WATCH: The shocking formula EVERY FATHER needs to know

System's flaws exploited in post-breakup custody battles.

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The emotional turmoil that follows a relationship breakdown often fuels unfortunate legal battles, particularly over child custody, reflecting systemic loopholes that need scrutiny.
Every father weathering the storm of a relationship breakdown should be aware of this prevalent issue.

It's all too easy to fall into the comforting belief that 'it won't happen to me', but the reality tells a different story with countless men blindsided in court.

Some ex-partners resort to a calculated strategy, often taught by well-meaning support groups or friends. This retaliation might not be immediate, but once the decision is made, it unfolds predictably.

When an ex feels provoked, perhaps by signs of your happiness post-breakup, she could resort to using your shared children as pawns in a vindictive game.

The first move usually involves lodging a family violence intervention order in the local magistrates court. Stories of sudden fear are woven together without requiring immediate proof, and the court often grants an interim protection order.

Fearful of possible media backlash from an unaddressed domestic violence case, judges err on the side of caution. This system rarely penalises false allegations, fostering an environment where these claims are made without fear of reprisals.

Once the protection order includes allegations of "family violence" witnessed by the children, they automatically become protected parties.

Consequently, fathers who previously shared custody suddenly find themselves barred from any form of communication with their children or public discussion of the situation.

Battling this order often takes up to two years. Simultaneously, securing access to the children requires initiating a separate process in family court.

If a domestic violence allegation accompanies the family court filing, it adds an additional layer of complication. The family court judge often defers any decision on unsupervised access until the domestic violence matter is resolved.

Fathers are left with two options: admit guilt to minor allegations, which could expedite access to their children, or clear their name while enduring a possibly lengthy separation from their children.

This experience transforms the conventional principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' into a 'guilty until proven innocent' reality for fathers.

Moreover, this pursuit of justice is costly, with fathers often spending a minimum of $100,000.

Meanwhile, ex-partners leveraging these allegations can access substantial public funding. The system even incentivises such behavior, rewarding mothers with increased child support payments when the children spend less time with their fathers.

The men's "behaviour change" program compounds the problem. This court-ordered program puts participants through sessions that overwhelmingly focus on male-perpetrated family violence, offering no equivalent program for women, despite the spectrum of violence encompassing emotional and manipulative behaviours.

While this ordeal is grueling for both fathers and children, remember, it will get better. Act rationally, not emotionally, in face of adversity.

Suicide rates among young fathers and jail populations remind us of the stakes. Don't become a statistic. Stand strong, you are not alone.

There's a lot to fix in the system, and raising awareness is a start.

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