe a lack of GST to fund law enforcement of the Family Court system is impacting children, parents and families in WA.
The WESTERN AUSTRALIA PARTY will fight for our per capita share (11%) of the GST for WA. We hope you will join us by becoming a member and making a tax-deductible donation TODAY! Click here>>
Russell Goodrick, candidate for the Darling Range by-election – 23 June 2018.