Friday, May 27, 2011

News Brief: A study and an apology

The death knell may be sounding for the idea of a presumption of shared parenting time. Not only did the Family Justice Review dismiss it in its interim report, but now a study published by the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford has concluded that such a presumption is not in the interests of children, as reported by Family Law. In fact, I thought I had already heard about such a study a while back, although I can't recall where, or whether that was the same study. Either way, it does seem that the evidence against the presumption is mounting, particularly as the experiences of Sweden and Australia do not seem to have been positive, according to the Review.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports today that celebrity chef Marco Pierre White has won a public apology from Withers, his wife’s solicitors, after they wrongly advised her to intercept his post during their divorce proceedings. The apology "was described by a source as “a massive climb-down” on behalf of the high profile law firm". So ends three years of litigation, and a bonanza for newspaper headline writers (not to mention this blogger).


  1. Just read this interim report. It says that shared care works well, but only where there is cooperation. It doesn't work well where there is no cooperation, i.e. where the matter gets to court, and thus is not recommended.

    Reminds me of a certain Joseph Heller book - catch 22.

    So, basically, if you go to court, as a NRP you loose, as this prooves you don't get on with the pwc and are not cooperating.

    That is absolutely ridiculous. It is basically a cop out and is saying, the PWC holds ALL, repeat, ALL the cards.

    I saw pretty much the same in Court. Is a real (sexist) shame. Still at least they are honest about it for a change here.

    If contact is good then it will happen anyway, if you go to court then contact is bad. That is what they are saying and is Evil. It basically gives carte blanche to the PWC to do what they want. The nrp has no options and no comeback.

    When I said that I would inform the Judge of my ex's not adherance to contact order and ask him to enforce it my ex's barrister laughed in my face. Shame on her. Shame on them all. A disgrace that they remain so sexist and evil. The more the child sees of the NRP the better. The rest is nonsense.

  2. I'm sure there have been other similar reports, John. Mavis Maclean and Cerridwen Roberts have been opposed to shared parenting for years. The latest provocation is two private members' bills; there's nothing new in this report that we haven't seen before. Whether it 'sounds the death knell' remains to be seen.
    I really don't understand the opposition to shared parenting. Most people (the statistic is disputed but the government puts it at 90%) manage to agree between themselves about sharing parenting after separation without litigating. I can't see what's wrong with a parent whose former partner won't cooperate going to court and saying, I want the same outcome for my family, please help me achieve it.
    Most people are happy that parents should agree these things themselves and don't dispute that sharing parenting is the best option (though the Morton Report was suspicious of solutions which didn't involve judicial intervention or approval). So why shouldn't the courts order this solution as a matter of routine? After all, the only real alternative is the unnatural lack of balance which leads ultimately to the exclusion of a parent.
    The argument against shared parenting always assumes that what campaigners call for is a rigid 50/50 division, but this isn't the case. 50/50 is just a starting point from which parents may negotiate, and as a presumption it would be rebuttable, so if it was not appropriate in a particular case it would not apply.
    Sir Raymond Powell (Labour, Ogmore) said in the Commons debate in April 1989, "The Children Bill, which emphasises the importance of both mothers and fathers in child-rearing, will end the inhuman, callous and cruel practice of divorcing a child from one of his or her loyal and devoted parents."
    It hasn't worked, has it? Surely it is not unreasonable to explore alternative ways of drafting legislation which might achieve happier outcomes.

  3. Hmm, I wouldn't say it hasn't worked. It may not be perfect, but it works pretty well in the vast majority of cases.

  4. No, it doesn't.


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