According to a new alteration to the law, absent fathers will be given legal rights to see their children, with the exception of cases, where fathers might cause harm to them.
The alteration has been announced in a letter distributed to the MPs by Edward Timpson, Children`s minister. The letter claims that this move has been required, as both parents should play a part of their children`s lives. The proposed changes will take effect in 2013 and have been met with controversy .
Although Fathers` rights campaign groups applauded this, the move caused wide discussions, as some legal experts questioned the need of such legal rights for the fathers and stood behind the position that this kind of law might place parental rights higher than the best interests of the children themselves.
Alan Beith, the Liberal Democrat chairman of the Parliamentary Justice committee, wrote to the Prime Minister over the summer warning that the proposal would “simply lead to confusion” and risked “undermining the central principal that the welfare of the child is paramount.”
A statement from the Law Society read: “The welfare of children must always come before the rights of parents and no legislation should create or point to a perception that there is an assumed parental right to substantially shared or equal time for both parents.
“While the government’s intention to promote co-operative parenting is welcomed, legislation to promote shared parenting is not needed. Current legislation adequately provides the right framework for securing a child’s welfare.”
However Minister Timpson opposed the claims and was confident about the new changes by saying:
“I know from my own experience practising as a family lawyer, that many separating couples feel the system is far too adversarial, with courts seen as creating ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. It is vital that both mothers and fathers feel confident that the court will consider fully the benefits of their involvement.”
In addition he said that there is a high demand of such a law, as currently there is no law recognising this issue, and the introduction of one would help to “restore confidence”. He said also that the time spent with the children for each parent will not be set by the legislation, but will be a matter of court decision.
According to a research, which was conducted at the beginning of the 2011 summer riots, revealed that 60% of the country`s most troubled families are headed only by a single mother, lacking a “male role model” in the child`s life.
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