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Entries in shared parenting (52)


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.


International Shared Parenting conference in Boston

The International Council on Shared Parenting are working with the American National Parents Organisation to hold a major conference in Boston on May 29-30 2017.

Under the theme “Shared Parenting Research: A Watershed in Understanding Children’s Best Interest?” the experts will present their research results and practical experience at this international and interdisciplinary conference.  The preliminary scientific programme for the conference is now available.

Ian Maxwell from Families Need Fathers Scotland will present a paper at the conference about our work in Scotland promoting shared care and lobbying for a change in family law.  We hope to pick up a lot of ideas both at that conference and at the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts conference which is also in Boston that week.


"Why should they live more with one of us when they are children to us both?"

Dr Malin Bergström of the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm presented her research insights into the comparative benefits for children in Sweden of agreed shared parenting to FNF Scotland's 5th anniversary event in the Scottish Parliament on November 29th. 

Speaking to an audience of over 60 MSPs, family lawyers and 3rd sector children and family support agencies she observed that in Sweden if parents separate 50:50 shared parenting is the predominant arrangement for the care of the children, more than the numbers of one parent led households or households in which one parent has less than shared time put together.

On a range of measures or wellbeing children in shared parenting and 'intact' arrangements are demonstrably feel better about themselves and suffer less from recognised symptoms of stress than those with visiting or no contact with one parent.

Dr Malin quoted one interviewee who said, "Why should they live more with one of us when they are children to us both?"

These links show the introduction to the event by John Mason MSP and the presentation by Ian Maxwell about the work of FNF Scotland and our shared parenting campaign.



Holyrood event hears how shared parenting works in Sweden

40% of separated families in Sweden share the care of their children equally, and there are significant benefits for children and young people from this sharing of parental care.

At an event at the Holyrood Parliament to celebrate five years of Families Need Fathers Scotland as a registered charity, heads of children's and family organisations, family lawyers, civil servants, parents and MSPs heard about Dr Malin Bergström's research work on shared care in Sweden.

She described how the Swedish 'Viking Father' is nowadays more likely to be holding a baby than a weapon. The reasons for this include comprehensive parental leave provision for fathers and mothers since 1974, a family law change supporting shared parenting as the default option in 1998 and widespread public daycare. 

Working at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, Dr Bergström is studying well-being, mental health and social situation in school aged children and preschoolers in shared parenting arrangements.  Over a wide range of measures the performance of children in 50:50 shared care is very close to that of children in intact nuclear families, and significantly better than those in families where one parent has the majority or sole care of the children.

Families Need Fathers Scotland used this event to press the case it is making for changes in Scottish family law, family court processes and family dispute resolution outside courts that would support shared parenting as the best option for children after separation.  National Manager Ian Maxwell stated that this will be a key priority for the organisation over the next five years, and thanked the event's host, John Mason MSP, and other MSPs who attended the event or who have met us to hear why we are seeking to modernise Scottish family law.

Ross Thomson MSP has now asked a Parliamentary question about the Scottish government's action to promote a greater recognition of the benefits of shared parenting.

This has been answered by Justice Minister Annabelle Ewing,  stating the government's intention to: "review the law in this area - the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 - to ensure the interests of children and their need to form and maintain relationships with key adults in their lives – parents, step-parents, grandparents and other family members – are at the heart of any new statutory measures."


Louis de Bernières shares the parenting

In a booklet published by FNF Scotland as background to our Holyrood event, an interview with celebrated author Louis de Bernières describes his experience of a traumatic family separation followed by a return to equal shared care of his children.

Commenting on what could happen if family law is reviewed, he urges legislators to: "Firstly take account of the social and economic change that has happened. Secondly pay attention to the research.  If the research is telling you that children do better when they have a full relationship with both parents, then help them get it. Thirdly, I'd like legislation to start from a default position of equality between the parents.  That will be tailored to suit the practicalities from the child's point of view. It can't be rigid. That would never work. But if you don't have some target like that you will always fall short."

He also comments on whether having two homes is disruptive to his children: "It's not remotely disruptive if their daytime activity – going to school – is the same and as long as a parent isn't trying to alienate the kids from the other one. The level of complaint I get is that something terribly important has been left at the other house.  So you go and get it.  What's the problem?"

The booklet also presents some of our proposals for changes to family law, courts and other family support measures, along with a note about research evidence from around the world reporting the benefits to children and parents of sharing parenting after separation.