July 9, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Bad facts make bad law, at least Australian Labor MP Graham Perrett hopes they do.
Perrett has seized on a single horrible incident that took place in February of this year to attempt to (a) change Australian family law to marginalize fathers in the lives of their children even more than they already are and (b) short circuit the inquiry into family law now in progress.
On February 19th, Rowan Baxter poured gasoline on his three children and their mother, Hannah Clarke, and set it alight, killing all four. He then stabbed himself to death. Baxter and Clarke had been embroiled in a child custody case prior to their deaths.
A family tragedy doesn’t get much more shocking and appalling than that and Perrett was johnny on the spot, ready to make whatever legislative hay he could from the deaths. Strangely, he’s put forward a bill that would do away with the presumption of parental responsibility that’s the last vestige of fathers’ rights in Australian family law. “Parental responsibility” is what we in the U.S. call “legal custody,” i.e. the right to have a say in children’s schooling, medical care, etc. How removing that presumption would have changed the Baxter/Clarke tragedy, I can’t understand and Perrett hasn’t explained. It seems that, in the Land Down Under, it’s always open season on dads and their access to their kids.
July 9, 2020 by Indiana Lee
No one enters into a marriage expecting it to end in divorce. No parent wants their child to have to face the separation of her parents. But not even a divorce can change the fact that you, your former spouse, and the children you made together are, and always, will be a family,
If parental separation is handled well, a child of divorce doesn't come from a "broken home". She has two fixed homes. Together, you and your former spouse can shepherd your child through this transition. No, it won’t always be easy. No, you won’t always have all the answers and you may sometimes feel as if you simply don’t know what you’re doing. And yes, you will make mistakes.
But that’s okay. Because you’re human and humans make mistakes. And when your child sees you and your former spouse facing adversity together as a whole family, even in the face of divorce, then they’re going to learn resilience.
July 8, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Amazing but true, The Guardian has a positive article about fathers, and a reasonably accurate one too (The Guardian, 6/30/20). Of course the article is well behind the research it deals with and barely scratches the surface, but, within those limitations, it gives its readers valuable information.
It seems there’s some recent research out of Cambridge University on fathers playing with their children and how that influences children’s behavior, both immediately and in the years to come.
Research carried out by Cambridge University’s faculty of education and the LEGO Foundation looked at how mothers and fathers play with children aged 0 to 3 years and how it affects child development.
While there are many similarities, it found that fathers tend to engage in more physical play like tickling, chasing, and piggy-back rides, which researchers claim appears to help children to learn to control their feelings.
The research is based on a review of data from 78 studies, carried out mainly in Europe or the US between 1977 and 2017, which found a consistent correlation between father-child play and a child’s ability later to control their feelings.
July 3, 2020 by Robert Franklin, JD, Member, National Board of Directors
Is Greece poised to make a great leap forward toward parental equality in family courts? This article says it may be; I’m less confident (Open Democracy, 6/29/20).
It seems the current government has put forward a bill that would significantly overhaul current law relating to child custody, child support and parenting time. That may be a good thing. The linked-to article’s writer, Vassillis K. Fouskas, is a professor of international politics and economics at the University of East London. He identifies three major defects in current Greek family law.
“First, middle and lower-middle class fathers who dared to enter litigation demanding shared parenting/joint custody risked losing their child(ren) at the same time that they were asked to pay enormous amounts of money in child maintenance.”
As I understand it, Greece has no clear system for ordering child support, such as the guidelines that govern in most parts of this country, so each judge simply makes it up as he/she sees fit. That can mean lower-earning fathers can end up with ruinous support orders.