Study finds that family courts are not biased against fathers
It is not uncommon for fathers seeking contact with their children to fear that the family court system is biased against them.
According to a new study, however, there is no evidence of any bias. The research, by the universities of Warwick and Reading, found that on the contrary, contact applications by fathers were “overwhelmingly successful”.
The report by Dr Maebh Harding and Dr Annika Newnham reviewed nearly 200 cases and concluded that county courts played a positive role in resolving family disputes.
Dr Harding 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.
"But 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.”
The study found that parents tended to only use the courts as a last resort and most cases were resolved without any need for a contested final hearing. The researchers also pointed out that, contrary to what many people believe, court proceedings do not tend to result in increased conflict between parents.
Please contact Siobhan Thompson or Paul Owen if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.