Categories:Family

Lawyers welcome Norgrove report into family justice

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Readers' comments (19)

  • An opportunity missed to address the difficulties experienced by unmarried fathers in obtaining parental rights and access to their children, often leading to distress to the child.

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  • “The one great principle of English law is to make business for itself”. Understanding his quote will bring you closer to the truth about UK legislation. The quote was made by Charles Dickens.

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  • I think the needs of the child have been lost in favour of the rights of parents and this seems to recognise this in some way. The desire of parents to have equal access can mean that instead of having one home, children are moved between two so while parents have their own home the child is passed between the two with arrangements made usually to serve the parents schedule rather than the child's. At the end of the day it is not the child's fault that his/her parents cant work out their differences and salvage their relationship. There is much research now out there about the long term effects on children of broken homes and divorce and as a general rule this damages children far more than ever imagined. When you have a child their needs and rights immediately become your priority and if the 'spark' in your relationship has gone - which is too often the reason for family breakdown - that is not reason enough to inflict the devastation of divorce and all that means in terms of life chances for your children.

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  • I am gobsmacked that responsible fathers are not being given some legal rights to shared custody?! It is simply too easy for a mother to deny a father access - why is this in the interest of the child?

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  • No surprise that the Lawyers are still happy, with the exception of Legal Aid cuts. The lack of reform being offered here is nothing more than pouring oil on hot coals. All smoke but no real fire.
    I hope the Government chooses a different path, and seeks to reform the system from the top down, and the ground up, and join it in the middle.

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  • Translation: Lawyers welcome further inaction over Fathers rights since this is were the money is.

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  • In the 21st c how can we justify enshrining gender inequality into the Law? Men and women are either equal or they're not. Having the sexes equal in Employment Law yet unequal in Family Law is as illogical as it is unfair. Contact with both parents is a right of the child; to deny them contact with their father and paternal grandparents after divorce is monstrous. Norgrove states that "enshrining such rights in law could slow down already lengthy and expensive custody cases." Are we to sacrifice the rights of our children just to speed things along? The best way to avoid custody cases is do what the French do and split children's time equally between both parents when couples split. Arguments are rendered pointless and everyone knows what will happen should they split. Norgrove's proposals will act as an incentive to divorce for some women. Why should they work at a relationship or compromise when they know they'll get the children, and the house and money that goes with them?

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  • In an ideal world seperated parents would sort out their differences in consideration of any children but all too often Fathers come up against unreasonable and manipulative Mothers. You cannot reason with an unreasonable person that is why the Courts are so busy! Mothers know they can get away with more or less anything. Can anyone tell me the last time a Judge
    jailed or issued a community hours sentence to a Mother who has breached a Court Order?

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  • Comment to Anonymous at 10:34:
    I have two children who for many years have lived with me as well as with their mother (my ex-wife) as ordered by court. They are very happy children who are doing exceptionally well in school and all other aspects of life (as commented on by many, not just my view). It is very upsetting to read generalised statements such as those by Anonymous, which could have devastating effects on children loosing a parent, when I see the proof every day that this argument is rubbish. I always suspect that the people putting this argument forward do not have childrens' interest in mind, rather they are simply serving their own selfinterest of keeping the children to themselves.

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  • David Norgrove is damaging the lives of many children by condemning them to a future wih limited or in most cases no access to their fathers love and nurturing. Our society is broken and will break further if we do not invest in our children the love, education and attention they require to grow into adults that society can be proud of. To do this the fathers role cannot be diminished further but embraced by our government as the catalyst to change our societies further demise. This is 2011 not 1945 when the bigot post-war view was spread that women should return to minding the house, bearing and raising children as nature intended to make way for men returning from the front-line. David Norgrove had some leverage in initiating change of this poisoned view but chose to maintain the persecution of fathers and their children. I prey the government ignore his report, recognise the link between 'Broken Britain' and 'Fatherless Families' and change the archaic rules the Family Justice system has, that is destroying our society, by preventing Fathers from being Fathers!

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  • Every case is different! It would be wonderful if children were listened to and ALL the assumptions were reviewed from first principles. It would also be a relief if domestic abuse was treated more seriously by the law and society and the affects, direct and indirect, resolved. It's not acceptable for the children to be expected to feel they have to spend time with a partner they fear.

