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New act aims to make ‘McDonald’s dads’ history

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 2:02 pm Wed 6th July 2005

Chief Family Court Judge Peter Boshier says judges will interpret the new Care of Children Act to give both parents “optimum good quality time” with their children when the parents separate.

The new law also gives children the right to their own lawyers in separation tussles, gives grandparents and others in the wider family the right to seek parenting orders in the children’s interests, and opens Family Courts to the media.

Judge Boshier said a wording change from “custody” to “day-to-day care” of children meant both parents were now expected to exercise more parental responsibility.

“We have had too many parenting arrangements where one parent has not been parenting as much as they should,” he said.

“I think there will be a change in our attitude to the extent of the time that children will spend with each parent.

“It hasn’t been unusual for one parent to have custody the greater bulk of the time and the other simply to have ‘access’.

“Our thinking now is that may have been historically acceptable, but is no longer necessarily tenable.

Judge Boshier said the changes would reinforce the goal of reaching agreement without the need to go to court.

The Care of Children Act also gives judges a new power to jail parents who breach Family Court orders for up to three months, and increases the maximum fines to $2500.

Auckland District Law Society family law spokesman Stuart Cummings said the law change was “a watershed and an opportunity to do things differently”.


  1. Hallef_ _ _ _ ing luya!
    A step in the right direction. At least fathers in future may get a fair shake instead of the shakedown so many of us have been subjected too.

    Too bad for my son and many other family court produced fatherless kids that it’s come 10 years too late!

    Now that Boshier has admitted publically the family court got it wrong I wonder what he and his organisation are going to do to create redress to the historical injustices they’ve perpetrated on a generation of fathers and kids. Or will he simple try to sweep that under the carpet?

    Let’s hope judges have the intestinal fortitude to punish vexes who block the other parent from day to day care of thier children.

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 6th July 2005 @ 2:51 pm

  2. how freaking demeaning is the term McDonalds Dads?? I get to see the daughter every 2nd weekend and I certainly do better than a trip to Mcdonalds!!

    But yeah. ITS ABOUT TIME. Now to reform Child Tax

    Comment by Mark Lloyd — Wed 6th July 2005 @ 3:36 pm

  3. Well, surprisingly, this seems a step along the right road.

    How is the State jailing a parent any better than alienation of one parent by the other?

    And it also seems questionable that, instead of eliminating lawyers with one-track minds (conflict=more $$$) and the conflict they seek to create from the situation, we are faced with MORE lawyers?

    I’m not convinced.

    When Aunty-Helen realises that Family Law in New Zealand as it applies to parenting and children needs to be completely rebuilt: no reform – simply throw out what we have and start from a presumption of shared parenting such as Dr Newman speaks of.

    Comment by Ethos — Wed 6th July 2005 @ 6:38 pm

  4. “Intestinal fortitude” – surely you jest?

    Comment by Sparx — Wed 6th July 2005 @ 6:39 pm

  5. gr8. About time,lets hope that it will give teeth to the offending parent who is being a arse hole about the whole access.i laugh about the mcdonalds..i been there a few times to see my kid.

    Comment by alfred — Wed 6th July 2005 @ 10:39 pm

  6. Ethos, I took it as less lawyers being involved by directing parents to counselling to avoid court altogether. As long as the custodial parent is forced to attend. I recently had access issues and before any access to court to sort it out we had to go to counselling. But under current laws she had no obligation to turn up!! And she didn’t, making her look real grown up 😉

    Comment by Mark Lloyd — Thu 7th July 2005 @ 2:14 pm

  7. I agree with Ethos, the lawyers always come out winners, and the world can do with less of them. Even though the new act is a step in the right direction, it seems you stand a greater chance of being even punished even more by the government – being sent to prison. Although I disagree with the fact that Uncle-Helen will allow Family Law in NZ to be rebuilt – she supports it, and is building on it

    Comment by Moose — Thu 7th July 2005 @ 10:46 pm

  8. Mark,

    My mistake and my most humble apologies.

    I obviously misunderstood the piece about children being given the “right to their own lawyers” as meaning their will be more parasites in the courtroom rather than less.

    As Moose notes, the only winner in a legal conflict is the lawyer driving the new BMW/Porsche etc.

    They (lawyers) created the [legal] system to be based around conflict and, as a result, it is in their pecuniary interest to ensure the conflict remains and is even fostered.

    There is a Men’s group operating in Auckland who very successfully self-represent and find the opposing lawyer stumped because the conflict (in the main) disappears.

    My belief is still that the family law and child tax (oops! “support”) in New Zealand needs a complete rebuild. Any sane person with one ounce of forethought would see that the children of separated families are unnecessarily punished by the current regimes. It does not (personal opinion) take a brain surgeon to work out that throwing out these anachronisms is the best place to start.

    As Dr Newman espouses, start from a presumption of shared parenting and a fair-and-reasonable child support system.

    Comment by Ethos — Fri 8th July 2005 @ 5:35 pm

  9. Ethos. Agreed. A mere tune-up aint going to fix anything. I too want a full top to bottom rebuild. But if the recent changes can force parents to the counselling/mediation table before the fat cat porsche driving laywers get involved then its for the better. BTW the lawyer mentioned in the article, Stuart Cummings, I use and have found him to be very non confrontational about matters.

    Comment by Mark Lloyd — Mon 11th July 2005 @ 1:55 pm

  10. Sorry folks,
    I’d obviuously had a rush of blood to the head. What was I thinking that the longstanding adversarial system that has produced qunatum fatherlessness would be changed on the say so of Boshier.
    Boshier’s weasel words – ‘may have been historically acceptable but no longer tenable’ mask an awaeful truth I shall carry to the grave – the organization he now fronts has a terrible legacy of creating massive fatherlessness. The ongoing effects of which are coming home to roost. Thus I predict he’ll be in damage control mode for quite some time to come, and cooing similar silky-soothing platitudes to try and smooth things over.
    But I reckon there are many more of us will not forget as each childless day goes by the heartache his adopted mob have wrought.

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 13th July 2005 @ 4:51 am

  11. The psychological and financial rape of fathers by a few woman supported the facist family court and cronies (esp. CYPF ) is not so easily forgiven.I live in poverty, unrelenting dispair and exile in Australia.My sons have been stolen from me.They are as seriously disturbed by this arrangement as I am yet help still seems a million miles away.Any attempt to see or contact my boys is met with unrelenting vemon from their mother whom simply calls in the Police to enforce a protection order whenever she feels like it.A proper justification for these orders and a 30 day time limit on their imposition is well overdue.

    Comment by Brian Dyson — Fri 15th July 2005 @ 4:31 pm

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