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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.
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.
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.