A rather one-sided Washington Post article

Flikr: Attribution – Susan Jane Golding

And that’s putting in mildly!

Here’s the article in full just so you what I am about to dissect! It is titled:

Italy’s proposed new divorce law would ‘turn back the clock 50 years on women’s rights,’ critics say

To give you a bit of context the article relates to a proposed new law being introduced by the new government in Italy. And it is really quite wide-ranging. The Italian government is proposing wide-ranging changes to the divorce laws in Italy that will include:

  • Co-parenting as a rule
  • Parental alienation as grounds for transfer of custody
  • Overhaul of child maintenance provisions
  • Mandatory mediation after a split

The main thrust of the law is to give both parents equal time with the children after a divorce. As with Germany where I live the ‘screams’ from women’s groups are not to do with the well being of the children, but the fact that if 50:50 is practised, then there is no need for child maintenance to be paid, as both parents share the financial burden. Italian MPs are saying that this will turn back the clock 50 years, or “make life impossible for mothers”. And yet nowhere in the article was the well being of the children mentioned. Moving on the author of this piece managed to shoehorn Parental Alienation Syndrome (my emphasis), and detail the fact Gardner’s work is not an official syndrome (Listed in a manual in the United States). This is quite disingenuous. The proposed law talks about parental alienation, not a syndrome, and details the ‘fact’ that this has allegedly been used more by fathers to gain custody of their children. And then this wonderful quote popped up, as a reason to devalue the concept of parental alienation:

“Fathers who alleged alienation were more than twice as likely to receive a custody outcome in their favor as mothers who alleged alienation,”

Well, colour me stupid. In Germany the percentage of children that live with the mother after divorce is over 85%, therefore the above-mentioned quote is – statistically seen – always going to be true, and should not be interpreted as being bad. The author then proceeds to do a hit job on the MP who proposed the law a “far right” (of course) MP who has his own views on abortion and gay marriage, which really have nothing to do with parental alienation. All in all, this is what should be happening all over Europe. Co-parenting or shared parenting has been advised by the European Council since 2015, and a quick look on the internet (I’ll do an article on this later) revealed that perhaps the Scandinavian nations have shared-parenting but elsewhere in Europe is it still a matter for the couples post-divorce or the courts.

When there was a general election in the UK, and last year in Germany I took the time to look at the parties and their stance on shared parenting. This did not, by the way, influence my vote. In the UK there was a complete refusal from Corbyn, The conservatives did not even mention it, and the only party that did was UKIP, a now-defunct right leaning party. In Germany the CSU/CDU (conservatives) again did not mention it. In Germany the SPD (social democrats, similar to Labour in the UK) refused it point blank, and the only two parties that mentioned it were the Stuttgart branch of the FDP (business orientated, right of centre) and the right of centre Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) – that you might of heard of. The governing party in Italy is also right of centre. Interesting – I will leave you to draw whatever conclusions you wish. Parental Alienation is starting to become recognised outside of acedemia and practitioners, and it is long overdue to place in law measures to take this into account in custody hearings instead of a Judge ‘making a call’ based on the evidence presented. And to be frank perhaps if it is anchored in law then people will someday stop doing it! Articles like this one do the writers and publishers no favours – no real substance in the arguments against the topics, and a hit piece on the MP that proposed it. Perhaps the Washington Post should remind themselves that journalism is not just pushing a – in this case obviously father unfriendly – narrative, but a providing balanced reporting. 

Just my 2 cents as they say!      

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