Shared parenting undone ?

By Robert Whiston   May 22nd 2011

No sooner had an article appeared praising Australia’s decision to embrace shared parenting (see “Australia’s Shared Parenting Experiment” Sept 2009, http://equalparenting.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/1/), than the first feminist murmurings began. This has since developed into a vengeful backlash.

Orchestrated by reactionary figures like Jenifer McIntosh, the new Julia Gillard government [1] didn’t take much coaxing to cave in and agree to calls to think again about shared parenting. [2]

Lurid stories began appearing in the press and broadcast medium to the effect that “50/50 parenting was ‘tearing kids apart’”   [3] In the interview the following remarks were made:

  • ” . . . Child psychologist Jennifer McIntosh was studying 260 families who were fighting over custody when she stumbled across a distinct group of children in real distress.
  • All of them were in equal-care arrangements. She argues that rather than being shared, these children are being torn apart by their parents.”

Shared parenting has been very popular with the Australian voter but has been subject to downright lies by those who are better placed than most to know the facts. Take for instance Professor Dale Bagshaw – she said of shared parenting:

  • “We’re focusing very much on the outcomes for children, . . . . and the outcomes for children have not been positive.”

What utter twaddle. It has been internationally recognised that ‘outcomes’ for children are enhanced at every level by shared parenting.

The changes to family law was introduced by the former administration under the then Prime Minister John Howard in 2006. It is now claimed that this change is divisive and proving harmful to children. The excuse given for revisiting the new legislation is the same old inane chestnut of child domestic violence. The fact that child deaths – the most extreme form of child domestic violence – have fallen since 2006 is nothing but a minor irritation to academics like Jennifer McIntosh.

McIntosh has been at the core of the feminist cabal who need to prove their theories were right all along (and to hell with children lives), but in this article the other hired guns will also  be featured.

Judicial worries

The basis for the claim that the changes are harmful to children come from newspapers, several ‘surveys’ (but from known biased sources), which all questions the efficacy. The widely cited study by McIntosh – with the unwieldy title of “The Child Responsive program, operating within the Less Adversarial Trial: A follow up study of parent and child outcomes” has a survey sample size when one looks at it of only 111 families (see also below).

Instead of letting the new legislation bed down and prove its worth the Australian government’s new Bill is so worded that it will overthrow already decided cases. This is the warning not from the Father’s Rights Movement but from Diana Bryant, the Chief Justice of the Family.[4]

Diana Bryant’s fear is that the parliamentary draft as it now stands (May 2011) would:

  1.  re-open many cases and
  2.  put children at extra risk by
  3.  log-jamming the courts and thereby
  4.  adding stress to families.

The danger in the government’s Bill is that the laws can be applied to cases that had largely been heard, Chief Justice Bryant states this in a submission to the Senate committee examining the legislation.

So the bizarre situation is this; on the one hand are the feminist-types who see shared parenting as unfair to women and dangerous for children, and on the other hand you have the head of the courts saying these changes to rectify what feminist perceive as dangerous to children are themselves dangerous to children.

For reasons that are beyond the wit of mere mortal understanding the proposals of Gillard government have a ‘retrospectivity’ element.

This means, according to Chief Justice Diana Bryant, that any cases that may have been largely heard but not finally decided could be re-opened with new evidence, and this could cause delay in the delivery of reasons for judgment. She said:

  • “Cases involving actual violence or abuse or the risk of harm to children are precisely those cases that need to be brought on quickly, heard in a timely manner and finalised so that appropriate protective arrangements can be put in place,”
  • “It would be most unfortunate indeed if a consequence of the amendments, which are designed to improve responsiveness to family violence, was to place vulnerable childrenatrisk of harm through delay . . ..”

Patrick Parkinson, the architect of the Howard government’s original family law changes (and family law professor), argues the new broad definition of violence is still flawed and could be abused.

When the Bill came before the Australian parliament the Gillard government had already watered it down from its original proposals. The proposals have been to delete the shared parenting provision which wasat the centre of the Howard government’s family law reforms of 2006.

A Senate inquiry has since exposed more potential flaws and under proposed new arrangements, the Family Court will still have to consider whether divorced parents have encouraged a close and continuing relationship between the child and their former partner when awarding custody.

The process of how the public was softened up and public opinion  manipulated for the proposed reversal of policy can be seen in some measure at Appendices A, B and C below.

