Please Don’t Steal My Baby: Professional Abduction.

ImpermanenceThe first two articles within the category, ‘Being Human – The Way We Can Become’ discuss the inherent misery often arising in cases of forced adoption and then the bias towards mothers within the family court scenario – as well as the unavailability of legal aid for fathers. This article focusses on the various situations that mothers can find themselves in when faced with the family court system. It is true that men experience an immediate inequality through their inability to secure legal aid and therefore to professionally represent themselves in court – but actually mothers can find themselves in the same position and there are some events women encounter, which can only be described as rape. If you feel this is an exaggeration – then please substitute your own word for what is happening when a good mother has her baby taken away at birth? She is in a vulnerable state having just endured labour and then the birth of her own flesh and blood – and now an authority is taking her child and she is impotent to effect the situation. The baby is not anyone else’s to have. It is the mothers baby and yet it it taken from her against her will. In some cases it is even taken from a mother immediately after the birth and in the case of a Caesarean Section where the mother has had to receive a general anaesthetic, there is no contact for her with her newborn baby at all, permanently.

This seems such a barbaric picture but sadly there is even more. Three decades ago when a young lady became pregnant, she entered into a whole world of celebration and support from midwives, doctors, nurses, family and friends. If she was a very young mum in her mid-teens for example, she would receive guidance, financial help, encouragement and praise instead of having to be afraid that her youth and lack of experience was in some way going to lose her child. Now we read of teenage suicides that have occurred as a result of emotional overload heaped onto young mothers via services that were once there to protect and nurture young mums. I deliberated over including last year’s victims within this article but have opted not to in respect of their families and friends. They are terribly sad stories that highlight a failing system and an urgent problem to be solved as a priority if more young girls are to be saved from the same desperate fate.

My research began with the plight of fathers within the family court system, and I can honestly state that I was surprised  when I began to hear from mothers, at some of the one hundred percent unenviable positions they had found themselves in. Women at the mercy of a court with a bias in favour of a violent and deceitful  ex-partner intent on remaining in  their lives. Women who returned home to find their children gone – and who were then flooded with allegations of abuse against them. Women warned by Social Services to either separate from their partners, or lose their children. Women left grieving and broken through Social Services putting their children into care, due to a past aggressor being released from prison and posing a possible risk to both them and their children. Women who were drugged to discredit them, women dealing with falsified documents against them and allegations of medical, educational or emotional neglect towards their children and lastly, women whose cases arise in the first place, as a result of  malicious, revengeful attacks arising from completely independent events. Then there are the dozens of women who in one moment were collecting their children from school, having their children’s friends to stay over and planning their future together with their husband – and the next under a ‘gagging order’ whilst their children were given to adoptive parents never to be seen again. I cannot possibly outline all of the different situations that arise for women, but the examples I have cited will give you a fair idea, that it really is not just men who are suffering the inadequacy and corruption of the British family courts.

In all my research so far, I can honestly state that although their are casualties on both sides when looking at men’s and women’s stories collectively, the most excruciating accounts of extreme torture came from women and I think the main cause of this, is the physical abuse women often endure before then being made impotent via the family courts, to keep their aggressor away from them and their children. Either parent can become toxic within a breakup – but where there is physical violence, it adds a whole new dimension. When the services that are meant to protect us fail us and leave women and children vulnerable to physical threat, the family is unable to operate as they were in the safety of their own boundaries and are instead forced into the hands of a family court system who often put them through many unnecessary hoops while they try to access the situation and still arrive at a disastrous result. I am not insinuating that all cases involve professional cack-handedness, and accidental or intentional malpractice, but there are far too many cases to pass off as just glitches in and otherwise successful system.

There is another example that comes easily to mind when I am looking at the suffering of men and women involved in the family court scenario, which again, for me, equates to living hell. When a women gives birth the baby is born from and through her body and it attached to it until the umbilical cord has been cut. In essence prior to that it had been a part of her. Although a man knows that he helped to create the child, he does not experience this same bond, even if he does experience a physical bond with the baby before it is born, that will be most likely experienced as outside of his own body. When a baby is taken from the mother soon after it is born, the mother quite literally experiences it as if she is also being taken – and yet she is still here. This discord can be so disruptive as to be intolerable and mothers in this state need to be surrounded with kindness and support as it is a very precarious inner state to balance and can lead to a breakdown of identity and subsequent emotional meltdown too. It is no wonder that there are increasing reports of teen mum’s taking their own lives – it is a huge cross to bear even for mature and well-travelled women.

