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Equal Contact with Parents – How It Could Be Better

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Calling all parents and grandparents who have not seen their children and grandchildren due to their partner, son or daughter-in-law fleeing.

A new petition is seeking your support such that children have automatic rights to equal contact with their parents after their separation if the parents so wished and are not considered ‘abusers’. 

Right now children are confused in the months and, in many cases, years following separation, frequently traumatised for life. Such children commonly would much rather have a productive co-parenting relationship so that they can continue to love both of their parents as they grow.

At the moment, however, in the UK:

  • A court may take more than one year to arrange a simple fact-finding hearing to judge on any of the allegations of the parents, a time during which the child may feel confused, anxious and depressed, and subject to a lot of change, with the non-resident parent spending no or unreasonably limited time with the child (frequently one to two hours per week or fortnight).
  • The parent who fled may ignore or bend the terms of an approved contact arrangement.
  • The behaviour and words of the parent who fled with the child may negatively impact the other parent’s relationship with the child consciously or unconsciously.

As such it appears that the parent who decides to leave the family first is in a significantly stronger position than the other parent, having all the power to emotionally control the other. In turn, many children, in order to receive the love of that parent who becomes the primary caregiver by default, have to consciously or subconsciously reject the other.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that judges frequently apologise to the non-resident parent for the resident parent abusing the UK legislation, including with false allegations and persistent calls to the police, understood to be following advice of their solicitors so that they can create doubt in the minds of the judges from the outset, even if the police closes these cases.

A proposed solution is for the UK government to implement legislation that would enable the judges to deal decisively with any abusers of the intention of the law and create opportunities for shared custody in which parents are rewarded for working together and enabled to have an engaged co-parenting relationship.To know more about shared custody, schedule an appointment with a joint child custody lawyer.

In 2021 equality and inclusion do matter and, as such, focus on conscious and unconscious biases could enable us to achieve shared parenting, via offering promptly rather than after long periods mental health services, therapy, and parenting classes. With the community recognising that both parents can equally look after their children emotionally, physically, and psychologically, especially now with technology enabling so many to be working flexibly and in an agile way.

Imagine if shared parenting is the starting point given immediately unless any allegations are found true by say CAFCASS or if either parent is not interested in spending that much time with their child.

The high interest in the petition, with circa 10,000 people having signed up already, demonstrates that there is a significant desire for the system to be changed that way.

There is evidence showing that it is in the best interest of children to spend significant time with both parents and child isolation is not appropriate. There is also evidence that conflict between the parents is increased where one is considered the winner and the other the loser in terms of time sent with the child, and as a result, the child will suffer. A much better outcome could be where everyone in the family feels to have their objective met in order to achieve a win-win-win situation. As such, the promotion of co-parenting for all children with separated parents appears to be a sensible solution focused on the well-being and welfare of children, raising them with love, compassion, and attention. 

Now in 2021, a decision on custody in 80% of the cases could be done automatically without the need for court hearings over a number of years. The remaining 20% of the cases, complex ones, could then benefit from more focus by all concerned. 

If you feel that this is a viable option to reduce any anxiety and maximise the well-being of the children impacted and those close to them, then please feel free to sign up (if resident in the UK) and share. Then it could be debated in parliament and considered whether it would be a better alternative to the current situation, reducing abuse of the law, especially now with mental health challenges rising and with judges busier than ever.

Apart from the children concerned who would have more time with the non-resident parent, equality, inclusion, removing stigma and conscious and unconscious bias would be the obvious winners too.

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