Family Court Madness (Download)

By Michael Knight

Sunday 17 May 2009

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Not so long ago I spoke with a man, a somewhat disorientated Dad, after exiting the Family Court of Australia in Melbourne. He informed me he had spent over $100,000 on lawyers and legal costs in the past two years. This figure didn't shock me as I have been around the traps for way too long and have heard of many similar unfortunate stories that would make your head spin and hair stand upside down. Stories of vast amounts of family money being wasted on pointless fighting and litigation. In other words — money spent on nothing useful or of value at all.

Complete madness you could say!

He informed me he had gotten three days per fortnight with his kids, after having them for five days per fortnight, and somehow didn't appear to be either happy or content. When asked so you didn't get what you wanted, he replied "No", confirming my obvious suspicions. I could tell he was confused, frustrated and agitated, almost wanting to cry but holding it back like a man, plus I was a complete stranger of course. He muttered to me how there was no reason for the judge not to have given him 50/50 custody. He said he was and had been a good dad and provider.

Digressing away from the emotionality, I put to him that was a lot of money. He said "Yes" and his ex-wife spent about that much too. He said there wasn't much left over, "the lawyers got it all". As if for a brief few seconds, the reality of losing all that money was starting to sink in. When asked why he spent that much he, after pausing for what seemed like an eternity and looking somewhat dumbfounded, said he didn't really know, as he got "sweet f*** all".

Whilst he was talking it was hard not to think WOW! $200,000 dollars, what a waste of money, providing nothing good at all for this family.

Gee, how that would have bought a lot of comfort and security in the years to come for this family. Many more choices would have been possible. Think of the myriad of personal development, counseling, education, holidaying, fun and happiness that could have been afforded. In fact almost anything. I'm sure this man and family would agree — however it's too late now!

Is it stupidity, sickness, an absence of education, a lack of maturity on behalf of the parents or something else? I could not share my thoughts with this poor man right now, who appeared quite fragile and dismayed, and I certainly did not want to shatter his world even further. What would it gain?

I couldn't help feeling a bit sick and sad, at somehow losing another family to an anti-family system, that claims the lives and assets from immature and ill-informed parents. What of those poor children? Yet another all too common Separated family statistic being chewed up and spat out. Goodness knows what lay ahead for them all but let us pray and give them strength, wishing them well.

But what could I do, I later asked myself? How does one convey and educate people not to blindly enter the Family Court and a world of lawyers, trickery and deception, when often, there is absolutely no need for parents to do so? How many years would it take for a new culture to be borne, where almost everybody Separates smart, safely and inexpensively allowing all family members to have a greater chance of rehabilitation in a shorter time frame, so as to increase the chances of rebuilding a so called 'normal' life? Is this an impossible dream?

However, the reality at present is parents are usually lured in by the sweet scent of a gain, power, money, their rights, principles, revenge or simply fear, pain, a lack of knowledge and assertiveness. The process is often helped by those lawyers who are driven by the spoils of a litigation battle, just as a fly is lured into the 'Venus Fly Trap' by it's colourful and attractive appearance or sweet perfume. A plant that's deadly; trapping its prey by closing shut, killing and digesting its victim in what maybe a slow and agonising death.

As the speed advertisements say 'Wake Up — or be killed'.

With love and kindness
Michael

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    By: Jane from Queensland, Australia on May 26, 2010 @ 4:25 am
    I have a brother who is currently going through a nasty seperation atm and he has already sent over $40,000 in just on a year. He feels his relationshis with his children and ex are far worse than when he separated and I tend to agree.
    By: Jo from Auckland, NZ on March 14, 2010 @ 4:24 am
    I dont know about $240000 wendy but a friend has recently gone thru lawyers ad she has spent over $80,000 in the last 2yrs with her complaining to me all the time that her lawyer isnt doing the right thing. I did tell her to drop her but i think she was to scared and maybe thats where they get you, when you're in fear. Another friend of mine didnt use a lawyer and managed to settle things down after about a year with bothe her and her ex talking, where as my previous friend's ex have no communication now and the kids are so confused. Now that sad!
    By: Wendy F from NSW, Australia on May 19, 2009 @ 3:17 am
    I spent over $240,000 on my settlement over 4 years ago no and I still have not recovered fully. It's very hard to say much good of lawyers as many are complete scoundrels. I hope this family you refer to recovers as I know it has been a long hard struggle for me and my kids and we are still barely coping at times. Would like to see more articles like this one so it lets people really know what goes on behind closed doors. Thankyou. Keep up the good work to you all.
    By: Carrie from VIC, Australia on May 18, 2009 @ 1:20 pm
    Michael,
    This is about the only system I know of that doesn't "take two (willing participants) to tango" (apart from a hold up)! It only takes one parent, with their own idea of justice and entitlement - to wind up in court. The threat of what may happen if you are a 'no show' - forces the other party to dance! It is the system, not necessarily the inexperience of the parties, that let the family down. I can only hope that more reporting of actual outcomes will educate the protagonists.
    By: Byron Rigby from Victoria, Australia on May 18, 2009 @ 11:23 am
    I found the words "immature and ill-informed parents" telling. Men must (a) be adult before they marry -- that means be non-dependent and marry to have a family, rather than trying to find a mommy to look after them, and (b) know what signals tell them to avoid marrying someone who is herself immature.

    The second phrase that struck me was "What of those poor children?" The $200,000 not only does no good, it does a lot of harm to the children.
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