The Rights of the Father in Family Law Matters
It was great to see the rights of the father getting considered in the Report on Reform of the family Law System from the Joint Committee on Justice and Law Reform.
Issues raised for men were the poor outcomes for men in the family courts, the poor access to legal advice since they may not qualify for legal aid and not be able to afford private legal representation. Additionally the report mentions the “winner-takes-all solution in which the man is removed from the home. He may still have to pay maintenance and a mortgage as well as provide for himself.”
My experience of this as a mediator is the relationship can be very toxic with the whole family dragged into the issues. Men can be slow to leave the family home since they feel that it will be a disadvantage to them in court proceedings and a very stressful situation continues until the matter gets aired in costly court proceedings. Access can be allocated by the court in a manner which is totally impracticable for the family. An example I regularly see is access on week day afternoons by court order for the father causing difficulty with his employment.
Dr. Roisin O’ Sheas input was that fathers were regularly seen as the secondary parent. 97% of the time the fathers are the non resident parent
The report highlights the position of the unmarried father and the fact that he does not get automatic guardianship, even if he is listed as the father on the birth certificate.30% of children born every year are born to unmarried parents.
The report is available by clicking on this link.
Susan is a Mediator working predominantly in the Munster area. Susan trained as a solicitor in Bandon in West Cork and practiced for years on the South Mall in Cork City and then in Bandon. Susan now works solely as a Mediator and does a lot of work in Munster counties of Kerry, Limerick, Waterford, Clare and Tipperary.