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Aug 232016

Love-TriangleWOMEN have evolved to pursue affairs in case they decide to leave their partners, scientists have suggested.

While men have similar programming, it seems that the trait is more prevalent in females.

The new research challenges the assumption that humans are meant to be monogamous and that breaking up with somebody is a sign of failure.

The “mate-switching hypothesis” suggests that humans have evolved to test their own relationships – and constantly check for better long-term options.

Scientists claim that this theory applies particularly to childless women – whose choice of partner can have a huge impact on any children they may have.

David Buss, Cari Goetz and colleagues, said in a research paper: “Lifelong monogamy does not characterise the primary mating pattern of humans. Breaking up with one partner and re-mating with another — mate switching — may more accurately characterise the common, perhaps the primary, mating strategy of humans.”

For early humans, when few lived beyond the age of 30, experimenting when it came to partners may have been the key to survival.

The researchers argue: “Although break-ups are often moralised as ‘failures’, we propose that selection has sculpted a complex psychology designed to jettison current mates and acquire new ones in circumstances when mate switching would have been evolutionarily advantageous.”

Surprisingly, the paper even cites the actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, whose character in the television series The Client List said: “Husbands are like pancakes: there’s no shame in throwing the first one out.”

Their theory is also reminiscent of the tangled web of affairs featured in the 2004 film Closer, starring Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Jude Law and Julia Roberts.

However, the ideas are proving controversial among those researching the evolution of human behaviour.

Until now the main explanation for the evolution of female infidelity was the “good genes” theory – that women are attracted to ‘less dominant’ men because they are more likely to stay with them.

Nevertheless, many women seek more masculine ‘affair’ partners — especially in their fertile period.

In evolutionary terms, this means that thy go for the “fittest” genes for their baby from the affair partner, to then have the child cared for by a more reliable long-term partner.

While this may sound devious, women’s real behaviour is more subtle.

David Buss, professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Texas, and Goetz, assistant professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernardino, suggest that women keep track of their partner’s “mate value” – comparing it with that of single men.

They also evaluate “relationship load” — the costs imposed by partners who behave badly or fail to provide for them.

The scientists say: “Affairs serve as a form of mate insurance, keeping a backup mate should a switch become warranted in the future.”

The academics even suggest that women in positive relationships could benefit from affairs, adding: “A regular mate may cheat, defect, die, or decline in mate value. Ancestral women lacking a backup mate would have suffered a lapse in protection, and resources.”

Original Post

Oct 252014

Divorce-Advice-F4EThere was recently an article by David Koch in the Daily Telegraph entitled “Simple money moves to make after Divorce“,  advising the 50,000 couples of divorce in Australia each year on how to financially prepare for divorce.

Whilst some of the suggestions make sense, and in all honesty are basic common-sense, Fathers4Equality would like to put forward alternate approaches not only designed to ensure that each member of the marriage gets a fair share of the spoils in the event of divorce, but where possible, that you both can find enough common ground (as its in your own best interest)  to limit the huge costs associated with the simple process of getting a divorce.

Although divorce in Australia these days is what’s called no-fault-divorce, for too many people it is not no-fee divorce, and as a shared parenting advocacy group, we all too frequently witness couples who would have worked hard for decades to get a nice car, a dream holiday or to pay for those special items that enrich the lives of their children, and yet they wouldn’t think twice about throwing all these savings away, because of the heat and resentment that drives so many people in divorce.

Let us be clear here. Fathers4Equality understands the emotional dynamic of divorce. We don’t blame the parents involved. But more on that later.

1. Protect what’s yours

David Koch: A few simple steps are all that’s needed to protect yourself in the short term. There’s plenty of time to work through the bigger things, like who gets the house, later. Take your money out of any joint accounts, cancel or halt any joint credit cards and change your online banking passwords to avoid any nasty surprises if things get out of hand. Is your salary about to hit the joint account? Speak to your employer about getting it shifted. And if you have to get out of the house quick smart, round up any personal valuables, just in case.

Fathers4Equality: In general, good, practical advice. But of course if these actions catch the other partner unaware and off-guard, it could likely lead to huge mis-trust from the get-go. And who is to say that you own this personal valuables outright, or that the money that you have taken out of the joint accounts was all yours? We are of the view that this is a high risk tactic, that sets the stage for an acrimonious divorce, that will only end up costing you much more in the end.

