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Fathers v Family Court

Filed under: General — Julie @ 3:32 pm Sun 4th June 2006

Some dads say they’re not getting a fair go in the Family Court. Kate Monahan finds out why they are so disgruntled, and sits in on some cases being heard

We’ve had a gutsful of the Family Court, their discrimination against fathers,” says Jack Gielen, a spokesman for the Hamilton branch of the coalition, which has about 20 members.

“We want to replace it with mediation services and equal parenting focused on joint responsibility and joint decision-making.”

The group also wants a Ministry of Men’s Affairs established and more support services for men, including retreat facilities for fathers and children.

“If you had the Family Court out of the way tomorrow, the mother, father and child could sit down and will be able to do it,” says Gielen. “It’s God-given, innate common sense.”

The group doesn’t like women in power. He derides Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Labour colleagues —- “Helen and the funny girls”, he calls them.

Gielen also has a bee in his bonnet about the more moderate Union of Fathers, which has opposed the coalition’s aggressive tactics. “The head guy of Union of Fathers has his wife on the committee,” he says. When asked why they wouldn’t want support from women, Gielen says “it’s okay to join, but we don’t want a feminised takeover”.

Fraser Penny, the newly elected national chairperson of the Union of Fathers, based in Hamilton, says having women support their cause is essential. Penny, a Waikato man and foundation member of the union, says his wife (Maggie Revell-Penny, secretary of the union) “has stayed up on numerous occasion into the wee hours, helping guys with affidavits”.

He estimates the union has more than 1000 members nationwide, with about 40 in Hamilton, and works with community groups such as Parentline and the Citizens Advice Bureau. Much of their work with fathers is as a support system. “We can go from the point of pulling a guy up who is angry, to have him focusing on his children and pulling his head in,” Penny says. “They change, grow and carry on being awesome dads and role models.”

Parentline child and family therapist Audrey Hutcheson says it is important to differentiate between the coalition and the union. They get calls from some fathers from the union seeking advice, and some also attend parenting groups.

Penny says the union does not condone the coalition protests outside private homes. Although their starting point is also shared parenting, they prefer to support fathers (and occasionally mothers) and work through the system. “They’ve chosen their path, we have chosen our own.”

There is alot more to read on this article.


  1. Thanks for this and other recent posts Julie.

    I see old Neville Robertson is up to his usual one eyed feminist statistical shenanigans. Notice how he cunningly doesn’t state what percentage of fathers and mothers ACTUALLY apply for sole custody.
    Given the ever present danger of having your fathering visitation, let alone custody screwed with by an uncorroborated accusation of some form of abuse, what’s the bet most men don’t even bother applying for sole custody in the first place. So 60 odd percent of those that do apply end up getting sole custody.
    What’s sixty percent of a tiny amount Neville? An even tinier amount!! Duh!
    Factor in judges with track records of awarding in favour of mums, long expensive delays of weeks, even months in even getting to a hearing and the secretive nature of the ‘court’ where not even transcript records are kept, and you have a recipe for bias writ large.
    So tell me Kate Monahan and Neville Robertson aren’t in bed together (figuratively speaking).
    A shame ideology gets in the way of common sense. But hey what do you expect from a feminazzi stronghold like Hamilton and frontmen like Neville.
    I say keep the protests rolling guys and watch out for weasels who claim to be peddling social science.

    Comment by Stephen — Sun 4th June 2006 @ 4:54 pm

  2. Hi Stephen,

    This is the bit that worries me.

    The group doesn’t like women in power.

    I wonder how well that will go down with the public?

    Also, did you get the impression the courts don’t think shared parenting is in the best interest of the child?

    I personally think there has to be a way of showing people how that is supposed to improve the child’s life. Most information shows that the father is important but not at 50/50 or close to it. The 50/50 or shared parenting looks to be in the interest of the parent who does not get it.

    Comment by julie — Sun 4th June 2006 @ 6:49 pm

  3. WAIKATO University senior psychology lecturer Dr Neville Robertson says fathers demanding equal access may be missing the point —- that it should be about the children.

