The speaker continued by explaining why men lose in family court. Whether that be a man abusing women or a woman abusing children, no matter the abuser, the judgement and subsequent actions are always the same. The justice also found the father had been intimidating during the marriage, and “manipulative and disingenuous” in his evidence. here last Friday. SRA ref 469401. The better the actor you are, the better the outcome. An example would be the one-line statement citing 8 respondents to the study claiming that ‘ The system is biased towards the mother’ (Lee, 1991, p.36) followed by no further dialogue on this issue. At the same time, other than finally meeting a solicitor that for once isn’t treating me as an abuser by default, nobody is even willing to listen to my side of the story. This is the rot at the core of our family law system. My son turns four soon. 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’. here last Friday: Legal practitioners openly stated that they knew which family report writers to go to if they were representing a perpetrator. getting it right in every case is obviously an impossibility. Thankfully I’m a wife beating, lager drinking helicopter mechanic, so that problem falls on the professionals that are respected to make those decisions and not stupid people like me obviously. is that it runs the risk of pushing judges over the other side of that rope. I’ll never forget sitting across from Lucy, an 18-year-old who, aged eight, had the courage to tell her school counsellor she was being sexually molested by her father. If he doesn’t want to see his mother then it’s obvious the abusive perpetrator has caused it. See where I’m going? The mother of our child has been granted legal aid and all the other support that comes with being a victim of domestic abuse, all with no evidence. There is no presumption or a priori rule that even gross misbehaviour such as child sexual abuse ... puts up an insurmountable barrier in the way of having contact with a child victim.”. But then I started reading their court documents and the research. it would be easy to conclude from that that the ‘truth’ lies in the middle: How does this attitude influence the outcome of a custody dispute? Being a father trying to use the system, it would be very easy for me to say that the system is heavily biased against fathers. Fathers who are deprived of their parental rights, by the family court system, must defend their rights on issues such as child custody, child support, and accusations of domestic violence. With over 40 years of family law advocacy, that started in law school, as well as comprehensive knowledge and experience in the area of shared equal parenting rights, Gene C. Colman vigorously fights against gender bias in divorce and separation proceedings. They land in my inbox every week. A judge at court used my son to try and expose (I suppose) my narcissistic rage. In his judgment, Justice Robert Benjamin of the Hobart family court accepted that the father had demonstrated “inappropriate” affection towards his daughter. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian. The punishment for hostile parents could be extreme: they not only ran the risk of losing custody of their children, they could be blocked from seeing or even speaking to them for months. A father already on the sex offenders register for possessing child abuse images was fighting for equal care of his daughters, aged eight and 10. When asked why, she referred them back to what she’d told the police, but became “extremely distressed” when pressed to elaborate. But there is a pyramid of harm.’. Jess Hill is an investigative reporter who is the author of the book on domestic violence See What You Made Me Do. closer look at the topic I highlighted in my weekly review post A prevailing perception that family courts are biased against men lingers, including in Indiana. They were, on the face of it, reasonable – judges should apply a presumption of shared parental responsibility unless violence or abuse was an issue. Fathers’ rights groups across the country do not have a laundry list of specific things they want, but they are advocating for the more general position of equal treatment in the family courts. He said: “Sodha … suggests that the system is weighted against women. But there was a catch: if a parent alleged abuse, they could be labelled a “hostile parent”, unwilling to support shared parenting. Also the lord chief justice for family courts is a lead supported of father for justice, so any bias that may exist is certainly not in the favour of women. The people that will decide a small child’s future will have forgotten the case by the time that child is an adult. 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. However, society has changed. But there were other voices who agreed with Ms Sodha. For example, 83% of mothers receive custody of their children in divorces. Statistically, it appears that the family courts in the United States are biased against fathers. When presented with an individual that is allegedly a horrible person, we are all far too eager to feel like a hero and chastise the alleged perpetrator. On the 11th of March, for example, a letter from Jane Fortin, Emeritus professor of law at the University of Sussex, was published. the recent discussion in the letters section of The Guardian newspaper regarding the suggestion that “the More on that later. Over time, his molestation escalated to full-blown rape. “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. That’s human beings. Being a father trying to use the system, it would be very easy for me to say that the system is heavily biased against fathers. Additionally, men are awarded less support on average than mothers who are awarded support. Yes the family court system is broken and needs reform. A 2015 study by the University of Warwick concluded that family courts do not discriminate against the father. Stop family court collusion with misogynist fathers’ lobby. When her mother, Tina, applied to stop contact, a family report writer dismissed Lucy’s allegations, described Tina as “psychotic” and wrote in his report to the court that if the allegations should be raised again, Lucy should be ordered to live full-time with her father. Fathers who can afford high priced representation will often come out better in court. There is no help for men dealing with a difficult female. Family law and it’s myriad apologists have a Pontius Pilate approach which is depressingly successful, the WRITTEN law is gender neutral, the law in practice is systemically BIASED against fathers. There is no excuse for an innocent man being deprived access to his children. According to Slate, bias against fathers when it came to child custody was quite common in the past. And I can tell you that for every opinion in I felt physically sick, watching how distressed she was. As far as both genders complaining post court proceeding. 