We would suggest that all bank accounts are frozen, that credit cards are halted, and that you take a video audit of all the household items, and where possible, find the invoices of the original cost of these ietms, and from which account they were paid from.

If divorce can be foreseen long before it will actually happen, it would be prudent to avoid joint bank accounts altogether, except for one joint account for household expenses, which you would each contribute to on an equal basis weekly. These avoids so much confusion later on.

2. Dig out the documents

David Koch: It’s crucial to secure copies of all important financial documentation immediately. Don’t wait around only to find your partner has hidden or tampered with the family files. If things get messy, you’ll want to be fully across your finances.

Fathers4Equality: Good point, but make sure you copy these documents, rather than remove them from the premises. This is again a matter of building some trust, but at the end of the day, it will end up costing more money to recover these documents via lawyers, so transparency is the best policy.

3. Get a family law lawyer

David Koch: Find a good family lawyer fast. Know any lawyers or had a friend go through a divorce recently? Chances are they’ll be able to recommend someone, but if not do some research.

If you’re thinking about going without a lawyer, remember a marriage is a legal agreement and undoing it is a complex and formal process. Even if things are expected to be amicable, your partner could still engage a lawyer so it’s best to be prepared and know your rights and obligations from the start.

Fathers4Equality:  Wrong, wrong, wrong, unless you are one of the super-wealthy families in this country.

And in contrast to David Koch’s assertion, marriage in practice in not a legal agreement. It is riddled with exceptions which one my find staples of contract law, and promises made prior to marriage and during marriage amount to NOTHING, even in many cases when deceit is involved.

No, to put it more accurately, marriage is an emotional bond, and a financial agreement. It is these two powerful forces that you need to negotiate to divorce successfully, without effectively destroying the remainder of your future. In short, you must constrain the emotion, and stay focussed on the bottom line, which includes limiting costs just as much as it does increase your percentage of the marital assets.

Fathers4Equality: Some other suggestions we can offer.

Gifting of Household or other personable valuables.

If you are a male, we find a disturbing trend where men leave the family home, and in some mis-guided gesture of chivalry, gift all the household goods to the soon-to-be ex-wife. As a male myself, I can understand the urge, as foolish as it is, but it must be pointed out that this gesture ALWAYS backfires on the male. Gifting household goods will not necessary be accounted for when you are trying to split the net proceeds of the sale of the family home, or when negotiating Child Support.

Fair is fair is fair, and you must be as fair to yourself as you should be to the soon-to-be ex-wife.

Sub-conscious hopes of reconciliation

We have one member who is Australian but was born and raised in India. He came to Australia, worked very hard, and at one point went back to India and married via an arrangement. His wife was studying to be a doctor, had enormous expenses to pay, and this therefore became his financial responsibility.

Well, at some point she called him from India (while still studying) and told him that she met someone else, and wanted a divorce. She offered however to pay him back what was at that stage about (AU) $250,000 in his support at that point in time.

He refused to take her money. In fact, he insisted that he wanted to continue to pay for the rest of her expenses until she finally graduated.

I can’t tell you how many discussions I had with him to try and understand his motivation, but I (along with a group of other F4E members), could only conclude that sub-consciously, this was his attempt at winning her back.

Well, I bumped into him a about 6 months ago. The long and the short of it is that she graduated, she is working, she has re-married, and she had only called him once since his final payment to her. He is living in  shabby one-bedroom apartment, is all alone, is a really great fellow, but has destroyed his future because of this mis-guided sense that money and support can buy back love. It can’t and it won’t.

Binding Financial Agreements (pre/post nuptial agreements)

Do you know that you can enter into a Binding Financial Agreement even after you are married. Fathers4Equality finds these agreements the most sensible thing you can do before getting married, but if you are on rocky ground, why not start negotiating while you are still on okay terms?

Counselling & Leaving Lawyers Out of it.

If I was your lawyer during your divorce proceedings and told you that your ex has agreed to give you an extra $50,000 more than you you asked for, and end proceedings here and now, would you take it?

No need to answer, but you would be silly not to be tempted. Well, you would be surprised at how many couples spend over $100,000 in divorce proceedings, typically over items that have very little financial value themselves.

