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Entries in shared parenting (56)

Wednesday
Oct102018

AGM & Talk: Shared Parenting - benefits and barriers

The 2018 AGM of Families Need Fathers Scotland will be on the evening of Wednesday 31st October in Robertson House, 152 Bath Street, Glasgow.

Following the AGM we will have a talk by Professor Tommy MacKay about benefits and barriers to shared parenting.  Tickets for the event can be booked using this link.

professor MacKayProfessor Tommy MacKay will give an overview of current psychological research relating to contact and residence, focussing particularly on the benefits of shared parenting and some of the problems which are raised when shared parenting is proposed. 

Professor MacKay has worked extensively as a psychologist in a broad range of family law cases including contact and residence actions.  His 2014 publication "False Allegations of child abuse in contested family law cases" considered the high frequency of allegations of child physical or sexual abuse in cases of this kind, with a particular focus on false allegations.

Amongst the court cases in which he has given expert evidence is AH against CH (2016 CSOH 152).  In that judgement he stated that "evidence shows that children that do not have contact with both parents have, as a group, a greater propensity to experience difficulties academically, psychologically, emotionally and in future relationships in later life."  This supported the resumption of a father's contact with his son in spite of that child's resistance because of maternal influence.

Professor Tommy MacKay is Director of Psychology Consultancy Services, Co-Founder of the National Centre for Autism Studies at the University of Strathclyde, Clinical Director of the National Diagnosis and Assessment Service for Autistic Spectrum Disorders, a past President of the British Psychological Society, an Academician of the Academy for the Social Sciences and a Chartered Scientist. He works widely across several fields of psychology, having chartered or equivalent status in educational psychology, health psychology, clinical neuropsychology, psychotherapy and teaching and research in psychology.

Thursday
May242018

Napier University student’s ‘Time for Change’ animation captures the case for overhaul of Scottish family law.

An Edinburgh Napier University student has created an animation on the feelings of loss experienced by separated fathers struggling to maintain an meaningful parenting relationship with their children as his final year honours BSC Digital Media project.

Lewis Rickard, a 22 year old student from Falkirk, created the infographic combining the words of a poem* by award winning author, Louis de Bernières, with data on the work of FNF Scotland to find out how far animation might be an effective platform for sharing key concepts for non profit organisations.

You can view the animation here:  https://tinyurl.com/TFC-FNFS

Lewis  has been studying Digital Media at Napier for the last two years following on from his  HND in Digital Media at City of Glasgow College in the two preceding years..

Lewis says, "The issue of parental rights has been close to my heart for many years.  I have watched my brother fight tirelessly through the courts to secure a relationship with his son. It has been very slow and very expensive. Most people who don't have first hand knowledge of the process through someone close to them don't appreciate how painful it is. This gave me inspiration to create an animation that could be understood easily by both separated parents, and also by children.

I contacted FNF last year and attended one of their group meetings so I could gain an understanding of what other dads and mothers were going through in terms of not being able to see their children – either not seeing them at all or restricted to every other weekend effectively as a visitor, not a parent.  This was a great experience for me and allowed me to get a deeper insight into how the charity works. It also gave me the chance to ask questions to the parents so I could try to understand what each person is going through.

FNF have been excellent in helping me create the animation. They have given me lots of information that I simply wouldn’t have been able to get if I was creating the animation by myself. Their help has been incredible and I feel that the animation has benefitted from the help I received from them."

Ian Maxwell, national manager of FNF Scotland, says, " We are very impressed by the animation Lewis has created. There is a Scottish Government consultation underway at the moment on reforming the law on making arrangements for the involvement of parents with their children after separation. This is a 'once in a generation' opportunity to persuade the government to bring in a system that doesn't set parents against each other but steers them towards putting their children first. We need to win hearts among the public as well as minds and Lewis's animation brilliantly captures the feelings of loss and helplessness many separated parents feel. We are very grateful to him for thinking of us."

After graduation Lewis hopes to get a job in the creative industries, such as graphic design or motion design. Lewis says, "I have just began to apply for jobs so hopefully this project will help me on the road and also help FNF Scotland connect with a wider audience. Thanks for watching."

