Here’s an excellent and moving video done by Bob Geldof (make that Sir Bob Geldof) about the need for equally shared parenting (Channel 4, 2005). It’s not new, but it’s always good to hear someone who’s as passionate and articulate about the matter as Geldof is. He’s angry but calm. To various government ministers he puts simple questions like “what’s the problem?” with presuming equal parenting time post-divorce where possible?
The non-answers he gets are classic bits of bureaucratese. The whole point, for these people is to dodge the question, pretend that what’s being proposed is “one size fits all” or that equal parenting would increase litigation. When the government issued a “green paper” on family courts, it only consulted family court bureaucrats and not fathers who have suffered under the system.
To Geldof’s simple and obvious statement that kids need to know that when mom and dad break up they’ll still get to see each equally, there’s only silence.
As I’ve said before, every time the subject of equally shared parenting comes up, opponents’ responses are most noteworthy for their thin, threadbare quality. They hide behind false notions that fathers getting custody will mean more children abused, when all the evidence shows that it’s mothers who abuse the most. They misrepresent what a shared parenting presumption really is, pretending that it doesn’t include exceptions for violence or sexual abuse, or that parents won’t be free to make another agreement.
All in all, if this is the best opponents can come up with, we can’t help but be encouraged. There’s no ‘there’ there. Opponents of shared parenting are defending a status quo for which there’s no defense. Somehow they want us to believe that what’s going on in family courts now is acceptable. Millions of dads and millions more children and second wives know it’s not. As Geldof says in his inimitable style,
“F****ing foxes get more consideration than fathers from this lot.”
That’s a situation that’s just begging to be changed.