Although easy to say, when considering a divorce, be prepared to let the other side get an extra $20,000 more than what you think they are entitled to, if that also provides you with an extra $20,000, or $30,000, or $40,000.

You see, divorce should not be about “it’s not fair that he/she gets that!”.

It should be about “What can I do to get the most in assets, money and a better future for me and my kids.”

Fairness is a nebulous concept that will drive you to devastation. Think like an accountant, and imagine that you are the client of this accountant. Acting in the third person can sometimes make it easier to listen to common sense.

So if you can, listen to the inner-accountant in you, and remember that that $100,000 that you may pay in legal bills for divorce, does not deserve to go towards another Caribbean holiday house for the Judge and lawyers involved.

This money belongs to you and your kids. Keep your eye on the ball and off your heart, and remember that you have a huge history ahead of you, and its cheaper and healthier to start your future sooner rather than later, and richer instead of poorer.

And one final point on family law solicitors. Always remember that the more you litigate, the more money they make. Although they are not supposed to needlessly extend divorce proceedings, in many cases they do, because its just human nature. So think for yourself where possible. Don’t take every bit of legal advise you receive as gospel.

Sep 212014


One in Three Campaign

One third of domestic violence victims denied services

Following last week’s launch of Our Watch,  a new national initiative aimed to prevent violence against women and their children – the One in Three Campaign has released a new analysis of the latest Australian data on male victims of family violence.
Senior Researcher Greg Andresen said, “We are very glad to see violence against women being taken so seriously by the Australian Government. However we are extremely concerned that one third of victims of sexual assault and family violence are excluded by One Watch and its sister organisation ANROWS simply on the basis of their gender.”
The analysis of the ABS Personal Safety Survey and the AIC Homicide in Australia, 2008?10, published today by One in Three, challenges the claim that the vast majority of family violence is committed by men against women and children. Using the same data sources as Fact Sheets recently released by ANROWS, the new data analysis paints a very different picture of gender and family violence in Australia.
“The statistics presented by ANROWS have been designed to over-inflate female victimisation by using lifetime experience of violence instead of current rates, while downplaying male victimisation by taking only the female perspective,” said Mr Andresen.
“75 males were killed in domestic homicide incidents between 2008-10. That’s one death every 10 days,? said Mr Andresen. “1.2 million Australian men have experienced emotional abuse by a partner, almost half a million have experienced violence by a partner and almost a third of a million have experienced violence by a girlfriend/boyfriend or date. Where are the services for these men and boys?”
The vast majority of domestic violence services in Australia are closed to males. There are no shelters for men and their children, no safe rooms or legal support at courthouses, no community education and prevention programmes, no support groups, no perpetrator programs for women or health service screening tools for men.
One in Three is calling upon the Australian Government to comply with its international human rights obligations and provide programs and services for male, as well as female victims of family violence.
“There is simply no excuse for this kind of sexist discrimination in Australia in 2014,” said Mr Andresen.
Male victims of family violence: key statistics
  • More than 1 in 3 victims of domestic homicide were male (38.7%)
  • 2 in 5 victims of physical and/or sexual child abuse were male (39.0%)
  • 1 in 3 victims of current partner violence were male (33.3%)
  • Almost 1 in 3 victims of violence from a boyfriend/girlfriend or date were male (27.9%)
  • More than 1 in 3 victims of partner emotional abuse were male (37.1%)
  • 1 in 3 victims of stalking were male (34.2%)
  • Almost 1 in 3 victims of sexual assault were male (29.6%)
Male victims of family violence were:
  • 2 to 3 times more likely than women to have never told anybody about experiencing partner violence
  • Twice as likely as women to have never sought advice or support about experiencing partner violence
  • Up to 40% more likely than women to have not contacted police about experiencing partner violence
  • Half as likely as women to have had a restraining order issued against the perpetrator of partner violence.


Greg Andresen, Senior Researcher, One in Three Campaign, 0403 813 925 or

Jul 282014

centrelinkThere is a not so well known option available for many people who are welfare recipients and have hit a rough patch financially.

Centrelink offers an  “advance payment” to help you get by.

To receive an advance payment, you must be receiving one of the following payments:

  • Age Pension
  • Austudy
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • Newstart Allowance
  • Parenting Payment (partnered)
  • Parenting Payment (single)
  • Widow Allowance
  • Widow B Pension
  • Wife Pension
  • Youth Allowance

There are however conditions on whether you can access the advance payment or not, including how long you have been a welfare recipient.