I am going to say this because 1. I am a woman and 2. therefore I can’t truly say how objective I am when I start talking about women’s within this topic – but in my experience it’s true that women can get high and mighty and yes revengeful if not bitter and yup, twisted too. In my experience men have a different brand of ‘nasty’ but neither male aggression and manipulation or female psychological games and manipulation (I mention stereotypes as examples only) does anyone any good – and neither look out for the children at all. I know that readers may have another point of view – but my own research has brought me to believe that the resolution of this rather toxic dynamic relies on both parents remembering their responsibilities towards one another as parents and their commitment towards their children’s wellbeing, and creating between them a situation that allows their children to get the very best of both of them.

There are further examples such as when women are accused of medical or educational neglect for example and find their lives being examined in great details, past and present, as if the services who would usually support, are actually aiming to find any reason to take their children away from them but medical kidnap, including educational kidnap cases deserve their own attention and will be discussed in a further article within this section.

There are also cases of mothers who as I write lie incarcerated in prisons for being in contempt of court whilst refusing to be silenced. It is not just men that go to jail -and judges do not always err on the side of caution in the mothers favour. To all you good dads out there, there really are sincere mums locked up in prison for attempting to save their children from the custody or care of ex partner’s who spent their time within the family, terrorising them all. One disabled mature mum reported to me that she had already raised three children to their teens ‘without him’ and hardly needed him to re-enter their lives to reign with violence and terror again.’ However, the family courts in effect, ordered her very aggressive partner back into their lives via contact centre visits which she was supposed to support – waving the ‘disability card’ in their face. The court stated that due to her disability her children may well be losing out on a full active life and that the rekindling of the relationship with their father, m,ay well remedy the problem. The children involved were all of an age to be able to speak up for themselves – but the court alleged that they were being manipulated to not want to see him. So we need to be very clear about something at this juncture, both mums and dads are often facing the inability of the family courts to provide the service that is really needed for separting partners. 

Arriving at a clear conclusion about the British family court scenario can be totally traumatising to those who have trawled through it to get there. However, once we are clear what we are dealing with, it is plain to see that parents are far better off trying to sort out their own separations amicably enough for it not to ever get as far as the court rooms. This means for resisting using all that we know about our ex-partner to character assassinate them, whether we are male or female. It means caring more about our parenting than our failed relationship. It means prioritising the feelings of our children before out own and this can be markedly difficult if we have not seen our children as people in their own right.

Many mothers in the case of family breakdown become highly protective of themselves emotionally and their attachment to their children leads them to feel vulnerable in the face of them spending time with someone that they no longer feel an affinity with. In the case of their ex finding a new partner, they fear the influence of another woman in their child’s life (just as a man often does) and this can be enough to create a longstanding conflict, even if she has a new partner of her own. I think this is due to the physical bond mothers and children often have through carrying their child and giving birth to them. It isn’t so much that it gives them a sense of ownership – but it does lead to mothers feeling this extra tie with their children and often along with that, extra rights. The reason I am highlighting this in this article, is because I think it is often overlooked in preference to tired, easily found reasons for women who appear to be possessive over their children. Yes, there can be mind games and revenge and it is true that women especially are drawn to neat little bundles when it comes to their children and family life, so often, an ex-partner can turn out to be an inconvenience. But even amongst women who are agreeable to their children maintaining contact with the absent father, there are cases where women experience what can only be labelled as ‘separation anxiety’ and my own opinion, is that this arises through their physical attachment with their child and an organic fear when their children are not within the safety of their own parameters. In cases where there has been past physical abuse towards the mother, it is therefore understandable that she would resist any contact between her past aggressor and their children even in a supervised environment.

If parents can come to better understand one another, then we have a chance to turn the current unsatisfactory status quo around. The family court process is unpleasant at best and destructive at worst and while the court staff are all being paid their wages, the cases within the court walls scream to be publicised – yet are committed to silence.

I hope we can rise to what is needed.

Over the next few weeks, I will be interviewing motjhers who have tasted the sourness of the family court system and wish to share their story. If you are reading this article and would like to become involved, please do get in touch here:

Thank you for reading. Comments welcome.

© 2015 Sarita Perrott. All Rights Reserved.

A Father’s Plight Within The British Family Courts.

Father and childIf women knew that to separate from their partner meant that they may lose their children – maybe they would take more time before choosing to separate where the reasons are relatively trivial. Many men lose their children following demands for more money from their wages, or following their partner’s infidelity. Both parents are equally valuable for a chid’s balanced development and this doesn’t change when couples fall out.

The parents named on a birth certificate have equal legal parental rights. Men are accepted as main care-givers along with women in our society today – and children in their formative years, often bond just as well, if not better with the father than the mother. However, as soon as feuding is present, the family courts often give mothers a superior position and fathers can find themselves treated like villains without any rights to their children at all.

