This post relates primarily to Australian law, but may include some references to laws in other western countries. The feminist lobby is frequently demanding more ‘protection’ under the law for women/girls. But as for similar calls or media coverage for recognition of the needs of men & boys? Well that would appear to be close to non-existent.
My initial thoughts are that attention to these various points would be worthwhile. Now, I’m not a lawyer so the comments here will no doubt require some serious ‘tweaking’, and the thoughts of readers would be most useful in this regard. You will also likely have your own suggestions regarding other reforms that might be required.
DNA testing at the time of birth should be mandatory with the results noted on the birth certificate. In the interim, and until such time as a database has been created, DNA testing should be required whenever an application of made for parental child support.
Where a child is conceived as a result of rape or statutory rape, then the victim of that sexual assault should not be required to provide financial support to the abuser.
Assets acquired prior to marriage should be protected from claim in the event of divorce, as should assets acquired by inheritance.
Where a court case related to sexual assault and/or domestic violence is terminated as a result of unreliable or conflicting evidence then it should be routine for a case against the accuser for false claim to be initiated. Where subsequently proven, there should be a minimum sentence imposed of not less than 12 months imprisonment.
Oh, and should you wish to also pass on your thoughts to the relevant authorities, then please note that the twitter accounts of Australian and New Zealand Attorney-Generals are as follows:
Australian Attorney-General @cporterwa, NZ Attorney-General @DavidParkerMP, Victorian A-G JillHennessyMP, NSW A-G @MarkSpeakman, QLD A-G @YvetteDAth, ACT A-G @Gordon_R_Ramsay, NT A-G @SelenaUibo, WA A-G @BobFergusonAG, SA A-G @VickieChapmanMP
** Please be advised that this post represents a working draft only **
Related pre-existing posts that are relevant to this topic include:
“The Federal Government will launch an inquiry into the family law system, after accusations the court system is failing vulnerable Australians.
Coalition backbenchers and the crossbench, including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, have been calling for an inquiry for some time, arguing the system is too expensive and slow.
The inquiry will be run by former social services minister and long-serving Liberal MP Kevin Andrews.” (Source)
The feminist lobby and their domestic violence industry took great umbrage at this announcement. And so it began.
The Committee’s home page can be found here, and details concerning the making of submissions can be found here.
The first specific matter that the feminists got upset about was Pauline Hanson’s reference to the practice whereby some women make false claims against their former partners in family court, esp. in relation to domestic violence and sexual assault (refer example of outrage in the media).
In terms of topics related to the treatment of victims, another issue was that of couples counselling (related article). The feminist DV Industry is generally opposed to this practice, claiming that it exposes women to additional unnecessary risk. But not everyone was of the same view (related article).
Another curious complaint from various feminist spokespersons was that there had been too many inquiries, and the proposed inquiry was both unnecessary and would delay progress. This is extraordinary given the ongoing vocal urging for more inquiries/commissions/etc despite the many state and federal inquiries that have taken place – particularly related to domestic violence. A number of these inquiries can be seen listed in the relevant section of my Table of Contents page.
Submissions to the Family Law Inquiry have now closed, and a final report was due to be submitted in October 2020. On 31 August 2020, both Houses of Parliament agreed to extend the reporting date to the last sitting day in February 2021. An interim report was subsequently released on 7 October 2020.
In closing, how many, if any, of the following groups explicitly represent fathers/men and/or male victims of domestic abuse? How many have anything approaching gender equality with regards to their board and/or their staff?
Other posts in this blog that you might find relevant include:
Today the Australian media reported on a High Court case involving a pre-nuptial agreement (‘pre-nup’) between a wealthy property developer and his younger bride, who he met via a “web site for potential brides”:
Pre-nuptial agreements have never been a magic bullet to prevent financial exploitation where one spouse (usually the man) takes far more assets into a marriage than the other. It has always been a case of it being better to have a pre-nup than nothing at all, in order to reduce the likelihood of subsequent divorce-rape.
