This case would make headlines across the land, if it were not hidden behind the family courts’ extraordinary wall of secrecy.
Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category
It’s no surprise to anyone that has been touched by the Family Law system to understand that Non Resident Parents have a bad deal in the UK. A very bad deal.
A Parent With Care (PwC) can, and many do, adversely interfere with the relationship between the Non Resident Parent (NRP) and their child by making contact difficult.
You may say “But parents with Parental Responsibility are “equal before the law” – it says so in the Children Act 1989 as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property” “
Alas, this is not practised by many local government or judicial agencies.
As a NRP, if you have difficulty seeing your children, your first port of call may be the Police or the local Family Information Service (for “Family”, read “PwC”) for advice. You will soon start hearing the excuse “if you don’t have a court order, we can’t help you” or similar. Strange? We already know that all people with Parental Responsibility (PR) are equal then surely these support agencies will help anyone of these people with PR to continue to exercise their rights and responsibilities and enjoy a Family Life.
Remember this is the same “Family Life” as described in The Human Rights Act 1998 where it cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 8.1 “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence” and Article 14 “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground …” used by convicted criminals to be released from jail early or stopped from being deported so they can see their children !
It is such a shame the Government, local agencies and judicial system does not afford this protection to law-abiding, tax-paying voters – in truth you are their boss you may say.
So, you’ve asked around and you realise that the only way you can get to continue having a relationship with your child is to ask the Family Courts to enforce yours and your child’s rights for this.
Dear, dear, dear … this is where the “system” really does start to expose the underlying faults.
The act of attempting to see your child via the courts is automatically seen as “confrontational” and it is YOU that is making waves. Hang on a minute, you’re the one that has been wronged? You’ve lost contact with your child through no fault of your own and all the “support agencies” won’t help because you don’t have a court order in place (remembering that everyone with PR is equal before the law .. mind you some people are more equal than others …)?
Keep that thought …
Now as the Applicant (the one bringing the court action), you will be expected to prove that you are a fit and proper parent. You will not be able to bring any evidence for this, and you will more than likely have vicious and hurtful allegations made against you, which are always taken on face value as correct until proven otherwise (any concept of innocent until proven guilty is left at the front door of the Family Court). These are generally made one after each other, causing delays and further distress.
As an Applicant, if you are the father, then the first allegation will probably be that you are not the biological father. Now, as a major “show-stopper”, this is the first attempt by the Respondent to stop you. This allegation by itself can be heart-breaking to the NRP, let alone now having to undertake DNA (or similar) tests. However, by this time the PwC has probably already clearly stated to CMEC/CSA that you are indeed the father and you’re on the birth certificate so there is no reason to doubt it. So, a few weeks go by and the test results come back positive and you continue to try and see your family.
Now I abhor violence in any form and do not condone it in any way, but the next allegation will normally be violence or the threat of violence either to them or others within your family. This too is a contact show-stopper, and the respondent will even mention when you had (or maybe didn’t have) that argument with your brother/ sister/ mother/ father. Mind you, any family member will do as the courts have been told this will now need to looked into, and therefore a few more weeks delay before actually getting to the reason you’re in court.
Remember when I mentioned about people with PR being equal before the law? Yeah, about that. Domestic Violence appears in many forms, one of which is the threat of or actual act of stopping you seeing your children. So, as a NRP, you suggest you are going to court and you’re going to “get to see my kids” – then this is seen as Domestic Violence (DV) .. don’t believe us? Have a look at the leaflets available in the waiting rooms.
However; on the other side of the coin, when the PwC states repeatedly “you’re not going to be seeing little Jonny any more so take me to court if you think that will help you”; this is rarely seen as DV, and is rarely mentioned by the agencies or courts. Surprising really, as it is precisely because of this you’ve been denied contact with your children that your here!
Meanwhile, back to the story. We’re about 12 weeks into our journey through the Family Court system, and in reality probably close to a year since you’ve had quality time with your child. We’ve not even started asking for contact yet, and there are probably two more allegations to come.
You will be pleased to know the next two allegations are usually the final ones. Depending on what the PwC is like and their particular habits, you will be accused of excessive drinking (which is not against the law in any event) and of taking drugs. Obviously, if the PwC partakes of these activities then they will probably water the allegation down a little. I mean, they wouldn’t want the court to think THEY are a bad parent now would they?
