U.K.: New Family Law Takes More Flak

April 7, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

Having just excoriated the British government for ignoring the needs of fathers and children in their amendments to the Children’s Act set to take effect this month, I thought I’d mention that at least some members of the family law bar are saying the same things. Here’s family solicitor Mark Day’s take on the matter (Business Daily, 4/4/14).

Mark Day of Langleys Solicitors has said he is disappointed with lack of focus on shared parenting and enforcement of Residence and Contact Orders…

“It had been suggested that parents who undermine the rights of their children to see the other parent should face some sort of penalty, for example retention of a driving licence or passport, or even implementation of a curfew;” said Mark Day.

“Unfortunately the Act is silent on the issue, so courts are likely to continue to struggle with deliberate breaches of orders.

“Similarly there has been a long-running debate as to whether there should be some form of statutory presumption on law of shared parenting or parental involvement. The Act has watered this down and there is no mention of children spending equal time with each parent.”

Yep, that’s about the size of it. In the face of decades of social science showing shared parenting to be best for kids, Parliament did nothing to encourage shared parenting. With an epidemic of custodial mothers refusing children the right to see their fathers, Parliament did nothing to empower fathers. It did nothing in each instance despite significant public support for shared parenting and consequences for violations of access orders. Once again, the elites who rule us plainly know better what’s good for us than we do. That their take on the matter is at odds with the overwhelming weight of social science is a fact they trust we won’t notice.

But all is not lost; every cloud has a silver lining. Our betters were not entirely idle.

The reforms to the family justice system aim to offer more support to parents and reduce delays. The legislation includes a number of new measures designed to protect the welfare of the children. 

Some of the significant changes include giving children in care the choice to stay with foster families until they turn 21 and reforms to children’s residential care designed to make homes safer and improve the quality of the care provided. 

For separated parents, the Act suggests that there be a change of terminology from the existing Residence and Contact Orders to Child Arrangement Orders. The aim is to avoid labels and the notion of one party exerting power over a child’s upbringing.

See? Things aren’t as bad as all that. After all, Parliament passed a law that will speed the time in which fathers are removed from their children’s lives.

More importantly, the new law will assist courts and the media in obscuring what is really going on. It will do so by changing the terminology regarding child custody matters. Nasty terms like “Residence and Contact Orders” too effectively tell us what is going on, i.e. that Mom is the residential parent and Dad has “contact,” in the event she allows it. It’s much better to use the new term “Child Arrangement Orders.” That way we can no longer see who’s got custody and who’s become an ATM. It looks gender-neutral while preserving the sexist status quo, the proverbial win-win.

There now, don’t you feel all better? Your government working for you.

The National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

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.


#UnitedKingdom, #SharedParenting, #Visitation, #Fathers’Rights, #Children’sAct, #UK

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