The first draft of the Bill reversing shared parenting (circulated in Nov 2010), contained an exhaustive listing but the 2011 definitions now contains a general characterisation of harmful behaviour. Which is worse – a prescriptive list or a judge’s discretion ? We know both guarantee misery.

Professor Parkinson argues the opening words of the definition require that the behaviour complained of “coerces or controls” a family member is flawed. The flaw, he says, is that no mention is made of the intent to cause coercion or control. To be a legitimate assertion upon which to act, it needs to be shown that the person accused of such behaviour had the intention of coercing or controlling.

Professor Parkinson’s opinion is that:

  • “It would certainly be problematic if someone could be held to have engaged in ‘violent’ behaviour without intending to do so, because his or her former partner felt coerced or controlled.”

Parkinson also objects to the requirement in the Bill to consider family violence orders, arguing family violence is seen by many as a “weapon in the war between parents” [this is sometimes referred to as the silver bullet option to squash all arguments in court – RW]

  • “There is now a very widespread view in the community that some family violence orders are sought for tactical or collateral reasons to do with family law disputes.”

Murmurings and hostility

The first murmurings in the press of opposition to shared parenting came from radical feminists lead by Jennifer McIntosh.

In essence these press briefing alleged potential risks and dangers of shared parenting but looking into the surveys it becomes clear that the sample was not representative of the broad cross section of Australian families.

One of the most quoted is ”Shared Care and Children’s Best Interests In Conflicted Separation – A Cautionary Tale from Current Research” by Jennifer McIntosh  & Richard Chisholm, formerly an Australian Judge of the Family Court and which is quoted as an extract below (http://www.familylawsection.org.au/resource/SharedCare.pdf) :

  • Introduction
  • “The shared physical care of children following separation has long been a complex issue, and is again in the spotlight following the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006. In this article we introduce new Australian data on the emotional well-being of children which, we suggest, provide food for thought about the pluses and minuses of substantially shared care arrangements [3] where separated parents are in continuing conflict.[4]
  • In the context of the current legal and perhaps social support inAustraliafor greater shared care, these findings provide a cautionary note. While these new findings relate to children over 4 years of age, we also present a brief overview of psycho logical aspects of shared care for young children and infants.”
  • “. . . . . .  We fully accept thatin general children benefit greatly if they maintain good quality relationships with both parents. Our focus here, though, is not primarily on the children of the many separating parents who can focus on the children’s interests and manage to sort out parenting arrangements amicably (with or without assistance from the legal system). It is rather on the interests of children in families characterised by persisting inter-parental conflict: many of these parents ultimately have their parenting arrangements adjudicated by a court, or reach agreed arrangements, but in circumstances of continuing conflict.”

The mistake of the  Howard government was to let universities with known agendas have the opportunity to examine how the new legislation was progressing.

McIntosh discounts families which are functioning as normal and present no problems but instead focuses only on the dysfunctional ones where regardless of whether they remain married or separated, dysfunctionality and violence is only to be more expected.

Using this exception, that of high conflict families, she then disparages and denigrates the concept of shared parenting in general. She leaves this caveat to be tucked away in the text:

  • The authors stress that this paper is not an argument for or against shared care arrangements, but say it’s a reason for courts and parents to be cautious.

This is not how it has been presented in Press Releases to the media outlets and she should, once she had seen how it was being bumbed down, have come forward to rectify the mis-represetation of her work. But she chose not to.

Their study (McIntosh & Chisholm) was of 181 school-aged children for whom there was complete data, and utilised in this study was data from a second separate study (2007) which examined outcomes for 77 parents and 111 children who had attended the Child Responsive Program Pilot in the Family Court of Australia. [5]

In a separate paper ‘Children Beyond Dispute’ the research programme was again funded by the Australian Government, i.e. the Attorney-General’s Department, but again was controlled and directed by McIntosh. For those couples requiring intervention and counseling she writes:

  • Among other things, the study explored impacts of the interventions on parental acrimony (psycho logically held hostility), and parental alliance (parental cooperation and regard), and the emotional well-being of children. Data were collected from parents and children prior to their mediation, three months after, and again one year after.

One hundred and eighty-three (183) families were involved in this phase of the study, with parent report data collected on over 300 children. In this article we focus on data relating to school-age children’s mental health, one year after the dispute was resolved.

