Single parent families: a million fatherless children in the UK new report claims

Cohabitation|Family|News|June 10th 2013

Child's hands 2Almost a million children living in single parent families have no contact with their fathers, according to a new report from think tank the Centre for Social Justice.

The Centre claims there are currently 236 areas across England and Wales where than 50 per cent of households consist of single mothers and their children. Riverside, an area of Liverpool, tops the national list, with 65 per cent of homes consisting of single mothers living with children.

The effect is worsened by the rarity of male primary school teachers, claims the report, entitled Fractured Families: why stability matters. Eighty per cent of primary schools have less than three male teachers and a quarter have none at all.

Centre for Social Justice Executive Director Christian Guy said:

“For children growing up in some of the poorest parts of the country, men are rarely encountered in the home or in the classroom. This is an ignored form of deprivation that can have profoundly damaging consequences on social and mental development. There are ‘men deserts’ in many parts of our towns and cities and we urgently need to wake up to what is going wrong.”

Father absence is associated with higher levels of teenage pregnancy and youth crime, the report claims.

Single parent families are increasing by 20,000 a year, the report claims, and could reach two million by spring 2015 when the next general election is due to be held. Approximately three million children now live in such families.

Mr Guy accused politicians of ‘paralysis’ over the issue.

“Some argue that it is no business of politicians to meddle in the personal family choices people make. Others suggest that rising family breakdown is just a modern process, an inevitable trait of human advancement. Others say family instability doesn’t matter. This has to change. Our political discourse about family policy must mature. Family breakdown is an urgent public health issue. Backing commitment and setting a goal of reducing instability does not equate to criticising or stigmatising lone parents or those involved.”

Fractured Families  calls for the introduction of practical measures to encourage marriage, such as ‘transferable tax allowances’. These would allow married couples to transfer part of their entitlement to a proportion of tax free salary to their partners if one is not earning.

hoto by Camilla Nilsson via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(50)

  1. JamesB says:

    A father is for life, not just for maintenance.

  2. JamesB says:

    Actually, I should and will re-phrase that.

    A father is for life and not for maintenance.

  3. JamesB says:

    Making fatherhood nothing but a financial liability in law encourages single parenthood.

    David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith said before the last general election that they would get rid of the couples penalty yet they have not.

    The transferable tax allowance is a good idea, as would be scrapping the CSA and putting that subject back to the courts. Otherwise this grows and grows and is not an advert for the West and is one of the main reasons we are losing in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

  4. Luke says:

    “Some argue that it is no business of politicians to meddle in the personal family choices people make.”
    ==============================

    Considering the way Family Court operates I don’t see how anybody says this with a straight face…

  5. Kathryn says:

    I agree a father is for life not just for maintenance, but how can one force a father who is disinterested in his child??? You can’t make fathers parent their children?

  6. Yvie says:

    I agree Kathryn that you can’t make fathers parent their children. Let us get some semblance of equality in law with a starting point of 50/50 shared care which will allow the hundreds of fathers who want to parent their children to do so without having to go through the Family Courts. Fathers such as these, many of whom find contact with their children post separation is as little as once a fortnight, are the ones who are more than willing to provide for their children and share costs. Help should be available to both parents post separation, not just the mother. I am in no way condoning fathers who will not support their children, but the present system appears to reward single mothers with child benefit, child maintenance, working tax family credit etc whilst dismissing the very valuable and worthwhile contribution that many fathers make towards caring for their children, particularly when there is a shared residence order.

  7. JamesB says:

    I don’t know the answer. But I think trying to end the couples penalty for benefits and a transferable tax allowance for couples or doing something to make welfare not encourage single parents are good aims.

    In answer to Kathryn’s question, I would say two things, 1. make sure he is fully signed-up and capable of rearing children in the first place in a stable relationship – if men are supposed to be sure of consent to sex and get woman’s signature now, then women can get men to be sure of consent to children and rearing and relationship and signature for that. 2. Try to engage him and not go a little crazy and exclude him and treat the baby as yours and him as an inconvenience and badly after the baby is born, as many women do unfortunately. Trying to get a NRP to be a fully engaged father is perhaps asking too much and too late. It is a fault with feminism (and Government on this subject) in not taking the views of men into account. Thank you for the question though and proving that you are better than that.

