Our aims and objectives

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What we believe

That the child’s long term welfare is paramount to any individual item on the welfare checklist

That a child’s wishes and feelings should be heard and considered but should not over-ride any other items on the welfare checklist

That co-parenting should be the norm and the expectation of any separating or divorcing parents.

That a co-parenting plan should replace current child arrangements orders or form the basis for them and should be instituted immediately following separation

That parents have it in them to reach and agree a co-parenting arrangement in the best interests of their children if given the help and support to do so

Our aims

Our aims are quite simple: we want the organisations involved in Family Law in the United Kingdom to do their jobs properly with the long term impact on children at the centre of their work.

The Courts and Judiciary

Our aim is to encourage the Courts to recognise the flaws in their system and structure and to better educate the Judiciary on latest research and best practice.

Too many Judges are too reliant on what they’re recommended to order instead of remembering that their role is deeper than that.

Our aim is to help educate the Judiciary understand the actual data and evidence behind many of the intractable issues that they are faced with within the Family Courts. Children deserve Justice, not an exercise in rubber-stamping Cafcass recommendations.

We also aim to provide court-based resources for parents struggling with the system in a factual, gender-neutral, and child-focused way. These include resources for use outside of the courts.

Courts should be the final option, not the initial one.

Cafcass

Our researchers are incredibly disappointed with the leadership within Cafcass, with the lack of training and professionalism within Cafcass, and with Cafcass’ continued knee-jerk responses to the flaws and failures within their organisation.

Our aim is to provide a public challenge to Cafcass, to shine a light on their flaws, and to openly encourage them to reform their practices in the best interests of children. Cafcass are uniquely placed, their reports are relied upon by the Judiciary, and arguably they could have the greatest positive impact on children’s lives.

If only their FCAs would listen and learn.

Child Maintenance Service

One of the biggest obstacles to stable co-parenting is the question of finances and maintenance.

We believe that parents should resolve finances between themselves for the benefit of their children however we recognise that, for many reasons, this sometimes is just not possible.

We firmly believe in the payment of child maintenance but it must be fair, proportionate, and run effectively. The Child Maintenance Service is none of these. The amount of arrears, fictitious and otherwise is a national disgrace. The inability of the Child Maintenance Service to perform simple calculations promptly, and to communicate fairly and passively with parents, both paying and receiving, is worthy of a parliamentary enquiry.

It is worth noting that the Child Maintenance Service was brought in to replace the shambles of the Child Support Agency and parents were promised wholesale reform. Instead we see the same shambles from the same organisation, just with a different logo and a slightly different calculation.

We cannot understand how an organisation ostensibly set up to support parents could fail them and their children so badly.

Our aim is the wholesale reform of the Child Maintenance system and if need be the scrapping of the Child Maintenance Service. We believe that it should be run, not by the DWP with their abysmal record of failure, but HMRC who are better placed to determine income, collect payments, and disperse monies.

Solicitors and Barristers

Arguably the front line in any parental dispute our aim is to encourage solicitors and barristers to be less adversarial or more consultative, working in partnership with parents. We believe that the opportunity presented by Resolution has been squandered in the self-interests of firms and individuals focused on fees and winning at all costs.

We accept that the family law system in the United Kingdom is an adversarial one but we challenge every family law solicitor and barrister to act in the best interests of the children and not the parental client that they are being paid to represent.

We don’t know how this could work given the nature of the law. We leave that for better and cleverer minds than ours but we believe that there is a better way.

Gender-based Charities and Organisations

We’re the new kids on the block. We’re gender-neutral, entirely focused on the children at the heart of the issue, and we cannot understand how it is that parents from both genders have allowed themselves to be pulled into fighting each other rather than the flawed system that surrounds them.

We are not feminists or misogynists. We don’t have a dog in that fight. We have no chips in that game. We have no axe to grind.

Our focus is on the kids.

Abuse is gender-neutral. Abusers come from both sides. Coercion and coercive control lies with the person with the power or perception of power. If someone has the ability to control and abuse AND they have the desire to do so then they will do so, regardless of their gender.

We’ve seen the data on domestic abuse; on which parent is “more likely” to kill or injure their child or the child of their partner; which parent is likely to emotionally abuse a child; which parent is more likely to alienate. We have the evidence, we have the data.

It is all a moot point. Gender-biased organisations rarely release data in opposition to their stated positions. Many self-select evidence and data in order to bolster their position and to hurl at the howling masses. Many believe that if you win the mob you win the war, and they may be right. That doesn’t make what they’re saying right. No matter how many flawed datasets they throw at it.

Gender has no place in this. The children involved could be boys or girls. Does it matter what gender a child is that is subject to abuse or caught in the storm of family law? Of course it doesn’t. Children are children. Parents are parents.

It is the system that enables this. It is the system that needs to change.

Our aim is to help gender-based and gender-biased organisations realise that their fight is not with each other. We aim to make our research available to all of them regardless of gender or position. Confirmation bias is a dangerous mindset and we can help, but only if they engage with us.

We urge them all to be the change that they desire.

Longer term ambitions

We have none.

Once the system puts children at the centre there will be no need for us anymore. Our hope is that we can eventually retire quietly and calmly, fading back into the obscurity from whence we came, safe in the knowledge that our children’s children will not have to endure what our children have had to.

Help us do that.

 

Our Research Team

Our research team and associated members is broad and includes psychologists, researchers, trainers, learning and development specialists, barristers, solicitors, mediators, GPs, nurses, CAMHS specialists, corporate and commercial compliance officers, and business strategy leaders. Everyone is a volunteer with one sole goal: to improve the lives of children, their own and others, involved in family law within the UK.

A vast number of our members have active cases, either with the courts, with Cafcass, or with the CMS and so we must operate a no-names policy alongside our no-case-specific details policy.

You can contact us through our contact page in the first instance

Lead Researchers

  • Rob
    Lead Researcher

    Rob

  • Liz
    Lead Researcher

    Liz

  • Andrew
    Lead Researcher

    Andrew

  • Peter

    Peter

  • Mark

    Mark

  • Karen

    Karen

  • Melanie

    Melanie

  • Cathryn

    Cathryn