    “Fathers are saying there ought to be shared responsibility, but to be effective you need a high degree of co-operation and goodwill between the parents. If it’s got to the stage where you are fighting it out in court, it’s unlikely that exists.”

    Being shunted back and forth between parents is not conducive to a stable and positive home environment for the child. “All things being equal, it is probably in the best interests of a child not to have their current arrangements upset,” says Robertson. “In the vast majority of cases, that is provided by mothers.”

    I understand more and more why psychologists have such a bad name amongst fathers. These comments of Robertson’s make me really angry. Essentially, he’s saying fathers don’t matter. To say such things, you have to wonder if he’s a dad himself. If so, he either doesn’t take the job very seriously or he has never bothered trying to imagine what it would be like to have his kids ripped away from him.

    Furthermore, you also have to wonder if he was a child himself, with a real dad of his own. How would he have felt to be told by some pointy headed academic that he didn’t need his dad’s love and care, he could just make do with mother’s care instead (not as well as, but instead).

    I’m flabbergasted that a person in such a position of power and influence holds these views and can unashamedly present such garbled, inhumane reasoning.

    As far as I can tell he’s also saying that equal shared parenting doesn’t work without a high degree of co-operation. Well isn’t that exactly what plays straight into the hands of all those unco-operative custodial parents (let’s face it, in the vast majority of cases) mothers) who seek to drive the other parent out of the picture by maintaining a state of high conflict. Allowing kids to see one parent being shut out devalued and alienated – that’s in the best interests of children?

    People such as Robertson, who assign fathers so much less value as parents than mothers – I don’t know what century they’re living in but it’s not the same one as me. I can only hope this mad scientist is elderly and will soon be retired. It can’t come too soon.

    Comment by PaulM — Sun 4th June 2006 @ 7:05 pm

  4. My email to Neville Robertson;

    Dear Mr Roberts,

    Re; Kate Monahan’s article published in the Waikato Times, Saturday June 3rd.

    My name is Wayne Pruden, and as you may be aware, I am walking to Wellington to present a petition to parliament seeking a full enquiry into the Family Court system. First, consider why ‘any father’ would undertake such a feat.

    I cannot speak for any other “disgruntled father”, a name inappropriately given to shattered dads fighting for their children, but I can speak on behalf of my son and I about his interests and the life that I built for him and which has been stolen away.

    First, let me say that I was a student at the university which you lecture at. I am a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society, which I was invited to join after my first year at university, having achieved an A+ average; I’m sure a learned lecturer and public commentator like yourself is also a member, due to your diligence, commitment and intellect. Bare in mind however, that my son was born during my first year at university, so while I was learning about child birth, infant needs, waiting on my partner hand and foot, preparing my house for the birth of my first and only child, maintinaing a home, and doing ALL the housework and laundry for my family, I was also studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

    I was the primary caregiver of my son. The mother, heavily depressed about having a second child and suggesting abortion, was happy for me to take this role, which I performed perfectly well, if my son’s development and happiness is the appropriate indicator. This was a decision made by US before my son was born, and because of this joint decision, I was the first to hold our son, first to dress him, and first to bottle feed him. I bathed him every day, chose his clothes, administered his medicines, comforted him and spent every moment with him, while the mother drifted away, worked part time (under-the-table), and relied on me to do everything. That is until she had been with me for 3 years and 1 week when she left me for another man and made a claim on my home.

    Less that four weeks before my partner left me, our son had undergone open heart surgery at Starship hospital, and within days after leaving me the mother’s’ daughter (a 13 year old minor!) told me over the phone that her mother USUALLY left her at home with my son while she went out with her new boyfriend. This was a serious and dangerous situation for my son to be left in, but the FC judges didn’t care.

    The mother breached a Non-Removal Order twice (purchased airline tickets to Vietnam, and applied for our son’s passport), but the Judges didn’t care.

