Everybody has their own views and opinions on shared parenting and fathers’ rights, but what really is a fair amount of contact for a parent to have with their children?
Some people think that every other weekend is a suitable arrangement and sure, for some parents this suits their working arrangements or their social life, but for many parents this simply is not sufficient contact and they believe that this is also not in the best interests of the child.
In Australia, family law seems much fairer with an automatic presumption of shared parenting after separation or divorce and from research there, there seems to be much less conflict and lawyers rarely ask for contact to be every other weekend due to the legislation which appears to work well.
In France, although no presumption of shared residence exists, it is recognised within French family law as a legitimate and child-friendly option. In France parents tend to care for their children for longer blocks of time, for example two weeks on and two weeks off.
Sadly, in the UK, our family laws fall behind those in other democratic countries by a long way. Family proceedings are painfully slow and riddled with delays due to insufficient legislation and poor resources in social services such as CAFCASS.
The new coalition between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party promises to change this by introducing new legislation by winter 2011.
For the sake of the children we sincerely hope that this is delayed no further as current laws are providing instability and a lottery of results for most fathers.
Fathers represent a large proportion of the population yet are still discriminated against. Something has to be done to correct the imbalance in our society.
We have integrated a diverse range of nationalities in the UK and there are rights for gay couples but millions of fathers are being treated as second-class citizens, which is a disgrace in our supposed democratic society.
Shared parenting is essential for a healthy family life and provides children with stability they need to grow up in a loving, caring environment. In 1992, the UK signed up to the United Nations Convention on The Rights Of Children, which states that children deserve both their parents and that parents should be treated equally by the state, so why eighteen years later are dads being denied access to their children with the state seeming to sponsor the mothers who are trying to alienate their children from the biological father?