Christmas Survey 2015 - Results

PRESS RELEASE – 24th March 2016


Spare a thought for Fathers this Easter as

Family Court Orders Are Ignored


FNF Survey of Holiday Parenting Time 2016

Thousands of children are denied a meaningful relationship with a parent after separation and this Easter Families Need Fathers draws attention to the failures of compliance and enforcement of family court orders made in children’s interests.

FNF carried out a survey of members and supporters to help gain an understanding of their experience of parenting arrangements post-separation last Christmas. We received 402 responses.

Almost half of respondents’ (46.1%) children did not see their other parent this Christmas.

A notable finding is that half of respondents (50.8%) had a court order in place for contact with their children during this period. However, in 56.6% of cases the order was not obeyed.

Of those who were not seeing their children, almost three-quarters did not even receive a card or gift from their children (72.9%) or have the opportunity to speak to them on the telephone (76.2%).

For many respondents, whether there was a court order in place or not, the difficulties are not new. Almost half (46.6%) did not see their children the year before either, a further quarter (26.0%) had not seen their children in the last 3 - 5 years and over a quarter of respondents (27.4%) had not seen their children at Christmas for over 5 years!

For those whose children were lucky enough to have parenting time with both parents this Christmas/New Year period it was reassuring to find that over two-thirds (68.7%) spent more than a day with their children. A further 7.4% enjoyed a day with their children. However, a quarter (24.0%) spent less than half a day over the entire period with their children and 13.4% had less than three hours of parenting time.

FNF’s CEO, Jerry Karlin, said “These are very dispiriting but not surprising results. Christmas is a sensitive time for children and parents alike. That so many people are reporting that court orders made in the interests of children are not being complied with reflects badly on the family justice system. That so many supporters report that they have not seen their children for many years just adds weight to this”.

The comments made by respondents support this with many saying that “the contact order was worthless” or “she has never stuck to the court order ever and got away with it” or “I wanted to see them or to speak to them but was told ‘no’ by the mother” or “I have no idea if my daughter sees cards and gifts sent”. Many respondents also reported Parental Alienation (PA) being an important factor.

A smaller number expressed joy at a change of heart by their ex “I have seen them for the first time at Xmas for 3 years, it was wonderful” and “FNF gave me the moral impetus to fight for contact and win”.

FNF have shared these results with the Minister of Justice and the judiciary with proposals to address these serious deficiencies in the workings of the family justice system e.g. judicial continuity of cases restored to the courts for enforcement and granting of court costs against parent failing to comply with court orders.

For comment, case studies or information please contact: or call Michael Lewkowicz on 0300 0300 110.

Notes for editors:

Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter
FNF is a registered charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status. FNF is NOT a fathers' rights group - we support the best interests of children - namely mature and collaborative parenting by both parents - an objective which is inadequately promoted in the family court system and associated services.

Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s meaningful relationship with both parents.

Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.

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