    The mother admitted to immigration fraud in the Family Court (she used false birth certificates (4 different versions) to change her daughter’s name, apply for a passport under a new name and smuggle her daughter out of Vietnam without the father’s knowledge), but Family Court judge Anne McAloon in her decision said I “failed to discredit” the mother.

    On the day of her flight to Vietnam (a non-Hague signatory), I withheld my son and appeared on the Holmes Show, but any information about the mother’s immigration fraud was edited out because Immigration was in the middle of an investigation.

    I was hunted down by the police like a killer, and family members, including my mother, were threatened with arrest if they didn’t tell the police where I was. The Warrant to uplift my son was signed by a FC judge the previous day (before I breached any court order!). The mother came back from Vietnam, but refused access for a further month, then asked the judge to impose supervised access only, and removed Shared custody (as if that made any difference!).

    The mother breached FC court orders four (4) times and the judges ignored it. I breached a court order once (protecting my son from being abducted just like his half sister was before her mother put her into the care of a convicted paedophile; Yes, are you shocked now!), but a warrant to uplift was signed the day before, during normal “lawful” access. Might I also add that the mother was to fly out to Vietnam in the middle of my week of school holiday access, yet even though she told the judge she would allow extra access before her flight to make up for it, she refused it!

    This is merely the tip of the iceberg, as there are numerous incidents that can only be described as “Bias”, “obstruction of justice”, “collusion”, “corruption”, “defamation” and many other criminal, and proceedural incidents which the FC judges have ignored, and at times have been a party to.

    I would be happy to meet with you and discuss my case and situation because it is obvious to me that you are ignorant to the reality of the abuses metered out by FC judges, family law lawyers and Family Court appointed psychologists (whose report I still have nightmares about!). I am particularly aggrieved by the Psychologists report in my case, which I’m sure, if you were made privy to, you would be demanding that heads roll, as I am.

    It may be that a joint press release would be a responsible outcome from our meeting, because I refute all statements made by you and published in the aforementioned article. I do not wish to question your credibility, but simply the source of your knowlegde. I wish to give you an alternative seed, from which your comments may grow. With all due respect, I believe I am more qualified to comment on FC bias than yourself, and one hour with me, is worth 100 before the system which you have publicly commented on.

    Wayne Pruden

    Comment by Wayne — Sun 4th June 2006 @ 10:09 pm

  5. I have been in the FC system battling a co-op of Lawyer for Child, a Judge (Moss) Wellington, an access supervisor( Family Friend) and the system between CYFs and the family court law. Its been the most emotionally draining, un-reasonable, illogical and un-remitting series of events by a well trained lawyer for the ex-wife that have now seen my children taken out of New Zealand into a foreign country with jurisdiction remaining in New Zealand but enforceabiltiy now the issue for continued access.

    I need help from the various organisations in New Zealand and have received some help from the foreign country Fathers4Justice. But the new Care of Children Act 2005 now no longer includes the Hague Convention for International Abduction of Children.

    I have established a domain for

    I ask this organisation and members for help in putting online the process steps so that fathers will not fall into the system, and get their children taken away from them.

    I will be putting online the steps and the “tricks” used by the ex”s lawyer in taking my children away. We as fathers must be aware of how the system works so that we can at laest not be disadvantaged whenj we face the Family Court. More awareness and signoificant cases will help change in the system. Real change must come through Government, being a lawyer wilol help but chnaging the law would be the best result for fathers who want an equal parenting involvment in their child’s life. Thatis a committment we all make when we agree to have children with our partner, the family court doesn’t recognise that committment at the moment. The mother as we all know in most cases remains the primary day to day parent.

    I have my home and possibly another available for a fathers refuge, I have faced my children being taken into a refuge as a faint by my ex to convinjce the court that she would get custody the real truth was she psychologically abused me and I went into a deep depression – she threatened to take the children away from me, the FC agreed that this is psychological abuse of the father.

