Equal Parenting Movement Growing in Spain

March 23, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The movement for equal parenting is growing in Spain as this article indicates (Euro Weekly News, 3/20/15). On the Spanish Fathers’ Day, March 19th, a huge rally was held in Madrid. Those in attendance were from all across the country and the rally was the combined work of multiple organizations throughout Spain. There, as elsewhere around the world, men and women alike called for courts to put aside their single-parent biases and act for the good of children.

SEPARATED and divorced fathers and mothers gathered at the Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid on Spanish Father’s Day (March 19) calling for a legal change to give preference to joint custody.

People at the rally, called by associations from across Spain, carried signs declaring “Not with Mum, not with Dad, with both of them,” “Joint custody now,” “No more orphans with living parents,” and “Don’t allow Dad to be deleted from childhood.”

“No more orphans with living parents.” That stings!

Association representatives explained that their aim was to put an end to the generalised standard habit of awarding custody to one parent, which is still used in most Spanish courts.

Although Spain has some sensible aspects to its family courts, they still fail to order equal custody on anything like a regular basis. In the recent past, the country’s psychologists have recognized the concept of parental alienation and its courts have granted fathers the right to sue for paternity fraud. But when spouses divorce, their children tend to lose one of their parents. Hence the cry “no more orphans with living parents.”

“Children are born under joint custody then a judge comes along and leaves them fatherless for no apparent reason,” said Miguel Rodriguez from Custodia Paterna (Paternal Custody) association.

Good point, and one equal parenting advocates make time and again. It’s one of many for which those opposed to equal parenting have no answer. The simple fact is that the great majority of children come into the world with two parents. They attach to those parents, get to know them, come to think of them as their protectors and providers, love them.

Then, because the parents find they can no longer live together, the law decrees that the child must forfeit one of its parents. That of course makes no sense at all and the fact that the court invariably claims to be acting in “the best interests of the child,” makes even less. The simple truth is that, where children are involved, there is always a family, whether the parents live together or not. The only question is to what extent the powers that be will allow the child to maintain real relationships with both Mom and Dad. Unlike so many other people around the world, family court judges haven’t gotten the message that kids need both their parents.

Maite Disdier, president of Segundas Mujeres e Hijos por la Igualdad (Second Wives and Children for Equality), said that the aim of the rally was to get politicians’ attention and stressed that step-families, like her own, should be allowed equal rights and relationships without the financial setbacks caused by high maintenance payments.

Disdier said she believed children have the right to joint custody: “Kids should be allowed to live and grow up with their dad and their mum.”

What a concept: children have rights. In case courts ever want to actually start attending to the “best interests of children,” instead of simply intoning the mantra thereof, they’d stop consigning one or the other parent to the sidelines of children’s lives.

It’s great to see such a big rally in Madrid. It’s great to see the movement for equal parenting spreading throughout the world. But in truth, we should be further down the path to equal parenting that we are. The arguments in favor are so obvious and so telling, and those against are so threadbare, that equal parenting should already be the norm.

Still, the logic of equal parenting will not be denied. Opponents of children having healthy relationships with both parents can fight their rearguard actions, but that’s exactly what they are. The momentum toward sensible parenting arrangements post-divorce is too strong. The inevitable will come and in time equal parenting will be the rule everywhere.


National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.

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