Generally you have to be receiving some form of income support for three months before you’re eligible but for Abstudy, Austudy, youth allowance (students) and family tax benefit there is no minimum time.

For Parents on the Family Tax Benefit

You can choose to receive the Family Tax Benefit advance as a one-off payment and/or as a regular advance.

A one-off advance is an advance payment you can receive on any day of the year. You can choose how much you receive, as long as the amount is within the minimum and maximum amount you are eligible for.

A regular advance is automatically paid to you every 26 weeks as long as you remain eligible, or until you ask us to stop paying a regular advance. The amount you receive as a regular advance will be the minimum advance amount. You can have only one regular advance in place at any given time.

You can have one or more one-off advances at any time, however the combined total of any regular and/or one-off advances is capped at $1,046.05.

You will need to pay this back and repayments are taken out by reducing the amount of your other payment.

See to find out more.

Jul 142014

Independant Children's Lawyer family law surveyIf you are one of the many fathers who believe that they have been discriminated against by a Court appointed ICL (Independent Children’s Lawyers) during child custody proceedings, simply because of your gender, well these family law researchers want to hear from you.

Family Law Express have just released a survey asking for feedback from parents who have worked with an ICL during their child custody matter.

Do you believe the ICL was professional, did they understand the family law act, did they treat you differently because of your gender, did they even bother to talk to you?

The Family Law Express Independent Children’s Lawyers survey asks these questions and more, probing the professionalism of a group of effectively unregulated solicitors who are better known for their gender-political ideologies than they are for their focus on a child’s best interests.

Whilst the Australian Government Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has recently released a report aimed towards the better utilisation of ICL’s, Family Law Express is endeavouring to add to the debate through its own direct-to-consumer research. In doing, these researchers wish to both elaborate on and question findings of the AIFS report, and to define the common experience between families and ICL’s in an attempt to uncover truths and offer suggestions for innovative legal reform. Through such research they aim to add to the public debate what many parent’s believe to be the real value of involving an ICL in child related Court matters, without the double-speak or self-justification that often occurs when governments focus almost solely on the opinions of so called experts.

Family Law Express is asking all parents who have been involved with ICL’s to contribute in prompting important and necessary legal reform. We ask you to please participate in our short survey on your experience with ICL’s and to add to this significant debate within family law.

Your help in promoting out survey on your site would be instrumental in our aim to reach out to as many parents as possible from diverse backgrounds in order to truly understand the experience of parents with independent children’s lawyers.

This survey will only take a few minutes of your time but would provide invaluable feedback on the performance of ICL in Family Law children’s matters.

Tell us about your experience with an ICL at

If you have any questions please contact Jessica at

Jul 012014

2014-Federal-BudgetOn May 13th 2014, the Abbott Government released its proposed budget for 2014-2015.

The budget has yet to pass the Australian Parliament and it is in some doubt as to whether many of the proposed reforms will pass the Australian Senate.

If these reforms are passed in their original form, they will have a significant impact on families, and in particular separated families.

Outlined below are some of the effects the proposed budget will have on separated families if passed in its current form.

Separated families and Government Payments

Family Tax benefits

Family tax benefits are payments supplied by the government subject to certain criteria to assist with the cost of raising children. Under the proposed 2014 budget, their payment rates will be frozen for two years. This means that while inflation (and thus prices of milk, bread etc.) rises, these payments will not.

Family Tax Benefit Part A

Family Tax Benefit Part A is a payment per child under 15 years, or aged 16-19 depending on meeting certain education and training criteria. It is awarded if you satisfy a means requirement, a residence requirement, your child is fully immunised and you care for the child at least 35% of the time. Currently, the maximum payment per fortnight is $172.20 for each child aged 0-12 and $224 for each child aged 13-19 who satisfies the criteria.

The main payment itself does not have any changes, but some of the following changes are connected to this payment.

Family Tax Benefit Part A –Child add-on.

Under the current system, the maximum amount able to be earned before the Family Tax Benefit Part A is affected is increased by $3,796 for the second and every subsequent child. Under the proposed 2014 budget, this will be removed.

