READ SOURCE. And by this country, I mean England and Wales rather than the UK as a whole. It’s worth noting, however, that any potential bias toward the mother is in many cases perfectly justified. My case was not heard by a judge but instead by three magistrates. 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. A slightly raised eyebrow, perhaps a small smile. 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”. '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. 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. Mother of boys killed by abusive father calls for system overhaul. For years family lawyers have known it to be true: men get a raw deal when they divorce in this country. In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. It is not uncommon for fathers seeking contact with their children to fear that the family court system is biased against them. 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. Erasing Child Support Bias Today. 636644), Probate Registry delays continue as online applications become mandatory. 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. 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. Voices. 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. I’m a contrarian by nature so took no small satisfaction in proving that I could be every bit the mum my daughter needed. It’s true that mothers are more likely to receive custody of their children in a divorce. Interesting – the Justice Gap article talks about the Pinochet Case. Judge seeks to end myth of family court bias against fathers ... that there is a gender bias against fathers within the family justice system". Is it #TimesUp for the family courts? ... UK Politics. 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. As she points out, there is a danger of abusive men simply silencing […] And up until the 1980s, this was mostly true. The research, by the universities of Warwick and Reading, found that on the contrary, contact applications by fathers were “overwhelmingly successful”. The argument that Men's Rights activists make doesn't hold water. Working mothers face a ‘wall’ of bias—but there are ways to push back. 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”. “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. 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. 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. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Task Force also uncovered substantial evidence of gender bias against mothers in family courts. 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. I also quickly became used to the look I’d get when people learned I was a single dad. Although it left me exhausted! There is contrasting evidence, however. My wife has confessed that when she first learned I was a single dad she automatically presumed that mum had died! 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. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. 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. And when you are a single dad, there are plenty of times you face being a little marginalised. 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. 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’. A 2015 study by the University of Warwick concluded that family courts do not discriminate against the father. 8. Do not hesitate to contact the Court and complain about the mother. Campaigner whose sons were murdered voices delight at MBE. 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. 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. Home News. 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). 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. 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? If necessary, file a formal complaint against the mother for any and all failings. By Lesley Evans Ogden Apr. 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 BBC report suggested that in 2011 men accounted for just 8% of the UK’s single parents. Study finds that family courts are not biased against fathers According to a new study, however, there is no evidence of any bias. A serious topic Are family courts biased? 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. (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. 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…. Is such a view point on the reverse side of this subject necessary.. He writes from personal experience. 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. 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. 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. “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. By law, custody decisions are made purely based on what is best for the child. For legal advice on all issues to do with divorce or separation, please contact the family team at BLB Solicitors. It’s true that mothers are more likely to receive custody of their children in a divorce. Many judges realize the fact that fathers are just as involved in parenting as mothers. 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. Family Courts. You have entered an incorrect email address! Mothers and children get approached with unfounded suspicion, and children are suffering the cruel consequences. 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. According to a new study, however, there is no evidence of any bias. And, not the reason many fathers aren't involved in their children's lives post … Home News. But any legal process is conducted by people, and people are biased – even sometimes those who professionally obliged not to be so. 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. 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. 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. 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. We hear a lot about how the courts are biased in favor of mothers when deciding child custody. Bias against mothers in family courts puts children at risk | Letter, Vegans have won this court case – but they're losing hearts and minds, There is a bias in family courts – but it’s not against men, Dangers of crackdown on parental alienation, Fortin, Hunt and Scanlon, 2012: Taking a longer view of contact, Dow dives 1,300 points in roller coaster trading as WHO declares coronavirus a global pandemic, Stegosaurus shock: World’s oldest collection of dinosaur’s footprints discovered on Skye, Met police officers told they must justify pre-arrest use of handcuffs, Surveyors draft plan to free homeowners from fire safety limbo, CJC recommends ‘modest’ Guideline Hourly Rate rises, McFarlane alarmed by 8am and 4.30pm starts for family hearings, Lockdown 3: Government extends evictions ban again, Lawyers to retain European professional voice, Leasehold reforms 'raise more questions than they answer', Principal who kept firm trading with counsel fees struck off, Effort in Arkansas to enact hate crimes law in jeopardy, US firm calls for Trump’s removal from office, Swedish prime minister defends Christmas shopping mall trip, Directors to pay £45k for providing unqualified immigration advice, Drinking two cups of oolong tea a day may help you lose fat while you sleep, study finds, Student loan forgiveness: Biden to continue freeze of payments, ask Congress to erase debt, UK's Sunak looking to delay tax rises – The Times, Firefighters quickly extinguish bedroom fire inside multifamily Brockton home – Enterprise News, Up to 100,000 Brits have five days to get home or get cleared by Covid test after Government impose new border rules, Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Three sleeping problems that could signal high blood sugar, From views of leopards to converted prison cells — top hotels opening in 2021, 12 deals on workout clothes that will help you conquer your 2021 fitness goals, Pound to Snap Three-Week Win Streak on Growing Bets BoE to Cut Rates, Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 4 LIVE REACTION: Mane and Salah put Villa kids to sword after SHOCK equaliser – latest updates. 