- Our Mission To offer practical support, assistance and advice for mothers, fathers, grandparents step parents and extended family members who wish to maintain a relationship with their children after separation or divorce.
- Our Vision We vision a society where children are no longer put in a situation of conflict following the breakdown of parental relationships. One where they are not used as pawns for financial gain but supported and loved in a safe, stable environment.
- We Care Shared Parenting Northern Ireland also seeks to exert influence on the Family Courts and on Government policy in respect of parents and their children.
Lobbying and Core Principles
Shared Parenting Northern Ireland also seeks to exert influence on the Family Courts and on Government policy in respect of parents and their children. The essence of the principles we promote are outlined below:
1. Every Child has a right to a full and proper relationship with both of his or her parents unless it has been proven that such a relationship presents a risk to the child. The right to such a relationship does not end when parents separate.
2. Where the court needs to make an order as to Residence, there should be a presumption of shared residence and this should be the starting point when parents separate.
3. Children must feel that they have two fully and properly involved parents and court orders should uphold this principle. The time spent with each parent should be sufficient to prevent either parent being marginalised and alienated.
4. The importance of and right of the child to a relationship with grandparents and wider family must also be recognised and upheld by the courts.
5. Preventing a child having a relationship with both parents by breaching a court order is unacceptable and the law should treat such breaches promptly and robustly.
6. Family Welfare benefit entitlements, such as Child Benefit and Tax Credits should be available to both parents equally. The gender bias in respect of provision for paternity/maternity leave must end and neither parent should enjoy any financial reward for excluding the other parent.
7. The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 should be amended to include a presumption that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the interests of the child shall be best served by as full and meaningful a relationship with both parents as is practical.
8. Any Parent who seeks to rely on false allegations to exclude the other parent or undermine their parental role should be sanctioned by the courts.
9. An Urgent reform of Relocation ("leave to remove") law (where one parent seeks to remove the child to a different country) is needed. The current approach of the courts, whereby such applications are too readily granted, is failing children.
10. The problem of domestic violence against men must be recognised and the disparity in provision of services and support for male victims addressed.