At last the Family Justice Review has been published. It concentrates mainly on the system of the family court process. A summary is provided here with the full report available via the link.
The Government is inviting responses by 23 June. You can respond directly or via Maypole, and we will collect all your ideas in one reply.
It is excellent news that a presumption of 50/50 equal care has beeen rejected. In Australia their Shared Care laws have been shown to increase risk of domestic abuse, increase gender economic inequality and meet mainly fathers’ needs.
Nothing sounds more fair than parents being equal. Treated equally, children divided equally at separation.
Yet the drive by fathers’ rights groups for equal care legislation has come to an abrupt halt with yesterday’s report. Research, particularly from Australia, shows that shared care legislation is unfair and unsafe, and increases inequality.
This finding seems such a contradiction, but shows that imposing equality where there is already inequality is not the solution.
A new book, Equality with a Vengeance by Molly Dragiewicz looks at how fathers’ rights groups are trying to erode the gains of the battered women’s movement in the US, as a backlash against feminism.
With improvements planned for the systems of family law, there remains nowhere within UK law to protect women’s right to financial equality and psychological well being at separation.
Children’s well being is linked to that of their primary carer. Yet an understanding of children’s needs remains shaped by contact, rather than the needs underpinning relationships, including primary care and safety.
There is still a lot of work to be done.
Thank you to everyone who sent in concerns about the proposals on child maintenance. A Maypole trustee attended a meeting at the House of Commons on 17th March, which was also attended by a number domestic violence organisations. The meeting focused on the unprovable nature of abuse, and the fact many women will be unable to afford the £100 fee.
It’s great that Maypole has been so quickly recognised as a credible source of evidence on how domestic abuse presents at separation. With your help, we can ensure women’s voices are heard in family law.
Maypole’s written response looks more closely at how women negotiating with an abusive ex are not able to come to agreements which are in the child’s best interests, more about why some women won’t be able to afford the fee, and our prediction that the fee will be used by perpetrators as another form of financial abuse – and so will discourage (rather than encourage, as the Government hopes) private agreements.
This will be sent next week, and will be added to our new web site (more about that as soon as we have news). If you would like to read a copy before then please contact us.