More access for fathers following divorce
February 8, 2012
Controversy has broken out over plans to reform family law with respect to access arrangements for children after their parents have divorced.
According to Fathers4Justice, the group campaigning for equal access rights for fathers following divorce, decisions made in family courts result in over 200 children a day losing contact with their fathers.
In the majority of cases, the mother is given custody of the children and figures from the Office for National Statistics show that only eight per cent of single parent families are headed by the father, while a third of children live apart from their father, often having little contact at all.
In November, the Independent Family Justice Review concluded its findings on equal access for both parents, reporting that the law should remain unchanged and the proposal for equal access for both parents made at the outset was not included in the final report.
Now a working group, including ministers Jonathan Djanogly, Sarah Teather and Tim Loughton, has been set up to reconsider this decision and will be looking at ways of amending the Children’s Act 1989 to maintain the best outcome for the children while ensuring fairness for both parents.
The working group will report in two months. Campaigners hope that by making equal access a legal requirement, grandparents, who at the moment have no legal right to access to their grandchildren and who often lose contact following divorce, particularly if it is acrimonious, will be able to maintain a good relationship with their grandchildren.