  8. Paul says:

    Fathers would be less disinterested in their children and less prone to walk away if they knew they stood a chance of being able to make a decent fist of fatherhood in the first place. Given the option of being no more than an “every other weekend” sort of father, I’d probably walk away too. Everyone knows that fathers get turned over in family court. With virtually the whole of social policy against you as well (who gets Child Allowance, for example? Who gets arrested on bogus or flippant DV accusations?), a separated father has little going for him. He might just as well turn his back and go do something more worthwhile with his life than fighting with his ex.

  9. JamesB says:

    Yes, I agree with Paul’s message at 2:20pm on June 11.

  10. Kathryn says:

    Regardless of disagreeing and fighting with ex partners, the children’s well fair MUST come first. Arguments between ex partners is irrelevant and not important. Their differences aired separate to that of the child’s needs. Both parents need to get a grip on this, agree to mediation and to sort out children’s needs only.

  11. Kathryn says:

    Comments about ex partners are entangled in what should be a discussion regarding needs of child

  12. JamesB says:

    I do believe that child maintenance encourages relationships to break down. It’s the same welfare safetynet argument in a different form, except nrp fathers don’t seem to have a political voice, or lobbying party or anything yet the likes of Gingerbread do.

  13. Paul says:

    Sadly, children’s welfare doesn’t come first. First, courts would otherwise have long provided for better involvement with their fathers, were that the case. Courts would also have more regard to the welfare principle that time matters in settling disputes; this principle is routinely honoured more in the breach than the observance. Second, mothers particularly don’t put their children’s welfare first. Many prefer to put their children through a court case and make allegations, rather than allow more generous arrangements for paternal involvement. Third, lawyers could not care less if they extend cases by writing inflammatory or duplicitous letters, or fail to stand firm against over-controlling clients.

    In general, I see very little regard in family law to a pursuit of the true welfare interests of children.

  14. MLT says:

    Marilyn,

    Please may I again state that I am personally aware of a father that was told he could not have ant contact with his child by a female circuit judge in Guildford. The reason why he was denied contact was because he was viewed to be “apparently narcissistic”.

    Only a few weeks before this disgraceful ruling, the “mother” of baby P (Peter Connelly) was granted visitation rights to her other children, while she served her prison sentence torture and consequent death of baby P.

  15. Stitchedup says:

    It’s encouraging to see that the Centre for Social Justice recognise that the importance of the family unit is being undermined. The divorce figures say it all, 68% initiated by women, 28% jointly, 4% by men. Feminism and feminist politcial organisations, inclding Women’s Aid, are destroying the family. This was predicted by Erin Pizzey, the founder of Refuge. who turned her back on feminism many years ago.

    It is simply too dangeorus for a man to engage with a woman these days let alone disagree with her. The DV card is routinely played to get the upper hand in divorce and separation cases because women know there is no burden of proof and no recourse for making flase alegations.

    I also believe the definition of domestic violence is now absurdly broad. What was a worthy cause to stop battery and extreme controlling behaviour has now been hijacked by feminists as yet another means to get at men and impose extreme levels of control over them… a man can get convicted just for talking to woman if he breaks a non-contact odere secured in the civil family courts where there is no burden of proof and a presumption of guilty until proven innocent…. this can’t be allowed to continue. Any such convictions should be quashed; it is simply unnatural for a person not to speak, and it is totally barbaric to impose such level of control over a person when it hasn’t been proven the person has done anything wrong.

    Our legal system has become infected with feminist political correctness and current UK family law ensures men have no rights and are an all too easily disposable element of the family unit. The law favours fast tracked divorce and separation rather than doing what it can to save the family unit and encouraging family counselling or mediation. If a woman doesn’t want to mediate all she has to do is make an tumped-up DV allegation… way too open to abuse.

  16. JamesB says:

    I liked your last sentence and it rings precisely true in my case, so I think you know what you are talking about and have expertise in this area.

    It is sad to learn that I have been the victim of another dirty trick from a lawyer, especially when I was already aware that I was before during my divorce.

  17. Chavez says:

    Kathryn,

    You say that the state cannot force dads to parent, but that’s actually precisely what it does do. The state regards dads role as a mere financial provider, and if he doesn’t pay he goes to jail.

    Interesting though that he does not go to jail when he is not there to share the caregiving halfway.

    There’s just something only a little bit sick about where we have got our priorities. But as you know, these things hinge on lies, money and votes.

