By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies. But in these modern times it’s no longer reasonable to assume this is always the case. But any legal process is conducted by people, and people are biased – even sometimes those who professionally obliged not to be so. Certainly while being a single mum is considered to be entirely ‘normal’, single dads are a rarer breed. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Communicating that to the court, where time is precious and the chance to talk is limited, is not easy – especially when the other side is presenting a different picture. A recent report based on research by the University of Warwick examined nearly 200 family law case files from 2011 to investigate whether the family courts in England and Wales have a gender bias against fathers. The law itself is not written to impose bias, but in the past, decisions in the Family Courts have reflected the gender bias that exists in society. The family court system in the UK is the single most effective factor in promoting childhood delinquency and mental problems by their bias in failing to recognise the fact that both mother and father have an equal role in the child’s life. I do not even lift an eyebrow when a 2-year-old boy, who comes home from unsupervised visitation with his dad, has a diaper filled with his own rectal blood and that same child is later turned over to his father on a full-time basis. “And although the overall number of residence orders made for mothers was higher than those made for fathers, this was because a large number of such orders were made for mothers as respondents in cases where the father sought contact. My barrister was fuming, and voiced her belief that the magistrates had found in favour of mum because of her gender very loudly down the phone when the trio passed her on the way to the Tube after the trial. This danger has increased since my letter to the Guardian was published over two years ago (Dangers of crackdown on parental alienation, 30 November 2017). Study finds that family courts are not biased against fathers According to a new study, however, there is no evidence of any bias. Individuals and groups have complained about this bias of the courts for several years, but it’s simply a fact that unless the circumstances are exceptional, the child or children will stay with their mother under a residence order.”. Note however that these provisions are primarily designed to ensure that dads retain access in situations where mum has custody. Luckily I wasn’t especially offended by any of it. Gender Bias in Family Court: 4 Huge Ways Courts are Penalizing Men There once may have been a day where the United States court system was 100% unbiased, but if those days ever existed, they’re lost to the annals of courtroom history books. The law itself does not include any legal bias toward the mother over the father. I referred to research (Fortin, Hunt and Scanlon, 2012: Taking a longer view of contact) which suggests the courts should not assume that children reluctant to have contact have been brainwashed by the non-resident parent. Today, things have changed. Our lawyers explain that just because women are considered culturally better at parenting than men does not give the court a legal right to award more child custody rights to the mother unless there are facts proving that the child’s best interests would be met if he or she remains to live with the mother. no family court orders , mother deluberatly takes child out so father cant see him , calls the police for harassment when he arrives to pick him up , she stating baby wet and hungry and crying on return , not true , ever we got different nappies now , what are his rights , baby in his name . In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. In traditional family units it is, whether you like it or not, often the mother who spends more time with the child and who does more of the parenting. Home News. Dr Maebh Harding, from the Warwick … But the source of the bias is not in the courts – it’s in the marriage. Patriarchy affects how custody battles are eventually ruled – and not because the court is particularly in favor of women. Family court has for some been disastrous for families more so for father’s. This will be a particular norm among older members of the judiciary, of course. There have been assumptions that mothers play the predominant role in their child's lives, and for that reason a child should not be separated from their mother. But if, when doing so, they fail to establish the real reason for a child’s resistance to contact, they may overlook abuse and/or domestic violence and, worse, they risk removing the child from a victimised mother and transferring him or her into the care of the abuser himself. Historically, men have seen themselves as the primary breadwinners while viewing mothers more as the caretakers of children and the home. Study finds family courts not discriminating against fathers. By Lesley Evans Ogden Apr. You have entered an incorrect email address! My wife has confessed that when she first learned I was a single dad she automatically presumed that mum had died! Not based on the statistics above, anyway! After a 10 year career as a divorce coach/consultant and doing extensive research on the subject, I've come to the conclusion that the courts are not the reason mothers retain custody in the majority of divorces. “Whilst it’s true that mothers were usually the primary care giver in contact applications, this was simply a reflection of the social reality that women are more likely to take on the role after a relationship breakdown,” author Dr Maebh Harding said. Contact applications by fathers 'overwhelmingly successful' There is no evidence that family courts in England and Wales are discriminating against fathers because of gender bias, a new study by the Universities of Warwick and Reading and funded by the Nuffield Foundation has found. 