What with all the interest in reforming family law in Ireland, it looks like there’s a new organization that’s been formed to promote equality of parental rights and responsibilities. It’s called sharedparenting.ie. and it’s located in County Kilkenny. Here’s an article about it (Kilkenny Advertiser, 12/24/10).
A spokesman for sharedparenting.ie said, “We recognise the importance and benefit of having both parents continue to be actively involved in all aspects of a child”s life to maximise their full potential and we support increased involvement and inclusion of fathers in parenting. We believe that parenting is a shared responsibility between both parents and that mothers and fathers should be treated equally…’
Aiming to lobby for change in legislation for shared parenting, the support group believes equal shared parental responsibility to be a primary concern of the Irish family law courts when making a parenting order in relation to a child.
“Obviously this presumption would not apply when reasonable grounds existed where it was not in the child”s best interest,’ said the sharedparenting.ie spokesman. “We will also lobby for children”s rights and for the right of a child to know, to be loved and cared for equally by both parents.’
In short, it’s trying to do what countless other organizations around the globe are trying to do – equalize parental rights which, as a practical matter, means greater parenting time and responsibility for dads.
Well, they’d best get a move on. As I’ve reported in just the past two days, the Irish Law Reform Commission has just published it’s recommendations for changes to family law and, although they would improve matters for dads, they also leave enormous loopholes that allow mothers and courts to continue cutting dads out of the picture.
Among other things, a single mother need only claim she fears domestic violence to leave the father’s name off the birth certificate. That would effectively deprive him of parental rights unless he goes to court to claim them.
Even simpler, she can simply say she “honestly” doesn’t know who the dad is and he doesn’t get named and, once again, his rights remain in limbo.
Fathers’ rights need to be in fathers’ hands. That is, dads need to be raised to the status enjoyed by every other competent adult in society. Until we do that one simple thing, we’ll never connect children to fathers the way they should be, the way every society must if it is to call itself civilized.
So congratulations to sharedparenting.ie. We wish them the very best and extend our hands in support. Like every other such organization, they’ve got their work cut out for them.
Meanwhile, I can do no better than join them in their Christmas message, “Let children have both parents this Christmas.” Or better yet, why not all year ’round?