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Govt. The Cause Of Most Child Support Defaulting

FAMILIES APART REQUIRE EQUALITY (FARE)
PRESS RELEASE - 17 April 2001 - For immediate release.

GOVERNMENT POLICIES THE CAUSE OF MOST CHILD SUPPORT DEFAULTING

"Reports that there are nearly 100,000 liable parents in arrears with their child support are not surprising given the Government's policies that favour sole parenting", FARE spokesperson Darryl Ward said today.

"Fare does not support evasion of child support. However for every defaulter the public hears about, there is almost always a very different type of parent whose plight remains hidden. Typically, he has lost his children, and often the family home he paid for, to his ex-partner. He is more than likely now living in sub-standard accommodation, and despite having lost the family that matters more to him than any thing else, he is expected to pay and pay and pay

"Is it any small wonder that he finds it difficult to pay a huge proportion of his income to an ex partner, who may be using the fact that she is the sole parent to exclude him from any meaningful part in his children's lives? He may try to get emotional support for himself, but finds that most avenues are geared against him. Is it any surprise that often his lot becomes depression, destitution or even suicide?

"Most absent parents in this situation miraculously manage to cope, but some do not. They are the (mainly) men we read about who have become so marginalised that sometimes their rage overflows into anti-social behaviour. Such action is unacceptable. However, it is a shocking travesty that the public is encouraged to believe lies about the inherent evils of men without stopping to think what really precipitates such desperation in the first place. "

"Both genders can be and are unfairly treated by the child support regime. However, most non-compliance with child support is easy to deal with. 'Liable' parents who have a meaningful relationship with their children tend to pay; defaulters are mainly those who have effectively had their children taken from them.

"Our advice to all those custodial parents who complain about their ex's not paying child support is very simple. You may be denying them any meaningful relationship with their children. Stop doing this, and restore some of their dignity. Your children will be the chief benefactors.

"However, in saying this, we do not in any way wish blame 'custodial' parents for these problems. The principal fault lies with the Government, whose unwritten policy is to promote sole custody for children whose parents separate. The problems could have been resolved by adopting Dr Muriel Newman's Shared Parenting Bill, which went before Parliament last year. Amazingly, the Government chose to vote down the Bill and ignore such common sense.

"So long as family law favours sole custody, there will be ongoing problems with Child Support compliance", concluded Ward.

ends

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