Children to get access rights to both parents


Children are to get legal rights to maintain proper relationships with both parents after separation, as part of a shake-up of the family justice system.

New rules will make clear that contact with both mothers and fathers is vital, the Department for Education said.

But ministers are likely to disappoint fathers' rights groups by ruling out a legal guarantee of equal access.

Campaigners say the UK fails to uphold a UN convention setting out children's rights to maintain relationships.

A review led by former senior civil servant David Norgrove last year rejected the need for any legal statement of rights, saying it risked "confusion, misinterpretation and false expectations".

But Children's Minister Tim Loughton said it was the state's duty to ensure decent, loving fathers were not "pushed out" of their offspring's lives.

When disputes are settled in court - presently around one in 10 - it will promise to find ways to ensure no parent is excluded unless they pose a safety or welfare risk.

Quite difficult to prove that a parent poses a safety or welfare risk in some cases I imagine.  I'm thinking of the mum or dad who has the kid in the pub all weekend, up till midnight etc. 

I am all for children having proper contact with both parents but sometimes it's not that cut and dried.

ursh x

I agree, children need to see both parents IF it is beneficially to the Child, if the child is not at risk, other wise seeing an absent parent whether its mum or dad can be more damaging.

So there is no legal guarantee for access so whats the point then.

The law can't ever be black and white here because no divorce involving children is black and white. And as Ursh says, it can be nigh on impossible to prove that a person is an unsuitable parent when, to the outside world, they seem ok. Plus you have to consider people's levels of commitment; the parents who change plans at the last minute, don't turn up, fill their children's heads with nonsense; those things aren't in themselves terrible parenting, if it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but on a frequent or even irregular basis they can so much damage. And, not wanting to offend anyone (because I know that women can be just as bad as men for the crap-parenting malarkey), the parent living with the child is generally the one picking up the pieces when the non-resident parent breaks their word. How does a parent prove to a court that their child has had their heart broken by empty promises? 

Personally I don't think anyone should be given an automatic right to their child; a parent's role is earned, not given because of biology.