FI welcomes plan to recognise both parents’ importance post-separation

13 June 2012

The Fatherhood Institute has welcomed the Government’s plans to explicitly recognise in law the importance of children having a relationship with both parents after separation.

Responding to the announcement of a joint Ministry of Justice and Department for Education consultation, Adrienne Burgess, joint chief executive of the Fatherhood Institute said:

We are strongly in support of this important consultation. Under the current system, too many families end up in protracted, bitter arguments about how they organise looking after their children, and who pays for what; too many court orders are breached, resulting in damaged or broken relationships between children and one or sometimes both parents; and court orders do not always reflect the need for children normally to have substantial time with both their parents. We need a system that puts children first. Children do better when both parents are positively involved in their ‘ordinary’ lives – and those children whose parents share residential parenting after divorce or separation, do as well or better than those who live solely with one parent (usually the mother).

We therefore believe the Children Act should be amended to include carefully thought-out principles that children should normally have substantial time with both their parents post-separation in order to have a positive, meaningful relationship with them, whilst leaving the courts room for flexibility in individual cases.

There will always be extremely difficult and sad cases where children lose out because parents fail to put their children’s needs first, but there is some evidence internationally that we could do a lot better than we are now. This area of law is highly contested and we hope the Government will not be unduly influenced by special interest groups, and keep the child’s needs at the centre.

The Fatherhood Institute will be issuing a formal response to the consultation, which runs out on 3 September 2012.

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