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!      

Karen Woodhall: Through the Gendered Lens Darkly

Another report on the recent report published detailing research undertaken by CAFCASS and Woman’s Aid.

Please note when reading that Ms Woodhall, is as a rule gender neutral in her blog posts.

After having read this and the other reactions I have posted I may feel obliged to post something myself!



via Through the Gendered Lens Darkly | Karen Woodall

Shared parenting in Kentucky

Well if you have managed to open the article after the incredibly bored headline …

Coming hot on the heels of the report about the German Liberal Party supporting shared parenting, the US state of Kentucky has passed a resolution to:

What House Bill 492 does is it basically states that walking into the courtroom each parent has the presumption of 50/50 shared custody to start with.

So until permanent custody is settled,  shared parenting is (apart from cases where the child is endangered) mandatory.

Though what is really interesting are the voting figures: The bill passed 97-0 in the house and 38-0 in the senate.

Why is this taking so long to be accepted and acted upon in most parts of Europe?

via Rep. Mills: Child custody change helps level playing field

Mutter und Vater sind gleichwertig / Mother and Father are equal

An interview with the deputy leader of the Freie Demokraten (UK: Lib Dems) where for the first time that I have heard here in Germany a major political figure is supporting the concept of shared-parenting (Doppelresidenz).

She even goes on to say that when the parents cannot agree to the future residence of the children the courts should be allowed to order shared-parenting. Shame that the party will only reach 5-6% of the votes in the upcoming general election in Germany.

via „Mutter und Vater sind gleichwertig“ – WELT

Swiss men are worried …

A poll was taken recently in the German-speaking area of Switzerland. 4121 men and 2768 women were polled regarding Feminismus und Gleichberechtigung (Feminism and Equality). This is a large sample for a poll apparently.

There were some interesting results, as can be taken from the report here (Google can do the heavy lifting for the translation!).

The really interesting result with respect to the subject matter of this blog is this:

German-speaking Swiss males feel that they are discriminated on the most in the area of “Bei meinen Rechten als Vater” (My rights as a father) with 38%. The topics all had to do with equality so the next point 12% behind (24%) was with conscription (mandatory only for swiss males).

swiss opinion poll

German-Speaking Swiss males also had problems with the social acceptance of the classical father role (11%).

Fathers are unsure of their rights, and are starting to see that problems that occur after a separation/divorce regarding custody or access to the children are not being resolved and that there appears to be no real desire to change this situation, regardless of the gender of the abused parent.

It’s time to change – all across Europe. Perhaps finally adopting the shared parenting recommendation of the Council of Europe (here) throughout all European (and still European!) countries would be a good start?

© lostdad 2017 – all rights reserved

Tory MP calls for strict enforcement of child arrangement orders

Excellent news here in the UK parliament. A couple of weeks ago PA was debated, now we have a private member’s bill being put forward by an engaged tory MP  (and supported by several of her party) to change the law regarding enforcement of child arrangement orders.

Hopefully, it will get to the next stage. If not it is still raising awareness of the issue of PA and parents blocking access of the non-resident parent to the children.

via Tory MP calls for strict enforcement of child arrangement orders – We Are Fathers4Justice – The Official Campaign Organisation

Hoffnungen der Väter sind berechtigt

Positive signs are coming all of a sudden from Austria. This article forwarded from Famile & Familienrecht reports on an interview with a state judge (Bundesrichter) in Austria that is for shared-parenting. He even goes on to say that it should work, and should be supported even in cases where the parents (or one as we well know!) are in a conflict situation.



Wütende Väter schöpfen neue Hoffnung

Another article on the German Supreme Courts ruling that shared-parenting can be applied in Germany,  if 1) it is in the childs interests and 2) the parents are not already battling it out in court. Then it can be ‘forcefully’ applied.

A couple of interesting things come out of this article:

  • The Germany Family Minister from the Social Democrat Party is VERY pro-mother.
  • Even though the cause of this ruling from the Supreme Court is based in part on the recommendation from the Council of Europe to incorporate shared parenting into national law this minister has ignored it, and has commissioned her own study into the benefits. This study is effectively forbidden from taking evidence from those children that are mostly affected by PAS. Because BOTH parents have to give written permission!

Finally an open letter from “mutterlobby.de” addressed to the family minister is referenced. This letter talks about fathers that simply want to see their children in the most negative way.  Isn’t is time to stop the gender war and find a common workable way for both sexes to contribute to the development of their own children?

via Streit um Scheidungskinder: Wütende Väter schöpfen neue Hoffnung – WELT

Darum hat sie ihre Familie für die Liebe verlassen

Interesting story from the German periodical Bunte. This is from a best-selling author and mother who details how she came to terms with shared parenting,  why she wanted it, and also the reaction from other mothers.

There is still a long why to go before some mothers realise that they do not “own” their children unfortunately.

via Bestsellerautorin Lisa Frieda Cossham: Darum hat sie ihre Familie für die Liebe verlassen | BUNTE.de

Gerichte dürfen Eltern geteilte Betreuung vorschreiben

Interesting story from WELT online.

The German supreme court has decided that there should not be a problem if the family courts decree a shared-parenting construct. The default up till now was the the every other weekend model.

But as always there is a major catch (or two)

  • It must be in the child’s interest (Kindeswohl).
  • The child must agree (and will be interviewed by the court)
  • The parents cannot be in clinch with each other.

Both of these points can be torpedoed quickly enough by any abusing parent. In particular the last point. A couple of calls to social services alleging something and no chance.

So it sounds good, but only in very few cases per year when both parents agree.

And as a footnote – There still isn’t a reasonable decision how to “split” the child maintenance in cases of shared parenting. At the moment it is split 50:50 when the time involved is 50:50, but the absent parent still pays 100% child maintenance costs even if he looks after this children up to 49% of the time. So what is going to happen in some families when the custodial parent is going to lose several hundred Euros a month 😉

Good idea from the title, but effectively useless for most absent parents.

via Trennungskinder: Gerichte dürfen Eltern geteilte Betreuung vorschreiben – WELT