Family Tax Benefit Part A –New $750 payment

For those eligible for the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A, a new allowance of $750 will be introduced for each child aged between 6 and 12 years of age. If you receive over $1478.25 in child support or spousal maintenance per year you may no longer be eligible for the maximum rate and consequently not eligible for this new payment.

Family Tax Benefit Part A -Large family supplement

Under the current system a large family supplement exists where, subject to certain criteria, $12.04 is provided for the third and every subsequent child. Under the proposed 2014 budget, this payment will instead be awarded for the fourth and every subsequent child.

Family Tax Benefit End of Year Supplement

The Family Tax Benefit End of Year Supplement is awarded to those receiving Family Tax Benefits based on the final income for the year. Under the proposed budget, these will not rise with inflation and will be lowered to $600 per annum for each child under Family Tax Benefit Part A, and $300 per annum for each family under Family Tax Benefit Part B.

Family Tax Benefit Part B

Family Tax Benefit Part B is a payment for single parents and families with one main income. It may be awarded where the primary earner’s income is under $150 000 per year to a parent, foster carer, grandparent of other carer who has a dependent child under 16 or a secondary student under 18 for at least 35% of the time. Currently, the maximum payment per fortnight is $146.44 where the youngest child is under 5 years old, or $102.20 where the youngest child is between 5 and 18.

Under the proposed 2014 budget, there are two very large differences that may affect separated families. Firstly, the maximum income of the primary earner will be lowered from $150 000 to $100 000.  Secondly, Family Tax Benefit Part B will no longer apply to children aged 6 or older from 2015. However, this restriction will not commence until 2017 for those who currently receive Family Tax Benefit Part B.

Separated families with low incomes

For many separated families, new and increased costs will need to come out of an already tight income.One such change is the heavily criticized introduction of a $7 co-payment for doctor’s visits, where maximum of ten payments applies to children under 16.


A further measure that will particularly affect separated families is unfreezing the fuel excise, so it continues to rise with inflation. This will directly impact the separated families with some form of shared custody, which usually involves transporting the children from one home to another on a regular basis.

Concession cards

Many single parents have a Commonwealth Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card. Under the proposed 2014 budget, the National Partnership Agreement on Certain Concessions for Pensioners Concession Card and Seniors Card Holders will be terminated. Without the federal funding for these programs, the State Governments may end concessions for programs such as public transport. However, there is no evidence that this would be the case at this point in time and it is possible that the state governments may find another way to fund concessions.

Separated families attempting to reconcile

The budget also included the unveiling of the “Stronger Relationships” program, where couples can sign up online to receive a $200 voucher to be used on counselling and education. It is available for “all couples in a committed relationship, including engaged, married, de-facto and same-sex couples” to be used on counselling or education, including working through financial management or conflict resolution. This means that separated couples attempting reconciliation may receive some financial assistance to undergo counselling.

Paid Parental Leave Scheme

The federal budget has provided very little detail on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s signature paid parental leave scheme, which has made it difficult to determine precisely what impact this scheme will have on separated families.

The paid parental leave scheme was not included as a separate item in the budget, however the Treasurer Joe Hockey did recently confirm that the threshold had been reduced from $150,000 to $100,000.

Hockey stated that the changes to the paid parental leave threshold was in line with changes to the family tax benefit payments Part A and B, which now cut off or phase out around the $100,000 income level.

Written by Susan Jayne: Family Law Express 

Jun 282014

women-the-aggressors-in-dvContrary to the overwhelming perception in society, numerous studies and statistics recently published from a variety of disparate sources have indicated that women are more likely to be verbally and physically aggressive to their partners than men, and are increasingly participating in serious acts of violence against other men, women, the elderly and children.

The findings were presented to a symposium on “intimate partner violence” (IPV) at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference in Glasgow.

Dr Elizabeth Bates from the University of Cumbria and colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire gave 1104 students (706 women and 398 men) questionnaires about their physical aggression and controlling behaviour, towards partners and to same-sex others (including friends).

Women were revealed to be more likely to be physically aggressive to their partners, and men were more likely to be physically aggressive to their same-sex partners.

Women were also shown to engage in greater levels of controlling behavior, which is understood to be a predictor of physical aggression in both sexes.

“This was an interesting finding,” Dr Bates says. “Previous studies have sought to explain male violence towards women as rising from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women’s behaviour, using violence if necessary.

