One of the reasons my life has been so good is that I have had a good father. I also want to be a good father to my own children. However, the freedom to make this choice no longer exists for separated fathers in Australian society.

Family Law legislation in Australia has removed from me my authority as a father and placed it in the hands of anonymous government bureaucrats who know nothing about me or my children. This perverse practise is called Child Support and is claimed to be in the best interests of my children. It is in the best interests of nobody, except for those in the family law industry who profit from the billions of dollars that are being removed from the assets of Australian families each year.

The effect of Family Law legislation is that the role and influence of fathers is slowly being eroded. One outcome of this social engineering is that 400,000 Australian children never see their father.

Another outcome is highlighted in a recent report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies. This report, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data, reveals that one in three children who still have contact with their non-custodial father never sleep over. These 200,000 children spend the day with their father, but not the night.

The reasons suggested by the Australian Institute of Family Studies for the daytime dad practice are based on prejudice rather than research, and perpetuates the myth of the deadbeat or incompetent dad. They omit the most obvious reason: Child Support Agency formulae are based on the number of nights the children stay with each parent.

The effect of this is that huge financial inducements are offered to the custodial mother to block overnight access by the father. The custodial parents’ control over the children and the removal of children from their fathers is underpinned by the bias, prejudices and culture of Family Court judges.

The Family Assistance Office also throws its influence into the equation. The benefits it provides are determined by the time the children spend with each parent. A few hours spent with dad during the day keeps mothers well within the threshold beyond which they begin to lose a substantial amount of Family Assistance benefits.

The Family Law system in Australia burdens and abuses children by making them a financial resource. Keeping children away from their fathers is the only strategy that custodial mothers have to guarantee a steady and constant stream of unearned and tax-free income provided by the Child Support Agency, Family Assistance Office and Centrelink. It also guarantees favoured treatment by Family Court judges and substantial additional benefits from property settlements.

The report on daytime dads from the Australian Institute of Family Studies reveals that the Family Law system has failed to act in the best interests of children. It has substituted government activity for the traditional role of the father. It has become a de facto parent. It is successfully working towards the defathering of Australian society.

[Photo by Melissa Walker Horn on Unsplash]

About the Author: Roland Foster

Roland Foster is an non-custodial father, separated since 1997, with 5 young children aged between 6 and 14 years. Roland is a passionate father and an active social reformer who believes Australia's current laws are contributing to the creation of our fatherless society.

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