In Australia, and elsewhere, even competently and ethically prepared pre-nups are subject to legal challenge. In the case cited above, the nature of the agreement was found to constitute ‘unconscionable conduct’. This was said to be on the basis of both a demand that the agreement be signed or the marriage would not go ahead, and with respect of the terms of the financial settlement set out in the agreement.
One alternative that might be considered would involve relatively minor changes to relevant Australian law. What is proposed here is by no means a complete fix, but it would represent at least a step in the right direction.
In Thailand, as in various other countries, the law differentiates between assets accumulated prior to marriage, and assets accumulated during the marriage:
Sin Somros is/are the marital assets or property of the marriage jointly owned by husband and wife, in general all properties acquired after the marriage (except those listed in section 1471 under 3) (Source)
Sin suan tua is property which is exclusively owned by only one of the spouses. The owner of the sin suan tua property is free to dispose of it without having to account to the other spouse. Under the Civil and Commercial Code (CCC), property comprising the sin suan tua of a spouse consists of: (i) property belonging to the spouse before marriage; (ii) property for personal use, dress or ornaments suitable for the spouse’s station in life, or tools necessary for carrying on the profession of the spouse; (iii) property acquired by the spouse during marriage through a will or gift if that property was intended to be sin suan tua; and (iv) the khongman (a betrothal gift). (Source)
Thai law also allows for couples to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement, the details of which are as set out here.
The reality is that the current divorce laws in western countries favour the interests of women and were written at a time when society was a very different place, for example pre-advent of no-fault divorce and at a time when most women were house-wives.
Read this other blog post to see what happens in a situation where the husband still typically brings far more assets into the marriage than the wife (indeed the wife is more likely to be in debt at the time of marriage), where most divorces are initiated by women, and where the court system is dominated by white knights and older gents guided more by chivalry than a genuine commitment to justice.
A situation where pre-marriage assets are quarantined from seizure seems to be eminently fairer to me, but which politician/s in Australia would publicly support it? Sadly, very few or none at the present time – and certainly no-one in the ranks of the major parties.
Failure to consider and introduce legal reforms such as this will only accelerate the trend of men avoiding marriage and de-facto relationships, and the deleterious social impacts arising from that.
It will be interesting to see if a positive outcome of same-sex marriage in Australia will be greater enthusiasm for law reform related to the distribution of assets in the event of divorce. When straight men are the only ones impacted then such reform is anything but urgent (think, ‘glacial’). Indeed we have already seen heightened interest in the reform of laws related to alimony and spousal support brought on by the increasing numbers of cases involving divorces involving female spouses as primary bread-winners.
“On 16 March 2017, a Committee of the Australian Parliament adopted an inquiry into how Australia’s federal family law system can better support and protect people affected by family violence. The inquiry was referred by the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis Q.C. The Committee aims to make recommendations that will improve the system for all participants.” (Source)
Members of the public were able to provide feedback in the following ways:
One such issue was the possibility of creating some sort of nexus between the nature of court orders made in relation to spousal support and property settlement, and the presence or alleged presence of family violence in the relationship. This is described in the Terms of Reference at point 4:
“How the family law system can better support people who have been subjected to family violence recover financially, including the extent to which family violence should be taken into account in the making of property division orders”
Men are already being blackmailed with allegations of domestic violence or sexual abuse in relation to child custody matters, and now it seems they will also have to worry about the impact of such allegations on their financial affairs (strike 2). How many more male suicides will this generate?
As of 21 June 2017, 114 public submissions have been uploaded onto the Committee’s web site. I tendered a brief submission which can be accessed here (see submission 113).
The Committee subsequently tabled its report in Parliament on 7 December 2017. The report, which makes 33 recommendations, is available to read on the Committee’s web page at this link. The media release for the tabling of the report can also be found at this link.
Under a 2010 resolution of the House of Representatives, the Government is required to respond to the report within six months. When the Government has provided a response it will be made available on the Committee’s web page.