Some key organisations, such as the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health are revising their policies regarding overnight care of infants, as are many of the Family Relationship Centres (FRCs) offering the compulsory mediation required prior to Family Court proceedings. He should be made aware of parent-teacher conferences, school events, extra-curricular activities, doctor visits, and the host of miscellaneous affairs that arise concerning his children. This is the consensus with other studies on this question. Dr McIntosh has told Fairfax Media she pointed out in her research paper that her findings should not have been used for making policy. What's more, a judge cannot consider a parent's gender when making custody decisions. Courts will, however, cancel overnight visitation by a child with a parent because of the parent’s cohabitation on a showing of an adverse and material negative impact on the child. Vivian Gerrand, St Kilda. In the meantime, regular visitation with the non-residential parent can ensure a close relationship is maintained., Enable strong bonds Bettina Arndt’s one-sided piece on the shared care of infants of separated parents assumes that mothers are always the primary care givers of their infant children (”Empty days, lonely nights”, 29/4). Professor Warshak was an ‘‘impassioned advocate’’ seeking to discredit her to further his own political agendas, Dr McIntosh said. Our study simply makes the somewhat intuitive point that children of different ages have different developmental needs, and that special care is required where shared time is considered for infants and toddlers., Good to see positive comments published in support of Bettina Arndt’s article. I dont have a problem with this but since increasing his visits to 10-4 twice per week my ex has got really snotty and sarcastic with me, as though hes proper proud that hes got what he wanted. Non-residential parents who miss having their infant children overnight can rest assured in the knowledge that this arrangement may change as the child matures. As one of the ”gang of 110 (scientists)”, I applaud the courage of Bettina Arndt in facing squarely the ideology of the ”divorce industry” that profits from the bare bones of the children and families after divorce. Non-residential parents who miss having their infant children overnight can rest assured in the knowledge that this arrangement may change as the child matures. Just because overnight visitation is no longer a regular habit does not mean the kids can’t spend the night when the situation warrants. The Warshak paper is not a ”petition” (Letters, 1/5), nor is it part of a ”gender war”; it is a careful review of the research evidence and a call for caution in policy decision-making to ensure that where there is no valid reason to deny access to men (such as conflict, violence or poor parenting skills), children will benefit from forming strong attachments to both parents. Relationships Australia, which runs most of the FRCs issued this statement: ‘‘If there has been a trend towards limiting shared parenting and overnight contact with young children and fathers in recent years, it has not been a move advocated by Relationships Australia. Vivian Gerrand, St Kilda. This study has attracted considerable attention, most recently by Bettina Arndt. Federal Attorney-General Senator George Brandis said: ‘‘it is very important key public institutions have regard to evidence-based advice,’’ while noting the government cannot direct policy influencing mediation in FRCs nor decisions made by the courts. It is important to remember that the presumption of parental rights in Australia is that both parents are equal. She said her work had been ‘‘interpreted in a particular way by fathers’ rights groups for some time’’, and that ‘‘the conclusions in her research were only ever gender neutral, and cautionary only as to frequency of overnight care of infants in particular circumstances’’. The expert paper concluded infants commonly develop attachment relationships with more than one caregiver and that in normal circumstances children are likely to do better if they have some overnight contact with both parents. In the meantime, there is no research basis to deny caring parents overnight access to their young children. Too many men have been shut out of their children’s lives. There are many innovative ways to share parenting responsibility at this stage. Bettina Arndt relies on the petition of US psychologist Richard Warshak to argue otherwise, even though Dr Warshak himself reports that his hand-picked signatories ”may not agree with every detail” of what they signed up to. To do this when so recently women and children have been murdered through family violence reveals just how naive Arndt can be. Pity Arndt missed the ”glass-half-full” message: that once children turn four, they can cope with a variety of arrangements. Greg Andresen, Men’s Health Australia, Bondi Junction, NSW, Importance of fathers It says that the 2010 study, led by Melbourne child psychologist Dr Jennifer McIntosh, was inappropriately used to suggest that any regular overnight care by fathers was damaging to infants and toddlers. A father who is a non-custodial parent who wants his child to sleep over during visitation rights should apply to court for a change in visitation rights to allow overnight stays. Arndt’s article rejects the renowned work of Jennifer McIntosh to reduce her complex, nuanced empirical work into one that is black or white. Decisions should not be based only on fathers’ needs, but on the emotional wellbeing and physical safety of all family members. As a father of two young children, I have no doubt that my children have just as strong bonds with me as they do with their mother. Fathers' Child Custody Rights. McIntosh’s lawyer said: ‘‘Unfortunately, she cannot control how these conclusions are extrapolated by third parties and then attributed to her. As a father, you have the same parental rights as a mother, until a court says otherwise. For children, there has never been a one-size-fits-all, and nor should there be. The rethink follows the publication of an academic paper endorsed by 110 leading international experts challenging the policies. That is the science we have to date. The experts said the findings of Dr McIntosh’s study should not have been used as a platform for developing public policy in this area. Non-residential parents who miss having their infant children overnight can rest assured in the knowledge that this arrangement may change as the child matures. There are signs the new consensus paper could affect current policies. Parents have responsibilities. Australia's national, non-profit organisation providing a better outcome for men and their families, By Bettina Arndt, published in The Age, Melbourne, Read the 2nd article, Empty Days and Lonely Nights here. Missing the message Still, some fathers agree to less-than-ideal parenting plans and schedules because they expect the court to favor their children's mother. Would a report with 111 signatures trump Dr Warshak’s report with 110 signatories? Gordon Finley, professor of psychology emeritus, Florida International University, US, Approach with caution Children’s best interests matter most, not parental ”rights” or academic hurt. This may not be welcome news to mothers or fathers for whom it might well be more convenient to share overnight care. Incarceration – Visitations for the incarcerated may be suspended only on a showing that such visits … Father's overnight rights . Her comments on what we mediators advise our clients about overnight stays for young children are just wrong. In cases where both parents share physical custody, frequent daily time with each parent is the ideal. We have noted an increase in shared parenting in recent years and consider this a positive outcome for both children and parents.’’. It said depriving young children the opportunity to stay overnight with their fathers could compromise the development of father-child relationships. Father’s have rights to see their children, and a mother needs to show that a father is an unacceptable risk to the child in order to withhold a child from a father in Australia. ‘‘This study provides no reliable basis to support custody policy, recommendations or decisions,’’ the Warshak paper found. Fathers for Equal Rights is the largest Fathers & Mothers group in North America serving families primarily in Texas with a referral network of counselors and family law attorneys to promote what is in the best interest of our children. The visitation agreement may include overnight visitation stays, which can leave the household very quiet and lonely. Letters. Thank you, Bettina Arndt, for highlighting the research evidence showing young children can form secure bonds with more than one ”primary carer” (”Empty days, lonely nights,” 28/4).

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