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Entries in petition (1)

Sunday
Dec182011

E-petition and debate back shared parenting

A new e-petition to the Westminster parliament by Colin Riches backs the proposal that shared parenting should become the natural position in the UK.

The petition states that shared parenting is in the best interest of the child and that the law should be there to protect children’s relationships with both parents. It needs to show children that both their parents are treated with equality.

Shared parenting was also raised in a Westminster Hall debate on children's access to parents on 13th December.  

Charlie Elphicke MP stated that: "Week in, week out, our constituency surgeries are all too often full of parents who are struggling to see, have contact with or access to their children. Evidence suggests that around 3 million children in the United Kingdom live apart from a parent, and 1 million of them have no contact with the non-resident parent three years after separation."

In his reply to the debate, Government Minister Tim Loughton admitted his previous support for the issue: "This debate has been raging for some time. Five and a half years ago, I myself argued in the House for an amendment to the Children and Adoption Bill that would have inserted a presumption in favour of shared parenting into the 1989 Act. The concerns that gave rise to that have not diminished today. It would be wrong for me to try to pre-empt the Government’s decision, but I can say that we are looking closely at all the options for promoting shared parenting through possible legislative and non-legislative means."

Although Westminster legislation will not have a direct impact on Scottish Family Law, changes that occur in England and Wales will help to build up the pressure for similar moves north of the border.

For the many parents (mainly fathers) and for grandparents and other relatives who find themselves cut off or with severely limited contact with children after separation. a change so that shared parenting is the default position would make a major difference. 

Families Need Fathers Scotland hears far too frequently about courts making no-contact orders without any proper discussion and fathers being prevented from seeing their children for months or years.  That's why we support the proposal that shared parenting should be the default position after separation.