Further information has been provided by the MP hosting a debate tomorrow in Westminster, looking at Fathers’ Rights during divorce.

The debate, which will be held in one of Westminster’s committee rooms, has been set up by Suella Fernandes MP. The agenda for the evening has been put together by Fathers’ Rights group Families Need Fathers Cymru, although they appear to have changed tack and are now attempting to call themselves a children’s rights group. We’re not very big on labels, especially when they look like a PR exercise, so you can decide for yourself if the debate below focuses on children or not.

The list of topics for the evening has now been added on the event’s page, and we add them below too for ease of reference:

  • Shared parenting, for example a rebuttal presumption of shared parenting;
  • Enforcement of Child Arrangement Orders;
  • No-fault divorce;
  • The enforceability of prenuptial agreements;
  • Financial remedies and maintenance upon divorce;
  • Rights for cohabiting couples;
  • Opening up family courts.

The event’s page tells us that the debate has been inspired by Suella’s failed Private Members Bill looking at creating a presumption of shared parenting in law and more rigorous enforcement of court orders. These issues have historically been ones Fathers’ Rights groups have campaigned on.

As for the rest of the agenda, it also features topics that men tend to favour when discussing divorce and separation, with ‘opening up family courts’ being used in this context to try to raise awareness of the issues they feel are important.

Whilst we don’t believe for a moment that all women are blameless and all men are monsters in divorce, we have always been cynical of Families Need Fathers’ ability to truly place children at the heart of these matters. We also don’t believe a presumption of shared parenting will achieve the desired outcome of ensuring children spend time with both their parents.

As an aside, if you’re looking for a Fathers’ charity that understands how to put children first and offers the kind of support fathers really need, we highly recommend DadsHouse, the UK’s leading charity for dads, which also pioneered temporary accommodation for fathers during divorce and separation, in Europe.

Interestingly, Suella doesn’t mention the Conservatives’ Manifesto in the event’s agenda, which we suspect is the underlying reason for this debate. We also think Suella and her Tory colleagues have set up this debate as a Fathers’ Rights event to work a little like a dangling carrot. They may be hoping that their initiatives, which include trying to financially incentivise marriage, will appeal to fathers.

We would be interested to hear about the debate if you’re attending, so do stop by and let us know what you thought of it.

FNF Suella