However, we are not told how many (if any) of the couples were married. We do not know how many were divorce (if any) or had never married. Given that the probability of assault / domestic violence is greater for younger women and greater for unmarried mothers, what are we to make of the study in general ?

Shared parenting is defined by McIntosh as shared care arrangement and limited in her mind as being “five nights per fortnight or more in the care of each parent” (how can you have a half night per week ?). What she is in fact describing is generous sole custody where the child gets to sleep over with Dad at the weekend.

Is McIntosh deliberately being dishonest or does her intellect genuinely limit her to this appraisal ?

Economical with the truth

Five nights per fortnight can also be written as 10 days per month or 120 days per year. This amounts to a little over 32% of the child’s time spent with one or other parent. At present the average in England appears to be what someone once called “the 14% Dad”. So a “32% Dad” is a vast improvement but one, we suspect, is a rare bird.

If we assume this is her definition of shared parenting and if we also assume she finds this regime to be dangerous for children she is in fact making the case that the Fathers Rights Movement have been making, namely that sole custody awards are inherently dangerous. Patricia Morgan in “Farewell to the family ?”, said the same thing in 1995 and backed it up with numbers.

Using this truncated definition of shared parenting McIntosh is able to write in all feigned honesty that “. . . 28% of the children studied entered Court, and 46% left Court, in a substantially shared care arrangement.”

Family law distorts Society

Only after the 2006 reforms, it would appear, was it concede by opinion-formers in newspapers and policy shapers elsewhere that “The family law system has a more direct and personal impact on our lives than most other areas of law.” [6]

For some reason Professor Belinda Fehlberg (of the Melbourne Law School), felt compelled to write in “The Age” (Aug 2010) that;

  • “In the meantime, the Howard government’s 2006 shared parenting changes to the Family Law Act continue to damage a significant minority of children.”

This assumes that the drama visited upon a child caught between parental demands was a novelty stemming solely from the 2006 reforms and had never occurred under the old regime.

It is impossible to dismiss Belinda Fehlberg’s comments as blessed ignorance or saying thather article continued in this untutored vein because of the post she holds. [7] But it really is illuminating to see just how far evidence can be curved by academics to fit with the desired hypothesis.

She writes of shared parenting (but which version is not stated):

  • Such arrangements may suit parents, but this case – and the research – show the psychological damage that can result from constant disruption and lack of stability for such young children.

Firstly, who could disagree ? Psychological damage can occur from constant disruption and lack of stability – but it is not a given in every instance, i.e. not in 100% of cases.

Secondly, where is there likely to be the greatest “lack of stability”  ? It is most likely in single mother households and in any household where arguments and dysfunctional behaviour exists – and that is true of married or divorce couples.

It is, therefore, difficult to detect what point Fehlberg is trying to make. In Fehlberg’s 2010 article she speaks of ‘key finding’ contained in reports by the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Chisholm Inquiry [8] (both commissioned by the Attorney-General’s Department).

Purportedly these showed that shared parenting time was not working well – but only for “a significant minority of Australian children.

In a dastardly turn around she complains that fathers “. . . have been encouraged to seek shared care and more mothers now feel pressured into it.

What did she expect ?

Chisholm Inquiry

The Chisholm Inquiry is more properly known as the “Family Courts Violence Reviewhttp://www.ema.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Families_FamilyCourtsViolenceReview. The evaluation was commissioned in 2006 by Attorney-General’s Department to evaluate the 2006 changes. It surveyed 24,000 Australian parents and over 500 grandparents. They also took account of around 2,400 responses from professionals working in the family law system and examined more than 1,700 court files.

The findings made public in newspaper reports indicate that:

  •  “more than 70% of couples who were in a shared parenting arrangement even said it was working well.”

Even the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, agreed that there had been some positive developments from the 2006 changes, chiefly that fathers no longer assumed that they had to accept an 80-20 time split with their children after divorce: [9]

  • “We’ve moved past that, but we are now in a situation where . . . the misconception (thateach parent is entitled to a 50-50 time split) has taken hold.”

With regard the Chisholm Inquiry, Fehlberg’s goes on to say that in a minority of cases where the parents themselves have “problems” (perhaps mental illnesses ?), children suffer. But she overlooks the painfully obvious, namely that this would equally be the case had the 2006 law not been passed.

