The Law Society is vehemently opposed to a presumption of Shared Parenting and strongly rejects any modification to the Children Act.
It claims there is no evidence of any discrimination against non-primary, non-resident parents. Its leaders somehow seem oblivious to the fact that, day after day, week after week, many good parents find themselves unfairly excluded from the lives of their children, sometimes for many months on end.
Of course, the raison d’etre of the Law Society is to serve the best interests of its membership, the Legal Industry.
The Law Society is perfectly aware of the extensive and compelling contemporary scientific evidence which demonstrates, beyond all reasonable doubt, the significant benefits for children of remaining in meaningful contact with both their natural parents post separation or divorce.
However, the Law Society also realises that Shared Parenting legislation is likely to prove highly damaging to the interests of its membership.
Many non-primary, non-resident parents unjustly excluded from their children’s lives will, quite naturally, employ the very costly (£200 plus per hour) services of solicitors and barristers in a desperate effort to regain contact with their children.
Truly obscene sums of money begin to flow from broken families into the coffers of the law firms.
The Family Justice Industry could be said to ‘feed’ upon the love an excluded parent has for his children.
A presumption of Shared Parenting would permit a good and loving parent to be fully and meaningfully involved in his children’s lives, post separation or divorce, without the need for costly and lengthy litigation.
It would be for others to provide verifiable evidence as to why he should not be allowed access to his children. Good parents would have nothing to fear and nothing to spend.
In Australia, for example, family litigation reduced by circa 30% following the introduction of Shared Parenting legislation.
Plainly, a similar reduction in British family court litigation would prove extremely damaging for the Family Justice Industry.
The Law Society thus faces a very real dilemma.
Should it stand up for the genuine interests of children and their parents and support Shared Parenting legislation? Or, instead, should it champion the interests of its membership and oppose it?
Rather predictably, the Law Society has opted for the latter and has been working very hard behind the scenes, attempting to convince Government officials that Shared Parenting legislation would be detrimental to the interests of child welfare. Some have already been ‘taken in’, for example, Alan Beith MP. The Law Society also has very powerful friends in the House of Lords, for example, Baroness Butler-Sloss who is vociferous in her rejection of Shared Parenting.
Can we really blame the Law Society for looking after its own? Not really. After all, the livelihood of thousands of family lawyers hangs in the balance. They face significant hardships, perhaps even unemployment.
Nevertheless, our Government’s overriding duty must be to serve the best interests of children and of their parents.
Plainly, if our Government succumbs to the powerful lobbying of the Law Society, it will fail in that duty.
Our Government would be well advised to evaluate the views of the Law Society in the light of its plain and considerable vested interest in the status quo.