My case was not heard by a judge but instead by three magistrates. 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. 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’. But the source of the bias is not in the courts – it’s in the marriage. Indeed, as Sodha points out, the courts have become increasingly willing to contemplate transferring children’s residence from “alienating mothers” to their fathers. Pressure group Separated Dads states simply that: “The important fact to remember is that, in the majority of cases, the father will not be granted custody of the child by the courts. Campaigner whose sons were murdered voices delight at MBE. But the source of the bias is not in the courts – it’s in the marriage. 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. Certainly while being a single mum is considered to be entirely ‘normal’, single dads are a rarer breed. In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. 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. 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. Dr Maebh Harding, from the Warwick … “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. It’s worth noting, however, that any potential bias toward the mother is in many cases perfectly justified. How does remote working affect your home insurance and mortgage? READ SOURCE. Whether it’s the ballet teacher talking about asking the “mums” for help at the summer show, school newsletters mentioning “mums” in the playground or Brownies asking “mums” for help sewing, barely a day passed when my apparent abnormality was not thrust upon me. He writes from personal experience. As she points out, there is a danger of abusive men simply silencing […] 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. 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. 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. Family courts rule about 80% favorable to mothers. If necessary, file a formal complaint against the mother for any and all failings. 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. Interesting – the Justice Gap article talks about the Pinochet Case. 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. 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. There was no way I wasn’t going to handle it all, and I did. 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. ... UK Politics. The research, by the universities of Warwick and Reading, found that on the contrary, contact applications by fathers were “overwhelmingly successful”. 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”. Historically, men have seen themselves as the primary breadwinners while viewing mothers more as the caretakers of children and the home. So no, the UK courts don’t have a mother-bias in child residence cases. Where mothers are discrimated against its usually just as catostrufic as father’s. First of all, apologies if you feel that the title of this post is somewhat flippant. 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 family courts not discriminating against fathers. 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. We hear a lot about how the courts are biased in favor of mothers when deciding child custody. And up until the 1980s, this was mostly true. Note however that these provisions are primarily designed to ensure that dads retain access in situations where mum has custody. What is worse, family courts destroys support resources for children, and dumps them like garbage when the reach 18 years of age. It’s true that mothers are more likely to receive custody of their children in a divorce. Family court has for some been disastrous for families more so for father’s. 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. I’m a contrarian by nature so took no small satisfaction in proving that I could be every bit the mum my daughter needed. Today, regrettably, such assumptions seem to be on the rise. Sarah Phillimore Post author July 14, 2015 at 11:06 pm. The argument that Men's Rights activists make doesn't hold water. Three elderly female magistrates. And, not the reason many fathers aren't involved in their children's lives post … Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests things may not quite be as straightforward as they should be. I also quickly became used to the look I’d get when people learned I was a single dad. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Not based on the statistics above, anyway! 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. A BBC report suggested that in 2011 men accounted for just 8% of the UK’s single parents. 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 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. 10, 2019 , 3:00 PM. My wife has confessed that when she first learned I was a single dad she automatically presumed that mum had died! 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. A serious topic Are family courts biased? This website uses cookies. Voices. Wednesday 30th May 2018. 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 . 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. 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. 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. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); 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. 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. Erasing Child Support Bias Today. 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. 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. 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. 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? It’s true that mothers are more likely to receive custody of their children in a divorce. The law itself does not include any legal bias toward the mother over the father. “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.”. Is it #TimesUp for the family courts? There is no Family Court bias in favor of mothers for the majority of fathers who divorce. 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. Bias against men in family courts could be gender discrimination. According to a new study, however, there is no evidence of any bias. Father's Day: Children suffering from bias against men, says Captain Corelli author. There is contrasting evidence, however. I get the impression my daughter quite enjoyed it, too. 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. 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