* The Deserted men (Every Other Weekend) by Louis de Bernières

Thursday
Jan182018

Shared parenting success in Arizona

Dr William Fabricius describes the success of Arizona's 2012 shared parenting legislation in a recent article which notes that:

The new statute was carefully worded to promote equal parenting time while still requiring judges to weigh the traditional children’s best interest factors, such as parental mental health, that might disqualify either parent. We removed the traditional factor that gave preference to the parent who had provided primary caretaking in the past, and added a new one stating that “absent evidence to the contrary, it is in a child’s best interest to have substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents.”

The statute states that “consistent with children’s best interests, the court shall adopt a parenting plan that maximizes the parents’ respective parenting time.”

By not giving any target numbers, the law puts the focus on providing the child with as close to equal parenting time with both parents as possible for that family.

His research showed support from judges, court staff, lawyers and mental health providers for the new measures.  His conclusion: "Arizonans have found that there doesn’t have to be a trade-off between equal parenting time and judicial discretion when courts are directed to try to maximize children’s time with both parents."

Thursday
Jan182018

Holyrood Cross Party Group on Shared Parenting

The initiating meeting of a proposed Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Shared Parenting took place on Wednesday evening, January 17th.

15 individuals representing 10 parent and parenting organisations attended while apologies were received from three other organisation who couldn’t make it on the night.

The meeting was convened by Ian McKee (SNP). Gillan Martin and Bob Doris (both SNP) and Adam Tomkins and Finlay Carson (both Conservative) attended while apologies were received from Kate Forbes (SNP) and Andy Wightman (Green).

The meeting discussed and confirmed the name of the group, its aims and objectives and the shape of a prospective work programme, summarised as a wideranging exploration of relevant research, insight and information from within Scotland and abroad.

Three co-conveners were agreed: Ian McKee MSP, Adam Tomkins MSP and Gillian Martin MSP.

FNF Scotland will provide the secretariat support.

Proposed Cross Party Groups must be formally approved by the Scottish Parliament Procedures and Public Appointments Committee. The application will be submitted by Ivan McKee to the next available meeting.


Sunday
Jul092017

Launch of new Shared Parenting website by FNF Scotland

Families Need Fathers Scotland has launched www.sharedparenting.info, a new information and discussion website raising awareness about the benefits of sharing the care of children after parents separate.

The new site offers:

  • Summaries of the academic research into shared parenting

  • Legislation and case law concerning shared parenting in Scotland and around the world

  • Stories of Scottish families who already share parenting

  • Information, experience and advice for making shared parenting work

  • Considerations for when shared parenting may be more difficult

FNF Scotland hopes the website will support its case for prioritising shared parenting during the review of Scots family law which is expected to happen in 2018.

FNF Scotland national manager, Ian Maxwell says, “The realities of family life in Scotland have transformed in recent decades for a host of political, social, cultural and economic reasons. As more mothers are active in the workplace so parenting roles at home have evolved. Parents expect more of each other and children expect more of both.

Yet in Scotland when a relationship breaks down old paradigms slip back into place with a presumption of one 'main' parent and a ‘visitor’. While lip service is paid to encouraging parents to negotiate suitable arrangements for caring for their children after separation everyone knows that if they don't agree the failsafe position will revert to the adversarial approach by which one parent wins time with his/her children by criticising the other.

In addition the system of child benefit and child support creates a financial disincentive to the current 'main' parent to share parenting even if s/he accepts that the children would benefit from spending more time with the other.

FNF Scotland's starting point is to explore what arrangements can be put in place for the long term benefits of the children. Research from around the world shows that in general children benefit in most areas of their emotional and psychological wellbeing when they spend as near as possible to equal time with both their parents and when they can see both parents are given equal status and respect by professionals and politicians.

Shared parenting also liberates both parents from gender stereotypes.

There isn't a switch that can be flicked to change attitudes overnight but we are looking forward to next year's review of Scottish family law. Our launch of www.sharedparenting.info is intended to share peer reviewed research and personal experience of what can be achieved for our children with a different approach to parenting after separation.”

www.sharedparenting.info and its content has been designed, written and constructed by Isabelle Introna, a student from the University of Edinburgh on the EmployEd Third Sector Internship Scheme.