A parenting NGO is reiterating its call for the legal recognition of parental alienation, a reform in the composition of the Family Court and the setting up of an agency solely dedicated to child upbringing expenses.

On Monday the NGO Happy Parenting for Happier Children published a series of proposals it hopes would kick off a discussion about amendments in the law linked to Family Court procedures.

In a statement, Ivan Sammut, who is also the deputy dean of the university's Faculty of Law, noted that in cases of parental alienation, where one parent denies the other access to their children for no valid reason, lawyers deal often with children as if they were dealing with property evaluation. 

The concept of parental alienation should be recognised in civil and criminal cases, ensuring children are not cut off completely from the harassed parent, Sammut suggested.

Other proposals:

The setting up of an authority or agency that determines whether maintenance should be given and if so, how much. It would also determine whether shared parenting is feasible.

Strengthen and improve the way the Family Court issues notifications. Electronic media should be used to deliver notifications efficiently.

Reform the composition of the Family Court, and ensure it is presided over by a judge and two family experts such as a psychologist and a therapist. This should apply to decrees, in camera sittings and final sentences.

Reform criminal code article 388LL, ensuring detention or imprisonment are not used as instruments of litigation instead of as a solution.

In the case of an inamicable separation, the rule should be that the care and custody of children would be conjoined, while medical and education expenses are equally shared by the parents.

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