Letter in National Post on Access Rights of Children
Omar Ha-Redeye responded to Barbara Kay`s column, Britain strikes first major blow for father’s rights, in a letter to the editor:
Access is a right that belongs to the child
Re: A Powerful Blow For Fathers’ Rights, editorial, June 15.
Tim Loughton, the United Kingdom’s children’s minister, has announced his intention to strengthen access rights, but the laws are far from being “rewritten.” There is significant opposition across the country to his proposals, largely because his reforms would place the rights of parents above that of the children. The Family Justice Review, concluded in 2011, decided that Mr. Loughton’s proposal would not address the problem of parental alienation.
Access is a right that belongs to the child, and not the parents. This legal principle, shared in Canada and the U.K., ensures that the courts are looking at the long-term consequences of decisions, rather than the short-term goals that many conflict-driven litigants in the family law system focus on.
Not surprisingly, British family lawyers have overwhelmingly opposed Mr. Loughton’s proposals, even though its usually the parents of these children who pay the legal fees. Current statistics suggest that judges in the U.K. already rule for joint access in 99.7% of family law cases, meaning that their courts do not routinely assign sole custody to mothers unless there is very good reason to do so.
What would help alleviate the problem of parental alienation is reducing the delays in our family courts. Although this requires greater investment by our government, it also means that couples going through a divorce need to overcome their emotions enough to compromise for the sake of their kids. The father deficit is best met through public education, and reminders at every step in the divorce process that both parents are invaluable to childhood development.
Omar Ha-Redeye, general manager, My Support Calculator, Toronto.