As the consultation on same sex marriage closes another opens : shared parenting. We just can't agree about anything to do with the shape of families, can we?
Thankfully, @suesspiciousmin has been swift in summarising the consultation on shared parenting in his post (Co-op (Good with Kids) on the Suesspicious Minds blog - say it in a Scottish accent for it to make sense) and he is, I think it is fair to say, not mad keen on any of the four proposed draft provisions. Nor am I*. I have yet to make up my mind about shared parenting (I have promised a detailed post but have failed so far to produce it), although my fairly strong instinct is that the idea of introducing a shared parenting presumption will add little and may make matters worse. But I agree with @suesspiciousmin - these draft provisions are a bit rubbish:
If I were a lobbyist for any father’s rights group, I’d be mighty disappointed with what’s on offer. It looks to me like nothing more than a placatory gesture. I’m not, by the way, advocating one way or the other on whether there should be a presumption or starting point of broadly equal time, but I can’t see how you can have a consultation about shared parenting without at least one of the options being that.
We already know that F4J don't like the proposals (quel surprise). And to me they either add nothing or add confusion. It's a shame that @suesspiciousmin's own draft is not on the table:
“When the Court decides where a child should live, or how much contact a child should have with a parent, the Court should strive to make an order that allows the child to have a meaningful relationship with each parent wherever possible and where the order made results in one parent spending a significantly greater proportion of time with the child than the other, the Court must have good reasons for doing so, and set them out in a judgment, and gender should never be a reason for that”
or, even shorter - "There is a rebuttable presumption that a child should spend significant periods of time with each parent, and the Court must consider in each case whether a broadly equivalent amount of time would be the correct outcome."
As he says - if there is to be a provision it might as well say what it means. Since I can't vote for @suesspiciousmin's option 5 I think it'll have to be None of the above.
*Confession : I am relying on @suesspiciousmin's summary at present, having yet to read the consultation doc myself.