“This study found that women demonstrated a desire to control their partners and were more likely to use physical aggression than men.

“It wasn’t just pushing and shoving,” Dr Bates said, of responses to the anonymous questionnaire. “Some people were circling the boxes for things like beating up, kicking, and threatening to use a weapon.

“The feminist movement made violence towards women something we talk about. Now there is more support for men and more of them are coming forward.”

In another finding in Australia, the number of men who report experiencing domestic violence from their current partner has almost doubled since 2005, according to a new survey released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The ABS Personal Safety Survey 2012 collected information from men and women aged 18 years and over about their experience of violence since the age of 15.

Meanwhile, girls have been found to be more devious than boys in their torment of classmates, Australia’s biggest childhood study reveals.

Kids who are poor, overweight, Aboriginal, disabled or living with a single mother are most likely to be picked on in the playground, the Australian Institute of Family Studies has found in a survey of more than 4000 children aged 10 and 11.

Three in every five kids had been subjected to “unfriendly behaviour” in the past year, ranging from hitting to name-calling and being left out of social groups.

And according to new national crime figures women are now outpacing men in the violence stakes, with the rate of women committing assaults jumping 49 per cent since the mid 1990s.

Australian Institute of Criminology data shows the number of female assaults per 100,000 women increased from 125 to 186 between 1996 and 2010 compared to an increase of just 18 per cent for men, while other figures show that mother’s were by far the single biggest group responsible for child abuse and child murder in Australia.

Griffith University’s Violence Research and Prevention Program director Professor Paul Mazerolle said there was “no question” young women were getting more involved in violence: “There’s been a moderate increase in [female] violence but we as a community are less tolerant of violence so we’re seeing more of a response from police.”

Credit: Roberta Parisi – Family Law Express

Jun 182014

overnight care for toddler in shared parenting arrangementA US child psychologist has entered a bitter debate on toddler sleep-overs by warning that young children from separated families could suffer brain damage by sleeping over with their father if their mother is the primary caregiver.

Psychologist Penelope Leach has made the explosive statement that separation from mothers “reduces brain development” and could lead to “unhealthy attachment issues”. She has offered no evidence to back up her claims however, relying on her apparent expert opinion and observations.

Dr Leach, whose parenting books have sold millions, says even one night away from mum, if she is the primary caregiver, could cause lasting damage.

Discredited Research

These sentiments follow the now condemned research carried out by Australian psychologist Dr Jen McIntosh, which found that toddlers separated from their mother during sleep time, were more stressed. The research used by Dr McIntosh to make these claims has since been roundly condemned as unsound, non-scientific, non-longitudinal, and methodically compromised, and many argued that her research was of little value since it was so poorly structured. It should be noted that McIntosh’s conclusion have not been supported by any other similar studies since.

The Influence of McIntosh and Co on Shared Parenting laws

The influence however of the McIntosh study, as flawed as it was, on Australia’s family law system has been so profound that barristers have a special phrase to describe the common experience of losing the battle for some overnight care of toddlers – they joke they’ve been “McIntoshed”. But for the fathers concerned it is no joking matter.

The McIntosh era dates back to 2010 when the Labor government commissioned her to lead an investigation into the impact on preschoolers of overnight contact in their father’s care. Many are of the view that McIntosh was commissioned by the Labor government, precisely because she had made no secret that she was opposed to Australia’s then-recently enacted Shared Parenting laws.

Condemned as amateurish and transparent  

Ash Patil from Fathers4Equality called the McIntosh research “trojan horse advocacy which was undone by the fact that the study was so poorly done. The study had no redeeming features, it was a complete mess and it looked like a rush job which did not even do the basics like have a proper control group. It can best be described as amateurish and quite transparent in its goal.”

Sonja Hastings, editor of Articles About Men claimed that “I think McIntosh started out with the conclusion, and then she made her research fit her ideology, and I think there is no hiding from that fact when you read the study.”

“She even avoids addressing the most obvious questions that come from her research. For instance, what about sleeping at grandparents, or at daycare, or in another room, or while mum is in the kitchen. It is a case of ideology trumping common sense and healthy development dynamics in all families.”

Likewise with Psychologist Penelope Leach’s claims on brain damage for sleep-overs with dad, a lot of people remain unconvinced.

