Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A good idea?

Two strands of thought came together this afternoon. I had been contemplating doing a post following up Lord Justice Wall's Philip Larkin quotation with the (obvious) observation that the problem is that parties just can't see what they are doing. It may be perfectly clear to an outsider that their actions are having a serious detrimental effect upon their children, but no matter how hard you try to persuade them of this they remain utterly convinced that what they are doing is the best thing for their children.

Then I glanced at Mr Justice McFarlane's Key Note Address to the Resolution National Conference, in the copy of Resolution's monthly Review that I have just received. Near the end of his speech he says that he believes that it is of the utmost importance to ensure that each parent thinking of coming to the court understands (inter alia) that each of them, and not the court, has equal responsibility for making arrangements post-separation for their child (my italics). This reminded me of something that I (and no doubt others) have often considered.

Would it not be most helpful if parliament made a clear unequivocal pronouncement that, upon separation, both parties have an equal say in arrangements for their children, and that that pronouncement was backed up by a sustained national campaign, drumming the message home so that it became 'common knowledge'? Would this not reduce the likelihood of conflict between separating parents? Or am I just talking rubbish? Your views on a postcard in the comments, please.


  1. Nice idea. Won't work.

  2. OK. Clearly, I was talking rubbish!

  3. I think it is a wonderful idea and one that would lead i think to much less conflict. I believe this is the position adopted by the australian authorities and it is my understanding it is working quite well.

    But i fear it is far to practical an arrangement for the authorities in this country.

  4. Thank you! That's one vote each way...

    I fear you are probably right about the authorities in this country.

  5. You're not talking rubbish at all, John.

    This was always the basis of most equal parenting campaigns, including F4J (except the lunatic fringe - see Pink Tape).

    It wouldn't get past a government like the present one because of the likes of Harman, but once they've gone...

  6. I hate to say it, but they seem to be having some problems in Australia with the new equal parenting laws.

    My own view is that they won't work in every case, but that they are a huge improvement on what went before.

  7. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your support!

    I'm sure it won't work in every case, but I think just having the public aware of equality would be most helpful.


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