Now we need drug & alcohol testing to see what you’ve been up to. If the court orders a hair strand test, then be prepared for a hefty report from the laboratory. Having only had experience of the alcohol test, the first 60 odd pages will be all reasons not to trust the report and how cold remedies will affect the results etc etc .. with a final analysis saying you drink between “0 and 28 units per week” …
A few more weeks, we’re 16 weeks into this process now …
Notice a pattern?
So we’re ready. The spurious allegations have all been dismissed by the judge and your ready to explain how you got here and how for a year now you’ve not been able to maintain contact with your child.
Doh! How STUPID have YOU been ???
You’ve recently shot yourself in the foot and you didn’t even realise or even be able to avoid it.
To get to this point you’ve proved you’re not a violent, drug taking, drunken thug and now, as a result of not being a threat or menace to society, you will not receive any systematic help or assistance from the relevant agencies. Social Services and Child Protection will not monitor you, CAFCASS will not assess you and so no Politically Correct Offender Support Officer will be able to recommend you need be in contact with your child so as to help them keep a family unit in place.
You are on your own and you’re stuffed!
Keep in mind the judge is not interested why you’re here.
They’re not interested that you’ve had to fight major obstacles to get here.
They’re not even interested in how good a parent you were – I mean, you’ve missed over a year of your child’s life now.
Remember also you have no recourse to justice for all the allegations, multiple breaches of your human rights and your child’s human rights.
As an aside, if your sibling killed your parents to get at their inheritance the court will intercept and stop that happening. Laws are in place to stop people benefiting from their unlawful actions – apart from in the Family Courts that is.
The starting point now is:
You are obviously a “feckless NRP” as in the courts opinion no PwC would stop you seeing your child for no reason. By not seeing your child you are actively demonstrating you do not support your child emotionally and therefore your child should be protected from contact with you and any contact should be supervised, monitored and appraised by the very same person that stopped you seeing your child in the first place. Have faith though, after coming all this way, the courts think the PwC will now suddenly be fair, consistent and objective in their opinions.
As another aside; if you speak to CAFCASS, they would usually say that if there are no unresolved issues (like the allegations above) then they would expect a child to stay with the NRP two nights per week from the age of 2.5 years. This is good and I’m sure you will agree appears fair.
Hold on there cowboy! “Fair” is not the issue here, get that right out of your mind now otherwise you are going to be sorely disappointed – and quickly too!
As an NRP applying for contact, all things being equal, you will usually get contact ordered. It may not be as much as you think it should be, or fair in the real sense of the word.
The bottom line is you are here because you were stopped from seeing you child and now you are effectively punished for asking for this contact.
As another blow to your “equal before the law” status, the contact order will probably assign residency with the PwC. This gives them even more “equality” than you when it comes to dealing with the relevant agencies (doctors, schools etc)
If you’ve read this far – well done!
We’ll continue this saga next week with responses to the three (relatively) recent Family Law reviews; the Work and Pensions Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2010-12,The Government’s Proposed Child Maintenance Reforms (HC 1047-I) and suggested changes (including recent Private Members Bills) to the whole concept of Family Law within England and Wales.
The wheresmydad.org.uk™ Charitable Organisation (#wco) provides practical information, support and assistance to Non-Resident Parents (NRP) that have lost contact with their children because the Parent with Care (PwC) has arbitrarily decided to stop access or authorities/agencies are not fulfilling their duty of care to the child and for both parents.
I am sure you are aware that the recent coverage of convicted criminals having the state aiding them in ensuring their Article 8 Human Rights are upheld would appear interesting to the electorate.
- Burglar who claimed jail sentence infringed his children’s human rights is freed | Mail Online http://ping.fm/ZEIUV
- Prisoner allowed to father a child from jail because of ‘Article 8 human right to a family life’ | Mail Online http://ping.fm/9YFCn
These headlines cut deep into the heart of most Non Resident Parents that are denied access to their children due to the unjust Family Law system. Comments and press releases about the recent reviews of Family Law and Family Courts show little inclination to improve the situation of these parents.
The “elephant in the room” for a Non Resident Parent having to resort to Family Courts is they WANT to be involved with their children.
They are not walking away and they are not abandoning their children – They want to be a good parent.
When a Parent With Care decides unilaterally they do not want the child to see their other parent, then this is why NRP’s have to go to court. They have NO CHOICE in this decision as no agency provides systematic and automatic support for both parents. Allegations are made, delays are introduced and more and more time is wasted as the NRP battles to provide emotional support for their children.
