Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Helping Fathers

In the wee hours of this morning I plucked up enough courage to check the FTSE 100 on the internet. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw it had dropped to less than 2000 points. Then I scrolled up the screen to find I was looking at the Techmark Index. Phew! It's the first time a drop of 5% in the markets has been good news.

Afterwards I couldn't sleep and came across yesterday's report in The Times , How can courts do more to help fathers, I'd missed earlier. In wake of the Oxford University Centre for Family Law study assessing how courts in England & Wales handle contact between separated parents and their children, featured in this post, Frances Gibb suggests that although judges have been vindicated the system overall is unfair. Her argument is based on the study finding that non resident parents are disadvantaged because parents with care "start off from a position of strength and it is easy for them to spin things out; some applicants give up because the process is too long and costly, both financially and emotionally”.

According to Frances Gibb researchers found a presumption of 50/50 contact finding favour with some judges and "Courts and lawyers may know that judges operate such a presumption." Now I have read the first parts of the study in detail and skimmed through the rest so I might be missing something but my recollection was researchers referring to a 'presumption of contact' and 'shared residency,' not a presumption of 50/50 contact. Shared residency indicates that a child has two homes, but contact can be anything from as little as 2 or 3 days a fortnight. In fact in their conclusions the researchers said there was nothing in the study to suggest that a presumption of contact would make any difference at all to the court’s approach.


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