  18. Stitchedup says:

    James B,
    I’m not a lawyer so perhaps not expertise but, unfortunately, I do have plenty of experience of the family law courts. It is common knowledge that they are a disgrace, dangerously biased towards women who it appears can do no wrong. A man can be accused of anything… from being an aclcoholic to a danergous voilent domestic abuser and the courts are only too willing to believe it… no burden of proof and there is a presumption of guilt, you’ll be very, very lucky to get the opportunity to prove yourself innocent. Indeed, attempting to prove your innocence could simply land you in more trouble as this would most likely involve painting a negative picture of the woman and effectively calling her a liar. Judges in the family courts don’t like to hear such things. It causes problems if the woman has effectively perjured herself , so it is easier to write-off the man.

    The end reault is an abudance of families that are “man desserts” or “natural father desserts”.

    Another negative outcome is the number of men that are falling foul of extremely dubiuos non-molestation orders secured in the civil family courts on the “balance of probability” i.e. no burden of proof. Again, it is common knowledge that non-mols are used “tacticaly” in divorce and separation cases to secure occupation orders, custody, and better financial settlements. Judges are too scared not to issue them; they take the view that they only stop the man doing things he shouldn’t be doing anyway, and that the man is affected as long as he doesn’t break it….. complete and utter bollocks. The man is put in an incredibly precarious situation completely at the mercy of the applicant who can have the man convicted just for talking to her…. since when has talking been something you shouldn’t be doing?? Indeed men who have done nothing wrong often find it hard to take them seriously and are often caught out by what is considered to be reasonable excuse. When it comes to speaking, most reasonable people would consider it reasonable to speak if spoken to…. unfortunately this is not the view of judges who consider only a life or death matter as “reasonable” excuse.

    At the age of 49, I found myself with a criminal conviction for the first time of my life; because I was deemed to have broken a non-molestation order because I spoke to my ex having asked to speak to my children when she answered the phone. My defence was reasonable excuse as I couldn’t control who answered the phone, “nonsense!” said the judge, “you should have put the phone down as soon as you heared her voice”. My solicitor pointed out that if I had put the phone down without saying anything I would have been in more trouble accused of making silent phone calls. The judge advised my solicitor to reconsider my not guilty plea as I had admitted in my statement that I asked to speak to the kids and adjourned the court. I was then told by my solicitor I should change my plea to guilty to avoid a custodial sentence… I could not believe what I was hearing!

    So I do have an axe to grind and have vowed to fight for change in the family and criminal courts until my dying day.

    Divorce and separation is a very dangerous buiness for men.

  19. Paul says:

    Providing for a single mother’s lifestyle plus the odd bit of childminding (if he’s lucky), are the only remaining purposes a separated father has in today’s society. As long as mum is around, no value is attached to him as a parent. Social policy thus discriminates massively against fathers and no end of family separation videos from the government is going to change that one iota. How about changing the Child Benefit rules instead?

  20. Stitchedup says:

    Without wishing to distract form the subject of the original article, I would just like to add a few more words to help clarify my post above.

    I was tried in the Magistartes courts as it was considered by my solicitor and indeed the CPS prosecutor that the charges against me were minor and didn’t warrant a hearing in the crown court.

    However, as a result of my personal experience I am of the oppinion it is far better to opt for crown courts than magistrates courts if you find yourself accused of breaking a non-mol. I was told by a Police officer that I live in a DV “crack-down” area. What this means in practice is that the CPS will prosecute safe in the knowledge that the scales of justice are tipped in their favour. In DV crack-down areas, most if not all DV cases will be heared by district judges not magistrates, and these District Judges are looking to make “examples” of people.

    Having a District Judge means that you do not have the possibility of moderation that you may have with 3 magistrates…. i.e. if you have one militant feminist magistrate at least you have the possibility of the other 2 moderating the oppinions of the militant magistrate. However, even magsitartes will be aware that there is a “crack-down” in force and will be influenced by this hence distorting the natural course of justice.

    As a result, I am of the oppinion that it would be far better to be tried by jury in the crown courts.

    As mentioned in my earlier post, non-mols come with a “without reasonable excuse” clause (if that’s the correct term). A District Judge will interpret “reasonable excuse” much more strictly than the average person, especially if he/she is looking to make an example of somebody in a crack-down area.

    Having bounced my story off many lay people, I am convinced that a jury of lay people from a cross section of society would have hound me not guilty on the basis of reasonable excuse. Indeed, most have indicated that they consider the whole thing a complete waste of public time and money.

