Dads get fair deal from courts, research finds - Palmers Solicitors

Dads get fair deal from courts, research finds

Fathers are treated fairly by the courts when seeking to have their children live with them, new research has found.

In analysis carried out for the Nuffield Foundation, researchers from the Universities of Warwick and Reading looked at 197 County Court children cases from a six-month period in 2011, examining issues including the types of applications that were made to the court and the different kinds of time sharing arrangements reached during the court process. Their findings, published on 2 June, included:

the success rate for mothers and fathers applying for orders to have their children live with them was similar

  • 12 per cent of the cases involved non-parents such as grandparents or other relative carers
  • in most of the cases analysed,  a court application was a last resort after attempts to resolve issues through private negotiation failed. The vast majority of cases were resolved without the need for a contested final hearing.
  • the courts promoted as much contact as possible, with the normal process increasing the level of contact with the non-resident parent until both parents were happy with a  child staying overnight.  It was found that half of all cases involving parents concluded with regular overnight contact.

Dr Maebh Harding from the University of Warwick said: “Whilst it’s true that mothers were usually the primary care giver in contact applications, this was simply a reflection of the social reality that women are more likely to take on the role after a relationship breakdown.

“There was actually no indication of any bias towards mothers over fathers by the courts; in fact we established there was a similar success rate for mothers and fathers applying for orders to have their children live with them.

“And although the overall number of residence orders made in favour of mothers was higher than those made in favour of fathers, this was because a large number of such orders were made for mothers as the respondent father’s case was to seek contact.”

Palmers’ Family Law solicitor Surjit Verdi, who has extensive experience in children-related issues, including contact and residence proceedings , said: “These findings make interesting reading. Although the sample was small and the cases from some time ago, they indicate that an application to the court can produce positive outcomes.

“Few people would disagree that when a relationship breaks down, the welfare and well-being of any children involved must be a priority. At Palmers, we provide sensitive, objective advice as we work with parents with the aim of helping them to put aside their own differences so that they can reach negotiated agreements, delivering outcomes that are in the best interests of their children. For more information on how we can help, please contact us.”