EQUALITY 4 MEN

The Global Campaign for Men and Boys

UK Family Courts Discriminate Against Dads Says Family Lawyer

Lady Butler-Sloss

A London-based family lawyer has said the NSPCC, the Children’s Minister, the Justice Select Committee and a top family judge are wrong to say the family courts are not biased against dads.

Writing in the Law Society Gazette, Phillipa Dolan of the legal firm Ashfords said:

“For years family lawyers have known it to be true: men get a raw deal when they divorce in this country. The prejudice against men is not confined to finance. More important, perhaps, is the way in which there is still no level playing field when it comes to deciding whether children should have their primary homes with their mothers or fathers.

“Our legislation is neutral and much of it admirable, but although the legislation is gender neutral, sadly the courts are not. I base this observation on years of dealing with the family courts. I base this observation on years of dealing with the family courts and witnessing countless examples of courts treating women and men in entirely different ways.

“I have acted for several fathers who have unarguably been the primary carers of their children but have seen court deciding the children should live with their mothers after divorce. When it comes to spending time with their children, the message is clear: women and children first.

“You can see why the father treated as a second-class citizen, or the hard-working husband now living in a bedsit, feels disillusioned. Our system is in denial and that includes the ex-president of the Family Division.”

That final comment is a reference to Baroness Butler-Sloss, formerly the country’s top family law judge who holds the view that “there is no evidence of bias in the courts in favour of one parent”, a view which is supported by, amongst others,  the NSPCC, the Justice Select Committee and the children’s minister.

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