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Tue 12th August 2008

UnitedFuture pushing to reform family law

Filed under: General — UF @ 4:21 pm

UnitedFuture has announced plans to reform New Zealand family law, in a three-pronged approach designed to keep both parents closely involved in the day-to-day lives of their children following family breakdown.

“UnitedFuture will introduce ‘shared parenting’ as a default position for child custody arrangements in the family court,” announced family spokesperson Judy Turner.

“Shared parenting is currently granted in only one in nine judgements by the Family Court, with sole custody given to only one parent in eight out of ten cases, which is an extremely unsatisfactory situation.

“Shared parenting would mean that when both parents want custody, there will be a presumption that day-to-day care will be shared unless there are good reasons why it should not be.

“Academic studies as well as common-sense tell us that children are better off when they continue to have significant relationships with both parents after parental separation,” says Mrs Turner.

UnitedFuture today announced a new Member’s Bill, that will amend the Care of Children Act, to legislate for shared parenting.

The second change would be to enact Mrs Turner’s Family Proceeding (Paternity Orders and Parentage Tests) Amendment Bill that currently awaits a first reading. It would enable the Family Court to order DNA testing to confirm whether a man is the biological father of a child.

“It is a disgrace that the Government has not bothered to allow for DNA testing to create certainty for families, where currently none exists.

“The fact that these men are forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support for children they are not sure are even their own is a breach of natural justice.

“For the children it is a human rights issue – they are entitled to know who their father is, or in some cases is not,” says Mrs Turner.

The third plank of the reforms proposed by UnitedFuture involves a review of the child support system, to look at ways in which the system can be made fairer.

UnitedFuture leader and Minister of Revenue Peter Dunne has ordered a review of the child support scheme to make it more responsive to factors such as shared care, the income levels of both parents and the costs of raising children.

“It is timely to reassess the formula, to ensure that it is flexible enough to reflect the complexities of raising children when the parents are separated and both parents contribute to the care of their children,” said Mr Dunne.

“I have asked my policy officials to examine a number of options for updating the child support system to deal with these and related concerns.”

“Family law is failing thousands of families in New Zealand and is long overdue for reform, and the effect of fatherlessness is well known and a prime indicator for crime and antisocial behaviour,” says Mrs Turner.

She refers to figures from Massey University economist Stuart Birks who found that children from fatherless homes are:

5 times more likely to commit suicide.

32 times more likely to run away.

20 times more likely to have behavioural disorders.

14 times more likely to commit rape

9 times more likely to drop out of high school.

10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances.

9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution.

20 times more likely to end up in prison.

“Family law reform is well overdue in this country. The effects of our current system cannot be underestimated and have wide-ranging consequences,” says Mrs Turner.

“UnitedFuture is the only party working to make sure children continue to enjoy the support and care of their entire family after parental separation, and we are taking the necessary steps to achieve this.

“Our new shared parenting bill is another significant step to supporting New Zealand families,” says Mrs Turner.

ENDS

21 Responses to “UnitedFuture pushing to reform family law”

  1. bull en a china shop says:

    put all the family lawyers up before a firing squad too…, but start with the parasite judges by the likes of judge paul von daslezden,judge o’donovan, judge patrick grace etc counsel for child – alan davies, napier etc, the scum of this country have had their day… to name just a few, haha…

  2. bull en a china shop says:

    “family court” = “scam” by which their fraternity has no ethics..

    good start judy…

  3. Alastair says:

    We measure lawers fees in BMW’s!

    I note lawyers are ceasing leagal aid family work because it does not pay enough.

    Maybe this should be regulated?

    Good start Judy, you have just won a party vote.

  4. bull en a china shop says:

    BMW’s alastair, i can see that being very relative, “nazi mobile”, very fitting indeed…

  5. Hadi Akbari says:

    Hi Alastair, that is true, us mugs provide these so called lawyers with beautiful mansions, flash cars and god knows what else, do you really believe this Judy will change the family law? we as men have just as much right to our children as they wouldnt be here if it hadnt been for us

  6. martin swash says:

    what chance does this party have of getting into power and their manifesto becong law ?

  7. Alastair says:

    What chance did the greens have of ruling until Labour needed them – hence we now have their policy, – The anti smacking bill.

    Given the right climate a minor party can control parliament. The Achillies heel of MMP

  8. UF says:

    FYI Martin,

    UnitedFuture has two MP’s currently in Parliament. Leader Peter Dunne has a safe electorate seat so will return to Parliament, so every vote will count to getting extra MPs. 3% of the vote would give 5 MPs into parliament, and with only two MPs for half of this term, they have set up an independent complaints process for CYF, that didnt exist, has a members Bill about to have a first reading to allow for DNA paternity testing, and although bound by collective responsivility, Peter Dunne as Minster of Revenue has ordered a review into shared parenting and the child support scheme. With just two MPs, as Labour needed them to form a government without the greens in it or maori party.

    With 3% or 5 MPs, they may very well hold the balance of power to be in a position to bargain with National for more family friendly policies.

    Another policy is to restructure the ministry of women’s affairs into gender affairs to look at all the areas where men are disadvantaged also.

  9. Jim Bailey says:

    WOW – Judy has come a long long way
    1 – Can Peter be trusted?
    2 – Will United Future so called Shared Parenting, ie. any share of parenting be Equal Parenting ie 50-/-50?
    3 – Will all Fathers be treated as Equally Important to their Children or will this new attempt still block Fathers who are involved with WINZ as I am?

    We will see – I will ask

    Onward
    Ration Shed – Jim

  10. Bruce says:

    Great news if they can be believed and trusted, we should all be lobbying our MPs to support the members bill now rahter than waiting for the election?
    I’m surprised that the Nats didnt cotton on to this with their proposed changes to the benefit, I sure that shared care would reduce the numbers on the DPB, may make some women less inclined to walk away rather than work at saving their marriage?

