Malta needs family law overhaul

Like every country that has a family law system, Malta is desperately in need of major family law reform.

In this feature in one of Malta’s most-read newspapers, President of Happy Parenting Malta, Mary Gauci discusses some of the changes urgently needed to improve Malta’s family law system. Along with Dr Ivan Sammut, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Malta, she advocates the creation of a new agency, comparable to the UK’s Cafcass, to look after children when parents separate and go to court.

“We cannot waste more time because today’s children are the young people of tomorrow and the adult generation a few years down the line,” Ms Gauci says. She appeals to the whole country: “You and I are responsible for our country’s society.”

We cannot waste more time because today’s children are the young people of tomorrow and the adult generation a few years down the line

Mary Gauci
Not just Malta

It’s an increasingly common message in countries and jurisdictions around the world: family law is simply not working. In fact, it was never the right tool for the job. A tragic accident of history reflects the professional background of politicians in many countries. It means that longterm wellbeing of our children rests in the hands of the legal fraternity. That should be the preserve of counsellors, doctors and health professionals.

Malta needs family law overhaul. But it’s the same around the world: the urgent need for measures to improve family law. Even more importantly, we need to recognise that separating families don’t belong in courts in the first place.

“When we all recognise that family separation and divorce is a public health crisis, not a legal matter,” says David Curl, CEO of the Two Wishes Foundation, “and one that requires early, health-focused solutions instead of too-late legal interventions – that’s when we’ll truly start looking after some of our most vulnerable children, and saving lives”.

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