Guest post from family law solicitors.
The Government is planning on protecting the rights of divorced parents to see their children, which is putting victims of domestic violence in danger; not to mention, their children too. With shared parenting as a priority, the welfare of domestic violence victims is routinely ignored. The failings of the family court system are such that vulnerable men and women are frequently placed in unsafe environments where they’re open to intimidation from their violent ex-partners.
52% of women who’ve suffered from an abusive relationship are subject to cross-examination from their violent exes, who have chosen to represent themselves in court. Obviously this can be an emotionally traumatic experience for many people women and men who’ve previously been bullied and intimidated by their ex-partner.
In fact, it can be equally as distressing to be the cross-examiner of previous abusive partners, and with the heady costs of hiring a lawyer hanging over their heads, can victims of domestic violence afford legal fees, especially if they’re struggling to raise a child? With coalition plans to reduce the amount of court benefits low-earners receive, this could mean many abuse victims are forced to represent themselves in court, with absolutely no legal training.
Severe Lack of Protection
There have been cases of abuse victims being intimidated with prolonged staring in the waiting room, as well as being forced to attend mediation sessions with ex-partners that are under restraining orders. When there are protective measures in place, why are they being ignored in a court of family law?
Many domestic violence victims complain of their concerns being sidelined and ignored by the court, dismissed as inconsequential when it comes to shared parenting, even though the children are the best weapons an abuser has to ensure access to his or her previous victims. Also, a violent or abusive person is not an ideal candidate for mother or father of the year, and it seems likely that the child’s welfare would also be in jeopardy.
Fathers’ Rights Groups
Yet Fathers’ Rights Groups have been protesting against the hostility towards protected shared parenting, calling it ‘scaremongering’ and insisting that false accusations keep fathers away from their children. Unless the accusations have been proven by court, there should be no reason to listen to abuse charges.
With 93% of residencies awarded to mothers, Fathers’ Rights Groups need all the help they can get. However, fathers stand to gain by abuse protection in the family court too, as more than 40% of domestic violence victims are male. If you can, please do contact a divorce solicitor in Liverpool, as they could make or break your case.
There have been cases where parents on the sex offender’s list have been allowed to enter a family court of law to argue their case for the custody of children. In this situation a husband had raped and duct taped a 14 year old girl and had been charged with an assault against his ex-partner. For years, he stalked his partner, before taking her to court, and it took a social services independent report to eventually deem the man as ‘dangerous to children!’ He is still free to reapply to the courts for child custody.
Produced by Denver working with Hughes Carlisle divorce solicitors who specialise in a range of other legal disciplines, providing an opinion on current topics which are affecting families throughout the country.