10, 2019 , 3:00 PM. A 2015 study by the University of Warwick concluded that family courts do not discriminate against the father. 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”. And, not the reason many fathers aren't involved in their children's lives post … 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. Home News. Judge seeks to end myth of family court bias against fathers ... that there is a gender bias against fathers within the family justice system". Bias against men in family courts could be gender discrimination. According to a new study, however, there is no evidence of any bias. ... UK Politics. 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. My wife has confessed that when she first learned I was a single dad she automatically presumed that mum had died! 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. Mother of boys killed by abusive father calls for system overhaul. 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). In conclusion: Legally speaking there is no institutional bias toward either gender. 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 are certainly plenty of people out there who very firmly believe that gender bias is a very real thing in UK courts. A BBC report suggested that in 2011 men accounted for just 8% of the UK’s single parents. Voices. It is not uncommon for fathers seeking contact with their children to fear that the family court system is biased against them. 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. 7. By law, custody decisions are made purely based on what is best for the child. 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. Commercial lease moratoria extended – and more…. 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. 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, regrettably, such assumptions seem to be on the rise. 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. I was also the one who stayed at home when my ex-partner went out with work friends. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies. 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? 636644), Probate Registry delays continue as online applications become mandatory. 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. Indeed, as Sodha points out, the courts have become increasingly willing to contemplate transferring children’s residence from “alienating mothers” to their fathers. There is contrasting evidence, however. Patriarchy affects how custody battles are eventually ruled – and not because the court is particularly in favor of women. 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. 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. But in these modern times it’s no longer reasonable to assume this is always the case. 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.”. It’s true that mothers are more likely to receive custody of their children in a divorce. 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 … He writes from personal experience. Given that the vast majority of family court decisions are that children should primarily reside with their mother and that they will have weekly contact with their father, I don't think there's that much of an inherent bias against mothers. Sarah Phillimore Post author July 14, 2015 at 11:06 pm. I get the impression my daughter quite enjoyed it, too. Do not hesitate to contact the Court and complain about the mother. In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The research, by the universities of Warwick and Reading, found that on the contrary, contact applications by fathers were “overwhelmingly successful”. As she points out, there is a danger of abusive men simply silencing […] 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. 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. READ SOURCE. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests things may not quite be as straightforward as they should be. 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Family courts rule about 80% favorable to mothers. There was no way I wasn’t going to handle it all, and I did. “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. “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. I’ll never know whether my gender factored against me in court. Historically, men have seen themselves as the primary breadwinners while viewing mothers more as the caretakers of children and the home. But the source of the bias is not in the courts – it’s in the marriage. 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. The law itself does not include any legal bias toward the mother over the father. Certainly, both myself and my ex-partner worked, and I was the one who did the nursery drop offs. Specifically, Section 11 required that courts regarded the presumption of shared parental involvement when considering an unmarried father’s application for parental responsibility. Nor will I know if a judge very speedily granted me an appeal because they believed that might have been the case. 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…. Dr Maebh Harding, from the Warwick … I also quickly became used to the look I’d get when people learned I was a single dad. Three elderly female magistrates. Although it left me exhausted! So no, the UK courts don’t have a mother-bias in child residence cases. This website uses cookies. Wednesday 30th May 2018. Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition, (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Interesting – the Justice Gap article talks about the Pinochet Case. This will be a particular norm among older members of the judiciary, of course. The one time such stereotypes were arguably harmful, however, was during my custody case. 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. 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 serious topic Are family courts biased? The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Task Force also uncovered substantial evidence of gender bias against mothers in family courts. Judges in family courts can withhold information not just for the good of the individuals concerned, but also to conceal their own verdict. In the UK, perhaps the most famous case of alleged judicial bias was the Pinochet case, after the House of Lords ruled in 1998 that the former Chilean dictator had no immunity from arrest and extradition for crimes against humanity. Why do you suppose fathers are so quick to give most of the custody to mothers? 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. When my ex-partner left the family home I was determined that my daughter would in no way go without anything she was already accustomed to. Erasing Child Support Bias Today. It’s worth noting, however, that any potential bias toward the mother is in many cases perfectly justified. First of all, apologies if you feel that the title of this post is somewhat flippant. For legal advice on all issues to do with divorce or separation, please contact the family team at BLB Solicitors. A 2015 study by the University of Warwick concluded that family courts do not discriminate against the father. Study finds family courts not discriminating against fathers. Is it #TimesUp for the family courts? This article is by Ben Parfitt, a former client of BLB Solicitors. But any legal process is conducted by people, and people are biased – even sometimes those who professionally obliged not to be so. Luckily I wasn’t especially offended by any of it. 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. Note however that these provisions are primarily designed to ensure that dads retain access in situations where mum has custody. 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’s hard not to suspect, however. Patriarchy affects how custody battles are eventually ruled – and not because the court is particularly in favor of women. 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. 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. 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. 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’. 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. 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. “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. 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 . Mothers and children get approached with unfounded suspicion, and children are suffering the cruel consequences. You have entered an incorrect email address! 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. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. My case was not heard by a judge but instead by three magistrates. 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. Home News. (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. '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. I do understand that this is a serious topic and that many people If necessary, file a formal complaint against the mother for any and all failings. 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. For years family lawyers have known it to be true: men get a raw deal when they divorce in this country. 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. “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. 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 . Study finds that family courts are not biased against fathers According to a new study, however, there is no evidence of any bias. What is worse, family courts destroys support resources for children, and dumps them like garbage when the reach 18 years of age. Family Courts. In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. 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. 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. Today, things have changed. 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. Not based on the statistics above, anyway! “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. Where mothers are discrimated against its usually just as catostrufic as father’s. 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. And by this country, I mean England and Wales rather than the UK as a whole. Campaigner whose sons were murdered voices delight at MBE. Many judges realize the fact that fathers are just as involved in parenting as mothers. But the source of the bias is not in the courts – it’s in the marriage. Father's Day: Children suffering from bias against men, says Captain Corelli author. Is such a view point on the reverse side of this subject necessary.. “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.”. By Lesley Evans Ogden Apr. 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 argument that Men's Rights activists make doesn't hold water. It’s true that mothers are more likely to receive custody of their children in a divorce. A slightly raised eyebrow, perhaps a small smile. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. 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. 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. 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. How does remote working affect your home insurance and mortgage? Family court has for some been disastrous for families more so for father’s. I’m a contrarian by nature so took no small satisfaction in proving that I could be every bit the mum my daughter needed. 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. The research, by the universities of Warwick and Reading, found that on the contrary, contact applications by fathers were “overwhelmingly successful”. 8. In other words, parental contact should not be blocked unless absolutely necessary. There is no Family Court bias in favor of mothers for the majority of fathers who divorce. Working mothers face a ‘wall’ of bias—but there are ways to push back. 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. , single dads are a rarer breed gender discrimination and dumps them like garbage when the 18. Made purely based on what is worse, family courts do not against! Arguably harmful, however, suggests things may not quite be as straightforward as they should be no longer to... Legal process is conducted by people, and dumps them like garbage when the reach 18 years of.! A little marginalised eventually ruled – and not because the court is particularly in favor women! 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