There are thousands of children prohibited from contact with their fathers or limited to the contact that a mother will offer them, often at her whim and regardless of the child’s needs and wishes. Children are being quite literally not seen and not heard and fathers are finding themselves virtually extinguished from the family and court scenario…apart from perhaps when the system arrives at demanding maintenance payments from them. Courts will even prioritise the benefits for a child of a new partner/father (‘completing the family unit’) over and above the maintenance of the child’s existing relationship with their biological father.

Within family court hearings, the court relies on reports from Social Services and Cascaff to ensure that children are ‘given a voice.’ Yet most children are not given the opportunity to express their experiences to either authority and most reports are written devoid of any contact with the parties at all and based on a single telephone interview with each parent. Many fathers report Cafcass phone interviews opening with unjust and biased accusations towards them. I think we need to ask ourselves, if there are instances where the court deem the child ‘better off’ within the care of the mother and her new partner – then surely there are also instances where the child may be better off within the care of the father and his new partner? And yet he family courts continue to order child after child to remain with their mothers, even against the child’s own wishes and even in cases where their have been safeguarding concerns and/or prior abuse.
The state says, ‘We do not like people to take abuse into their own hands. We like the state to be involved.’ It is a father’s first nature to protect his family. If the state is going to demand that he does not – than surely the state need to step up and do the protecting adequately themselves? Yet there is no standardised procedure involving the expertise of trustworthy child psychologists, to truly ascertain the state of the child, or the truth of events that have occurred where there have been allegations of child abuse. If children cannot rely on either a parent or the system for protection, disrupted value systems and all manner of associated imbalances and behaviours are likely to ensue, including profound mistrust and negativity towards authoritative bodies. Children with disrupted value systems often develop mental health problems and profound emotional neediness; many turn to substance abuse , self-harm, crime and even suicide. Psychology reports teach us that there are certain critical moments in a child’s development, where it is crucial that particular connections and perceptions of reality are nurtured, for the child to blossom healthily and then thrive in society.
With solicitors hourly rates currently averaging £250.00 per hour and free Probono advice and representation only available via a highly subjective referral from a solicitor, the CAB, or an MP; there is no sure, systematic route for fathers to take within the legal system, in support of themselves, or their children. However, mothers without any evidence whatsoever can easily be granted ex-parte temporary residence orders and prohibited steps orders and also  legal aid – enabling them to swiftly get to work to oust their chid’s father out of their lives. For many, this lop-sided legal aid dynamic effectively steals fathers equal rights to their children away before they even get as far as the court room. Often fathers ex-parte orders are not granted, based on ‘lack of evidence’ – even in cases where there have been allegations of child abuse concerning the mother, therefore leaving the child in possible danger. Fathers with equal rights who remove their child from an abusive family home, are likely to receive an order with a penal notice attached, directing them to to return their child to the same unresolved situation, or to risk imprisonment. Many fathers report bias against them as can be witnessed from the following example:
A four and a half year old little girl reported to her father within an access visit, “Daddy my neck and head have been hurting all week.” Upon questioning her as to why this was, she grabbed her own throat hard enough to choke herself and then said, “(stepfather’s name) did this.” When the father reported this to various professionals, he described their focus as ‘determinedly ignorant.’ Instead of responding to an alarming report from a scared little girl, each authority highlighted the father’s wording of the reported event as ‘unrealistic for a child,’ therefore deeming the allegation to be false. The father’s wording was, “My daughter told me that her step-dad strangled her.”
I have spoken with many, many fathers both nationally and internationally who report the same scenario again and again: an ex-partner who they feel is ‘using their children as a weapon’ while prohibiting contact. Granted, in some cases further questioning revealed events or conditions which changed my initial picture and situations that perhaps offered them more obstacles than other dads – but on the whole these men have no mental health history, no criminal history and no former dealings with Social Services. The increase in home produced videos uploaded to social networking sites from fathers left stripped to the core and in shock, in the face of a system full of closed doors – video footage calling out to everyone, someone, ANYONE to help them out of the nightmare that they find themselves in – are a testament to the cruelty of this current state of affairs for fathers, their children and their families.
There are countless groups now in support of fathers and therefore much information out there readily available for those who find themselves enmeshed in the family court system – however, with no requisite to legal aid, fathers are left to either pay their own fees or to self-represent and many feel far too afraid to embark on such a task. *The subject of self-representation will be discussed in full in a further article.
The stories that fathers have shared with me are enough to soften any heart – good men, paying their way, law abiding, hands-on fathers, loving husbands. We cannot get behind closed doors to examine the subjective lives of those behind them, but these are also men who once faced with the family court system subjugated themselves to a gruelling inquisition into every area of their lives and attended courses provided for them, passing every test of character, responsibility and ability – still to find themselves ousted out of their children’s lives and through lack of financial means, often unable to contest the verdict any more. Some men, cannot bear the strain and false allegations alongside grief and concern for their children and most certainly crack and turn to substance abuse, alcohol or other crutches. Very sadly, the shock, humiliation and feelings of absolute impotence – for some men, steals their lives altogether.
Within this topic over the last sixteen months,  I have wanted to inspire women to see clearly the fodder that parents become for the family courts if they allow themselves to become involved in a superficial manner –  and to urge them to ‘play fair’ and to prioritise their children’s needs and wishes. *This article does not refer to conditions where children have had to be removed from a parent due to physical abuse nor does it assume that all women are bias and unfair in court.  I have wanted to encourage fathers to never give up – to hang in there regardless of how hopeless it can seem; if only to tell their grown up child one day, that they did. I think it is important to preserve the memory of themselves for their child/children by being able to put something solid against any allegations that have been made against them in the past. I witnessed one eighteen year old lad who had been prohibited from seeing his father since he was a toddler – saying to his dad just a couple of hours after reuniting with him, “It’s really great that you haven’t been around in my life actually, because you’re nothing to do with any of the crap that happened.”
They went on to have a full loving father-son relationship with each other to this day. In this example, the father didn’t even need any proof that he had tried to see him – or really loved him. So as despairing as it is to be cut off from one’s children, it is good practise to not throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak and to preserve relationships whilst there can be no constructive movement.
*Please do not assume that a father being stopped from seeing his children, ‘must be a bad father.’ In most cases you will be wrong and will only be adding to a burden that is already almost to heavy to bear. Please ladies, don’t assume that all men are the same as the men you have had bad experiences with and please, make the children the priority in any separating partnership.

