A New Beginning?
“We will encourage shared parenting…and conduct a comprehensive review of family law…”
OK, so they are politicians, and coming from the ‘Guy Fawkes’ school of politics, like you I am ingrained with cynicism. However this is a tangible breakthrough. In 2005 after a sustained period of very high-profile campaigning we achieved, er, nothing. Not one real commitment apart from the possibility that Cafcass would be abolished. So this is potentially a real game changer.
What was promised before the election is contained in this brave new document that goes someway to restoring liberties stolen under New Labour. However, one of the key battlegrounds is going to be the role of the judiciary. I want to see the wholesale disbanding of the Family Division and the removal of the tyranny of secrecy, to be replaced with a transparent, accountable system of justice. If that happens, then we can begin to reconcile what went so badly wrong with our justice system, with the millions of children who have lost a father or parent or grandparent through no fault of their own.
Further, we need to change the lexicon of family law AND child support. At the moment the government says you can abandon your child today, provided you pay. But ‘child support’ should mean emotional AND financial support. In fact the most vital of these is emotional support, so these laws also need urgent reform as part of the whole process – you can’t reform parts of the law in isolation – it has to be done as a whole.
Our role as guardians, is to translate these intentions into reality in the coming months and years. For our children’s sake, we must not fail.
Matt O’Connor, Founder, Fathers 4 Justice