Theresa May, Family Court Reformer?

January 11, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Last summer, the British voted to leave the European Union. That vote was the last and signal failure of the Cameron Administration and ushered in that of Theresa May. May has now gone on record with her vision of the Great Britain she’d like to see along with a very indistinct sketch of how she’d like to get there. As such things usually are, it’s an uplifting exhortation for national unity, justice and lifting all boats.

Pabulum though it may be, her article makes for a refreshing read to anyone living in the United States these past couple of months. Here, the concept of national unity hasn’t been heard in many a moon, nor does it seem likely to be. The Left’s post-election tantrum continues pretty much unabated and promises to continue until at least January 21.

By contrast, May’s words are balm to the soul of a hurting people.

[The Brexit vote] was a quiet revolution by those who feel the system has been stacked against them for too long – and an instruction to this Government to seize the opportunity of building a stronger, fairer Britain that works for everyone, not just a privileged few.

She goes on to list the various issues and injustices the British working class has been complaining about for years – job insecurity, poor schools, unequal justice in criminal courts, etc.

So when you see others prospering while you are not; when you try to raise your concerns but they fall on deaf ears; when you feel locked out of the political and social discourse and feel no one is on your side, resentments grow, and the divisions that we see around us – between a more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation; between the wealth of London and the rest of the country; between the rich, the successful and the powerful, and their fellow citizens – become entrenched.

All that is jolly good, of course. It is equally something that’s been heard before to no great end. Still, May calls for a commitment to unity.

Overcoming these divisions and bringing our country together is the central challenge of our time.

That means building the shared society. A society that doesn’t just value our individual rights but focuses rather more on the responsibilities we have to one another; a society that respects the bonds of family, community, citizenship and strong institutions that we share as a union of people and nations; a society with a commitment to fairness at its heart.

“A shared society.” I like that. “A society that respects the bonds of family… a society with a commitment to fairness at its heart.” I like that too. Among her other commitments, May surely means to make inroads into the family court system that is (a) at the heart of so much societal dysfunction, (b) the cause of so much family breakdown and (c) extremely unfair.

The social and cultural unions represented by families, communities, towns, cities, counties and nations are the things that define us and make us strong.

And it is the job of government to encourage and nurture these relationships and institutions where it can, and to correct the injustice and unfairness that divides us wherever it is found.

No one writing those words can be ignorant of their obvious import. To call for sharing, cite the importance of families, correcting injustice and promoting fairness, is to call for, among other things the reform of family courts that every day destroy the bonds between parents (mostly fathers) and children to the detriment of all. Make no mistake, May is thinking big.

[T]his government will seize the opportunity to build the shared society by embracing genuine and wide-ranging social reform. We will move beyond the narrow focus on social justice – where we help the very poorest – and social mobility – where we help the brightest among the poor. Instead, we will engage in a more wide-ranging process of social reform so that those who feel that the system is stacked against them – those just above the threshold that typically attracts the government’s focus today yet who are by no means rich or well off – are also given the support they need.

“Those who feel the system is stacked against them.” Does she include fathers in that phrase? To write what May wrote and to not include radical family court reform in her concepts would be willful blindness.

And it may be exactly that. Because, when she gets down to specifics, May nowhere even hints at family court reform, children’s need for a father, or mothers’ need to be free of constant childcare.

It means developing policies that give a fair chance to those who are just getting by, as well as those who are most disadvantaged. Because people who are just managing – just getting by – don’t need a government that will get out of the way. They need an active government that will step up and champion the things that matter to them.

From tackling the increasing lack of affordability in housing, fixing broken markets to help with the cost of living, and building a great meritocracy where every child has the opportunity of a good school place, we will act across every layer of society to restore the fairness that is the bedrock of the social solidarity that makes our nation strong.

Yes, a fair shake for those who live just above the level at which they’d receive government benefits, affordable housing, cost of living issues and a meritocracy. Again, jolly good.

But when it comes to the one thing that is common to almost every social ill that besets British society – broken families and father absence, May is now and, I predict will remain, silent. May says she’ll give every child a “good school place,” but not a family that will allow him/her to succeed there. She’ll promote equality in the criminal justice system, but not intact families that keep people honest in the first place. She’ll restore fairness, but still allow 90% of the children of divorce to go through life with Dad as only a vague memory.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I won’t be putting any money on it. We’ll see what Theresa May really stands for when she starts hectoring Parliament and stops writing vague articles in the Telegraph and on her FaceBook page.




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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