Happy Father's Day 2022
Today we wish all dads a very happy and joyful Father's Day. We know many of you will have been on a terrible journey to be able to mark this special day that is designated to focus on fathers.
For those who are still on that journey and who are unable to see their children today, this is a particularly difficult time. Stay strong and do what you can to stay healthy. Your children will need you that way for when you are re-united. We hear of success stories all the time, even if it takes many years to get there. Celebrate with your parents, do something positive with friends and/or resolve to help us to do something to change the system for the better - to keep people out of courts, to speed up the process and to remove systemic biases throught all areas of fatherhood (see the sample below). Why not resolve to write to your MP, share your story and ask them to make representations to the relevant minister and to meet with us? The same applies if you had a good outcome, but the journey was awful - resolve to help us achieve the changes for all children and parents affected.
Here is a sample of recent stories of dads reunited with their children... even after a long time.
Thomas "Thank you FNF, you helped me when I had no idea what to do and now I see my kids every week."
Carl, says: "The last time I hugged my daughter, she was tiny…… this Easter… we found each other!"
Paul says: "My son and I found each other six years ago when I was 50 and he was 25. I hadn’t known him until then."
Ross: "You can never get those missed years back, but after 15 years of fighting we connected in 2020. And next month she is a bridesmaid at my wedding. To anyone reading NEVER stop fighting"
Michael: "Just happened to me with my son [being reunited] it sure feels nice."
We hear everyday of dads getting positive outcomes, even in within the unfit-for-purpose family justice systems. Hopefully these stories will strengthen your resolve.
Never forget that your children need you now and in the future.
Challenges and Biases Fathers Face
This Father’s Day, as well as sharing the good-news stories, we reflect on some huge disadvantages faced by fathers with many aspects of sex and gender equality not reflecting the diversity of family life today.
The anti-father bias starts at birth
Whereas most fathers now attend the birth of their children, the barriers to their full involvement are high and discriminatory from day one!
The UK has the biggest differential in statutory maternity and paternity leave in the world at 52 to 2 weeks.
• Statutory paternity pay is just £313.32 (£156.66 per week for two weeks).
• For a mother on average income of £28,300 it is £7,956 - a support gap of 96%!
• The UK policy does not offer each parent independent leave and mothers sacrifice theirs in favour of fathers in just 1.6% of cases.
• When Aviva in the UK introduced equal 100% of salary funding for their employees for six months, 99% took it up and 84% for the full six months.
Anti-father bias upon family separation
- Almost all legal aid in private law proceedings goes to mothers, irrespective of the fathers’ income.
- In approximately 90% of cases fathers are classified as 'non-resident parents'.
- The vast majority of fathers in the family justice system do not have access to a lawyer.
- Family court proceedings now take on average almost a year. For those with contested facts almost two years. These are not child-appropriate, or father-appropriate timescales.
- The absence of interim arrangements or early intervention for children means that every year thousands of father’s relationships with their children are irreparably destroyed.
- Some 6,000 applications by fathers for enforcement of orders, made in the interests of children, do not result in enforcement action and lead to the loss of parental relationships.
- 60% of FNF fathers are denied the opportunity to see their children on Father’s Day.
- Even if they spend up to 3½ days a week caring for their children:
- They do not receive child benefits
- They are classified as ‘single adults’ by DWP – not even parents, so they do not qualify for any support e.g. housing for their children to stay with them.
- They pay child maintenance and don’t receive any, even if they earn substantially less.
- Schools often communicate with mothers and don’t have policies to enable both parents to be registered as contacts when they do not live together.
Three is a public health crisis being caused by the failure of government policy to reflect family life as it is today, the lack of a strategy for separated families and the failure to promote responsible parenting – indeed with outdated policies that have the opposite effect and drive family conflict and the exclusion of fathers from their children’s lives.
19th June 2022
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