We seek that a comprehensive review is carried out on the current Family Court System
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The current Family court system has created situations where the rights of a parent to be present in their child's lives are put before the safety, welfare and well-being of the children involved.
The current system will allow parents who invest very little in the upbringing of their children and who also possibly put them at risk of different types of harm to have contact with the children even in spite of the inherent risks.
There have been many cases of parents who have been awarded contact time with their children who have seriously neglected and compromised the emotional and physical well-being of the children in their care.
The current system expects parents to go through a mediation process first and foremost (as well as a parenting through separation course) to try to reach an agreement without the need of litigation.
The mediation process does not allow for a full and comprehensive insight into past patterns of neglect or child endangerment. Most genuine parents who have concerns for their children's well-being will have fastidiously documented all the details and evidence in order to illustrate their concerns and explain why they are taking steps to mitigate risk need a platform to be heard!
It should not have to go to the judge before their concerns are even be allowed to be addressed or taken seriously.
Why are independent child centered services not more involved in these processes.
If parents have genuine concerns they should be able to make these apparent much earlier in the process.
Abuse because of alcohol, drugs or violence is easier to prove than neglect.
Bare in mind neglect does not just take on a physical state, there are issues around abandonment, emotional abuse and lack of structure, routines and boundaries.
We do not seek to alienate children from their parents.
What we seek is a more robust and comprehensive system that empowers parents to insure the welfare of their children is put first and foremost.
There is no doubt that there are many good parents who have lost contact with their children due to poor decisions made through the court process due to dishonesty and unfair allegations made against them. A more robust system will lessen the chance of this happening in the future. A 2 step process is not enough when you have to dispute lies and dispute character assassination.
We need the Family Court and the New Zealand justice system to review their processes and practices and ask for submissions and feedback from people who have been through the system and take into account how the decisions have impacted on them and more importantly their children.
We need an independent review of the processes and outcomes.
Parents have a right to protect their kids. We need a system that recognises this and facilitates this.
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