Some good, important reads to prompt thinking about how support for families following parental separation is framed.
This report by the Family Solutions Group, entitled What about me?: Reframing Support for Families following Parental Separation, was published in 2021 and for those of you who may not have seen it, it is an important document.
It should be a matter of concern for society in general to achieve better co-parenting between separating couples. It is thought that about 40% of all separating parents bring issues about their children’s care to the Family Court for determination, rather than exercising parental responsibility and sorting problems out themselves. This figure is both startling and worrying. Where there are no issues of domestic abuse or child protection, parents ought to be able, or encouraged, to make arrangements for their own child, rather than come to a court of law and a judge to resolve the issues.– President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane
If efforts are to be made to change our language, then a first step is to understand why this matters.
On a similar theme, this article encourages us to hold in mind principles of safety and careful use of language.
A national presumption that family breakdown is managed by adversarial litigation is unhelpful; it exacerbates conflict and too many children are harmed by it. Equally, language that unequivocally promotes a continuing parenting relationship will put some families at risk of ongoing abuse. An automatic expectation of cooperative parenting may be actively dangerous for a minority of families.– Helen Adam
This article points to the need for a shift in the public perception of mediation from that of ‘inconvenience’, to that of ‘opportunity’. Especially in cases where children are involved.
Ultimately, we should consider making attendance at mediation compulsory and remove the barriers and obstacles that are already known, especially costs.– Jane Robey