For Immediate Release 3rd February
- One of the biggest family policy research projects has been undertaken in Australia which evaluates their 2006 shared parenting legislation.
- Shared Parenting legislation an urgent priority for the UK Government.
The Australian Government has just published a report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, which evaluates their 2006 shared parenting legislation.
It is one of the biggest family policy research projects ever undertaken. 28,000 parents, grandparents and family law professionals provided information. Thus its findings can be seen as authoritative.
These findings include:
- Most parents with a child under 18 years old agreed that the continuing involvement of each parent following parental separation is beneficial for the children (81% of parents interviewed in 2009). In 2006, the proportion of parents believing that the continuing involvement of each parent following parental separation is beneficial for the children was slightly lower (77%).
- Most parents in the 2009 survey believed that spending approximately half the time with each parent can be appropriate, even for children under 3 years old.
- An Australian Government report published before the 2006 Act indicated that there were perceptions in the community about an 80–20 rule in arrangements for children to spend time with their parents after separation, with mothers mostly having their child for 80% of the time. The evaluation data show that advice consistent with such a rule was provided by lawyers much less often after the reforms than prior to the reforms.
- Parents who contributed jointly to decisions about their child were more likely than other parents to indicate full compliance in providing child support payments.
The report covers the Act comprehensively. One theme is that while the Act made progress on dealing with domestic violence and other abuse, more needs to be done. The same could be said here, though the UK Government has rightly introduced a raft of legislation to protect parents and children, and allows the courts to make protective orders when allegations are upheld, including Prohibited Steps Orders, Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders. It is crucial that such accusations are proven in court. Sadly, it is all too common that false accusations are made to exclude the other parent from a child’s life, damaging the child’s prospects in life.
Jon Davies, Chief Executive of Families Need Fathers, commented “this evaluation is a major step forward to understanding shared parenting and the impact of shared parenting legislation. Australia is planning ahead with future generations whose parenting will be better because they have known the love of two parents. It is time the UK followed suit.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Australian report can be obtained from http://www.aifs.gov.au/
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Families Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status. Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s relationship with both parents. Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.
For comment, case studies or information please contact:
Dr. Craig Pickering, Parliamentary Officer 07949 637 323
Julius Hinks, Director of Communications 07979 206 384
Jon Davies, FNF CEO 07976 935 986
Becky Jarvis, Policy & Information Officer 020 7613 5060
John Baker, FNF Trustee 07881 644 917