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FNF 2018 Conference - A Delegate's Report

FNF Conference Virgin

It was my first time.  Although a current member of, and long-time supporter of the National UK Charity Families Need Fathers, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I rolled up to their 2018 Annual Conference.

My first relief was that I wasn’t the only woman there. Not by far.

I was fascinated.  Here I was first hand seeing clear evidence that what ‘should’ happen in court - often doesn’t happen in practice.  It was impossible to ignore the fact that much of what the law provides in legal orders and decisions - are ignored.  They have no teeth..  What came across loud and clear is that the current - and any potentially future - laws that protect the children's rights to see both parents, are just not properly enforced. 

Keynote speaker Lord Justice McFarlane was busy making notes as he came face to face with the massive gap between what should be happening and what actually happens in the family courts.  And he was listening and taking notes also about suggestions of what could be done.

This was not a conference full of angry parents denied access to their own children, sharing their woes. It was a conference of parents who didn’t want other parents to suffer like they have done. Parents who want change and are prepared to come up with good ideas based upon what works in other countries.

One of the best ideas came from a member of the audience, which was to use something similar to what they do in Monaco - which apparently is to have a lawyer who represents the child and has an inquisitorial role, rather than parents having two barristers bashing out their respective arguments. 

Within our current system, there seems to be little to stop one parent lying about the other with often no real consequences (and none for the legal firms supporting those lies it appears) - and yet countries like Sweden have very few couples using the courts and mostly they even sort things out without even needing mediation.  We are so behind in this country, and it seems to stem from a lack of action with regard to protecting the rights of the children.

A great deal of discussion was about parental alienation, and as I sat there I wished that the whole conference was being recorded as a podcast.  Many of the messages of today's speakers - founded on facts and quality data - need to become public knowledge if anything is to really change.

The Telegraph reported after the event that keynote speaker Lord Justice McFarlane, the next President of the Family Division and chief family judge for England and Wales, acknowledged the pain of the fathers - and mothers - who shared their stories of endless court battles, vast financial costs and a family law system that doesn’t work properly. The Rt Hon. Lord Justice McFarlane acknowledged that something had "gone wrong". He also said that claims of parental alienation should be tested in family courts in the same way as domestic abuse accusations.

“But when will these changes happen” urged one of the parents - a mother, who had spent over ten years with the family courts being used as a way to bully her over child contact issues.  Any changes will be too late for her as her children are now teenagers.  But for the sake of other parents in similar situations - and the room was full of them - she continued to relentlessly but politely demand a commitment from the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice McFarlane of when these changes will happen.  No date was given.

Suzy Miller

Divorce Strategist
Creator of the Best Way To Split Retreat

 

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  • Families Need Fathers (FNF) are in today's Daily Mail in an article about Government plans to remove passports from parents who don't, or are unable, to pay their Child Maintenance. We believe that they need to first make sure their assessments are (1) affordable (2) reflect care time and (3) support shared care. Currently they fail on all these criteria. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6444633/Deadbeat-dads-skip-child-maintenance-payments-face-foreign-holiday-bans-tough-new-laws.html Support FNF by registering for free, making a donation or becoming a member. Also, please follow us and like this - it all helps.
  • Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter. Tickets are available for FNF's conference on Domestic Abuse - Get tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/domestic-violence-and-child-… More information is here: https://fnf.org.uk/index.php…
  • Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter. Tickets are available for FNF's conference on Domestic Abuse - Get tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/domestic-violence-and-child-welfare-tickets-49914248862?aff=ebdssbdestsearch More information is here: https://fnf.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=476:domestic-violence-and-child-welfare-workshop&catid=2:uncategorised&utm_source=newsletter_188&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fnf-newsletter-25th-september-2018&acm=_188
  • A Sheriff in Scotland found that a father was prevented for a year from seeing his children, because of false allegations of rape compounded by damaging support service interventions. #BelieveMe needs to re replaced with timely investigation. Findings of Fact should take place within three months - even that is an age for a young child to be needlessly deprived of a loving and much loved parent. There also need to be consequences to the making of false allegations. Link to full transcript of judgement in second comment below. https://www.pressreader.com/uk/scottish-daily-mail/20181017/282149292282550 To support Families Need Fathers, please like and share our posts, follow us, register for free, become a member or make a donation.
  • Is Misogyny about to be Classified as a Hate Crime in UK Legislation? What about Misandry – or are men not Worth It? Last month, it was announced that a review by the Law Commission would look at whether offences driven by misogyny - dislike, contempt or ingrained prejudice against women - should be treated as hate crimes. And now it's emerged the same review will also consider the opposite - crimes motivated by misandry - hostility towards men. This is a potentially pivotal issue when the new matriarchy are pressing so hard in all walks of life for special treatment of women. We are living in a fair and egalitarian society in which men and women should expect to be offered equivalent support and protection under the law. Surely it’s a no-brainer to treat all gender hate crimes fairly, regardless of gender? Unless the law is fair and has effective checks and balances to avoid it being abused, it risks being used as a weapon by some parents with less than honourable motives. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45870948
  • False allegations are commonplace in family justice disputes and since legal aid changes in 2013 these have been encouraged by providing Legal Aid in family disputes to just one side when alleging domestic violence. Non-Molestation Orders have become the most favoured route to this and have gone up by 37% since. The figures were boosted by legislation in 2017 designed to stop thousands of people languishing on police bail for months or years without charge - as these orders have the same effect, but are easier to obtain. The Guardian's report on our analysis today. The full report can be downloaded from our website - (link in first comment posted). https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/oct/15/parents-weaponising-domestic-violence-orders-claims-charity To support us, please share this, Tweet it, like it, comment, follow us, register for free, become a member or make donation.

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel

 

Upcoming Events

15/12/2018 Sat: Harrow Branch Meetings
17/12/2018 Mon: Glasgow Meeting
17/12/2018 Mon: London North Meeting
17/12/2018 Mon: Reading Meeting
18/12/2018 Tue: Manchester Meeting
18/12/2018 Tue: Hastings Meeting
18/12/2018 Tue: Harrow Branch Meetings
20/12/2018 Thu: Aberdeen Meeting
20/12/2018 Thu: Wakefield Meeting
27/12/2018 Thu: London East (Tower Hamlets)
27/12/2018 Thu: Exeter Meeting
1/01/2019 Tue: Leeds Central Meeting
1/01/2019 Tue: Newcastle Meeting
1/01/2019 Tue: Northampton Meeting
1/01/2019 Tue: Oxford Meeting (check day with branch)
2/01/2019 Wed: Manchester Meeting
2/01/2019 Wed: Epsom Meeting