Here are some quotes from the Family Court Deputy Chief Justice John Faulks:
"In conclusion, Judge Faulks made two final points: final orders are never final orders because the needs of a family when children are young will not be the same as when the children are older and so orders would need to be varied; he commented that the concept of equal shared parenting responsibility must not be confused with the notion of equal shared parenting time. He recounted an anecdote of a case of his in which a parent had requested equal parenting time; he suggested to the parent that he could have all the sleeping time to point out the absurdity and unfairness of the notion of equal parenting time. - Justice John Faulks, Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia."
If Final Orders are never Final Orders because the needs of a family change as children grow older, how does Judge Faulks propose to allow parents to reapply without the risk of losing $10,000+ because it is decided the Applicant's case does conform to the narrow criteria of "a substantial change of circumstance " ?
Judge Faulks' comment about giving the father all the sleeping time is facetious and purile. How does his absurd suggestion in any way weaken the case for a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time. We did not think we had to specify roughyl equal daytime and equal night time because we assumed the Family Court judges have more intelligence than they apparently do.
I have heard Family Court officials sincerely ask "but how can you divide a week [with seven days] in two ?" It's worrying that these people are in such (inappropriate) positions of power.
Changes in Family Law and the Impact on Victims of Domestic Violence Forum
Thursday 8th December 2005
Meeting Room, Level 1
The Borgia Community Centre 531 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville 9:45am
Judge Faulks, Deputy Chief Justice, Family Court of Australia
Title of presentation: “Recent Changes & Developments in the Family Law Court” - Overview of the Children Cases Program; the Child Responsive Pilot Program and other recent developments introduced into the Family Court.As reported in:
http://www.austdvclearinghouse.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/Newsletter_24.pdf (1.4MB)http://www.austdvclearinghouse.unsw.edu.au/Word%20Files/Newsletter_24.doc (700KB)
Australian Domestic & Family Violence ClearinghouseNewsletter 24 / Autumn 2006 / Pages 4-5
Feature: Report on Family Law Forum
Recent changes and developments in the Family CourtThe Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the Honourable Justice John Faulks, provided a comprehensive overview of the Children’s Cases Program, the Child Responsive Pilot Program and other developments introduced into the Family Court.
He acknowledged the previous speakers’ concerns about the women’s stories but stated that he would hear an equal litany of opposing allegations from a group of men.
In discussing the jurisdiction of both the State courts and Federal courts over the care of children, he said that this often resulted in uneven responses to serious allegations of abuse of children. He briefly outlined the Magellan Project which seeks to address this issue, family matters involving serious cases of child abuse, involving a specific registrar, mediator, legal aid, a children’s representative and State/Territory departments of community services, the statutory bodies with the mandate for the welfare of children.
The Judge then went on to explain that the Children’s Cases Program (CCP) will have a legislative base under the Shared Parental Responsibility amendment bill. He described the CCP as a less adversarial process for determining family law matters. Rather than the parties deciding on what evidence to put before the court, the Family Court judge directs the proceedings by identifying the issues at hand, works out how to resolve those issues and then determines any matters that cannot be resolved.
Parties are able to have lawyers present but the rules of evidence are relaxed to allow the judge to make inquiries of the parties, as well as the children. The Program is being evaluated and findings are proving positive. The pilot CCP excluded matters involving allegations of violence and/or child abuse.
Justice Faulks outlined how Family Court counsellors will have a larger role to play under the Child Responsive Program, as part of the Family Court’s Family Violence Strategy. Matters reported to the counsellors, either by a party or by the children, will no longer be privileged information and will form part of the report to the presiding judge for determination on those matters.Justice Faulks explained one aspect of the Family Court’s Family Violence Strategy, currently being piloted in Brisbane with a view to developing guidelines about early intervention, screening, assessment and safety.
He stressed that there are currently no appropriate assessment and screening standards in place for the Family Court and thus the Court was falling short in its safety strategy. He added however that the Court had made a commitment to do something about it, though it was not currently achieving that end.
In conclusion, Judge Faulks made two final points: final orders are never final orders because the needs of a family when children are young will not be the same as when the children are older and so orders would need to be varied; he commented that the concept of equal shared parenting responsibility must not be confused with the notion of equal shared parenting time. He recounted an anecdote of a case of his in which a parent had requested equal parenting time; he suggested to the parent that he could have all the sleeping time to point out the absurdity and unfairness of the notion of equal parenting time.
Deputy Chief Justice Justice Faulks
Biography of Deputy Chief Justice Faulks
Deputy Chief Justice Faulks was appointed as Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia on 25 June 2004. Prior to his appointment to the Family Court of Australia on 12 October 1994, Deputy Chief Justice Faulks was a Senior Partner of Phillips Fox, practising extensively in family law.
He was Chairman of the Family Law Council of Australia from 1992 to 1995, and a Member of the Council between 1990 and 1992.Deputy Chief Justice Faulks was President of the Law Council of Australia from 1987 to 1988, Vice President from 1986 to 1987, and Treasurer from 1984 to 1985.He was admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1969 and holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the Australian National University.