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YouGov survey on shared parental rights sparks calls for a presumption in law

Published: 27th June 2019

YouGov survey on shared parental rights sparks calls for a presumption in law

Shared parental rights campaigners have called for a presumption in law that children will spend equal time with each parent in the event of divorce or separation, following a YouGov survey which highlights that the general public share the same view.

Approximately 2,000 participants were surveyed to see if they agreed that children should spend equal time with each parent (excluding cases where it is proven that a child may be at risk) and 80% agreed.

The survey was conducted as part of a report commissioned by FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru and the charity said that the results of the survey further highlights the need for a change in the law to make it clearer what 'normal' should look like when parents divorce or separate.

The charity's vice-chair of trustees, Anne O'Regan said: 'It's a living bereavement for the parents and grandparents we see at our support meetings, broken by the selfish actions of controlling parents who simply grab the children, pull up the drawbridge and say "Take me to court" knowing that this will be impossible for many to afford.'

The removal of Legal Aid in many private family law cases has left many families in a situation where they simply cannot afford legal representation, causing many to give up and not fight their case in court.

Conservative MP Suella Braverman has called for a presumption of shared parenting in the law following the results of the survey, saying: 'Every child has a right to a meaningful relationship with both parents but at present the law does not make this clear. In the worst cases, "parental involvement" from divorce settlements can amount to little more than a birthday card, effectively airbrushing a non-resident parent from a child's life.'

She went on to say that the court's assessment of how much time a child should spend with the non-resident parent is very often based on outdated views, saying: 'It is time the government exercises its potential to address the problem of children growing up in broken families and rectifies some of the serious injustices inherent in England's current divorce law.'

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