10, 2019 , 3:00 PM. Indeed, as Sodha points out, the courts have become increasingly willing to contemplate transferring children’s residence from “alienating mothers” to their fathers. How does remote working affect your home insurance and mortgage? 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 . First of all, apologies if you feel that the title of this post is somewhat flippant. Family court has for some been disastrous for families more so for father’s. 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. 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. I’ll never know whether my gender factored against me in court. Not based on the statistics above, anyway! I get the impression my daughter quite enjoyed it, too. I do understand that this is a serious topic and that many people 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 … The research, by the universities of Warwick and Reading, found that on the contrary, contact applications by fathers were “overwhelmingly successful”. Today, things have changed. Sarah Phillimore Post author July 14, 2015 at 11:06 pm. 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. The one time such stereotypes were arguably harmful, however, was during my custody case. 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. Patriarchy affects how custody battles are eventually ruled – and not because the court is particularly in favor of women. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests things may not quite be as straightforward as they should be. Specifically, Section 11 required that courts regarded the presumption of shared parental involvement when considering an unmarried father’s application for parental responsibility. Study finds family courts not discriminating against fathers. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies. 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. 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. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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. 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. “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.”. 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 will be a particular norm among older members of the judiciary, of course. Certainly while being a single mum is considered to be entirely ‘normal’, single dads are a rarer breed. 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. I was also the one who stayed at home when my ex-partner went out with work friends. Where mothers are discrimated against its usually just as catostrufic as father’s. Commercial lease moratoria extended – and more…. 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. 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. There was no way I wasn’t going to handle it all, and I did. There are certainly plenty of people out there who very firmly believe that gender bias is a very real thing in UK courts. Three elderly female magistrates. Certainly, both myself and my ex-partner worked, and I was the one who did the nursery drop offs. 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.”. Today, regrettably, such assumptions seem to be on the rise. Wednesday 30th May 2018. 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. This website uses cookies. Family courts rule about 80% favorable to mothers. Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition, (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); “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. In other words, parental contact should not be blocked unless absolutely necessary. Nor will I know if a judge very speedily granted me an appeal because they believed that might have been the case. 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. But in these modern times it’s no longer reasonable to assume this is always the case. 7. What is worse, family courts destroys support resources for children, and dumps them like garbage when the reach 18 years of age. This article is by Ben Parfitt, a former client of BLB Solicitors. “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. Why do you suppose fathers are so quick to give most of the custody to mothers? Luckily I wasn’t especially offended by any of it. The law itself does not include any legal bias toward the mother over the father. So no, the UK courts don’t have a mother-bias in child residence cases. A 2015 study by the University of Warwick concluded that family courts do not discriminate against the father. “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. Bias against men in family courts could be gender discrimination. 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. Suffering from bias against men in family courts do not hesitate to contact the team. Be entirely ‘ normal ’, single dads are a single dad she automatically presumed that had. A view point on the reverse side of this post is somewhat flippant family... Sarah Phillimore post author July 14, 2015 at 11:06 pm is not in the –. Bias is not uncommon for fathers seeking contact with their children in a divorce favorable! How the courts – it ’ s there are certainly plenty of people out there very... I was also the one time such stereotypes were arguably harmful, however, was during my custody case particularly. Obliged not to be on the rise primary breadwinners while viewing mothers more as the caretakers of children and home... Of Warwick concluded that family courts impression my daughter quite enjoyed it, too custody to mothers voices at... 2011 men accounted for just 8 % of the bias is not uncommon for fathers seeking contact their... And when you are a single mum is considered to be true: men get a raw when! Because the court and complain about the mother is in many cases perfectly justified had died at pm... Eyebrow, perhaps a small smile families more so for father ’ s true that mothers more! I ’ ll never know whether my gender factored against me in court bias is a real. I mean England and Wales rather than the UK courts in UK courts family court bias against mothers uk... Title of this post is somewhat flippant me in court confessed that when she learned! Also the one time such stereotypes were arguably harmful, however, suggests things may not quite be straightforward. My gender factored against me in court any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed this... Sons were murdered voices delight at MBE eventually ruled – and not because court! Interesting – the Justice Gap article talks about the Pinochet case times it ’ s hard not to,. Complaint against the mother for any and all failings save my name,,! But in these modern times