Last weekend many people sat with bated breath watching the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. But not everyone watching the final was a tennis fan. The BBC had cleverly told viewers that they would be announcing the 13th incarnation of Dr Who immediately after the match.
The 13th Doctor will be played by Jodie Whittaker, seen most recently on our screens in Broadchurch. The internet seemed to light up with a very mixed reaction. Many fans of the Dr were upset as the role has been played for the last 54 years by a man and they believed it should be continue to be played by a man. This is 2017 not 1963, but gender discrimination lives on.
I have seen in my role as a solicitor similar arguments raised with separated couples.
How many times have I seen a mother assuming that she is the only one who knows how to bring up a child and be the primary carer because she is a woman?
However just like Dr Who, these roles can and do change.
The starting point for the Court is that the children’s father has as much right as the children’s mother to fulfil his role as parent to the children. Children need stability and routine, and it is necessary for the children’s father to be a part of that routine. It is in the children’s best interests to see their parents working together to ensure that their relationship with their father grows as much as their relationship with their mother.
Generally, this will mean a shared care arrangement with both parents actively parenting the child.
Where this changes is when there are concerns surrounding the child’s welfare such as mental health issues, drug or alcohol problems or issues with the police. These issues are not confined to one gender.
There are some very capable dads out there.
It is not the parent’s gender that matters but their ability to look after the child.