Responsibilities to Children

Legislatures and courts, as well as public opinion, in many countries in the world are reaching the conclusion that there is a need to change the way we frame family proceedings, so far as they affect children and their parents. There is a widespread understanding that the current terminology, including rights, custody (including joint custody and shared custody, visitation, etc.) consists of words which are emotionally charged and inappropriate for parent-child relations, and there is a need for a paradigm shift.

This terminology leads inevitably to conflict and prevents proper consideration of the needs of children. Each parent claims to have rights in respect of the child, and each thinks that he, and not the other, should be the custodial parent, and thereby take control of decisions about the child. Often there is a dispute as to whether there should be joint custody, and what are the parameters in terms of living and contact arrangements.

Parenting consists of many different tasks, and one or other parent may be better able than the other, generally or at specific times, to fulfill this or that task. So, in cases where the parents separate (private law), it would be better to talk about parental responsibilities, in the plural. The child’s need is that the end result, whether by agreement of the parents or by decree of the court, should be allocation of some of the parental tasks and responsibilities between the parents, and leaving other tasks to the joint decision and execution by the parents together. This more sophisticated terminology reflects fully the relationship between the child and his parents.

The definition of who has parental responsibilities needs to be broadened, so that any adult on whom the child depends to carry out parenting tasks may be defined as having parental responsibilities in a specific area of the child’s life. Where the state becomes involved in parenting, because the parents are unable to provide for all the needs of the child, in cases of abuse and neglect, the opening assumption is that the responsibilities of the parents, biological or adoptive, should be transferred to others, only to the minimum extent, and for the minimum time, needed for ensuring the welfare of the child.

The paradigm of parental responsibilities informs the writing and lecturing by Philip Marcus. It provides a formulation for dealing with issues which need resolution between parents, including preservation of contact between the child and his parents and family and prevention of parental alienation. It leads to a therapeutic approach to judicial approaches to cases involving children. It gives a child-centred approach for all members of professions who deal with children and their families, while preserving the autonomy of parents to make decisions about children, so long as their decisions are in the best interests of the child.

Fees by arrangement.

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Memorandum: Israeli Law compliance with Articles 9, 12, 21, 23 of the Draft Convention on the Rights of the Child

Avi – Defence for Children International – Israel Branch, 1989

Book Chapter: Abuse in Israel: Legislation and Court Practice in Child and Domestic Abuse, Daniel Eidensohn & Baruch Shulem: Emunah Press, Jerusalem – New York, 2010, 233-236

Paper (in Hebrew): The Future of the Family Court: New Paradigms, Statutory Amendments, and More, January 2013

Paper: Towards a Convention on Responsibilities and Obligations to the Child, March 2013

Paper: Why Appeal Courts and International Courts Get It Wrong in Hague Convention and Relocation Cases, July 2013

Position Paper:  on the Proposal for a Law of Parents and Children 5772-2012; delivered to the Minister of Justice, September 2013

Paper: Adapting the Hague Conventions to the Paradigm of Parental Responsibilities, January 2014

Article: Fathers’ Protest is Misguided

Jerusalem Post, March 2014

Paper: International Surrogacy and Same Sex Partners: The Israeli Approach Published in International Bar Association Family Law News, Volume 7 Number 1, July 2014

Position Paper:  on Report of the Committee to Review the Policy of the Ministry on Removal of Children to Residential Care and on Visitation (The Silman Report)

Delivered to the Minister and the Director General, Ministry of Welfare and Social Services, July 2014

Position Paper: on the Arrangements for Settlement of Family Disputes Bill, 5774-2014 Delivered to the Minister of Justice and the Chairman of the Constitution, Law and Legislation Committee of the Knesset

Paper: Parental Responsibilities: Formulating the New Paradigm for Parent-Child Relationships

Published (in Hebrew) Journal of the Israeli Society for Medicine and Law, Issue 48, 121-136, October 2015

Article: Recent Israeli Cases on the Limits of Surrogacy International Bar Association Family Law News, October 2015

Article: Children’s Dispute Resolution: The Israeli Experience

Published in: Katherine Lynch and Anne Scully-Hill (eds) International Perspectives on Disputes About Children and Child Protection: Collected Essays on Parental Responsibility and Children’s Dispute Resolution, 167-183 The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2016

Article: Effective Child Protection – The Israeli Approach to Protecting Vulnerable Children: Integrating Judicial and Social Work Perspectives Published in: Katherine Lynch and Anne Scully-Hill (eds) International Perspectives on Disputes About Children and Child Protection: Collected Essays on Preventing Abuse, Parental Responsibilities and Empowering Children 137-173 The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2016,

The Israel Family Court – Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Jurisprudential Therapy from the Start Published in The International Journal of Law & Psychiatry, Special Issue: Therapeutic Jurisprudence Today and Tomorrow, Vol. 63, 68-75, March-April 2019.

Parental Alienation and Contact Refusal: How to Prevent Contact Failure between a Child and a Parent (Hebrew) Published (in Hebrew) in Journal of the Israeli Society for Medicine and Law, Issue 51, 154-174, July 2019.

Parental Alienation, Contact Refusal and Maladaptive Gatekeeping: a Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention of Contact Failure   in Family Law and Family Realities, 16th ISFL World Conference Book,  C. Rogerson, M. Antokolskaia, J. Miles, P. Parkinson, M. Vonk (eds.) The Hague, Eleven International Publishing) 349-366, 2019

Innovative Programs in Israel for Prevention & Responding to Parental Alienation: Education, Early Identification and Timely, Effective Intervention  Family Court Review, Volume 58 Issue 2, 545-599, April 2020

Economic Implications of Prevention and Early Intervention for Parental Alienation in chapter on Public Policy Initiatives Related to Parental Alienation,  Parental Alienation: Science and Law , D. Lorandos and W Bernet  (2020 Charles C. Thomas Publisher)

Parental Alienation: Legal Responses International Family Law, Policy and Practice (in press)

Cost-Utility Analysis of Interventions to reduce Mental Health damage to children at risk of Parental Alienation (with M. Humphries, G.Ginsberg) (in preparation)


In progress


In progress