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Children''s rights to maintain contact with both parents following separation or divorce are to be strengthened under new government proposals.
Under the plans, family courts in England and Wales must assume the child''s welfare is best served by remaining involved with both parents.
But Children''s Minister Tim Loughton said the change would not give parents a right to equal time with children.
The campaign group Fathers 4 Justice described the plans as "vacuous".
The government has launched a consultation on amending the Children Act 1989 to enshrine shared parenting in law.
Ministers believe this will encourage more separated parents to resolve disputes out of court and agree care arrangements that fully involve them both.
The consultation paper also proposes extending the powers to fine or jail parents, or require them to carry out unpaid work, for wilful refusal to comply with care arrangements.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Both parents have a responsibility and a role to play in their children''s upbringing and we want to make sure that, when parents separate, the law recognises that.
"Children should have the benefit of contact with both of their parents through an ongoing relationship with them.
"This is why we are publishing proposals today setting out that, where it is safe and in the child''s best interest, the law is clear that both parents share responsibility in their upbringing."
The group Fathers 4 Justice said the proposals did not address the problem, and fathers had been insulted by the government''s failure to ensure they had the same rights as mothers to see their children.
Nadine O''Connor from the group said: "There have been 10 years of consultations and the only thing that has been changed in that time is the courtroom furniture.
"These shallow, vacuous proposals are the cruellest type of political deceit, as they are deliberately designed to kick this issue into the long grass for another generation.
"The last decade has seen the single biggest act of social engineering ever seen in this country which has seen the systematic removal of children from their fathers.
"This is a catastrophic failure in the government''s duty of care to children and families and will produce the worst economic and social outcomes for our children this country as a result."
Launching a consultation on the proposals, Mr Loughton said: "We need to clarify and restore public confidence that the courts fully recognise the joint nature of parenting.
"We want the law to be far more explicit about the importance of children having an ongoing relationship with both their parents after separation, where that is safe and in the child''s best interests.
"Where parents are able and willing to play a positive role in their child''s care, they should have the chance to do so.
"This is categorically not about giving parents equal right to time with their children - it is about reinforcing society''s expectation that mothers and fathers should be jointly responsible for their children''s upbringing."
SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES
1.9 million lone parents with dependent children in the UK
In 2011, women accounted for 92% of lone parents
A million lone parents have one child
621,000 single parents have two children
238,000 lone parents have more than two children