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  • This report is yet another whitewash. My experience with the family law system is 100% negative. It is so keen to maintain the income of solicitors and barristers that it totally ignores the real issues - the children. It is responsible for an incredible amount of suffering and if it were subject to the normal rules of evidence, the entire system would go down for life with no remission. As has been said before, some mothers are extremely manipulative and can subvert the entire system with impunity.
    It is impossible to mediate with someone who doesn't listen and is only interested in their own point of view.
    They are not interested at all in their child's welfare - only that they "win" (because they know they can with the huge assistance of the publicly financed legal aid system and corrupt barristers). They don't care how long it takes, its all paid for. They don't care about the consequences for the father when they make false allegations to support their aims.
    I am 100% sure the solicitors and barristers are aware of the false accusations - they just don't care (and in many cases probably suggest some of their own).
    It is a disgrace and all it takes for evil to prevail is that a few good men do nothing. The Norgrove team did exactly that - nothing.

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  • The Norgrove report is an abuse of children and an abuse of fathers. How can we justify asking fathers (95% of them NRPs in split families), to be responsible for their children and yet not give them the same rights as mothers have? There are 4 types of fathers, some going through the Courts, a) fathers who can pay the costly legal bills (a tiny group) b) fathers who are LIPs because they can't afford to and c) fathers who can't go to court because they don't know how to be an LIP and d) the ones that just can't be bothered (with court, the ex or the children).
    The reports seeks to prolong an environment where there is no incentive for mothers to negotiate. Why compromise if you have all the aces in your hand? Against this backdrop, it is disingenious to say that more mediation will be undertaken...I contend less. Were the rights to be equal, the potential risk/threat that one might lose out would surely force both parties to negotiate/compromise in the child's best interests and with one's own interests coming a poor equal second with those of your ex. It is precisely because of the above that litigation takes time. There is no incentive for mothers or their lawyers "to close".
    Less adults and children would be "in court" if rights were shared and perceived risk was higher.
    Any mother seeking to deny they child proper contact with the father (a wicked thing) should expect the same threat to befall them....watch how they would suddenly not want to exercise this power of veto.
    In summary, it's a mess with no prospect for improvement. The UK will continue to promote more generations of fatherless children for another 20 years, at least. Would this happen in Spain or Italy?

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  • Will this report help in cases where children come from homes with abusive fathers? All too often judges in the family courts use their 'one size fits all' approach, which has been heavily influenced by the Fathers 4 Justice movement. My children are frightened of their father, who was extremely abusive, but so far I have been unable to protect them from him because every judge we have come up against says that 'all children benefit from seeing their fathers'. That said, I completely understand the frustration felt by responsible fathers who are prevented from seeing their children by manipulative or bitter mothers. I just wish my children had one of those fathers!

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  • All children need fathers where possible and available. As the mother of sons I find this report a backward step as I see them very involved in the parenting of their children and feel that all children benefit from joint parenting.

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  • One thing which has not been mentioned in the comments is the proposal that the views of the children should be given further emphasis.
    My expereince of the family justice system is that neither judges nor Cafcass wish to make a decision as to which parent the children shoudl live with and so if there is a chance of gettign the children to state a prefernce then so much the better.
    The result is that the chidlren are encouraged to make a choice between two parents, both of whom they love. This is the truly horrific judgement of Solomon. Even if they only come to understasdn the significance of their decison when they are older, we invite children to condemn one parent to penury and rjection and to award the other parent with the right to remain within a family.
    Can we please have a system where grown ups make the decisions and chidlren do not have to bear such a heavy burden of responsibility?

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  • Having gone through a seperation myself and being in and out of the court system I am appalled at the way a parent can get away with not complying with the court orders. My experience of the whole thing is if you want to continue seeing your child just ignore court orders and play dirty. Put in your court statements there has been domestic violence and anything else you can think of as nobody asks you to provide evidence of anything. Whilst I am aware this is not right, is it right not to have a relationship with your child because nobody questions what is put in court statements??? Also parents that do seperate leave their partners not their children. THE COURT SYSTEM IS A SHAM.

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  • The court system only works if both parties stick to the court orders, my experience is that judges are unwilling to penalise anyone that does not stick to the orders.