All the time, the Family Courts choose to ignore the very reason the Family Court has had to be involved; the “back story” as you might say.
NRP’s want to “do” what they SHOULD be doing as a parent – clearly explained at the Governments’ own website http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/ParentsRights/DG_4002954
- providing a home for the child
- having contact with and living with the child
- protecting and maintaining the child
- disciplining the child
- choosing and providing for the child’s education
- agreeing to the child’s medical treatment
These are not “dead-beat” parents, they are NOT CRIMINALS, yet they cannot get or see, Justice for their children and themselves to have this precious Article 8 Human Right – a right to a family life.
The Human Rights Act 1998 states in Article 8.1 “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence” and in Article 14 “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status”.
Article 8 also states, ““Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law”.
It appears clear that the current, and previous Governments, do not think the law-abiding, voting parents should have this “luxury” – only Convicted Criminals.
Can you explain to our supporters what you as an elected representative are going to do for them?
A loose analogy to how NRP’s may feel can be demonstrated like this:
If two siblings were the only beneficiaries to a large inheritance, the normal minded person would expect it to be shared equally. If one of the siblings kills the benefactor and then claims all of the inheritance, then by default they would not benefit from their callous and manipulative actions.
However, this type of situation appears every day in Family Court, but the Court does not care about the murder or it’s impact and repercussions. I am not saying a child is a “prize” or Family Court is a competition to see who can “win”.
All I’m saying is that NRP’s should have the same level of support as the PWC, as Convicted Criminals .. because I am sure will appreciate, EVERYONE with Parental Responsibility are equal before the law. Except this is routinely ignored by agencies and the “authorities” when a NRP tries to enforce this equality.
Please do not think this is a rant, or criticism of you personally, but you must accept the compelling argument that to see your children when you a Non Resident Parent may be easier if you get convicted of a serious crime.
I look forward to hearing from you soon, with your comments on this issue and any proposals you may have that may provide some comfort to our supporters.
We must bring to your attention the presentation of the Shared Parenting Bill by Mr Brian Binley MP on 13 July 2010.
More information can be seen via theyworkforyou.com website at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2010-07-13a.812.3 and can be followed at the parliament.uk website by clicking http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/sharedparentingorders.html
He was supported in the bill by MP’s Dr Thérèse Coffey, Mr Douglas Carswell, Mr Philip Hollobone, Mr Christopher Chope, Mr Peter Bone, Mark Reckless, Caroline Dinenage, Mark Pritchard, Harriett Baldwin and Mr David Nuttall
Although not confirmed by Mr Binley yet, the draft text indicates that these would be new Court Orders that would need to be applied for, rather than an actual legal presumption of Shared Parenting without the need for confirmation by a judge.
We as an organisation greatly welcome this bill, and hope it gains the support it so justly deserves.
As part of the development process of NAT, our NRP Awareness Tool, we identified lots of areas where Parental Responsibility (PR) is either ignored, misunderstood or just wrongly interpreted.
Various areas of concern exist, including Childcare, Healthcare & Education. Although Central Government agencies understand PR, local government or regional agency offices appear not to.
We will be releasing how we understand PR regulations within England & Wales, with links to existing legislation, practice direction, precedence and published guidance.
The aim is to “de-skill” this area of law, providing clear indications of how the regulations should be implemented and removing and reducing ambiguity of intent.
If you have any examples of situations where you feel your rights as NRP with Parental Responsibility are not being upheld, then please let us know within our discussion thread on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=23833223484&topic=16637
If you have recently been, or are currently involved in the Family Law “system”, the BBC would like to hear from you.
Specifically if you’ve had dealings with CAFCASS. They would like to know your experiences with CAFCASS and any thoughts you have on the visibility of Family Courts, now that the press are
prevented allowed to report certain cases. Any links to these would be most welcome, as it has been suggested that the courts are more stringent about reporting restrictions since the “opening” of the courts.
Please contact Lucy Proctor at the BBC either by telephone 020 8752 6194 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
On 15 March 2010 – 10 days ago – Bridget Prentice (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice) announced the Key Performance Indicators for Her Majesty’s Courts Service for 2010 to 2011
The Business Plan has finally been deposited in the library and can be seen by clicking http://www.parliament.uk/deposits/depositedpapers/2010/DEP2010-0680.pdf
Section 2.3 specifically mentions Family Courts.