 Fathers are not asking to be given priority over mothers, or even over step-parents, they are not asking to be the main care givers, they are not even asking that other men don’t father their children in the case of family breakdown and a new figure entering the family home. They are asking – and now in some cases demanding, to be treated as an equal party where there is family breakdown, and for mothers to be seen by the family court as just as vulnerable to errors as men, and to be held equally accountable for their actions.

* Fathers are asking for the ‘red carpet’ currently automatically laid out for a step-parent who has entered the family home, to be withdrawn entirely and for step-parents to be treated as equal parties in the case of family breakdown, just as vulnerable to errors as biological parents – and just as accountable for their actions.

* Fathers are not asking for support to father their children, but to be able to remain a regular feature in their child’s life following family breakdown, without prohibition from the mother via the family courts.

* Fathers are not asking for the law to force their children to see them, they are asking for a more thorough vetting system within the family court procedure, so that children who wish to see their fathers, can make themselves heard.

* Fathers are not stating that mothers or step-parents abuse children, they are requesting an equal position within the family/criminal courts where there are allegations of abuse, and where ex-parte, residence and prohibited steps orders are being applied for.

* Fathers groups are not just fighting to connect with their estranged children again and they are not fighting to prove themselves as fathers, they are attempting to draw attention to the state’s apparent refusal to address this issue, as a matter of urgency – now.

Parenting is a serious commitment to prioritize the health and happiness of our children.
·      When partnership conflict arises, it is crucial that children are properly considered and are not allowed to become possessions, weapons, emotional sponges and extensions of either parent’s negative experience.
·      Where parents choose to separate – it is crucial that they appreciate that the child is not part of the conflict and that the child’s relationship with each parent, is seen as quite separate from their own.
·      When a child reports abuse from either parent, it is imperative that the child is able to choose to reside safely with the other parent, or within their greater family environment.  
·      Family proceedings presently rely heavily on often distorted and devious reports from our corrupt Social Services and Cafcass organizations, who rarely meet the children and parents in question.
·      For many children their ordeal is prolonged further as they find themselves in a strange room, with an ‘authority’ watching over them while they meet a parent for an hour or so, that used to tuck them up in bed and take them to the park.
·      Other children wake up in someone else’s home, with parents that aren’t theirs – being told that ‘everything will be alright.’  

Each child has a whole family – so when the main home is suffering trauma and separation, there is still opportunity for the child to reside within another family home with people that they feel safe and familiar with.
·      If children were given the opportunity to reside with other safe family members, either permanently or whilst their own home was unsuitable, then there would be less need for fostering and adoption.
·      In turn there would be fewer vulnerable children open to the recorded abuse of the care system.

I have spoken with far too many parents to be able to recount each and every story and prior to writing this article I considered which I would pick if I were to include some sample case histories. Then I realised that the most profoundly impacting way for readers to appreciate these fathers stories, is for you to meet them yourselves.
Over the next few weeks, I will be interviewing fathers who have tasted the sourness of the family court system and wish to share their story. If you are reading this article and would like to become involved, please do get in touch here:
Thank you for reading. Comments welcome.
© 2015 Sarita Perrott. All Rights Reserved.