Shared parenting legislation 'not in the interests of children'

Jun 16, 2011
Academics have analyzed the proposed legislation in light of research evidence on shared parenting

Proposed legislation to introduce and enforce a presumption of shared parenting time for separating couples is not in the interests of children, according to a briefing paper published by the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford.

The term ‘shared parenting’ has no legal status but generally refers to a child spending an equal amount of time with each parent. Two Private Members’ Bills currently before Parliament seek to introduce and enforce a default position that children should spend a substantial amount of time with both parents in the event of separation. The Shared Parenting Orders Bill is currently scheduled for a second reading on 17 June.

With funding from the Nuffield Foundation, academics from the University of Oxford and Australia have analysed the proposed legislation in light of research evidence on shared parenting, with particular reference to Australia, which introduced similar legislation in 2006. They conclude:

*Introducing a default presumption that children should spend a substantial amount of time with both parents would overturn the provision in the Children Act 1989 that the welfare of the child should be paramount in deciding contact issues.

*There is no empirical evidence that increasing the amount of time spent with a non-resident parent improves outcomes for children. It is the quality of the relationship between parents and between parents and children, as well as practical resources such as housing and income that are important for children’s well-being, not equal or near equal parenting time.

Shared parenting works best when separated parents are co-operative and flexible. However, cases that end up in court are often characterised by conflict between parents and concerns about child welfare. Therefore the cases subject to shared parenting legislation will be those in which shared parenting is least likely to be successful.

*Evidence from Australia, which has introduced similar changes, shows frequent misunderstanding of the legislation; an increased focus on fathers’ rights over children’s best interests; and an increased reluctance from mothers to disclose violence and abuse. Indeed it has been so problematic that additional legislation has been presented to the Australian Parliament to deal with the safety issues.

*The would primarily affect the small minority of separating parents (10%) who seek a decision on contact from the family court. However, there could be consequences for all children of separating parents, as parents often reach agreements in the ‘shadow of the law’, as advised by solicitors.

Mavis Maclean, joint Director of the Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy and one of the briefing paper’s authors said: "Children benefit from a meaningful relationship with both parents, but there is no evidence for legislating to prioritise shared parenting time over any other parenting arrangement. Instead, we should identify ways to assist separated to think carefully about arrangements that will best serve their ’s needs, and to put those above their own views."

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EWH
1 / 5 (3) Jun 16, 2011
Translation: the Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy is really a lobbying group for female supremacy, which professes that fathers aren't really needed except as effectively indentured servants of women, forced under threat of debtor's prison to pay child support to mothers who have no obligation to actually spend the sums extorted for the benefit of the children. The OCFLP-desired alternative to a presumption of shared parenting is of course the status quo of maternal sole custody with perhaps occasional paternal visitation (which although in theory ordered by the court, is almost never enforced, and hence is really at the discretion of the mother).

The tacit presumption that fathers' rights are incompatible with the best interests of the children and the unsupported allegation that a presumption in favor of shared parenting causes "an increased reluctance from mothers to disclose [allege] violence and abuse", shows their anti-male, female-supremacist predjudice.
emsquared
3 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2011
Wow, EWH, 1.) I'm a male, and I can tell you -as much as you should already know- this is still very much a man's world and that's not "in danger" of changing.

2.) Do you disagree with this principle: "the welfare of the child should be paramount in deciding contact issues"?

Now, certainly "welfare of the child" is up to interpretation below a certain threshold, but if a parent (regardless of gender) abuses alcohol/drugs, or is say a convicted criminal or physically/mentally abusive, I'm fine with that person being denied equal visitation until they demonstrably get their s**t together.

I'm sure the door swings both ways too, in that if the mother is the dead-beat, she is denied the same rights as the male counterpart would be.

It's not like they're saying, "if you get a divorce, every case now the woman get's the kids". Quite the rant you have there though.
EWH
1 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2011
No, it's totally a woman's world in the courts. While working as an office manager and paralegal for a female attorney who worked with father's rights group members as well as people of both sexes and from all walks of life, I have gone through all the papers in dozens of contested divorces, interviewed many clients male and female, worked through several multi-year custody battles, and I can assure you that the deck is stacked against fathers. Unless it can be proven in court that the mother is unfit and the man is a paragon, women /always/ get custody if they want it. Men can't even prevent their children from being /sold/ by mothers (actual case in N.Y., complicity and gag order from the judge). Boys of 12 have been forced to pay child support to women more than twice their age. Children of later marriages get a fraction of what children from first marriages get (assuming the moms even spend the checks on the kids)- so what happened to the pretext of "best interests of the children?
EWH
not rated yet Jun 18, 2011
Here's the testimony of a father who burned himself to death on the Keene, New Hampshire courthouse steps June 15, 2011: http://www.sentin...286.html
emsquared
not rated yet Jun 20, 2011
Here's the testimony of a father who burned himself to death on the Keene, New Hampshire courthouse steps June 15, 2011...

An interesting read, though a couple things pop out to me. 1.) The dude hit his child in the face hard enough to cut her lip. He could have just walked out, that is what I think 99.9% of parents would do. He chose to use physical violence against a child. In my, and I think just about any rational persons', book he forfeited his rights in that moment until he can demonstrate he has gotten past his sadism. 2.) In the middle part of that actually well written testimony, he advocates terrorism. Yea, yeah, tyranny must be resisted, blah blah. He advocates killing people and arson.

I didn't read the entire thing (pretty lengthy, little time) but once the guy advocates violence and uses patriotic anecdotes to justify it, I'm done with him. Wish we could see if he had any priors.
markdeegan
not rated yet Jun 20, 2011
emsquared,

Obviously you have been under a rock?
markdeegan
Jun 20, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
emsquared
not rated yet Jun 22, 2011
Obviously you have been under a rock?

Care to elaborate?