    I sought help from a victim counsellor, but I have nbow heard a lot of fathers have faced controlling, manipulative, and emotional blackmail from their partners and ex’s. This is psychological abuse, not physical but its more damaging. I propose a refuge for fathers and their children in Wellington. I need help on this.


    Comment by raymond — Sun 4th June 2006 @ 10:42 pm

  6. Raymond,
    What you are suggeting, offering a house as a refuge for fathers and children is truly the sign of a great and unselfish person.
    The was no ‘fathers refuge’ for me to go to with my son, and after years of psychological abuse and control from my x-partner, she simply made a false complaint to the police (admitted at the time), used a womens refuge as a first step, and has since had a team of barristers working against me with the confidence that everything they want, the family court will provide.
    I agree-it is an extremely devestating thing for any person to go through.
    All I can say is; stay strong, support those who are trying to change the system, and keep communicating with your children any way that you can.

    Comment by Wayne — Sun 4th June 2006 @ 10:58 pm

  7. Hi Julie,
    re your highlighted quote from Jack Geilan –
    I took it to mean the current crop of women in power : Clarke and co. I can’t say I care for them myself. We’ve been under thier watch for years now and fathers and thier supporters are still moved to protest.
    As for 50/50 custody, as I’ve said in other threads on this site I don’t believe anyone but the most uncompromising is arguing for a strict 50/50 timeshare in parents kids upon seperation. So Neville Robertson is fearmongering and being unduly alarmist – standard feminist tactics of old – make the other side look like extremists and yourself very moderate using ‘reasonable’ statistics all delivered in mild mannered tones to suck folks in.

    To reiterate so that those tempted to filter get it – WHAT SHOULD BE upheld however is that 50/50 custody be the starting point in any negotiations about custody.
    Mr Robertson’s smokesceen should be seen as simple that however.
    Ask any dad who’s been through the femily caught and I’m confident a disturbing number of them will tell you the femily caught operates on another premise;
    And that’s before false allegations start to kick in.
    As much as the ‘court’ tries to conceal it, there’s no ascaping THE FACT that such allegations are routinely made (usually by women) in custody battles, and even if proven to be wrong are made with impunity BEHIND CLOSED DOORS where the victim of such maliciousness doen’t have recourse to redress and reparation.

    The whole sad sorry shitheap stinks to high heaven!

    It’s all a bit too reminiscent of Stalinist Russia as depicted by Solzeniskin for my liking.
    There it was the middle class and intellectuals who were purged. Here it seems to be fathers so that the socialist state can have control of children to inculcate them with thier values to perpetuate the sistahood.

    Now if you ask the guys who said they don’t like women in power, perhaps that’s what they’ll say to you too.
    Bear in mind the reporter may be like I alluded to – a bosom buddy of Mr Robertson with an agenda of her own to only half quote Jack Geilen so as to make him look bad. There are elements to her prose which suggest this IMO.
    She’s definitely I’d recommend putting on men’s issues watch.

    Comment by Stephen — Sun 4th June 2006 @ 11:01 pm

  8. Stephen, your statement below is awsome, and so true to the fact. It amazes me that this can happen at all in our 21st century society, let alone continue for so long. The stream of documents belched out out by my x’s team of barristers is simply a seemingly endless chain of lies, linked by emotive terms, and paid for by the public; you, me and every family in NZ.

    Ask any dad who’s been through the femily caught and I’m confident a disturbing number of them will tell you the femily caught operates on another premise;
    And that’s before false allegations start to kick in.
    As much as the ‘court’ tries to conceal it, there’s no ascaping THE FACT that such allegations are routinely made (usually by women) in custody battles, and even if proven to be wrong are made with impunity BEHIND CLOSED DOORS where the victim of such maliciousness doen’t have recourse to redress and reparation.

    Comment by Wayne — Mon 5th June 2006 @ 2:02 pm

  9. Hi Wayne,
    Sorry to hear of your plight and thanks for the compliment.
    I’m sure there are good folks associated with this site who can support you through this dreadful ordeal.