    I now have no contact whatsoever with my ex or my children. Indeed, I find it extremely difficult to accept that my children still have a relationship with a woman that has maliciously and dishonestly obtained a non-molestation order and then used that order to convict me just because I spoke to her. One more family destroyed by a family law system that has completely run off the rails.

    By the way, I couldn’t appeal against the judgement as I was advised to change my initial not guilty plea to guilty as the judge had clearly indicated that he would not entertain a reasonable excuse argument and I had admitted I asked to speak to the children.

  21. JamesB says:

    They (the family law courts) seem to have upset a lot of men in recent years. I think that matters and is sad and is counter productive for them.

    I had similar experience to you with made up charges and manipulation of family law courts for non mols and police force for positive intervention policy. In the end I used to have to put the phone on video recording when I picked up the kids to stop her from assaulting me and then calling the police and getting me locked up for it.

    I did also put in lots of complaints to police – they ended up being ok towards the end – family court – not ok, feminist bias, cafcass – not ok, feminist bias, solicitors, not ok, feminist bias, and MPs, not ok feminist bias. So, yes, I understand. Other thing I did was try and have witnesses around all the time.

    One thing I learned for others in the situation (important point) is you cannot control the other side, but you can yourself.

    After the third allegation with police was dropped the 4th fifth and sixth were easier to disprove with the law. Was hell for the first three and didn’t help me case where I got stitched up on contact and maintenance though. Cafcass and family court were outrageously bad as was my mp and soliticors.

  22. Observer says:

    “So I do have an axe to grind and have vowed to fight for change in the family and criminal courts until my dying day.”

    Unfortunately, though, Britain has proven over and again that reformation is not a viable option; the intentional villainization of dads (among other institutionalized policies) forces you to adopt a more revolutionary stance, which is convenient, because then it is easy to label you an immoderate nutter. Which of course you aren’t; you are just a sensible person.

  23. JamesB says:

    Another point on your case is the only evidence they had was you saying that you talked to her. You could have said you just phoned and said nothing.

    One thing I learned was to speak to a solicitor I trusted when I was arrested before I spoke to the police upon arrest. Often the only evidence they get is from reasonable men like yourself trying to sort the situation out fairly who then they prosecute for having incriminating themselves. Oftentimes, better to go no comment or lie. Best liar wins in these places, provided you are not caught out it seems. Not good, I agree.

  24. JamesB says:

    P.S. Law society were poor in my case, SFLA / Resolution were poor in my case.

  25. JamesB says:

    p.s. Mediators, not ok, feminist bias.

  26. JamesB says:

    circuit court not ok, even worse fenminist bias. Parliamentary ombudsman, not ok, feminist bias.

  27. JamesB says:

    CSA not ok, feminist bias.

  28. JamesB says:

    Building society and banks, not ok, feminist bias.

  29. JamesB says:

    Tax and benefits systems. Not fair, feminist bias. Educational systems and pre school vouchers and credits for nurseries, working tax credits, child tax credits, income tax, child benefit, flexible work benefits, all anti male. I could go on, but the point is made by now I think.

  30. JamesB says:

    CPS and criminal justice system also.

  31. JamesB says:

    Local Council accommodation allocations departments.

  32. JamesB says:

    They are anti-male also. Also the benefits system in general also is anti-male.

  33. JamesB says:

    So, the men get to live with the rats, not the children, or another woman with another man’s children. All very strange.

  34. JamesB says:

    Very bad.

  35. JamesB says:

    The media are also biased / anti male nrp.

  36. Paul says:

    If the police arrest you unnecessarily then sue them, on an N1 form, in the county court. Forget the PSDs, forget the IPCC, forget judicial review. Sue the police. Summary arrest based on a policy (like their ACPO “proactive arrest” one on DV) is unlawful. Arrest is only justified if it meets the necessity test. Too often it doesn’t. If you volunteer yourself for interview then, more likely than not, there is absolutely no need to arrest you. I received a four figure sum in compensation plus all my costs.

    Why act as a sacrificial lamb for some over-ambitious, cheap-shot squirt of a chief constable who is looking to gain his knighthood at your expense?

  37. JamesB says:

    Schools. Nurseries. Etc.

