Are Divorced or Separated Dads Missing Out on time with their Children?

A number of organisations have established themselves as representatives for the rights of fathers, whether divorced or separated from their families, to ensure that they get regular access to their children. One such body, Families Need Fathers, was set up to help dads who were facing limited child access to get the support and advice they needed to pursue their former partners and avoid highly expensive court action.

Danielle Messenger, a family law specialist at leading and award-winning regional law firm Pictons says “Unfortunately there are some mothers who make it difficult for their children’s dads to have overnight contact so that they can maximise what they receive through the child maintenance service in child support.

“I am actually working on two such cases at the moment.  Under the child maintenance service calculations, where a non-resident parent is having the children overnight they are entitled to a reduction to the payments they make based on the number of overnight stays (i.e. a discount of 1/7th  for one night,  2/7th for two nights and 3/7th for three nights).  Some mothers are deliberately limiting time for their childrens’ dads in order to get the most amount of child support.  This then leads to unnecessary litigation for the court to order the arrangements for the children.

“A family breakdown is never easy for anyone but the most important focus for all parents should be their children’s welfare and the priority of making any split as amicable as possible so that the children do not suffer more than they inevitably will. I think it is unforgivable for any mother to manipulate the child maintenance support system at the expense of their children’s happiness. If they really do need more money from their children’s fathers, then there are other negotiating steps they can take rather than limiting dad’s essential time to continue his important relationships with his beloved kids.”

Families Need Fathers seeks to obtain the best possible blend of both parents in their childrens lives and give them the experience of both parents being involved. Legally, parents should be of equal status unless criminal activity such as domestic violence or child abuse has been involved.

Responsibilities and obligations, caring and financial, should be fairly shared between the parents. FNF’s immediate priorities are getting court orders for shared residence, improvements in the time children are allowed to spend with their ‘second parent’, more effective action taken when one parent defies a court order requiring them to allow their children a relationship with the other parent, and replacing adversarial court hearings over children-matters with child-centred discussion.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation when it comes to your children call Danielle or one of her team on 01582 870870 or email