Issues - Gender bias - Discrimination is illegal
Divorced fathers are to get a better deal
on custody and access rights to their children under new Government
plans, it was reported today.
Senior ministers are even considering equal
custody, a norm in some countries, to tackle the growing issue
of fathers’ rights, it was claimed.
And mothers who flout court orders on giving
ex-husbands access to their children could be forced to do
community service, according to reports.
One senior Government source, quoted in The
Observer said fathers had a, “very strong and I think
very justified sense of grievance” about the family
The Government has to tackle, “an absolute
gender bias” in the courts which says a child’s
place is with its mother, the minister told the paper.
The issue has been pushed up the political agenda
as divorce rates continue to climb.
Divorced dad’s rights group, Fathers 4
Justice, hit the headlines in May with a purple powder bomb
attack on Tony Blair in the Commons.
At present judges are only allowed to impose
fines or prison sentences on mothers who fail to allow fathers
access to their children.
But imposing fines or even prison is seen as
damaging to the family so are rarely used even when mothers
flout court orders to allow access.
Community service could now be introduced, according
to The Sunday Times.
Ministers at a Cabinet sub-committee meeting
last week agreed to introduce a green paper outlining the
changes to current law, the paper reported.
According to the leaked Government paper seen
by the Sunday Times, ministers want to improve the working
of Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support
Service) which handles family breakdowns.
Tory leader Michael Howard is also due to stage
a summit tomorrow on parents caught up in custody battles.
He is expected to tell the summit, “the
best parent is both parents” even after divorce.
It will discuss shared parenting where mothers
and fathers get equal access rights, which is routine in New
Zealand, Australia and the US.