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Differences between family courts attitude towards fathers

(43 Posts)
Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 09:32:18

I've been following a thread where people have said that courts are now less inclined to just "give the woman everything". Is there differences between family courts in that aspect?

My partner is going to court with two separate cases, one about access to children and one about variation of the original financial order.

When the original financial order was made the attitude in that court was definitely that his ex should have everything because she was a mother, and that was pretty much the outcome.

So we're now worried that the same thing will happen with these two cases. When it comes to the children's case, his ex has not even responded to the notice of proceedings, (Interestingly enough like the woman in the thread I was referring to above) so we are worried that she won't even turn up or comply with what's decided.

Anyone have any experience of Reading family court or Central family court in London?

prh47bridge Thu 25-May-17 12:36:59

I doubt that the court felt that she should have everything because she was a mother. That is not a consideration in the financial settlement. However, if she had care of the children and had low earnings potential that would result in her getting a larger share of the assets on the basis that her needs were greater.

The contact case will be decided based on the children's best interests. In general that means contact with both parents but it depends on the facts of the case. If she does not comply your partner will have to go back to the courts to ask them to enforce the order.

Whether the courts will agree to vary the financial order depends on what change is being requested and the facts of the case. Your partner may not succeed but it won't be anything to do with her being the woman.

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 13:02:07

During the first proceedings the barrister even said that the central court in London favoured women (whether that is true or not I don't know). I was just wondering if anyone had had the same experience.

The variation regards changes in financial circumstances i.e. a lot less income than was assumed in the first case.

The contact case is the most worrying one, the ex is basically obstructing all contact and referring to the children to decide whether they want to go or not and says she won't force them.

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 13:05:55

I should add that my partner gave her the house so she could live there with the children, so she has the whole asset there. He also got spousal maintenance payments to the ex as part of the order, and is struggling to pay them, and wants to have that bit varied.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 25-May-17 13:09:12

I went thro the family courts nine years ago. And the courts certainly did not have the attitude that the mother gets everything then.

I had to fight tooth and nail to keep my children safe from a very abusive ex. The after effects are still manifesting themselves in my poor dc as a result.

I know which thread you're referring to and ignoring court dates does not mean the absent parent wins, more like the one present gets what they want as they went along with the correct procedure.

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 13:45:21

Fuzzywuzzy, sorry to hear that! What was the result in the end re contact with the ex?

In our case the ex is not abusive as in violent but she's certainly very inappropriate with how she involves the children in adult matters and uses them to get back at my partner. I don't think (or at least I hope she doesn't) understand that what she's doing is actually detrimental to the children. She keeps saying she's protecting them from being forced into things but she can't specify what exactly it is that is so horrible about seeing their father.

We have a 1 y/o son that the children still haven't seen "because they don't want to".

So there's certainly a few issues that needs to be resolved.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Thu 25-May-17 14:03:04

How old are the children?

prh47bridge Thu 25-May-17 14:03:54

Unless she can come up with something more solid than saying the children don't want to see their father (which is almost certainly parental alienation) your partner should get contact. I am, of course, assuming there is no other relevant information you haven't posted. He may need to go back to court to get the order enforced, particularly if she is refusing to engage.

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 14:14:25

Saskia, they are 8, 10, 12 and 14.

So I assume that the older two, possibly three, would have a say in court. The only problem with this is that their views are so coloured by their mother's feelings.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 25-May-17 14:17:42

First contact was in a contact centre then ultimately all direct contact was banned by the courts. By the time direct contact was banned dc were old enough to have their say in the matter. Cafcass, school and a paediatrician were all involved by then.

As I said I had to really fight to stop direct contact and the dc endured years of continued mental abuse at the hands of ex during contact.

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 14:20:07

prh47bridge, he's been fighting ever since they separated to get access to the children. I'm afraid she's really used them as a weapon against him.

He did not actually leave until we had already met (not to generalise but isn't that typical men...) so of course that made the separation harder than it might have needed to be.

However, he's always been very careful to speak about the children's mother in a respectful way whereas she's been calling both him and me all sorts of names in front of the children. She's also sat them down and explained that daddy left all of them, not just her (as a protective mechanism I'm sure, but still not good for the children) as well as saying daddy doesn't want to pay us any money.

It's all very sad to be completely honest.