  38. JamesB says:

    I don’t want any more court. Yes was her word against mine the policy is called positive action against domestic violence which means police has to give a reason they don’t arrest rather than a reason for arresting when in a DV situation even if, like me you end up with 6 NFAs (no further actions).

    I misread your post aT FIRST THOUGHT It said ptsd. Think I may have a bit of that every now and again it kicks off like on this thread. I have done counselling and found it helpful. CBT also.

  39. JamesB says:

    Been to court over 40 times, often on ridiculous reasons, not counting the (failed) mediation and abuse and lies I had to sit through there also. Treated like a criminal for trying to do the best for my children. Makes me fell sick.

  40. Stitchedup says:

    James B, Paul,
    the sense of injustice just gets worst as time goes on. I’ve missed the 21 day window for appeal and as I was advised to plead guilty the only thing I could appeal against is the sentence not the conviction; I really wish I had stuck to my orginal not guilty plea but then again I was at risk of a custodial sentence; however, the judge still said that a custodial sentence would be considered even after I changed my plea to guilty!!! The world has gone mad, how can any judge in their right mind consider giving a custodial sentence just because a man has spoken to a woman. My ex admitted I asked to speak to the kids and also admitted that I terminated the coversation and she then tried to call me back twice.

    There’s something seriously worng with a system that can issues non-molestation oders without any burden of proof, and then give a man a custodial sentence becasue he has spoken to a woman.

    I must admit my head is in a complete muddle, I desparately want to do something about it and put things right but it seems the odds are so stacked against me. How do you get the judiciary to admit they were wrong… appeals can be granted if new evidence comes to light but as no evidence is provided to obtain a non-mol just a signed affidavit how can “new” evidence be provided?.

    The whole thing is a disaster from begining to end, from Police positive action policies to feminist bias in family courts, and the presumption of guilty until proven innocent in domestic cases. I belive in years to come people will look back at the sitiation as it stands today and see it as a complete failure, responsible for a huge number of miscarriages of justice and the dessimation of families and family values.

    I have been told by Soicitors and a Barrister I know that non-mols are used as part of the “gamemanship” in divorce and separation cases and I have politely told them it should stop. How can they sleep at night knowing that a man may receive a custodial just for talking to a woman??
    The Police also know that women abuse the system and that judges are too scarred not to issue the orders, again I was told this by a police sergeant and a woman Police inspector warned me that I was about to go through hell when the ex started playing the game. They have all seen it before and for them it is a huge dsitraction hinders their ability to prevent genuine domestic violence and help those women that are genuinely at risk.

  41. Richard H says:

    Sixty percent of fathers are frustrated by mothers and the courts and lose all meaningful contact with their children within three years of a break. These are not absent parents they are excluded parents. Parental contact orders are supposed to promote normal loving parental contact but most in fact make normal loving parental contact impossible.

    While is is acknowledged that contact centres may be a necessary evil to briefly assess any concerns held by one parent about another they are not medium or long terms solutions for any child and orders granting only a couple of hours a week or fortnight are actually exclusion orders by another name. Excluded parents are displayed in effect to children under zoo like conditions with no privacy and in the company of other fractious children and parents often in run down village halls and overseen by dotty old volunteers who wouldn’t know any more about child development than they do about building a mud hut. Under these circumstances the child is trained to become easily bored with both the centre and the other parent who is clearly unimportant.

    The notion that excluding either parent and particularly the father without causing very definite harm to a child is preposterous in this day and age because decades of statistics have proven it. Although a child of three or five may appear to be thriving in the care of a mother of any quality at all the very lack of a father causes irrevocable damage by the age of seven.

    Indeed to exclude a father from a child’s life and particularly boys is statistically just about the most damaging and dangerous thing you can do to a child. The most common feature to all marginalised teenagers is a lack of a father, not the lack of a mother and this is most often not because they have been excluded by mothers with short vision and a discriminatory and blame based court system that seems to like pouring oil onto fire. Quite where the courts get the idea that removing fathers from children’s lives is beneficial for them generally is beyond me.

    Parents should be equal in law as they are in nature and regardless of parental rights all individuals have a right to equality before the law and in their treatment and this is not the case in Britain. Sadly in Britain a man cannot win a children’s case. A woman can only lose one. If the state is convinced after years of failure as a parent despite every support they will baulk at taking that child into care unless it is particularly vulnerable and then, but only then will they consider a father as a poor third option as a viable single parent.

