The secret family court continues to be in crisis. Fathers are still complaining about discrimination in divorce and separation proceedings when trying to see their own children. In most disputed custody and contact cases fathers leave court with little or even a bar to contact with their children. Even the handful of fathers who do get contact to see their children often get frustrated when the mother ignores the order of the court.
Then there are the other batch of cases where the social services will step in to take children off mothers who they disapprove of and use the new powerful legislation in the childrens and families act. A law so powerful that allows the local authority via a social service officer to remove a child at birth based on what is known as “risk of future emotional harm”. The UK is the only country in the world that has such draconian legislation. The state can make parents guilty of something they haven’t done but might do in the future.
Over the years many politicians before elections have promised to reform the family court system. But once in to power, those promises are quickly ditched or watered down. The fact that both our commons and house of Lords are full of lawyers and judges leads one to believe that they have a vested interest in maintaining this legal system which causes years and years of court room battles over children that could and should be sorted out amicably by agreement through mediation. Years of court room battles means solicitors, barristers and judges will never be out of a job.
Theresa May our new PM is a prime example of an MP making promises and breaking them when in power. This is what Theresa May told fathers in 2004:
“That is why, in my first month in Government, I will publish a Bill to give a presumption of co- parenting and a right for both parents to be involved in bringing up their children, when couples separate. We will ensure that the law serves the best interests of the child – and children deserve to see both parents.”
“That is why in my first week in office, I will publish proposals to abolish CAFCASS and replace it with a mediation service. Court should be the last resort, not the first. The aim will be to intervene early to make sure disputes don’t have to go to court but are sorted out quickly in the best interests of the children. -And child safety will remain a priority.”
Now that Theresa May is PM, she has no excuse to reform the family court system. But she won’t.
The main problem is institutionalised bias and stereotyping. The vast majority of Social Workers and Cafcass officers are female and believe that women are the better carers and treated dads as no more than visitors and a cash machine.
Fathers are six times as likely to play an active role in bringing up their kids as fathers a generation or two ago. Nowadays, we don’t just attend the birth of our children – unheard of only 50 years ago – but we are also more likely to play with, bath their children and take them to school. Yet when it comes to contact with their children after a relationship breaks down fathers still have no rights to see their children.
Feminism has made great advances for equality for women in the workplace. Men deserve equality after family breakdown as much as women do in the workplace. Feminists do not preach for equality for fathers rights over their children compared to mothers and they even complain when fathers groups campaign for equality. They label fathers for justice members as misogynist for wanting to see their children. Some even say that a father attempting to gain access to his children is harrassing the mother.
The truly shocking story is that the Government now admit that teenagers are more likely to have a mobile phone than a father according to research by the Centre for Social Justice