Dads get a break

By ANN-MARIE MAY

TONY Miller is thrilled that finally someone has listened.

As founder of Dads In Distress (DIDS), Mr Miller has spent the past five years lobbying for change and now it looks like all his hard work may pay off.

Earlier this week the special taskforce set up to look Australia's child support system, which Mr Miller sat on, handed down its report and recommendations to the Federal Government.

Under the reforms, most divorced and separated fathers would pay less child support and for the first time, the incomes of both parents would be taken into account when calculating the cost of child support.

Payments would increase when children turn 13 and fathers would get a discount if their child stayed with them at least one night a week.

Still working his way through the 300-page report, Mr Miller said that while it was early days it was a positive step forward.

"What this scheme is saying is that there are two homes after divorce, not just one," Mr Miller said.

"The current system hasn't been working for a long time, with these proposed changes a breath of fresh air. Child support payments will no longer be calculated on gross or net income, but on how much it costs to raise a child."

"And that's what it should be about ? the children. There is enough pain in divorce without bickering over money."

Family law solicitor, Heather Mckinnon, said for the most part she welcomed the reforms, but would have to wait and see what the full ramifications would be.

She agreed that changes needed to occur and hoped any reforms decided upon would better reflect todays society.

"I have been in practice in the area for 25 years and there's been a quantum leap in fathers who co-parent their children and this social phenomenon has just started to be recognised," she said.

But both agree that any reform has to include a crackdown on fathers rorting the system by not paying their fair share.

"It's time for those fathers to do the right thing," Mr Miller said.



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