  42. Richard H says:

    This is British justice for you. My ex was violent to me and almost constantly verbally and emotionally abusive to me so after about six months I had enough and advised her to seek help which she did. When she got back in contact again I was proud that she had done so and we started seeing each other again but it soon clicked back into the old routine. Insane wild rages, smashing presents and hurling things at me. spitting and trying to headbutt me. She hit me once too many times on holiday in Italy and I knew I could take it no more and it was over. However she was pregnant with my child.

    Towards the birth she wrote frenzied threats alternately to never let me see my child or fawning praises that i was in fact a kind and loving man and parent. I supported her through the birth and convalescence but again the screaming and abuse started, even with a baby. She said her father was ill with a stroke and would I mind if she went to go and stay with them for a while (in Japan). I said fine but not for any time or she could leave the baby. I pointed out that a newborn baby needs his home and immediate family far more than his grandparents. Within days she banned me from her house and I was not allowed to see my son at all.

    A letter from her solicitors said she was prepared to attend mediation and she did indeed make one appointment in which she denied that she was violent at all. The next week she disappeared to Japan leaving only an email that she was going for several months and would be back at some stage and would let me know.

    I was horrified but it got worse. Japan is not a Hague convention signatory nation and no power on earth can recover a child from there. The police and courts just looked at me and shrugged. I thought I lost my son forever but it was not to be. About three months later a friend came to me and said that they had seen my ex here in the UK and that she had returned in secrecy. She had visited some people and sworn them to secrecy and was planning to leave again soon.

    I was able to obtain an emergency hearing and prohibitive steps order preventing her from doing so but at no time was it suggested she might be charged for Child Abduction. Within days she applied twice for relief and to be allowed to travel again for at least three more months claiming she had already booked tickets but was refused. By booking tickets and by virtue of the Attempts Act she had of course committed a second offence as well as breaching Regulation 92 of the Passport Office.

    A hideous case ensued with the usual paper shuffling, directions and fact fitting hearings. In brief it emerged just as I had alleged that she had a ten year psychiatric history in this country alone and had been violent and abusive in relationships dating back to her first one in Japan which she described as very violent.

    Nevertheless a district judge was minded by the evidence that I had in fact brainwashed her into believing she needed treatment when she needed none despite the fact that her problems dated back long before she ever met me and included identical behaviour. I had never lived with her and had no contact with her for months before she got treatment and wrote bizarre letters describing her own violence which the judge also dismissed.

    He knows she is violent to me but seeks to massively diminish the scale and ferocity. He knows her abductions are illegal but he has decided that our son is far better off with a mother with life long history of psychiatric and violent abusive problems who commits repeated offences against both him and his father.

    She has of course made a raft of salacious accusations against myself too but none have any substance at all yet they are believed as though gospel. In court she remarked once that she feared I might attack our son’s child care workers. She didn’t have any reasons but just that she feared it. The result was what is known as a ‘no doubt’ clause which she didn’t even apply for excluding me from all contact with our son’s carers or schools. I showed the court my professional certificate qualifying me as a preschool carer myself and pointed out it was highly unlikely I was ever going to attack one but alas such reasoning falls on deaf ears.

    The court have decided my son and I should have only two hours a fortnight for the foreseeable future in a centre with which to give him a strong and stable parental role in his life. I’ve never harmed him or abducted anyone or hit anyone but I am a beast. Not only my ex but strangers working in childcare I have never even met should fear me.

    Far from receiving protection for myself and my son from the law my ex is protected from simply because she says she fears me, not because I have done anything to fear. She has been granted another wholly unnecessary no doubt clause actually preventing me from abducting our son despite the fact she has done it once and made a second attempt. I’ve never abducted so much as a gerbil.

    If I had a ten year psychiatric history including violence and and a history of violence against a woman as she did and then abducted a child and went on the run only to emerge months later attempting another disappearance I would probably face the maximum tariff of a seven year sentence under s.2 Child Abduction Act and never see my son again. I would not be praised and told I was a wonderful parent because the child appeared to be thriving.

    Every TV screen across the globe would flash pictures of my son and I while flack jacketed officers went door to door and threw up road blocks in areas I was suspected of being seen in. I would be a beast but none of that really matters because I’m a beast anyway and will ALMOST never see my son anyway unless I pull off a major appeal. By going to the courts I got less time with my son than I did the year he was abducted.

