Last night on channel 4, TV presenter Tim Lovejoy, a divorced father of two, investigated the situation regarding shared parenting following divorce or separation.
Throughout the documentary Tim explored the concept of shared parenting as opposed to one parent being awarded sole responsibility. The film also examined the roles of mums and dads in 2013 in general, asking whether current legislation in this area is adequate.
As I watched, it became apparent to me that Tim holds a certain amount of contempt for the law courts favouring the mother when it comes to residency orders, despite him having his own children more or less half of the time.
Tim states that today, one in three children in the UK grow up in a home with only one parent, and asks “…are we doing what is best for the children?
“The system at the moment is all about bricks and mortar. It’s all about a house, a bedroom and a set of drawers. I think stability should be about if you have been in a family with the love of a father and mother, that’s the stability you need to take through with you.”
The big question is, is he being realistic?
A child will thrive on love, but they need to be warm, fed and sheltered and they need consistency and routine too. This all forms part of the bigger picture when it comes to shared parenting and if any of these aspects are lost, children can become unsettled and unhappy.
It will work for some parents, and for others may simply prove impractical.
The current legal position
Almost all parents automatically have ‘parental responsibility’ giving powers to make decisions about their children. The Children Act 1989 strongly encourages separating or divorcing parents to reach their own decisions about parenting arrangements without court involvement.
For the minority of parents who need court assistance, the “paramount consideration” for the court in making decisions must be the child’s welfare rather than adult interests.
The principle legislation that governs issues relating to children is The Children Act 1989 and it covers areas such as:
- Residence Order: Where and with whom a child should live
- Contact Order: Arrangements for contact with the parent/party that the child does not live with
- Prohibited Steps Order: Preventing a parent/party from doing something in relation to a child
- Specific Issue Order: Requiring a parent or a particular body to do something
- Parental Responsibility Order: Enabling a parent/party to make important decisions or access information in relation to a child
- Relocation of a Child: The removal of a child outside of the UK or to another area within the UK
- Emergency and Urgent Applications: To deal immediately with special circumstances
Our expert family team is able to advise and assist in connection with all the issues that may arise in relation to any matter concerning a child.
For an initial discussion or to make an appointment with Paul Ireland call 01925 210999 or email email@example.com