Sunday, October 25, 2009

British Conservatives and Joint Custody

Robert Franklin published in the online men’s journal Men’s News Daily ( an article titled “British Tories Favor Shared Parenting After Breakup” (, on the support of British conservatives of public policies that favor joint custody.

Tim Loughton, UK Shadow Children's Minister, said at a meeting hosted by the charity consortium Kids in the Middle, that his party (the Conservative and Unionist Party, “Tories”) preferred a system that presumed shared parenting following divorce, even if the couples could not reach an agreement and needed mediation to do so. Loughton said:

"At the moment we have got an incredibly adversarial system when parents split up. It is crazy we have so many acrimonious cases. (…) From the start of the process there should be a default mechanism for shared responsibility unless there is a welfare reason not to."

His comments come as a reaction to the growing concerns in British society over the adverse impact of conflict between parents on children. Several issues compound these concerns:

-The generalized rejection to the current adversarial nature of divorce processes.

- The growing acceptance of a presumption of equally shared parenting for custody awards.

- The understanding of the importance of mediation in divorce processes.

-The generalized idea that both parents should be involved in their children’s education.

Even though there is no concrete law project in favor of joint custody in the United Kingdom, the fact that the powerful Tory Party favors joint custody should be considered a milestone in the attainment of one. This should be read as a sign of the profound transformations that family relations and gender roles are undergoing in many countries around the world, transformations that in the end will bring healthier families, happier children, and stronger communities.

I would like to finish this post quoting the last paragraph of the article, on which, after mentioning all the possible barriers against the concretion of a pro-joint custody law in the United Kingdom, says:

But those are all things to be dealt with, to be fought over when the time comes. Final victory never comes; movement toward greater father-child bonds is always a work in progress. It is now and always will be a process of becoming.”

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