The studies also showed that shared care is now used by a substantial minority of parents with significant problems (such as high parental conflict, substance abuse and/or mental health issues).

Substance abusing parents and mentally ill or mentally impaired parents will always pose a problem for custody matters but are we indirectly stating that well over 80% of parents have these problems ?

In addition to the Chisholm review, the Attorney-General has commissioned the Universityof South Australia, James Cook University and Monash Universityto investigate the impact of family violence during and after parental relationship breakdown (plus McIntosh’es coordinating role). This review will be overseen by professor Thea Brown.

The Social Policy Research Centreat theUniversity of NSW is also conducting a review, as are the Australian Institute of Family Studies and theUniversity of Sydney.

‘The Australian’ of Oct 19th 2009 reported how the Rudd government (Labour), was planning to roll back the controversial shared parenting changes and that “More than 3,500 parents have signed a petition calling for the changes to the shared parenting law.”  [10]  In a country of tens of millions, where 40% of marriages allegedly end in divorce, this seems to be a small, almost trifling and unrepresentative, minority

The Shared Parenting Council said the six reviews of the law were placing “significant pressure” on the groups, which were barely “holding the line against a dismantling of the 2006 Family Law changes.”

Duplicity

Once again by being economical with the truth and terms of reference we do not know whether Fehlberg is referring to ‘public law’ cases where the substantial minority of parents have drug or alcohol abuse problems, or normal straightforward ‘private law’ cases.

If Fehlberg is relying on the work of clinical child psychologist Dr Jennifer McIntosh, it implies that the parents under scrutiny are likely to be in need of psychological help and would explain why it cuts across ‘socio-economic background’:

  • “Most significantly, a report by clinical child psychologist Dr Jennifer McIntosh and colleagues underlines the significant negative impact of shared care arrangements on children under the age of four “regardless of socio-economic background, parenting or inter-parental cooperation.”

The view that we are really discussing public law is reinforced when Fehlberg cites work by social work professors Dale Bagshaw and Thea Brown regarding parents’ and children’s perspectives on family violence and family law in Australia.

As if not realising the real world situation where sole custody can work well in a small select group / circumstances, Fehlberg begrudgingly concedes that:

  • “Of course, shared care can work well for some families – typically a small select group who decide this for themselves and without reference to what the law says.”

The parody of how sole custody worked is lost on her.

Professional Women;s Views 

Australia’s Business and Professional Women (BPW), fraternity did no better. The proposed 2006 changes were criticised by them as far back as 2005 as bring “premised on ensuring the rights and welfare of parents” and in particular: [11]

  • “It applied a one size fits all principle thattook no account of the circumstances of individual families and individual children.”

The 2006 changes put in place mechanisms to identify problem families but the BPW interpreted this as more dysfunctional and troubled families endangering more children and that any requiring the assistance of the Family Court were not “ideal” families. Their attitude was summed up as:

  • A presumption of shared care when parents separate fails to focus on the needs of children.

Completely overlooked, however, was the corollary which was that the 2006 changes made this oversight more possible, i.e. that before the 2006 act such families could inflict more damage on children.

Conclusion

Initially, in 2005, at the urging of a coalition of father’ groups known as the Festival of Light, the government considered a new system of “rebuttable” joint custody. Courts would presume that children should spend equal time living with each parent.

But this did not come to pass. Instead, the new laws introduced in 2006 required courts to merely consider giving each partner equal time. If not that, then “substantial and significant time”.

So fathers didn’t quite get what they wanted, but it was good enough. Now it is time for women and radical women’s groups to ‘let go the bone’, and allow their former (male) partners have “substantial and significant time” that they themselves have always enjoyed

Fighting to return the situation to how it used to be is like trying ‘to turn back the clock’ – and in the past 40 years that is the constant refrain heard from the feminist quarter to those who wanted a more sensible foundation for marriage and divorce.

So will they succeed by getting the genie of shared parenting back into the bottle ? If they do it will provide an excellent example to follow for those who seek proper marriage and fair divorce laws.

Feminists have always accused men and fathers of being selfish and putting their own needs of wanting to father their children ahead of the child’s needs. Now the boot is on the other foot. In order to get children back under their control we have their feign worry about domestic violence and children.

But one suspects that they are so blinkered and so blinded by bigotry that this inevitability will not occur to them. They will not realise that they will be jeopardising more then custody – snatch this small concession from men and what will follow is a generalised walking away by men from all women and their problems in general.

