INDEPENDENT NEWS

Murdered Children Fail To Touch Law Society

Published: Wed 11 Oct 2000 09:51 AM
Murdered Children Fail To Touch The Cold Heart Of The Law Society
“Not even the recent deaths of three more children during acrimonious Family Court proceedings can jolt the New Zealand Law Society into accepting some responsibility” Darryl Ward, spokesperson for Families Apart Require Equality (FARE), stated today.
“The New Zealand Law Society has emerged as a strong advocate for preferential sole custody, the system that pits divorcing parents against each other in a desperate battle to be the “primary caregiver” who will keep custody of the children. It is this preference for sole custody that has been at least partly responsible for the deaths of many children in recent years.”
“The Law Society should be helping to reduce the tension between parents. Instead they are encouraging a system that increases acrimony, and encourages the formation of sole parent families where one biological parent is effectively excluded”.
“Nearly one third of the families in New Zealand have lost one parent and the proportion is growing.”
“In continuing the advocacy of the Law Society for preferential sole custody, the Chair of the Family Law Section, John Priestly QC, has resorted to outrageous claims that do not reflect reality.”
“Priestly claims the majority of parents sort out their own joint parenting arrangements, and claims that the New Zealand Family Court is a world leader in encouraging conciliation. Priestly is trying to mislead us by pretending parents locked in desperate winner-takes-all custody battles are somehow encouraged to be effectively cooperative. He knows the conciliation provisions in New Zealand law are almost totally ineffective in the vicious duel to be the sole custodial parent.”
“He claims only the difficult cases go to Court. Anyone who has been forced to become a non-custodial parent knows that it is the high financial and emotional cost of going to Court that prevents most parents from fighting for a bigger stake in the ongoing parenting of their children. Most New Zealand fathers also know that the Courts are blatantly biased against them.”
“And he also claims the ‘mandatory’ shared parenting model advocated by Dr Muriel Newman of ACT was simplistic. We are sure Priestly knows only too well that Dr Newman’s Shared Parenting Bill never advocated mandatory shared parenting, but used this as a starting point for custodial arrangements that would be reached by a holistic and conciliatory system that would have substantially reduced the need for intervention by lawyers and others.”
“Like the proverbial ostrich, the Law Society has its head in the sand when it comes to the reality of family law in New Zealand. However, that is not surprising because lawyers are one of the prime beneficiaries of the current system. If the Law Society had genuine concerns about the welfare of children in New Zealand, it would welcome open and honest debate about the obvious shortcomings of the Family Courts, instead of merely protecting the incomes of its members”
“Nelson sisters Alice, Maria and Cherie, and their mother Rosemary Perkin, are sadly no longer with us, but the community will continue to work to seek the truth of why they all died so needlessly, with or without the help of the New Zealand Law Society” concluded Ward.
Ends
Enquiries to Darryl Ward 025 230 1667

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