Asociación Gallega de Padres y Madres Separados

Ayuda práctica, jurídica y psicológica padres, madres, separados, divorciados e hijos

Better parenting time for fathers reduces non-payment of maintenance

Non-payment of child maintenance is related to denial of parenting time FNF abhors tagging and other draconian measures that were rejected for mothers who defy court orders for contact Hutton?s proposed measures won?t benefit children

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Families Need Fathers expressed dismay at Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton proposals to “come down like a ton of bricks on dads” who are not paying child maintenance following a separation as draconian, politically-motivated and ineffective. Instead, FNF urges the government to draw the connection between fathers who are shut out of their children’s lives by the family courts and British law and the incidence of non-payment of child support. Correcting the imbalance in the template for post-separation family life would lower the rate of non-payment, FNF said.

John Baker, Chairman of FNF, said: “A good proportion of so-called feckless fathers, who don't pay maintenance, would happily do so if they were allowed to have a relationship with their children. The measures announced today aren’t helpful at all. It is very hard to see how they will actually benefit children.”

FNF supports the abolition of the wasteful and ineffective Child Support Agency, already announced by the Government, and its replacement by a streamlined organisation. However, Mr Baker warned: “The new agency too will fail if it gets its fundamental principles wrong.”

FNF noted that some of the measures Mr Hutton proposed – electronic tagging, curfews and confiscation of passports - were rejected two years ago when they were proposed as enforcement mechanisms for parents who refused to comply with contact orders. Moreover, by singling out “dads,” Mr Hutton implies that it is only fathers who bear financial responsibility for children and only fathers who fail in this regard. Both assumptions are outdated and incorrect.

“This type of uneven, anti-father approach in policy and in law will only make matters worse before they can get better,” Mr Baker said. “The CSA and its proposed successor could well prove to be unnecessary if British policy, law and the courts did more to promote the involvement of both parents in their children's lives after separation."

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Families Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status. Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s relationship with both parents. Founded in 1975, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.

For comment or information please contact:

John Baker (FNF Chair) 07881 644917 or 01273 643490

Jim Parton (Editor & Media Representative) 07910 568259

Matthew Stannard (Trustee & Media Representative) 07941 455 659

Roger Macy (Trustee & Media Representative) 0777 598 0737

FNF Office 08707 607111

Please see Families Need Fathers ‘programme for change’ Father’s Day Manifesto at

www.fnf.org.uk/manifesto.htm