    Actually I DON”T PAY TAXES to support nz’s malebashing Gynocracy. I left nz some time ago. Something I’m openly smug about, and wish more men would do so as to see how elsewhere compares to there. I don’t recommend other western countries though. By all accounts fems have screwed those palces up too.
    Best wishes.

    Comment by Stephen — Tue 6th June 2006 @ 3:36 am

  10. Hi there,
    I would just like to give my point of view from my seperation. Well my husband left because he said he was unhappy and thought I was not paying enough attention to him. Well I tried my best to save our marriage especially for our children.
    So I do not feel he is entitled to much visitation at all. If he truly cared about his children he would of done something about his marriage. At least talked, but instead he cowardly left while the children and I were camping.
    Some men care about there children. Some just pretend they do because it makes them feel better about themselves.
    Courts should take into consideration why the man left in the first place.

    Comment by Annette — Wed 5th May 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  11. I hear you on this Annette and thanks for your side of the story.
    I have a couple of questions,
    “So I do not feel he is entitled to much visitation at all”
    Do you feel the same about his entitlement to paying Child Tax?

    Courts should take into consideration why the man left in the first place.
    Is this gender specific ie only if the man leaves?
    What if they find he had a reasonable reason for leaving, should this then be taken into consideration and the wife called to account?

    Comment by mits — Wed 5th May 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  12. Mits, Good points IMO.

    Angela, Thank-you for your honesty. It’s very painful to go through what you’re going through and it’s normal (from what I’ve seen and been through) to be upset and angry. I hope you heal well and in time work out a good plan with your ex, but in the meantime, ponder this.

    Parents who have children don’t (or shouldn’t) split from the children because their relationship doesn’t work out. It has nothing to do with entitlement and everything to do with the responsibility of raising innocent lives, who are dependant on both parent’s to put their (children’s) interest’s a priority.

    You’re not alone in wanting to force the other parent to be there for you, but it doesn’t work, didn’t the past and won’t in the future.

    Many children who lived through parents being unhappy and staying together for the children’s sake, are dysfunctional today because of it. Many have addiction issues and mental health problems. Their parents drew lines in the middle of rooms, chose which rooms belonged to who, played mind games with their kids, made a really unhealthy environment in their homes by not talking to each other, talking but only in abusive ways, and the list goes on and on and on.


    I can see this backfiring on you if you keep thinking this way. You’ll deny him his children and the children a father today, yet some time down the track when you heal, you’ll be apologising and having to live with a bad decision playing on your mind for the rest of your life. It’s also not unusual for children to grow up and resent their mothers for doing what you are.

    I think you are really hurt because this relationship isn’t intimate any more. I can only imagine you will be inflicting the same pain onto your children for instead of their father rejecting them, you are keeping them apart. You may even be trying to turn the children on their father as a way to get back at him – I hope not or if you are, I hope you come to your senses ASAP.

    If you’d like some adult support from those going through the same thing, and those that have come out the other end, or even just someone to lean on, join a single parent group.

    Comment by julie — Wed 5th May 2010 @ 4:45 pm

  13. Angela you say that he left because he was unhappy with you. You also imply he wasn’t willing to work this out with you.
    Then by some leap in logic you seek to punish the children by preventing them having an involved father in their lives.

    At no point did you say he didn’t want to be involved with the kids. Only that at some point he didn’t want to be married to you. Are you saying that marriage is a kind of slavery where the husband must stay with the wife if he wants to see his children? The children are individual people. They are not you. They need their dad. Your ex husband is entirely capable of loving and caring for the children when he no longer loves and cares for you. You need to stop making your adult issues your children’s problems.

    Imagine the roles were reversed. About 70 – 80% of marriages end because the wife terminates the marriage. They are not prepared to work on resolving whatever the issue is to stay married. By your logic then in 3 out of 4 of cases the wife should not be “…entitled to much visitation at all”. Is that what you are proposing?