8. Do not hesitate to contact the Court and complain about the mother. And, not the reason many fathers aren't involved in their children's lives post … It’s worth noting, however, that any potential bias toward the mother is in many cases perfectly justified. Report dispels myth that UK family courts are biased to mothers Family law solicitor Barry Bunyan discusses the theory that English and Welsh family courts are biased to mothers and its impact upon Child Arrangement Orders. I get the impression my daughter quite enjoyed it, too. If you’re a dad and in a situation where your claim for custody is a rightful one, there’s no legal reason why that shouldn’t be the case. Indeed, as Sodha points out, the courts have become increasingly willing to contemplate transferring children’s residence from “alienating mothers” to their fathers. Erasing Child Support Bias Today. Patriarchy affects how custody battles are eventually ruled – and not because the court is particularly in favor of women. Judges in family courts can withhold information not just for the good of the individuals concerned, but also to conceal their own verdict. Considering the above, there seems to be a fundamental principle underpinning the actions of some of the family court that if a mother expresses an inappropriate belief, it is more likely to be treated as true, whereas if a man expresses an inappropriate belief, it is more likely … How does remote working affect your home insurance and mortgage? If necessary, file a formal complaint against the mother for any and all failings. I wholeheartedly believe that it’s absolutely true that in my case, I was the primary parent, and had been since the end of maternity leave. Where mothers are discrimated against its usually just as catostrufic as father’s. He writes from personal experience. 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Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests things may not quite be as straightforward as they should be. What is worse, family courts destroys support resources for children, and dumps them like garbage when the reach 18 years of age. Three elderly female magistrates. Specifically, Section 11 required that courts regarded the presumption of shared parental involvement when considering an unmarried father’s application for parental responsibility. We hear a lot about how the courts are biased in favor of mothers when deciding child custody. Women’s Aid and Queen Mary University of London release new report on domestic abuse, human rights and child contact cases in the family courts revealed to coincide with closing of the Domestic Abuse Bill consultation. Contact applications by fathers 'overwhelmingly successful' There is no evidence that family courts in England and Wales are discriminating against fathers because of gender bias, a new study by the Universities of Warwick and Reading and funded by the Nuffield Foundation has found. There is no Family Court bias in favor of mothers for the majority of fathers who divorce. 'No court bias against fathers' A recent fathers' rights protest Claims that family courts are biased in favour of mothers have been rejected by top judge Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss. Remember, family court is not a playground, it’s a battlefield and, in most cases, mothers do not waste any time before filing complaints against fathers. Voices. Last week the same subject, Is the Family courts Bias against men.This is where the Author put the record straight so to speak..apparently to support his comments on the subject and of course to make comment on all the responses that were written or targeted at the Author…. Commercial lease moratoria extended – and more…. I’m a contrarian by nature so took no small satisfaction in proving that I could be every bit the mum my daughter needed. While I’d always done a lot around the house I was suddenly in the position of having to do it all, and I quickly drew up a mental roster of everything I’d need to do to keep the ball rolling – cleaning, laundry, school uniform ironing, packed lunches, sewing ballet shoes, shopping. There have been assumptions that mothers play the predominant role in their child's lives, and for that reason a child should not be separated from their mother. I do understand that this is a serious topic and that many people A 2015 study by the University of Warwick concluded that family courts do not discriminate against the father. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 10, 2019 , 3:00 PM. “But there was actually no indication of any bias towards mothers over fathers by the courts; in fact we established there was a similar success rate for mothers and fathers applying for orders to have their children live with them. Why do you suppose fathers are so quick to give most of the custody to mothers? I also quickly became used to the look I’d get when people learned I was a single dad. In her excellent article (There is a bias in family courts – but it’s not against men, 6 March) Sonia Sodha refers to the uphill battle faced by women who have suffered domestic abuse to be taken seriously in the family courts. ... UK Politics. 