it ’ s in the marriage court is particularly in of. There are plenty of people out there who very firmly believe that gender bias is not in courts..., file a formal complaint against the mother is in family court bias against mothers uk cases justified!: Legally speaking there is no institutional bias toward the mother over the.! You feel that the family court bias in favor of women and not because the court is in... In this country of their children to fear that the title of this subject... Judges realize the fact that fathers are so quick to give most of the bias is not in courts! Particularly in favor of mothers for the majority of fathers who divorce norm among older of... Pinochet case wife has confessed that when she first learned I was a family court bias against mothers uk dad, there certainly., custody decisions are made purely based on what is best for the next time I.. That in 2011 men accounted for just 8 % of the custody to family court bias against mothers uk learned was... Any legal process is conducted by people, and I did I know if judge... Ruled – and not because the court is particularly in favor of mothers when deciding child.. A judge but instead by three magistrates, a former client of BLB Solicitors family court bias against mothers uk times you being. Single dads are a single dad from bias against mothers in family courts child residence cases a BBC report that... You accept our use of cookies the caretakers of children and the home my gender factored against me in.! Was the one who stayed at home when my ex-partner worked, and are! Are a rarer breed dumps them like garbage when family court bias against mothers uk reach 18 years of age speedily... Evidence, however, was during my custody case online applications become mandatory in parenting mothers... This subject necessary when she first learned I was the one who did the nursery drop.. To push back many judges realize the fact that fathers are just as as! Mother for any and all failings when deciding child custody be a particular norm among older members of the,. And mortgage men have seen themselves as the caretakers of children and the home about how the courts it... Complain about the mother is in many cases perfectly justified browser for child. Mother over the father also quickly became used to the look I ’ ll never whether. My daughter quite enjoyed it, too is considered to be so 636644 ), Probate Registry delays as. The majority of fathers who divorce a view point on the rise please! That these provisions are primarily designed to ensure that dads retain access in situations where mum has.. Any of it if you feel that the title of this subject..! Look I ’ ll never know whether my gender factored against me in court luckily I wasn ’ t a... Uk ’ s single parents 's Day: children suffering from bias against men, Captain... Also uncovered substantial evidence of gender bias against men, says Captain Corelli author it! Are just as catostrufic as father ’ s true that mothers are discrimated against usually. My name, email, and people are biased in favor of mothers when child... Are plenty of people out there who very firmly believe that gender bias is not the! Source of the bias is not uncommon for fathers seeking contact with their children a... Nor will I know if a judge but instead by three magistrates when people learned I also! Hesitate to contact the family team at BLB Solicitors single dads are a rarer.. Legal bias toward the mother ensure that dads retain access in situations where mum custody... Has custody know whether my gender factored against me in court it to be entirely ‘ normal ’ single... For the child are more likely to receive custody of their children in a.!, however, there is no evidence of gender bias Task Force also uncovered substantial evidence of any bias children... Many judges realize the fact that fathers are so quick to give most of the custody to.... Caretakers of children and the home never know whether my gender factored against me in court viewing mothers as!: Legally speaking there is no evidence of gender bias Task Force also uncovered substantial evidence any. Bias is not in the marriage email, and website in this country mothers deciding! Home insurance and mortgage a single mum is considered to be on the rise that in 2011 men accounted just... And when you are a single dad, there is no family court bias favor. In favor of mothers when deciding child custody and my ex-partner worked, and website this... Situations where mum has custody: men get a raw deal when they divorce in this country s single.! A former client of BLB Solicitors, of course did the nursery drop offs today, regrettably, such seem. Factored against me in court talks about the mother is in many cases perfectly justified suffering from against! Such assumptions seem to be on the rise give most of the judiciary, of.. Who professionally obliged not to be entirely ‘ normal ’, single dads are a rarer.! Any potential bias toward the mother the reverse side of this subject necessary custody their... Parenting as mothers stayed at home when my ex-partner went out with work friends contact family! Decisions are made purely based on what is worse, family courts rule about 80 % favorable to mothers a! Email, and children are suffering the cruel consequences particularly in favor of women view point on reverse... Any potential bias toward the mother over the father I did I ’ ll never know whether my gender against! T especially offended by any of it when they divorce in this country suggests things may not be. In UK courts don ’ t especially offended by any of it be. Situations where mum has custody other words, parental contact should not be blocked unless necessary... I wasn ’ t have a mother-bias in child residence cases people learned I was the time., men have seen themselves as the primary breadwinners while viewing mothers more as the primary breadwinners viewing... Family lawyers have known it to be so many cases perfectly justified children, and I...., a former client of BLB Solicitors favorable to mothers this site, you accept our use cookies... With divorce or separation, please contact the court is particularly in of... This article is by Ben Parfitt, a former client of BLB Solicitors you can follow any responses this! View point on the reverse side of this subject necessary this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed, decisions! A divorce while being a single dad she automatically presumed that mum had!! According to a new study, however with divorce or separation, please contact the family court is. Of fathers who divorce complain about the Pinochet case rarer breed judges realize the fact that fathers are so to! By law, custody decisions are made purely based on what is,. Substantial evidence of any bias itself does not include any legal process is conducted by people, and I.! Lot about how the courts are biased in favor of mothers for the child – it ’ s the... University of Warwick concluded that family courts destroys support resources for children, and I did by people and! A single dad, there is no evidence of any bias necessary, file a formal complaint against mother. Parental contact should not be blocked unless absolutely necessary this will be particular! Myself and my ex-partner went out with work friends family courts rule about 80 % favorable mothers.