FATHER'S Day is a time to reflect on how men can be more fully involved with their children.

In his wry column Brian Beacom fatherhood ("Father's Day reminds us of dreams that didn't come true", The Herald, June 19) commented on the Portuguese TV advert currently showing on the Families Need Fathers Scotland website. In it a child finds it hard to describe his dad because he doesn't see him very often.

This advert is being used to lobby for a change in Portuguese family law that would make equally-shared care the default option if separated parents have to ask the court to decide how much time children spend with each of them.

Scottish politicians will also get the chance this autumn to make such a change in our family law, when considering amendments to the Children (Scotland) Act.

In our recent opinion poll, 82 per cent of respondents supported changing the law to create a presumption of shared parenting. Obviously this presumption would not operate if there was a good reason against it.

Family law in Belgium was changed in 2006 to include such a presumption, and now Belgian courts are ruling for shared parenting in 50-60 per cent of cases brought before them.

Portuguese and Scottish children in separated families could also benefit from this legal steer towards keeping both parents fully in their lives.

Ian Maxwell, National Manager, Families Need Fathers Scotland/Both Parents Matter,

Edinburgh EH12.

I WAS very moved by Brian Beacom's article on fatherhood. I think many fathers who were never separated from their children by divorce feel much the same as he does. I certainly count myself among them. The darling seven-year-old daughters we tucked into bed become 17-year-old antagonists and 27-year-old strangers.

Maybe it’s for the best that the father manual never told us that the fruits of our labour would be a hole in our hearts. I apologise that I have no comforting words to offer beyond my compassion, a co-suffering which I pray is lightened by it being shared.

Darel E Paul,

Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States.