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NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE to JANUARY 2015

 Note: if you are looking for the recent Newsletters please choose Newsletters from the Menu rather than Newsletters Archive.

1. Updated McKenzie Friend Guidance
2. Should fathers be present at birth?
3.Parental alienation in the news
4. Facebook and Twitter

1. UPDATED MCKENZIE FRIEND GUIDANCE

This month, we have updated the best practice guidance for McKenzie Friends (lay legal advisers) who wish to advertise their services via our website. 

The updated document (available here) follow updates to the court's own guidance, changes to legislation and the loss of legal aid for many entering the family court. It is more comprehensive than previous editions, to reflect the growing importance and use of McKenzie Friends within the family justice system. 

Families Need Fathers does not provide or oversee McKenzie Friends, and this guidance is intended as 'best practice' rather than a set of standards that can be enforced. As well as outlining to McKenzie Friends the standards and knowledge we would expect of those working with our members and other parents within the family justice system, we hope this document can assist litigants in deciding whether an individual has the necessary skills and experience to assist in their cases. You should be wary of involving anyone closely in your case that is not familiar with the practice and procedures outlined in this document.

 

New applicants wishing to advertise via the FNF website will be asked to follow this updated guidance, and it will be forwarded those McKenzie Friends currently advertise with us.


2. SHOULD FATHERS BE PRESENT AT BIRTH?

This month saw a lot of coverage about a study which had found that fathers should stay away from the birth of their children, as their presence can make the experience of childbirth more painful for their partner... Or did it?

The study, carried out by researchers at University College London, asked 39 heterosexual couples questions to measure their emotional intimacy and closeness. The female partner was then given a series of painful laser pulses, with her partner inside and outside the room. They found that those with lower levels of emotional intimacy, or those who prefer to avoid closeness, reported higher levels of pain when their partner was present than when they were not.

The finding that those with difficulties in their relationship find painful situations more distressing with that person present is perhaps not all that surprising. However, the manner in which this study was reported, suggesting that fathers should avoid being present at their children's birth (the Times headline read "Its official: men shouldn't be at the birth"!), was drastically wide of the mark. There are many good reasons why both parents should be present at birth that benefit both parents, and the majority of parents want to experience the birth of their child together.

A great blog post from the Fatherhood Institute looks at the study and the issues surrounding it in more detail. 



3. PARENTAL ALIENATION IN THE NEWS

On 20th January, the Telegraph published an article looking at the experiences and effects of parental alienation, or 'implacable hostility'. 

It is rare to see the issue of parental alienation covered in the media, and the article provided an interesting look into the effects this can have on parents and children. You can read it here.



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  • This unusually short-sighted and rather condescending item shows just how blindly and dogmatically a particular tradition can be preserved - whilst shedding no light on the reasons for doing so whatsoever! In fact it has, by rubbing our noses in the principle, highlighted just how important it is for this to be reviewed! The two issues may well be treated separately, but should they, when doing so may trigger so many of the behaviours which characterise the outcome failures of the family justice system? We believe that parents' responsibilities - all of them - whether financial, emotional or moral, should be considered as a whole when deciding children's futures. http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2017/08/07/repeat-after-me-child-support-and-contact-are-two-separate-issues/
  • Sir James Munby highlights difficulties facing society We are today releasing the transcript of Sir James Munby's speech at FNF’s recent 2017 annual conference. In his judgment published yesterday, Sir James said in the case of child 'X' “we, the system, society, the state … will have blood on our hands”. At our conference, Sir James – President of the Family Division - went further, identifying many flaws in family justice itself that must be fixed. Read more on: https://fnf.org.uk/news-events-2/press-releases/150-press-releases-2017-archive/430-press-release-pfd-aug-2017
  • How do we get separating parents to learn to work together again? Fighting in court just to deny contact is not the answer. The answer is the opposite: to make separation as painless as possible for the children... https://www.statnews.com/2017/05/26/divorce-shared-parenting-children-health/
  • At a time when the difference between abuse and violence is already being blurred - even in the MoJ's eyes, the behaviour of separating parents who can agree on little, is being conflated with child abuse in joint research by CAFCASS and Women's Aid. Is the fact that two parents get so angry as to shout at each other and consequently make allegations of abuse against each other a good enough reason why either of them should not be allowed to spend time with their children? This is what reports on this research seems to be saying. Although we strongly encourage parents to remain civil and respectful to each other for the sake of the children, the fact that they do not is not an excuse for painting separated dads as dangerous by default. Damage is done to children by both parents when they cannot behave civilly and overcome their differences in separation. But this is not on its own a reason to eliminate contact. Unfounded allegations of abuse made by one parent against the other are a form of abuse, and this research is presented in a misleading and rather insidious way. http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/2004017/fathers-group-criticises-domestic-violence-study
  • A moving tale, shared with us by Suzy Miller of www.startingovershow.com Tears are falling onto my fingers as I type. I hope they don’t drown my keyboard. She’s moving away. Just saying it again out loud brings on another bout of sobs. I don’t usually cry much over my children. But today is different. When she moved up the road - 10 mins by car without traffic - that was a relief. She needed her space with her boyfriend, and I was happy for her and for me. And that short distance became filled with joint trips to the gym and to Aldi - a regular pilgrimage. And distance did indeed make the heart grow fonder. But now she is moving to the West Country and it’s more than a day trip away. Which shouldn’t seem so far away. Yet I can’t stop crying whenever I think about how she will no longer be just ten minutes up the road. My glasses have steamed up, my nose is running, and it seems so silly. But I feel like the umbilical cord will suddenly be stretched so far that it will finally snap, flying back, smashing it’s entrails into my sodden face. You’d think by aged 20, that profound connection would be withered and weakened. But apparently not. A part of me is going with her, but it doesn’t want to leave it’s purchase in my heart. It’s clawing at me and trying very hard to stay in place, and doesn’t want to let go and fly with my little girl to new horizons. There is no logical explanation. We have phone and Skype and probably won’t always have much to say. It’s the proximity that is wailing for the boundaries to remain at 10 minutes away by car. And I can’t help but feel a deep compassion for those parents - usually the dads - who have to move away when the family splits. To have to be a drive away, an organise-your-time-to-be-able-to-see-them distance away. A wrenching of the heart away. I wonder if her dad felt the same suffering. I’m sure he did. I’m on my 7th tissue and my eyes will be swollen tomorrow no doubt. I’m glad it’s Sunday and I can stay hidden at home. And this is just part of the normal sway of life. I can get in the car and drive those 3 hours whenever I choose. I don’t have to ask the permission of another parent. I don’t have to stay within the boundaries of a court order. I’m lucky. Tears are falling onto my fingers as I type. I hope they don’t drown my keyboard.
  • Have you ever wondered about this apparent and very worrying taboo? I have. Are we different in the UK? It's not just children - According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), reported male victims of domestic violence at the hand of their partners make up more than a third of the total. Check out some stats in the chart http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/kids/why-arent-we-talking-about-abusive-mums/news-story/629b48b93abd22be2b63f1344c0c5de6

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel

 

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