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 14:24:16

Fuzzywuzzy, glad to hear it turned out like that! It sounds like decisions were made to make sure it was for the children's best. That's really all we can hope for in our case as well.

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 14:26:32

In our case the mother of the children is very manipulative with them. And then stands back and says "nothing to do with me" after she's done all she can in the background to influence them.

The fact that they haven't even seen our son who is a baby pretty much speaks for itself sad

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Thu 25-May-17 14:28:59

Yes, the older ones probably would have a say. And if they genuinely don't want to see him for whatever reason, trying to enforce it with a court order is only going to make them dig their heels in.

whitershadeofpale Thu 25-May-17 14:31:53

Looking at your past posts and the Op of the other thread's it's obvious that something is either afoot or she is your DH's ex.

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 14:44:20

Whitershadeofpale, she certainly sounds a lot like her...but I suspect that's not too unusual? At least from other people we've spoken to sad

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 25-May-17 14:50:58

What has changed as regards his financial circumstances that would give rise to a variation of the financial order? I assume the birth of your child?

Maybe the children feel that they have been replaced by their new half sibling? It is tough enough when a new baby comes into a family let alone when Dad leaves and starts a new family elsewhere. This may be why they're reluctant to come. Have they lost their bedroom at yours etc?

prh47bridge Thu 25-May-17 15:08:30

The views of the children will be taken into account. However, that doesn't mean their views will be followed. If their views are a result of parental alienation they will carry less weight.

Telling the children "daddy left all of us" and "daddy doesn't want to pay us any money" is very definitely parental alienation.

whitershadeofpale Thu 25-May-17 15:14:52

@Sisterland the attitudes sadly no, but exact ages of DC, details of the relationship breakdown and dates corresponding with specific applications to court; I doubt it.

SexTrainGlue Thu 25-May-17 15:27:14

"She's also sat them down and explained that daddy left all of them, not just her (as a protective mechanism I'm sure, but still not good for the children) as well as saying daddy doesn't want to pay us any money."

How do you know that? I'm not being nosey, but rather wondering if that will stand up in court.

Parental alienation can be tricky to sort out in older DC. I'm not sure of the timelines here, but from the DC POV, their father left fthem and started a new family. And they have no interest in someone else's baby if they still feel the impact of their family losing one member. And there is no set time for a Dc to get over it. And the older the child, the more you suggest they should be over it, the more they dig their heels in.

Refusal to see the second, supplanting, family is not unusual, even when there is no hint of parental alienation; it is also very common for DC to blame the OW for splitting their family.

Court orders don't resolve feelings. Which rather takes us back to the first point - how strong is the evidence of alienation?

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 17:20:36

@Allthebestnamesareused no the birth of our son is not a factor, he was made redundant from his previous job and now earns considerably less.

I'm sure it's been hard for them that their dad has had another baby. They haven't lost any bedrooms or such but of course a big change. They've been reluctant to see him even before we moved in together though, really since their parents separated, so it's not a new thing unfortunately.

@SexTrainGlue, the ex told my partner that's what she had done and the children have also said that to their father, that he left them. It's hard to counter that without undermining their mother which he of course does not want to do.

I don't know what counts as evidence but all communication is done by text or email and it's quite clear that the ex is not very supportive. Whether it stands in court or not?

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 17:21:30

@SexTrainGuide I guess there's a risk that the damage is already done whatever the outcome of the court case

SexTrainGlue Thu 25-May-17 18:54:43

There's also an opportunity to put it right, or at least make it rather better.

That's why I asked about how you would go about demonstrating parental alienation, so it is as clear (simple, unemotional) as possible and based on events you can describe.

Yes, you'll still have to deal with the effects of it. But right now you need to unpick what might be seen as a not unusual reaction from DC (themselves, spontaneously) and show what has been happening is beyond that.

babybarrister Thu 25-May-17 18:59:22

He will get a fair hearing - courts want dc to see both parents

Sisterland Thu 25-May-17 21:06:11

I think the best would be if the children were "interviewed" to give their views on the situation. Hopefully they would feel that they are listened to then.

And the reasons they give for not wanting to spend time with daddy are quite clearly not ones they've come up with themselves so hopefully that would shed some light on what's been going on. But I don't know how these cases are carried out. What happens at the first hearing?

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