Dr Leach first caused controversy in the 1970s when she released her book, Your Baby & Child: From Birth To Age Five, which suggested that only mothers could care adequately for a child and a father’s role is secondary.

Dr Leach says shared custody is being treated as a right rather than considering what is best for the child.

Celebrities like Louis CK have spoken about the difficulties faced sharing custody of children. Louis CK continually talks about how he would be nothing without his two daughters.

While fathers’ groups have called the comments by Dr Leach ‘absolute poison’, Oliver James, a trained clinical child psychologist, journalist and TV presenter, said Dr Leach was providing “good advice.”

“All the evidence suggests that younger children should not be separated from their primary caregiver who, in the vast majority of cases, is the mother,” he told the Independent. “If the child has a really strong attachment to both parents, there might be a case for exploring whether it really matters if they have sleep- overs at the father’s. But in most cases, you should do nothing to disrupt the relationship with the primary caregiver. To do so can affect the child’s brain development.

110 Leading International Experts on Child development

However,  according to a recently published academic paper endorsed by 110 leading international experts, it is not the case that sharing of overnight care of infants is problematic. The paper, Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A consensus report was published in February in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Psychology, Public Policy and Law.

It is backed by leading Australian academics including Don Edgar, the former head of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Judy Cashmore, Associate Professor in Socio-Legal Studies at Sydney University and Barry Nurcombe, Emeritus Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Queensland.

This article analyses existing research and finds that infants commonly develop attachment relationships with more than one care giver and concludes that in normal circumstances children are likely to do better if they have overnight contact with both parents.

It also finds that depriving young children of the opportunity to stay overnight with their fathers could compromise the quality of developing father-child relationships.

Fathers4Equality echoes this compelling research by stressing that unscientific dogma being pushed by zealouts  like Leach and McIntosh is what ultimately is so harmful to our young children, by denying them an equal and meaningful relationship with both parents, at a time when they need it the most.

Jun 062014

single-mother-centrelink-benefitsJoe Hockey has condemned a “crippling” welfare culture that weighs down the federal budget, and warned that government benefits will not be treated as a right when the nation faces a $50 billion deficit.

The Treasurer told The Australian some benefits had soared to the point where it required tax revenue from three average workers to keep payments flowing to a single welfare recipient.

Predicting new burdens on taxpayers unless the payments were curbed, he urged Australians to accept there was no longer an “endless supply of money” to support government benefits. “The suggestion somehow that payments from government are a right is not correct — and governments themselves have been guilty of creating that culture over many years,” he said.

The warnings are based on government analysis that reveals some single parents are receiving $55,000 a year in tax-free benefits, including a pension, family tax benefits and study assistance. The calculations show that three workers on average salaries would pay about $17,000 in tax each to cover the sole parent’s benefits. Hitting back at claims his budget was unfair, the Treasurer countered the idea that taxes should be raised to match more than $7bn in welfare cuts so that every group carried the same share of the budget burden.

Mr Hockey said he “totally” rejected the parallel between taxes and benefits in some of the criticism of the budget, given that one took money away from workers while the other did not.

“When I increase revenue I’m taking money out of people’s pockets — and they’ve earned that money,” he said. “Whereas when you freeze the increase in the amount the government is paying, we’re saying ‘we’re just not giving you more than what you’re getting’. That is exactly what I’m trying to do.”

The remarks, in an interview yesterday, are another sign of the government’s hard line in the political fight over the federal budget when it is being urged to compromise to get controversial reforms through the Senate.

A day after Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull dined with Clive Palmer in an attempt to smooth relations, Mr Hockey ­appeared to mock the Palmer United Party leader by calling him “Professor Palmer” during question time.

Labor escalated its attacks on the budget, including a change in 2017 to slow the growth of the age pension, although the payments to 2.4 million age pensioners will continue to rise in line with the consumer price index.

Labor finance spokesman Tony Burke yesterday rejected changes to the pension, welfare, Medicare and university fees.

“The fight is very simple — it’s not like they’ve wedged Labor with this budget,” he told ABC TV.

“They’ve drawn the line ex­actly against our core values and, in terms of issues to fight on, we are on the strongest ground and on the issues that define us.”

