As a dad (yet another ‘tearful and wholly-deserving father’, to use the courts’ stock phrase) who’s been through the nightmare of family court litigation, I can conclude, 3 years and £20k later, the following:
- CAFCASS is biased towards mothers;
- Judges are biased towards mothers.
There is plenty of evidence to supports both claims, and I will not rehearse those here. What interests me is the following question:
Why, when courts, CAFCASS and everyone else knows exactly what is going on, do courts consistently fail to punish parties (usually mothers) who fail to comply with court orders (only 1.2% are enforced)? Mothers persistently breach contact orders and refuse to engage with the legal process. They obstruct contact using the flimsiest of excuses. And they make false allegations to keep dad away.
My point is that the courts know exactly what is going on – judges see this all day, every day, and have been doing so for years. So much so, they often don’t even bother investigating allegations from the AP that the TP has misbehaved in some way. Invariably, of course, the TP’s ‘misbehaviours’ only start after the couple have separated…that fact alone should alert the court to the possibility (?probability) that the allegations are false.
My answer to the question is this:
The courts are profoundly conservative. Judges believe that a woman’s place is in the home. Children belong with mothers. This is a woman’s job, right? To look after kids. The dad’s job is to go out and work and bring home the bacon, and ne’er these twain shall meet.
Social workers, on the other hand, are liberal-progressives. They believe that the child should choose where he lives, ignoring the very obvious possibility that the child may have been manipulated into hating/fearing his dad (as in re H 2014, for example).
So – we have a strange and unholy alliance, between conservatives with their Idée Fixes, unenlightened to the simple, slap-in-the-face-obvious fact that women now work, and some men stay at home, and woolly-headed liberals who believe that a child has the first clue about where its best interests lie (that is, the criterion used by the Children Act 1989). The conservative judges back a regressive politic – society has moved on! And the social workers back a nonsensical philosophy of letting the child choose – a cowardly abnegation of their duty.
Let us approach this problem with fresh eyes.
There are now many women that work both full-time and part-time. There are many men who want to be with their kids as much as possible. Many men make better carers than many women, and many women make better employees than many men. In short, gender is a pre-determinant of precisely nothing.
If we must ‘label’, let us not be feminists, misogynists, misandrists, progressives or conservatives.
Now is the time for the egalitarian.