END 

Appendix A

This is one of the first articles that appeared in the Australian press indicating that the Shared Parenting Act 2006 was in jeopardy and might be repealed.

Note how the risk is limited to high-conflict families but with the strong inference of it being adverse in all family situations.

Note too how it is Dale Bagshaw once again seeking to reverse the tide. She is one of a handful of activists opposed to shared parenting.

Joint custody ‘can put kids at risk’

by Pia Akerman, The Australian April 15, 2008

 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/joint-custody-can-put-kids-at-risk/story-e6frg6p6-1111116063474

FAMILY law experts have called for changes to legislation that emphasises joint custody, arguing it is putting children back into potentially dangerous situations where they risk being abused.

A conference of social policy and law experts and practitioners in Adelaide has heard amendments to the Family Law Act that came in under the Howard government in 2006 have effectively tied the hands of judges who would wish to more severely limit contact between parents and children in high-conflict families.

Dale Bagshaw, conference organiser and co-ordinator of the University of South Australia’s Centre for Peace, Conflict and Mediation, said the amendments, which stressed parents sharing duties and responsibilities for children, were having dangerous consequences in some cases.

“It’s of greatconcern thatchildren are now being not only encouraged but in some instances forced by parenting orders to go into situations where there’s a risk of either them witnessing violence or being directly abused themselves,” Professor Bagshaw said.

“With the changes to the act, there’s now more priority given to this notion of shared parental responsibility than there is to the best interests of the child. There’s a good deal of disgruntlement amongst practitioners with the change.”

Professor Bagshaw, who served three years on the National Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse, said family law practitioners felt the reference to shared time between parents should be removed from the act.

The conference organisers would form a working party to take the outcomes to government and the judiciary.

“We’re focusing very much on the outcomes for children,” Professor Bagshaw said, “and the outcomes for children have not been positive.”

A spokesman for Attorney-General Robert McClelland could not say whether the Labor Government was considering rolling back the amendments, or what Mr. McClelland’s position was.

Carol Bruch, a member of the executive council of the International Society of Family Law and an adviser on family law to theUS Secretary of State, said research showed frequent contact with both parents was not necessary for a child’s healthy development, and that the quality of the parent-child relationship was more important.

“All of the pressure towards 50:50 or 35:65 physical care arrangements are quite unusual in the world, and are of great concern to the people here,” she said, warning that the courts could be compounding harm to children in conflicted families instead of alleviating it.

 

Appendix B

Equal parenting for divorced couples may be scrapped

By Matthew Fynes-Clinton, The Courier-Mail, 30 Nov 2008

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24729425-3102,00.html

 The controversial and “distressing” equal-time parenting laws for divorced couples could be overhauled, the federal Attorney-General says.

Robert McClelland said some shared-parenting orders that followed relationship breakdowns were “clearly not appropriate and (were) causing extreme distress for children and their parents”.

Last month, The Courier-Mail highlighted the problems in a series of reports on the family law system <http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24626307-5016679,00.html>.

“I’m very aware of media reports and research about the 2006 reforms,” Mr. McClelland said. “In particular, I have read reports about the impact on children of some parenting orders favouring significant sharing of parenting time.

“I assure you that I appreciate the seriousness of all I am hearing … and thatwe will be mindful of these views when it comes to formulating new policies and making possible amendments to legislation.”

Mr. McClelland made the remarks during a recent Women’s Legal Service family law forum in Brisbane<http://www.wlsq.org.au/>.

He confirmed thatthe Australian Institute of Family Studies, a government statutory authority, had begun a “comprehensive empirical assessment” of how families were faring under the shared parenting regime <http://www.aifs.gov.au/>.

The Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act was introduced by the Howard government in 2006 to rectify perceived unfairness in custody orders and assuage concerns about the impact of absent fathers <http://www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/Legislation/Act1.nsf/0/1D1968BB157D8090CA257178000B0A56?OpenDocument>.

The changes direct trial judges and magistrates in the federal family law courts to “presume” that”equal shared parental responsibility” is in the best interests of children.

This means separating parents are legally bound to jointlyattempt to make major decisions on their children’s welfare, such as those about health and education. Fifty-fifty parenting time is not automatic.