Behind Mr Hockey’s warning on welfare is the government’s analysis of the benefits paid to sole parents such as a single mother who complained to the Treasurer about the budget. The exchange with the woman, who said she was voting Labor as a result of the spending cuts, prompted advisers to examine the benefits going to those in her situation. The Treasurer’s office estimated she would receive $54,417 in government payments including the Parenting Payment, both forms of Family Tax Benefit, several supplements, rent assistance and education supplements.

The calculations include the Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance, which would be $15,120 a year assuming she was using the help to put her children in care for 40 weeks each year when she worked about 27 hours a week.

Only two of the payments would be reduced as a result of the budget, the government said: the Pensioner Education Supplement, worth $1622, and the Income Support Bonus, worth $214.

According to the government’s analysis, the sole parent would receive $53,581 a year tax-free after the budget, compared with $54,417 before the budget.

The government’s calculations do not include looming changes to family tax benefits, where rates will be frozen and families will lose payments once their children pass the age of six, as well as a freeze on increases in parenting payments.

Mr Hockey said Australians had to accept that family tax ­benefits were not meant to be income but were a “supplement” for workers.

“That is why the culture of entitlement is crippling, because people assume it is income,” he said. “But family tax benefits are not an income — they are a supplement to income, whereas a pension is an income replacement. And that’s why pensions will continue to increase with inflation. Pensions will always increase because they’re an income replacement.”

Central to the attacks on the budget is the argument that it takes $7.4bn in family tax benefits away from those on low incomes while extracting only $3.1bn from wealthier Australians with the deficit tax on earnings above $180,000 a year.

The Australian Council of Social Service estimates that more than half the budget savings come from low and middle-income earners, including cuts to family payments and higher costs to visit the doctor or get subsidised ­medicines.

National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling principal research fellow Ben Phillips has warned that those on lower incomes are doing the “heavy lifting” in reducing the deficit.

Mr Hockey argued that Australians had to give up their expectations fostered by previous governments, including the Howard government, when it designed the family tax benefits.

The Treasurer countered the idea that people “deserved” payments but he backed the role of the state in helping those in need.

Jun 012014

frozen-embryosA judge has awarded custody of frozen embryos to a 42-year-old woman over the objections of her ex-boyfriend who said it violates his right to not procreate.

In 2009, Karla Dunston, began dating Jacob Szafranski, a 32-year-old firefighter. A few months into their relationship Dunston was diagnosed with lymphoma and had to undergo chemotherapy that would ultimately destroy her fertility.

She testified that she longed to have a biological child and asked Szafranski to provide his sperm so that embryos could be frozen prior to her treatment, and he did so, despite neither of them thinking the relationship had long-term prospects.

The couple broke up in May 2010. Szafranski said he changed his mind about being a father after friends and a girlfriend reacted negatively, according to court documents.

Judge Sophia Hall said Friday in a written ruling that oral agreements between Szafranski and Dunston concerning use of the embryos stand and added that Dunston’s desire to have a child outweighs Szafranski’s desire to not procreate.

“Karla’s desire to have a biological child in the face of the impossibility of having one without using the embryos outweighs Jacob’s privacy concerns, which are now moot,” the judge said in the ruling, “and his speculative concern that he might not find love with a woman because he unhesitatingly agreed to help give Karla her last opportunity to fulfil her wish to have a biological child.”

Dunston’s lawyer, Abram Moore, applauded the ruling.

“Using these pre-embyros is important to our client, but it is equally important to her to set a precedent in Illinois which helps other women cancer survivors who find themselves in this heart-wrenching situation,” he said in an email.

Szafranski’s lawyer, Brian Schroeder, said they plan to appeal the decision.

“We’re obviously very unhappy,” he said.


Karla Dunston

Schroeder said lawyers for both parties have agreed that the embryos should not be implanted in Dunston until the appeal is completed.

Through a lawyer, Dunston previously has said she was not seeking any support, financial or otherwise, from Szafranski.

It was by both legal teams noted that despite the intentions to the contrary by Dunston, Szafranski would be liable for child support in the event of a birth, and that this financial obligation will be viable and retrospective if at any time Dunston decides to seek financial support from Szafranski.

In 1985, 260 babies were born through assisted reproductive technology; in 2010, the number topped 61,000, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Yet only a few state higher courts have addressed, with mixed results, what to do with frozen embryos once a couple has separated. Legal experts said they would be watching to see how Illinois handles the complex issue.

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