    The family division is a bizarre and horrific place where good is bad and liars and abusers are rewarded, Children’s paramount interests are not studied or understood let alone met. Instead they are ranted dogmatically as a mantra to justify almost any seemingly random and bizarre ruling by family benchers. Family law rulings do nothing to serve children’s interests and do everything to salve the guilt of the courts in their efforts to be seen to be doing something even if it’s just about the most damaging thing you can do to a child.

    Alright I’ll stop now 🙂

  43. Stitchedup says:

    Richard H,
    I don’t see my boys at all and my ex-partner certainly doesn’t encourage them to have contact with me. I have to be honest, I’ve pretty much given up trying to keep contact with them, unanswered texts etc. My ex is a high conflict person from a high conflict family. She spoke to me like a I was a piece of shit, and as the boys got older, they thought they could speak to me the same. So, in some respects I don’t miss them, I don’t miss being spoken to like a piece of shit. However, I often think about how they were as little ones, before they adopted the attitude of their mother. I tried to give them everything, worked incredibly hard to provide a nice family home and a comfortable lifestyle but the ex was never happy, constant negativity and criticism. I put up with it from her when the kids were small but when you have to put up with it from the wife and the kids life can become unbearable.

    I have a friend who’s desperately trying to maintain contact with his boys, I think they’re about 11 and 14 years. He’s facing all the problems you’ve mentioned. Trying to keep the kids occupied in a one bedroomed flat without their toys, gizmos, creature comforts. CAFCASS weren’t going to allow them to stay overnight because they had to sleep in a double bed whilst he slept on the sofa. He’s paying maintenance and is basically skint yet had to find the money to buy a sofa bed for one of the kids. He’s told me he can’t really afford to have the kids around because it costs him so much money trying to keep them happy and occupied… trips to the cinema etc, pizzas, visits to other attractions. He is meant to have them every Saturday and a sleepover every alternate Saturday night; he hasn’t seen them for a month now…. their drifting away, it’s killing him.

  44. Luke says:

    It’s not good is it 🙁

    If a million children have no contact with their fathers then we know the system is ****.

    There will be some dead beat Dads for sure but to pretend that there are so many of them is just totally unrealistic – it IS the system…

  45. Stitchedup says:

    Here’s a little update on the firned I mentioned above that hasn’t seen his children for a month.

    Last Friday his wife would have received a letter from his Solicitor reminding her of the contact order and the warning notice that had been attached due to previous breaches of the order. His solicitor has warned the ex that unless contact is resumed on a regular basis she will be reported for a further breach.

    At 05:15 Monday morning my friend was about to leave for work and opened his front door to find two Police officers waiting for him outside. They had come to arrest him under section 4 domestic violence because his ex-wife has made an allegation that she has been receiving threatening texts. My friend was arrested at his home, prevented from going to work and spent approximately 10 hours in a Police cell, eventually released on conditional bail, the condiition being that his doesn’t contact his ex and his phone was taken from him for examination.

    This is the second time this has happened to him. The last time there was no further action as his phone showed no evidence of the texts being sent and theye weren’t sent from his number anyway. After that incident he was assured by a superintendent that a note would be put on his file to ensure that in future the Police would not act so hastily.

    It appears the note wasn’t placed on his file.

    His ex has also stated that she has contacted Women’s Aid to seek advice about getting an injunction against him.

    It is clear what is happneing here… the texts are being sent by the ex wife’s current partner using an uregistered SIM in attempt to frame my friend. The ex wife has in past enjoyed legal aid but as of April legal ais will not be allowed for family disputed unless there is an allegation of domestic violence. So there you have it, an allegation of domestic violence is being made to secure legal aid to contest the contact order on the basis of deomestic violence. Simples…

  46. Miss my kids says:

    Wow, should I get started. Yeah, let me break the silence.
    Moved to the UK in 2007, I was my wife’s sponsor as I was the EU citizen. She has family here, I do not. After a year she threatened (2008) using the kids. A year later, (2009) we separated.
    Spent close on £30000 fighting to see my kids. Where did it get me? No contact and paying CSA.
    I am actually disgusted as my wife used the kids to get benefits by saying ” I did this and I did that” to my kids.
    How can this Government say they have the best interests of a child in mind when they actually give the power to a mother to use the kids as a custody weapon.
    Yeah I miss my kids, today is my daughters 8th birthday, I can not even phone her to wish her a Happy Birthday as I will be up for harassment. What a joke this law is.

