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Entries in non-resident fathers (3)

Friday
Dec152017

Christmas survival tips if you're not seeing your kids

Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year for divorced or separated parents. It is the time they most want to see their children but it may not be their turn to have them for Christmas Day. Here are some tips that attendees at our group meetings have suggested.

1 Remember to put the kids first. Even though you are missing them don’t put your distress ahead of their enjoyment. Encourage them to look forward to the next time they’re with you.

2 Try and negotiate with your former partner at least a phone call with your children on Christmas Day so they know you are thinking about them and sharing their excitement.

3 Try and agree with your former partner that it’s fair for the children to have Christmas Day with each of you on alternate years.

4 If you do have them this year don’t go overboard on arrangements. Think ahead about what they’ll enjoy rather than what’s expensive. It’s time together that counts in the long run.

5 Don’t compete on presents with your former partner. Outspending will create friction especially if money is short for both of you. When you have limited time with your children it’s often tempting to try and compensate by extravagant gestures. Don’t. Good cheer now may pay off in the New Year.

6 Keep in mind that your children will remember the time they have with you. Don’t worry that they don’t give you a second thought when they’re not with you. That’s what kids are like.

7 If you don’t have any contact with your kids at all, sit down and write them a letter. Even if you never send it it’ll be your time with them this year.

8 Don’t let yourself get miserable or lonely at home. Make sure you see friends or think about volunteering with some of the organisations that look after others at Christmas.

Wednesday
Apr052017

Research participants wanted - housing needs of non-resident parents

Research into housing of parents with less than half of parenting time.

FNF in England has been asked to help find "non-resident" parents for a Cambridge University housing research project. Interviewees will receive a £20 voucher, and the research findings will be shared with FNF.

Only need 20 participants are needed, based anywhere in the UK, so if you are interested get in touch quickly as it will be first come first served.

Here's the official project description:

Can you help with a Cambridge University survey in return for a £20 Love2shop voucher? The university wants to speak to single parents, aged 35 or under, who live with their children less than half of the time. The researchers need to speak to parents who have their child to stay with them for at least one night a fortnight, or would if they had suitable accommodation. Participants must have children under 18 and must not be living with a partner to qualify. A researcher will call you to conduct a short telephone survey – that’s all you need to do. All of your answers would be confidential and data kept anonymous. If you can help with this research project, please get in touch on 01638 741830 or tania@spirusmarketing.com.

 

Monday
Feb152016

2006 Family Law Act ripe for reform

The Justice committee of the Scottish Parliament is conducting “post-legislative scrutiny” of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006. The committee describes it as one of the most important pieces of legislation on family law in recent years.

The committee invited a number of organisations - including FNF Scotland - and individuals with an experience of the Act to submit an overview on its effectiveness. Our submission.

The Act covered a range of issues including modernisation of the law as it affected cohabitees. However, FNF Scotland mainly comes up against problems with the Act in connection with sections 23 and 24.

Section 23 extended the possibility of securing Parental Rights and Responsibilities to unmarried fathers and section 24 amended the Children (Scotland) Act to make it a requirement for a judge to take into account allegations of domestic abuse – or the prospect of domestic abuse – when determining the best interests if the child.

FNF Scotland believes it is time for a review of both the Children (Scotland) Acts of 1995 and 2006. Our experience is that in the current climate they support contrived adversarial behaviour and airing of unfounded accusations aimed at controlling contact with a non-resident parent that damages children and both parents.

It is encouraging that several of the other submissions make essentially the same comment.

The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 was very much an act of its time but the reality of family life here has moved on from the rather restrictive view portrayed then. We have reviewed the debates in committee and the chamber at the time and it stands out that the tone was very much directed towards controlling family life of unmarried fathers rather than positively promoting it.  We believe the Act remains essentially discriminatory  - as flagged by the Scottish Law Commission a decade earlier - by building into statute that the status of separated fathers is largely contingent on the state of the relationship as perceived by the mother.

In our submission we say, “It is not a sign of good health for any piece of legislation that a perception of unfairness grows around it. There is such a feeling around the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 not only among non-resident parents - most of whom are fathers – but also among the grandparents, new partners and other family members who contact us.  It is a sense that has also been shared with us by members of the legal profession and, on occasion, by members of the bench.”

We believe there is ample evidence from many countries that children do better in all aspects of their life, attainment and wellbeing when both their parents are fully involved in their life and their parents have equal recognition from public services including schools and health providers.

The Justice Committee will take further evidence in its scrutiny exercise in due course. We will report developments here.  Full list of submissions