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Irish Justice Minister: Children of divorced parents ‘are used as weapons’

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Children are frequently used as weapons in a war between divorcing couples, the Irish Justice Minister has claimed.

Former family law solicitor Alan Shatter said:

“Unfortunately and tragically, all too frequently, the dispute between estranged spouses turns into a war over children and children are just used as the weapons in the war.”

The minister announced plans to reform the Irish family law system, with a referendum scheduled for 2014. He hopes to increase the use of mediation by the Irish courts in family cases, the Irish Mirror reports

Mr Shatter declared:

“Unfortunately there is a group of individuals’ whose relationships break up and see their children as a means of taking revenge on their other partner. They do terrible damage and create difficulties for the children in coming to terms with the break-up but also in their later lives in forming relationships.”

Such parents must recognise the impact of their actions, Shatter continued:

“Without one or both parents understanding the damage they are doing to their children both in the long-term and the short-term by the manner in which they are dealing with these issues.”

Parents have a responsibility to maintain cordial relationships with their former partners, the Minister insisted.

“Of course, there are exceptions, where parents are violent towards their children and parents who abuse their children. Obviously children must be protected from that but all too frequently those allegations are untruthfully made as a weapon in the marital breakdown war.”

Shatter is a member of the centre-right Fine Gael party.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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