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  • I would like to know why the Justice system allows so-called 'mothers' to use the law to deprive their children of loving fathers. The whole process is flawed and biased in favour of mothers, who's sole aim is revenge and inflicting pain on their ex partners, by depriving them of access to their own children. My son has paid £200 court fees to get a contact order for his son. A child I brought up from age 3 months to age 18 months, with the help of my son (the father) because the mother is mentally unstable, a physical abuser of my son (her husband) and was unable to 'interact with her own baby' - social services' words, not mine, although I agree. My son asked for a prohibited steps order as my daughter in law wanted to take the baby to Scotland, because in her own words "I will be untouchable up there". The court did not make the prohibited steps order, because my daughter in law played her ace card the "little miss innocent, tears in the big grey eyes" act. She promised faithfully to facilitate contact every fortnight by bringing the baby half way, some 120 miles, to a handover point. Despite having no car, no job and relying on benefits, the judge thought this was a feasible option! Unbeknown to us, she had already stopped her claim for CSA payments from my son. So by the time she moved to Scotland she was not receiving the CSA maintenance. My son knew nothing about this! He first found out when she claimed he had not been paying the CSA and was refusing to co-operate with them, "because he was not able to see his son". This was a lie and my son rang the CSA who confirmed my daughter in law had cancelled the payments herself and my son could not refuse to pay in any case as the payments are taken direct from his salary! He asked them to put that in writing which they have, and he has presented this at court as evidence she has lied. They also went to mediation, where she agreed the move so far away would have a detrimental effect on the baby and his dad's relationship and she "was not a cruel woman and would never do that". She promised to relocate somewhere within 50 miles and my son said he would do all the 'running around' collecting the baby and delivering back. It would have cost her nothing. So she lied to mediation, lied to her solicitor, lied to the CSA, lied to social services, lied to the judge. Now my son has had to pay her £80 for fuel "Or you won't see your son", my daughter in law states. This in my book is obtaining money by deception, as she has stopped her own CSA payments, and is blackmailing my son into paying her costs as well as his own costs for contact to take place. This past weekend she cancelled the contact because she said she was unwell. My son told her she must provide medical proof, a doctor's letter to prove she was telling the truth and she just told him to "F*** off, no one tells me what to do". He said if she was so ill that she could not drive, she should use the train and he would collect him at the station, but she refused this too. My son then said, "I assume next week will be OK instead then". She said "not unless you pay the money" then changed it to "Next weekend is not a normal contact week, so no!" This has all been given in evidence to the court too, together with payslips to confirm the CSA money has been paid out of my son's salary. On the second occasion contact did take place, my daughter in law was in M&S in the service station we collect the baby from and she was unaware I was also in there. The baby was having a massive tantrum whilst she was holding him, something I have never known him have in my care. My daughter in law, dumped him down on the floor and he began screaming and thumping his head on the hard tiled floor. My daughter in law just swore at him and watched as he banged his head. I intervened and stopped him, and when she realised I had witnessed her behaviour, she tried to play the "doting mummy" act but my grandson did not want to know her. He jumped up and ran to me, holding my hand asking "where's daddy?" My son came along then and my grandson leapt into his arms and refused to even look at his mother as she tried to "kiss him goodbye", he just clung to his daddy and she stormed off. I gave an account of this behaviour to her local social services and this statement was also presented to the court, when my son went to have the contact order enforced. My son had to pay another £200 for the enforcement order, but all he got was a hearing date which had already been set for the final hearing of the contact order. I think it is a total disgrace that my son had to pay a further £200 to get the original order enforced asking if it could be heard as a matter of urgency, and the court just sticks it in the list for over a month's time! Also, my daughter in law has CHOSEN to disobey the contact order, knowing the possible consequences of doing so, so why is she not made to pay the costs? If these vindictive women are allowed to manipulate the law and public funding to facilitate their own hate campaigns against their husbands, without penalty or cost to themselves, the situation will never change. I firmly believe, having lived this nightmare for the past two years, that the legal system is not doing anything "in the best interests of the child" but in their own best interest. More cases = more revenue = more pay for them = constant work. If they made the correct decisions in the first place half the social workers, judges, solicitors, CAFCASS officers etc would be made redundant because the children would be happy! If my daughter in law was made to pay the costs for having the order enforced, and'or lost benefits if she failed to comply with the contact order, she would think twice about venting her anger through the courts. And before you say," we couldn't possibly take away her child maintenance as the child would suffer", just remember SHE HAS A CHOICE. She doesn't need to lose any money, if she acts like a caring mother and allows her 2 yr old son his rights under the Human Rights Act, to have a full relationship with the daddy who loves him and did everything for him for the first two years of his life. It is not fair to penalise the child for her hatred. and if she chooses to lose money to achieve her continued abuse of her child and husband, then why should the courts be concerned about her losing the money? It seems to me that the whole children's justice system is biased towards women, no matter how abusive and vindictive they are. My son loves his son. All he wants is to be a part of his life but because my son "dared" to leave his physically and mentally abusive wife, he must be "punished" by her and the law is set up to help her do just that. I want to know who is responsible for this shameful state of affairs, and why the government allows public money to be used to fund personal vendettas by these evil women. My little grandson has done nothing wrong, unless you class being born to a selfish, mentally ill, abusive mother as 'doing wrong' on his part. He loves his daddy and me, and loves coming to us, but because his mother has never known a loving family of her own, she cannot bear to see anyone else enjoying a loving family life. She wrecks every relationship she has ever had, including with her own parents, and now she is wrecking her little son's life and the courts are aiding and abetting her! You tell me how that is in the best interests of the child?!!

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