Abandoned children- is this what we want ?

“Back in early 2000, when I went through separation, my former partner filed some without-notice applications in the Family Court. I’ve heard stories about some good-fit parents who abandon their children due to various reasons and the stressors associated with family separation, such as lack of support, financial hardship, and mental health issues.

I have always wondered why and how they do it; I was very puzzled. I have met some of those parents who made such difficult decisions. The majority are good-fit parents with no violence, drugs, addiction issues, or violence. The most common reason they mentioned was financial constraints, false allegations against them, lack of trust in the family justice system, police, Oranga Tamariki, judges, and lawyers. Many said they were traumatized by the divorce/separation process, making it challenging to navigate the complexity of the Family Court system, which could worsen their mental health and parental conflict. Additionally, most of them didn’t want to involve their children in such a horrible process in the family court.

There is no shame in how humans deal with stress; we all respond to it differently, and our resilience varies from one person to another. Making this decision is incredibly difficult, and many of these parents later regret it, but unfortunately, it becomes too late to change.

Some parents who abandoned their children over 10 years ago told me they have always struggled dealing with grief as a result of their decisions – it is not a pleasant experience. They said they constantly had nightmares every night due to this grief. Listen, they are good people, but they made these decisions for their own sake and sometimes for their children.

Having gone through the process myself, I reached a point where I wanted to give up and walk away from it all – it’s a traumatic and disempowering process. Especially when you are falsely accused as a violent parent, never having been in a police station or harmed anyone in your life, always helping people and the community. Suddenly, you find yourself in this situation, presumed to be a violent person based on one side of the story. The worst part is that they use your children’s contact as a tool to punish you. You are not heard or given the right to defend yourself or contest the allegations against you until 1-3 years have passed!

As a respondent, you are left in this dark, horrible place without help or support, alienated from your children, without access to your property, money, or belongings, kicked out of your home, and most importantly, presumed guilty based on fabricated evidence and one side of the story or hearsay evidence. That’s why many respondents in the Family Court end up breaching court orders, getting locked up, incriminated, convicted, losing their jobs, becoming homeless, and bankrupt. I know of cases involving professional parents who were earning six-figure salaries but ended up working minimum wage to pay their bills, child support, and taxes.

There is a reason why accused persons under criminal jurisdiction have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; it’s a violation of basic human rights by the state. But unfortunately, not in the Family Court!

The crown claims that the family court guilty presumption is consistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. With all due respect, this is rubbish. The presumption of innocence is a fundamental human right. Some people have to wait up to 3 years to be heard or defend the allegations against them in the Family Court, although the Family Violence Act 2018 and Care of Children Act 2004 clearly mandate that a hearing must be conducted within 42 days – but this rarely happens unless you are a celebrity or a wealthy VIP.

The phrase “Justice delayed is justice denied” is often used to emphasize the importance of timely and efficient delivery of justice. When a legal system fails to provide justice in a timely manner, it can lead to frustration, loss of faith in the system, and even further injustice – and this is what’s happening in the NZ Family Court.

To keep it short and simple, the current processes and laws in the New Zealand Family Court are inhuman and flawed. The most disgraceful part is that it is pushing parents beyond their breaking point and causing more harm than good. As a result, many parents are choosing to abandon their children, end their lives, lose their careers and jobs, incriminating more innocent good-fit parents.

Do we really need more abandoned children in New Zealand? Nearly 33% of NZ children live in single-parent households, and youth crime and children poverty are rife with many fatherless children.

We should be encouraging parents to be part of their children’s lives, strengthening and preserving the children’s relationships with their parents, whānau, and community – as mandated in the Care of Children Act 2004.

It’s just disgusting and awful to hear that this is happening in New Zealand…”

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Alex

Right on the $… I made the decision to abandon everything for most of those reasons

Good dad

Interesting and moving read. I am in the situation now where i feel I have no choice but to abandon my child. My wife abducted our 18 month old child and moved them over 1,000km away and then secured a without notice protection order. This was a couple of months ago. She did so by alleging I suffer an undiagnosed mental health condition, I am suicidal, and I am psychologically abusive. None of these things are true and I have never had any of these things said about me before, let alone been in trouble with the police. However, the court have said I might have to wait 2 years for a hearing and I can’t see our child this whole time because I can’t afford to travel this distance. Such a delay means our child’s status quo will be the new location and they will likely never come home. I feel my relationship with my child will be eroded to nothing over this period. I don’t think I can suffer the emotional pain of this. Sadly, I think I will be better off walking away and trying to rebuild than fighting it. It’s a disgrace the court can destroy… Read more »

Stoneyz

Omg, those situations that are mentioned there are happening to me right now, I’m experiencing a horror show, no convictions, false allegations, no evidence from other party, I left DV, an they became a victim I will an about too do it had so I can afford to have a supervised contact is killing me, hearing my 2yr old daughter screaming an crying wen I have to leave her with a stranger, I’m punishing her, knowing we both love each other so much, I don’t want to traumatize my baby, I miss her so much I have to hold her kiss her lives her like I always have. . I thought about how it’s affecting her she’s confused, unsure, thinking mum don’t want her ? An he’s not her biological father either

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