Family Law Blog

Sydney Harbour Bridge Protest: Will it work?

Posted by on 16 May 2011

As Sydney ground to a halt in peak hour on Friday 13 May, everyone wondered why someone would go to such dangerous lengths as to stage a protest on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

With banners reading “Plz Help My Kids” and “Kids First”, it quickly became clear that the protestor, ‘Michael’, was a father raising his concerns over the systems we have in place to resolve family law issues and children’s services.

Obviously in this situation, the father involved is feeling helpless and frustrated by his perceived lack of access to his children and the ways in which he feels the ‘system’ is letting him down. But can a protest on top of the Harbour Bridge make a difference?

Whether you agree with his methods or not, it certainly brought the attention of the city to an issue that many people have been struggling with following a family breakdown – access to children and parenting arrangements.

As family lawyers, we deal with the fall-out of family breakdowns and separations on a daily basis. One of the key issues we always try to address first and foremost is the safety and well-being of any children of the marriage or relationship.

When a family falls apart it is crucial that you look at what is in the best interests of the child in terms of: who they should live with; how they should divide their time between the two parents; and, how to ensure that a child maintains a meaningful relationship with both parents.

The difficulty, amongst other issues, often lies in the practicality of future parenting arrangements and achieving a balance between a child’s relationships with both parents and protecting that child from harm. In Michael’s case it appears that there were serious concerns for the children’s safety that warranted an arrangement where he does not spend any time with the children. While this decision would be aimed at protecting the children from risk of harm, the following questions remain:

  • What is the impact on the children of a five month separation from their father?
  • Is there no alternative but for the father to spend no time with his children? 

Without doubt, while no two families are the same, it is preferable for the parties involved to reach an agreement with regard to parenting arrangements. Litigation, while necessary in some cases, can further inflame a dispute between parties.

At Coleman Greig we can help you through the process of separation and divorce, negotiating with your ex-partner or spouse and determining the best outcome for everyone involved, particularly your children, either by resolving a matter through direct negotiation or seeking assistance from the Court.

Whichever way is best, our team of family law specialists will always provide practical, realistic advice that will help your family through the process and minimise the emotional trauma involved for you and your children.

For more information on how we can help you, and your family, contact one of our experienced family lawyers.