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. I didn’t know if she was going to vomit or wet her pants,” Tina told me. great deal about family law, and the opinions of those who use the family But there is a pyramid of harm. First she denies that family court outcomes disproportionately treat fathers worse than mothers. A couple of years ago a barrister, now a magistrate, told me she stayed in her controlling and abusive marriage for 10 years after she first wanted to leave. Prominent doctors have confided in me their horror at what they see happening to their patients in the system – especially to the children. Yes, many fathers have a terrible time in the family law system. Legal aid is available to any woman who has evidence of physical or sexual abuse. Just Some names have been changed in this piece. What is no-fault divorce - and should you wait for a no-fault divorce in the UK? But that "Yes there is bias, prejudice and discrimination in family court towards men. Maybe there is Sadly there is far too much information available to the general public and professionals about personality disorders. The reverse is true. Okay, all of Let me give you my example. Trust me. This is especially true if you and the child’s mother were never married. Are family courts biased? Their eldest daughter had told child-protection workers that she loved her father and didn’t want to upset him, but wasn’t comfortable staying over at his house, particularly on her own. But Court-Determined Custody Arrangements Are Still Strongly Anti-Father circuit judge His Honour Glenn Brasse leaping to the defence of the judiciary, In my personal experience there is definitely a bias but I don’t think it’s gender based. Some liken the changing notions of justice to the swinging of a pendulum. In 2007, Rae Kaspiew (now at the Australian Institute of Family Studies) found there were very limited circumstances in which a mother could challenge ongoing paternal involvement, “except in cases where the evidence of severe violence was clear-cut”. Family law is no different. Tina wanted to keep fighting, but with this strong report against her, she was terrified that she would lose Lucy altogether, so she consented to one overnight stay per week. In 2001, a joint study by the family court and the University of Sydney found that the family law system had “tilted more and more against women, either by accident or design”. She concludes: “A child at the receiving end of such an order might justifiably feel completely betrayed by the court system.”. The remaining bias in family court is related to money. Nothing has left me more shocked – or more disturbed – than seeing the harm done to victims by the family law system. That is something that will never change until we treat everyone with the same level of respect and not jump to conclusions that effect our children dramatically. Whether it’s on their own, with the help of a mediator, or after consulting with the extended family, more than 9 out of 10 moms who end up with custody of their child do so with no judge involved. If my son says he does not want to visit his father then no court will force it. I read a as we must remove any bias from the minds of judges, we must also allow them 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. what is, as I say, a serious topic, which can have extremely serious consequences. Everyone knows someone who’s had a shitty time in the family law system. The legal climate is subject to change. Not even at a fact finding hearing. Mothers were seen as the primary caregivers and were often given custody, especially for children age seven and younger. In 2001, a joint study by the family court and the University of Sydney found that the family law system had “tilted more and more against women, either by accident or design”. Given the capacity for errors in human judgment, of course, there may be fathers who have heartbreakingly had access to their children unjustly restricted. “I stayed in that marriage to supervise him with my son.”. Take a father out of a child’s life and the child is damaged, all but invariably. In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. I think family courts are a bit patriarchal. As a result, women have to think carefully about bringing abuse allegations to court – even where they may be evidence – in case they get accused of making false claims and lose custody as a result.”, “…putting these decisions in the hands of an unaccountable and disproportionately male judiciary, untrained in domestic abuse, some of whom seem to have no problem slipping their social biases into the courtroom, is bound to cause problems. From our experience working with families, we have realized family court can be biased towards mothers and against fathers in custody disputes. The main issue for separated dads is that the rules that shape family life in the UK are unfair and unequal and any system of law based on those rules can only ever be biased against men. She was the recipient of three of the 2015 Our Watch Walkley awards, including the Gold award for reporting on violence against women. The anomaly is that while the accuser may have legal aid representation, the accused, usually a man, does not.”, “Sodha refers to a “disproportionately male” judiciary, but that was certainly not the case in the central family court, where I sat. Hi, that the family courts are not actually biased one way or another. I stress. 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