A Tauranga man fed up with the family court system is taking to the streets in a 35km protest to raise awareness of the problems facing fathers gaining access to their children.
Colin Carey is so frustrated with the family court system he is embarking on a protest walk from his home in Katikati today, arriving at the Family Court about 10am on Thursday.
Family man: Colin Carey approximately 20km out of Katikati with support crew, daughter Michelle Carey and friend Erica Spencer.
The 53-year-old has faced tough times gaining access to his children and believes the domestic purpose benefit and maintenance payments could be redundant if fathers and grandparents were automatically given equal access rights to their children.
“If children weren’t permitted to be taken out of school or the region after a couple part, it would be easy for each parent to keep working and share the responsibilities of raising their children,” says Colin.
“My ex-wife takes away access to my children anytime she is upset with me. She uses the kids like a bargaining chip or power tool.”
Colin says he has spent thousands of dollars on family courts in attempts to gain access to his children.
“The courts are so backed up it takes at least 12-months to get a hearing and the judges are automatically biased in favour of the mother.
“I know heaps of men in the same predicament as me. The other side of the problem is the grandparents.
“Grandparents should be entitled to at least one or two days a year to spend with their grandchildren as an automatic right. Obviously the exception to the rule is where there are domestic violence issues. But that should be the exception rather than the rule.”
Union of Fathers’ secretary Sheila Ewart is not aware of Colin or his mission, but sympathises with his battle with the family court.
Sheila says half the problem with society today is children are growing up without a father figure.
“On July 1st, the family court is introducing a $220 fee for any type of dispute between guardians. This will really penalise poorer guys.
“Currently it is free. This is just going to make it harder for people who already struggle to pay legal fees. Too many couples, mainly woman, use children as pawns or to blackmail their partners,” says Sheila.
Colin plans to arrive at the Tauranga Family Court around 10am tomorrow morning. He is hoping people who feel frustrated or sympathise with his cause will support him by turning out for the protest.
If he finds the support he is hoping for he plans to walk to Parliament this September.
Anyone who wants to support Colin and his cause can walk part or all of the way with him along the main road between Katikati and Bethlehem today or from Bethlehem to the Family Court 46 Cameron Road tomorrow.
Alternatively, Colin should arrive at the Family Court tomorrow around 10am and welcomes anyone with Family Court issues who would like to add weight to his message.