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Shared Parenting Gaining Strong Backing

A Bill to put children's needs first when parents separate is gaining strong support within the community and its sponsor, ACT's Muriel Newman, says the next three weeks are critical to the Shared Parenting Bill making it to a Parliamentary Select Committee.

The Bill was due to be debated by Parliament for the first time last night but will now be heard on Wednesday March 22.

Muriel Newman says she's happy with the delay as it gives more time for public debate and for those wanting to see Shared Parenting become law to voice their support with Members of Parliament.

"We have a huge problem with children losing contact with parents when couples separate. It's a tragedy that the current law pits one parent against the other when a marriage breaks down. Inevitably, at present, one parent is the winner and gains custody of the children, while the other parent is the loser becoming nothing more than a visitor in their child's life.

"Shared Parenting will stop the tragedy of children walking into the Family Court with two parents and coming out with only one. Under the current law children also stand to lose grandparents and extended families.

"Shared parenting is based on the notion that if divorce or separation is inevitable, both parents should be able to continue in the parenting of their children. Importantly, the Shared Parenting Bill continues all the current legal protections for children at risk from violent, abusive or unfit parents.

"From the overwhelming support and interest in this Bill it is clear that shared parenting is an idea whose time has come. Children deserve two fit, loving and supportive parents and parents deserve the right to continue to give that love and support to their children," said Muriel Newman.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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