    To be honest Angela is is obvious to us why he left quietly while you were away camping. Once he made up his mind that the marriage was over, it seems fairly obvious he had very little real choice. It doesn’t sound like it was safe for him to express his true feeling and fears to you at all. You are holding him at gun point now. What must have it been like for him when you were married?

    I am sure you are hurt and angry but you are an adult and you have to face up to your responsibilities. That means making sure the children see a great deal of their father even though you would rather punish him for the hurt you are feeling.

    Comment by Dave — Wed 5th May 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  14. Dave, I think you make good points in your comment, ..tough to hear, but important.

    About 70 — 80% of marriages end because the wife terminates the marriage.

    Do you know where I can find this study?

    Comment by julie — Thu 6th May 2010 @ 9:48 am

  15. @ Julie, I don’t have time right now but start here:

    ‘These boots are made for walking’: why most divorce filers are women

    Authors: M. Brinig1; D. Allen2

    Source: American Law and Economics Review, Volume 2, Number 1, 1 January 2000 , pp. 126-169(44)

    Publisher: Oxford University Press

    Comment by Dave — Thu 6th May 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  16. Thanks for this Dave. I am aware the actual 70% figure came from an American survey but I can’t remember the man who did the research although I remember he asked over a thousand people. This doesn’t give me much to go on to find it.

    What you have given here is equally worth looking into so I’m glad I asked. I also copied what you wrote earlier on this research. Thanks, again.

    Comment by julie — Fri 7th May 2010 @ 12:58 am

  17. As we all know , Kiwi men are the most genuine blokes in the world, but a little naive when it comes to ladies from “developing” nations such as Thailand and Philippines. Rose tinted spectacles spring to mind, when i read posts like Stephen’s. Well, i am sure he has learned by now, but Kiwi men have to be warned about ladies from 2nd and 3rd world countries.

    No, feminism has not arrived here yet, but NEARLY EVERY woman in Thailand is a VERY devious MONEY GRABBER, 1000 times even more than in NZ. Yes they think of their family , number 1, but they WILL have no qualms from stealing YOUR HARD HARD EARNED MONEY to pay their family !!! They will use every every trick they know, and the first time you will be enraged and bewildered about their actions.

    A typical outcome is a Kiwi guy meets a bar girl in Pattaya or Bangkok, and in many cases he will go “long time”, she stays the night, and acts like a girlfriend (GFE – Girl Friend Experience) , it is called. Many men fall in love with these women, but these women only want their money. The men then give these woman lots of money (“sponsors”), and in Thailand, NZ $$ go a LONG LONG way !!!! You will have lots and lots of sex in Thailand, but you will pay for it, one way or another. Pay for it, in many ways

    There is an Ebook fictional book about farang – thai lady relations, that will give ALL Kiwi males a lesson of what to expect of Thai bar girls.
    He dies in the end, it is THAT bad !

    I just want to give warnings to ANY Kiwis leaving for where they think women are more pleasant. Women are the same everywhere basically, but the emphasis on families, makes Thai women EVEN keener to take your money , BEWARE !!!!!!

    Comment by Kiwi In Thailand — Fri 7th May 2010 @ 1:40 am

  18. On the foreigner thing, I married a man (arab) and he has been the bane of my life. Not only did he abuse me, he has my child, he has lied to the courts and I have not seen my daughter for some weeks, all because they think I said things on facebook about him but there is no evidence????How is this fair? I am waiting for an answer, for a psychologists report but the truth is I am the one who signed over care of my child to my ex, I regret this, now I just want her back. When I did sign over care, he turned off his phone (can you imagine my distress when I couldnt talk to her, she was only 3)? I regret so much signing over any care but I did this because he kept hassling me, and I think I was under stress and really didnt know what I was doing. He has made oh so hard for me through his lies – I feel as a NZ citizen cheated by the system who will listen to a foreigners lies.

    Comment by anna — Wed 17th April 2013 @ 8:54 am

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