  47. Miss my kids says:

    At Stichedup, and everyone else. The extremes of what lengths mothers will go to. I do not know where my kids live, I have not seen my kids since 2010. All I can say is, I can be lucky that I have a vehicle monitoring system on my vehicle. It took the courts 3 times in a period of 4 months to throw my wife out of court.
    No apparent reason, I had the police over. Was told I was stalking my wife in order to see my kids. I tore up the harassment order in front of the police and landed up going to court. I took my iPad, logged on to the system that I shows where I have been driving and all. Nothing happened to my wife, I was given a warning by the courts. 2nd time, I took my iPad and job sheets. This time no warning to me, my wife got away with it once more. 3rd time, I went to court with my iPad, paperwork and my client. This time the judge informed my wife she would be in-contempt of court if she makes any more of these false statements of me stalking her.
    The law is all one sided and favours a lying, manipulative mother.

  48. Stitchedup says:

    Miss my kids,
    you have my sympathy especially since its your daughter’s birthday. Wish you well.

    I’ve some updates to my post above that will make interesting reading, Not got time to write the detail now, will try tomorrow.

    All the Best.

  49. Sagadoshes says:

    The answer is pretty simple because fairness always is simple and fair to all. That would be, say the child is 10 years old at the time of divorce…that leaves approx. 8 years more under the parents’ control…therefore for the first 4 years the mother can be the custodial parent and the father the noncustodial (don’t you love that term? (sarc.)), parent. Then the following 4 years they switch. I wonder if divorce will still be 80% initiated by women then. Probably not because it would be fair for once and give fathers the chance to be parents. Of course there are those that would argue it is “too disruptive for the child”, B.S. Not any more than the current removal of loving fathers from a child’s life.

  50. LovingDad says:

    My own story? Very much a typical one. Ex-wife, violent, delusional, self-harms, terrified of being alone, lies fluently, very charming, bright, excellent at playing victim, once described herself as ‘evil’ and alleged incest against a family member. Had panic disorder diagnosis. Treatment failed. Should have moved to psychiatric care (NICE CG113) by 2005. Probably a missed BPD/EUPD diagnosis. I burn out from the abuse and the bizarre behaviours. Leave immediate to ‘If you leave me, I’ll call the police, change the locks, take everything you own and you’ll never set foot under my roof again’ (2011). Express concern that BPD has been missed. BPD strongly associates with various significant harms for children. Police arrive on my doorstep. Mother is being harassed by my raising safeguarding concerns, BPD and the family history. Thugs, basically – half broke the door down.

    BPD – the person also has paranoid delusions of being watched and followed. So now we have all that as well. Police, police, yet more police. Cafcass? I say ‘Well, the thing here is BPD, it all relates to BPD, you’ll get nowhere if you don’t know what BPD is’ and they say ‘He is obsessed by BPD and we consider him to be a threat to the children. He needs to be seen by psychiatrist’. I say ‘Well, I beg your pardon, but anxiety, panic and BPD tend to run in families and a major factor in the causation of panic and BPD is early life parental loss, CG113 shows that the mother is meant to be under psychiatric care – so you’re proposing that we maximise the risks to the children of eventual major mental illness and expose them to risk of significant harm while we’re about it?’.

    Cafcass Complaints Manager replies – ‘This is our professional opinion. You are not a mental health specialist’. Family history of depression, alcoholism, early life parental loss, incest, and so forth, entirely coincidental. What I love about crackpot social workers is how their ideological crudity proceeds to harm my daughters and leaves a parent who needs proper mental health care free of any kind of support.

    Great big thud. A vast legal document arrives. The Ex wants the court to ban me from using the court. Very oddly, the document appeared to have been written in the knowledge of what Cafcass would recommend, even though – of course – this would be impossible (etc).

    This was all years ago.

    I never did another thing to see the children. Why not? As others have said. What would I have gone on to achieve? Cafcass are a quack agency – more of a cult than a ‘profession’. I’d have been arrested over and over again, of course – always ‘no further action’ but it’s no joke, I lost everything over those years.The children were already gone, lost, groomed and attached to Crazy. And the big prize? Once a fortnight, possibly for as many as two hours, I could have seen my own children! After a year of hearings, reports and arrests, who knows? Maybe I could have seen them for three hours every fortnight in a contact centre.

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