  11. Scrap_The_CSA says:

    Question – Can Peter Dunne be trusted?

    What has Peter Dunne, Leader of United Future and ,Minister responsible for Child Tax been doing for the last 3 years? A couple from a long list.

    ## Increasing IRD’s power to screw over liable parents
    ## Enabling data matching with immagration, laying the ground for detention at the border for those whom IRD claims have a debt,

    Peter Dunne has a pathetic traxk record on Child Support Reform.

    With respect to Judy, Peter Dunne, is Party Leader. His track record is one of inaction over the FC while pronuglating a draconian approach to child tax collection.!!
    .
    If National leads a coalition Dunne is likely to be part of it. Peter has laid the ground work to execute Judith Collins Stop Child Tax “debtors” at the border policy – a policy that was United Future policy.

    Can Peter Dunne, The Minister Responsible for Child Tax, Leader of United Future be trusted to deliver what Judy Turner proposes?

    Regards

    Scrap

  12. About time says:

    An email to Judy Turner

    Hi Judy

    I have been reading a post on the Menz website
    “UnitedFuture will introduce ’shared parenting’ as a default position for child custody arrangements in the family court,” announced family spokesperson Judy Turner.“Shared parenting is currently granted in only one in nine judgements by the Family Court, with sole custody given to only one parent in eight out of ten cases, which is an extremely unsatisfactory situation.“Shared parenting would mean that when both parents want custody, there will be a presumption that day-to-day care will be shared unless there are good reasons why it should not be.

    I applaud you for taking the time to look at this archaic system we have in NZ for our families with regards to shared parenting and child support.

    I’m not sure if you realise how many ears are listening to you (1000’s on the menz website) and votes you will receive from families who have been in constant battle with the family court and IRD for many years. We all know there are ‘drop kick’ parents out there who make no effort to see their children HOWEVER there are many dads who wants to participate in their kids lives a lot more than they are currently allowed – but the truth of the matter is if they had 50/50 care then the meal ticket ($$$$) to the ex wife’s/partners is cut (so the ex wifes defy shared care)….this leads the men into family court WHO usually cannot afford expensive lawyers bills just so they can have relationship with their children. If there is no violence involved then why cant it be a 50/50 shared care system on separation.

    As far as child support goes we battled with family court for 2 yrs to obtain 50/50 of my step son (which we are thoroughly enjoying the time with him) – however we are still required to pay my husband’s ex partner child support for him ($500 a month – because of my husbands income) and she pays us a minimal $100 (because she chooses to work part time and receives a generous Working for Families top up). The system with 50/50 care should stop any child support being passed between parents and the costs of the child are of those who have them for that week or time. Child support formulas need to be overhauled – as the formula should be on what’s a child costs are not on what the liable parent earns!

    So well done Judy!! You’ve got many people listening and waiting to see the outcome.

  13. Alastair says:

    Congratulations “About Time” A well worded letter. This is the type of letter that makes the recipient sit up and read, even though they may disagree.

    Again, congrats. Please keep us posted n the response.

  14. Scrap_The_CSA says:

    The Acid test is delivery and what have United Future delivered?

    Look at the voting record of this party and dont be sucked in during election year!

    Regards

    Scrap

  15. About time says:

    Thanks Alastair. I agree Scrap – the proof is always in the pudding!! No use holding our breath otherwise we might turn blue – but lets live in hope!! because I tell ya the situation in NZ (with regards to shared care and child support) couldnt get any worse for the dads or kids of this country!!

  16. Tigerseye says:

    So they do read our emails and angry Menz forums… this is good news. Lets keep making more noise!

    This is the response I have been looking for – even if it is just to make themselves look good to the nation.

    This tells me that the eyes of the “Hive” are on us, it’s no coincidence these figures have suddenly spring up in a members bill after appearing on this site a week or so ago.

    Someone is watching and paying attention to our emails.

    Keep up the good work!

  17. Scrap_The_CSA says:

    because I tell ya the situation in NZ (with regards to shared care and child support) couldnt get any worse for the dads or kids of this country!!

    Sorry to be a kill joy but it can get a lot worse – If National make the treasury benches……

    Regards

    Scrap

  18. Hans Laven says:

    It seems no coincidence that this policy from the Dunne Party comes a week after the commencement of Dunne’s persecution of alleged child tax defaulters (see Scrap’s posting on 5 August entitled “United Future’s first step to arresting dads at the border”). The fact that this conveniently-timed policy is also hollow and designed to be ineffectual suggests it is mainly a damage control ploy to distract fathers from Dunne’s major assault on their civil liberties, and to try to create a false impression that his party cares a damn about fathers.

  19. rosie says:

    It’s almost time for the next elections and United Future are concerned about the plight of fathers.
    Yeah right.
    They’ve had three years to do something.Why wait until now?

  20. bull en a china shop says:

    BAN THE AFFIDAVIT and replace it with a W.O.F like form, the only purpose of an affidavit is to argue with the other party which is not what being a parent is about at all. THE FAMILY COURT IS A FAILED EXPERIMENT. THE FAMILY COURT IS A FAILED EXPERIMENT. THE FAMILY COURT IS A FAILED EXPERIMENT. THE FAMILY COURT IS A FAILED EXPERIMENT. THE FAMILY COURT IS A FAILED EXPERIMENT. THE FAMILY COURT IS A FAILED EXPERIMENT. THE FAMILY COURT IS A FAILED EXPERIMENT.

  21. bull en a china shop says:

    howabout a referendum to dissolve the family court ?

    (bring down the berlin wall, many a child, thy chief advocate in essence)

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