But when shared responsibility is imposed (child abuse or family violence cancels the presumption), the courts are required to consider a further order thata child spend equal time with each of the parents.

In the Courier-Mail reports, Brisbane former Family Court Judge Tim Carmody, family lawyers, academics and child psychologists said the laws were emotionally damaging children, many of whom lived week-about between the homes of highly conflicted parents <http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24624845-5016679,00.html>.

Appendix C

 Divorced dads fear rollback of parent laws

 By Caroline Overington, The Australian, 25 July 2009

 http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25832215-5013404,00.html

The shared parenting laws that have given divorced fathers more time with their children will be rolled back because of the power of left-wing feminist women in Kevin Rudd’s cabinet.

That is the view of men’s groups that lobbied for the laws when the Howard government was in power, and who now fear “that 15 years of progress in getting fathers and children to spend time together is about to be undone”.

“I met with (Attorney-General) Robert McClelland a few weeks ago, and it was clear to me thatthese laws are being rolled back,” said Sue Price, of the Men’s Rights Agency.

“They (the Rudd government) say they are reviewing the law, but basically the law will change because in the Labor government there are a number of women who are well and truly indoctrinated in a 1970s feminist movement background, and they do not value the role of men in society.

“Tanya Plibersek [a Labour party MP] pushes domestic violence based on incorrect data.

Nicola Roxon [also a Labour party MP] dances a merry dance around men. The fact is that children are at far greater risk from their mothers. Mothers kill more children than fathers, and that’s a fact.”

Mr. McClelland yesterday appointed former Family Court judge Richard Chisholm to review family law processes, using the case of Darcey Freeman, the girl thrown from Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge, allegedly by her father, as a reason to consider change.

In a statement, Family Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant said she supported the review of “how the courts manage the important issues of violence in family law matters. I welcome any suggestions as to how we can improve with system.”

Edward Dabrowski, of the Shared Parenting Council, was dismayed, saying:  “Vocal minority groups, mostly women, have latched on to a few cases and are now saying the shared parenting laws are leading to situations that are loaded with domestic violence.”

“That is not the case, and if there is to be a review, it ought to be a public review. They should have a full inquiry and let’s see whatthe public, including fathers, think about going back to the old days.”

Ms Plibersek’s spokesman said she was on leave but would perhaps comment when she returned to work on Monday.

However, NSW Acting Attorney-General Verity Firth entered the fray, saying there “seems to have been considerable problems” with the new shared parenting law in reconciling a child’s right to a “meaningful relationship” with both parents “and the protection of the child from exposure to violence”.

Ms Firth said there was some evidence that a “very strong pro-contact culture had arisen even where the safety of children couldn’t be guaranteed“.

Jen Jewel Brown, of the National Council for Children Post-Separation, welcomed the review, saying the new Family Law Act was working as a “wrecking ball for many damaged children and their parents, in particular, as they try to re-establish themselves after the breakdown of abusive relationships”.

She said mothers had grown reluctant to raise allegations of violence in the Family Court because they feared being “accused of raising false allegations or not promoting a meaningful relationship with the other parent”, which can mean they lose custody or face the entire bill for court costs.

The chairman of the Family Law Council, John Wade, said there was an “appetite for change” and “a feeling that we need to look at it again, and see whether it’s working”, but he said any changes were “bound to be controversial because it’s the area of law that most Australians have contact with, either themselves or through their relatives.”

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Footnotes


[1] Just why she should seek to usurp and oust her predecessor Kevin Rudd in 2010 remains unclear.

[2] ‘Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006′

[4] Family law change ‘puts kidsat extra risk’, The Australian, May 03, 2011

[5] McIntosh, J and Long, C (2007) “The Child Responsive program, operating within the Less Adversarial Trial: A follow up study of parent and child outcomes”. Report to the Family Court ofAustralia.

[6] “Shared care laws damaging many children” by Belinda Fehlberg, The Age (Melbourne), 26 Aug 2010. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/shared-care-laws-damaging-many-children-20100826-13tqm.html

[7] Professor Belinda Fehlberg is professor of law at Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne specialising in family law.

[8] “Call to end shared custody: Chisholm report” by Caroline Overington ‘The Australian’ Jan 29, 2010. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/call-to-end-shared-custody-chisholm-report/story-e6frg6nf-1225824495340

[11] “Shared parenting isn’t always best for children” http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=2561

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