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Charlie Elphicke MP: Children should have the right to know both their parents

Charlie Elphicke 2 Charlie Elphicke is MP for Dover.

In the UK one million children have no contact with the non-resident parent three years after separation. What should we do about it? According to today's Norgrove Report into family justice, the answer is that we should just stick our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away.

The final report rows back from the interim conclusion that the law should change to enable children to have a “meaningful relationship with both parents.” It says is that it’s all too difficult for judges to deal with the issue of how long children should spend with each parent. This misses the point that judges are already deciding these things. It also amounts to a fundamental failure to understand that a relationship is not about ticking the boxes of time spent – it’s about creating a presumption in favour of knowing and having an emotional bond.

It is well known that parents fight for years to enable their children to be able to have a relationship with them. There are many cases where the acrimony of the parent with residence and the weakness of the judicial system is quick enough to demand money yet denies the ability to have a relationship. This is why I tabled a bill for there should be a duty on all involved to allow children to have access to both their parents. To know and have a relationship with their parents that will serve them better through life. Two role models and two people looking out for you is better than one.

The Government should reject the Norgrove report. A non resident parent is not just a meal ticket - they are a person the child has a right to know and have a relationship with. You only get one go around at childhood - and the best childhood includes the unconditional love and affection of both parents.


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