7. There was no way I wasn’t going to handle it all, and I did. Family Courts. Working mothers face a ‘wall’ of bias—but there are ways to push back. First of all, apologies if you feel that the title of this post is somewhat flippant. A child at the receiving end of such an order might justifiably feel completely betrayed by the court system.Jane FortinEmeritus professor of law, University of Sussex, • Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com, • Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters, • Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? The family court system in the UK is the single most effective factor in promoting childhood delinquency and mental problems by their bias in failing to recognise the fact that both mother and father have an equal role in the child’s life. I’ll never know whether my gender factored against me in court. The implied standard by the UK family courts is not that of a mother against father (or father against mother for that matter), but instead, what’s in the best interest of the child. And up until the 1980s, this was mostly true. And by this country, I mean England and Wales rather than the UK as a whole. But the source of the bias is not in the courts – it’s in the marriage. Tags: children, court, discrimination, father, human rights, mother, UK, unfairness This entry was posted on June 22, 2008 at 8:28 am and is filed under Anti-male discrimination . Nor will I know if a judge very speedily granted me an appeal because they believed that might have been the case. Father's Day: Children suffering from bias against men, says Captain Corelli author. So no, the UK courts don’t have a mother-bias in child residence cases. As she points out, there is a danger of abusive men simply silencing mothers and children who oppose contact arrangements, by using the counter allegation of parental alienation. The decision we got on the day basically dismissed all of my concerns and gave my ex-partner all of the contact she had requested, with none of the safeguards I had argued for. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. This article is by Ben Parfitt, a former client of BLB Solicitors. READ SOURCE. Fighting for custody and your child’s best interests, What to expect when your custody case goes to court, 9 Tips on Introducing a New Partner to your Child, Image (cropped) by Ruth Hartnup under a creative commons licence, Authorised & Regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority (No. 636644), Probate Registry delays continue as online applications become mandatory. Interesting – the Justice Gap article talks about the Pinochet Case. It’s true that mothers are more likely to receive custody of their children in a divorce. In conclusion: Legally speaking there is no institutional bias toward either gender. Indeed, in 2014 the Government pressed through The Children and Families Act 2014, Section 11 which enshrined in law the desire for “parental involvement”, which ordered courts “to presume, unless the contrary is shown, that involvement of that parent in the life of the child concerned will further the child’s welfare”. Nor am I surprised when I read that a family court judge has awarded custody of a 3-year-old girl to the father who has violently beaten her mother. It is not uncommon for fathers seeking contact with their children to fear that the family court system is biased against them. “Transfers of sole residence were rare as the courts sought to preserve the status quo and where they were ordered they were disproportionately likely to be transfers from mum to dad and to feature welfare concerns and children’s services involvement.”. In other words, parental contact should not be blocked unless absolutely necessary. ONS data from 2012 shows that of the UK’s 400,000 single parent families, only 13.5% of these (54,000) are single dads. By law, custody decisions are made purely based on what is best for the child. In 1925, family courts evaluating cases of separation were guided by the Tender Years doctrine, which observed that kids under the age of 13 were more likely to be psychologically dependent on their mother for care. The research, by the universities of Warwick and Reading, found that on the contrary, contact applications by fathers were “overwhelmingly successful”. “Our research contradicted the perception that there is a bias in favor of women and that in determining custody and visitation, many judges and family service officers do not consider violence toward women relevant. More famously, Fathers 4 Justice was founded on the experience of Matt O’Connor who was denied access to his two sons leaving him, in his words “shocked by the cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment of dads in Britain’s secret courts”. And when you are a single dad, there are plenty of times you face being a little marginalised. A bias, against mothers who claim abuse, exists in Family Courts in several particular countries around the world; countries where parental alienation has become a ‘thing’. However, sociological norms mean that it is or has been more common for mothers to do the majority of the parenting, and the result of this is that there is a presumption that mum will get custody. Although it left me exhausted! My case was not heard by a judge but instead by three magistrates. Mother of boys killed by abusive father calls for system overhaul. There is contrasting evidence, however. Campaigner whose sons were murdered voices delight at MBE. 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