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A Father's Fight for Contact With His Boys

By: Clare Birtles - Updated: 2 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
Children Contact Police Court Breach

Read Tim Bailey's (name changed) story about his split from his fiancée and ensuing battle for contact with his children.

I arrived home after a long day, my late Father's ashes and torn Christmas paper still gathering dust on the back seat of the car. Dinner was on the go so I went upstairs to freshen up, only to find my fiancée's mobile tossed carelessly on the windowsill, vibrating to reveal an affair.

I confronted her, as I had been doing for some weeks about her erratic behaviour. I asked Mum to come over and sit with the children, so that an adult discussion could be held. When she arrived my once doe-eyed and now cornered fiancée began yelling at, insulting and intimidating my Mum, the situation deteriorating swiftly so calling the police was the only option.

Like a SWAT team the police arrived in force, 2 squad cars and a supervisor, 5 officers in total, who shamelessly agreed that I would leave my own property in order to keep the peace. So the next day she moved her new partner in, an ex-prisoner with no driving licence or insurance, who proceeded to drive my children to school each day. The police were not interested, and the social services thought I was a jilted troublemaker, both organisations vehemently ignoring my complaints.

After the dust settled my contact with my boys was still being refused. Following advice; hiring a mediator and bankrolling the sessions, only led to the mediator concluding that she was not prepared to compromise, and writing to the Court. Now I had not seen my children for months.

Meanwhile a phone call told me that the helpful police officers were investigating me for domestic violence. They had received a statement claiming that I had leapt upon, pinned down and punched my fiancée. I was arrested and interviewed under caution, but the police took no further action, as there was no case to answer. Fortunately there is some sense left in the world.

My solicitor, after some expensive wrangling, returned my house to me. My horrible ex-partner had stolen almost everything that fit through the front door. There was cold water running down the living room walls, holes in the upstairs plasterboard, a cracked front door and rubbish strewn everywhere. The car she had often complained about was testament to further ill-will, between three separate collisions the insurance company agreed to write it off.

After an 11th hour compromise between all parties, the Court hearing was merely to, "rubber stamp," the private agreement, which at least acknowledged the access difficulties by its very existence. The order was woefully inadequate, but at least it was the start of a solution. However within days minor breaches began to occur. I reported them to CAFCASS, who were not interested. Unsurprisingly the breaches worsened.

After the breaches had continued for months, there was no option but to involve the Court again. No more savings. The Court agreed the banshee was in breach, but still refused to impose any punishment, by implication making the whole Order a worthless exercise. Stress causing health complaints and tiredness. Instead we had to write statements but were saved the heartaches of CAFCASS interventions.

Now I am awaiting the final hearing date so that the impartial strangers of the Family Court whose input I requested can decide whether to grant more contact to me the boy's Father, or reduce the agreed contact, as their mother is requesting. Regardless of the outcome, they have already demonstrated their unwillingness to punish breaches.

I have told the Court to think wisely before they make fathers extinct like the wolves, as at times I have felt like howling an insane scream in the garden. Trapped in a helpless battle where the mother holds most of the cards. It troubles me that she both broke up the family and then had the insulting righteousness to punish me for it. She has assumed the custodial role of the children and has denied me access with impunity.

I have concluded that she was an insecure bully and jealous control-freak, but this has not helped the situation at all. The children's future was stolen from them, and this is what upsets me the most. The court will not provide a karmic punishment, nor did I expect it to, but I had hoped for some equality, given that it is pushed on us all every day in most other spheres of reality.

So I am now supposed to be pleased with the contact I get with my boys, the broken family I now have, the ripple effects to family, neighbours, work colleagues and friends, and I have the joyous horror of supposedly bringing up children with a person I despise and have no contact with. It is a horrible situation made worse by her remorseless actions.

The law needs to be changed, but more so general attitudes to fatherhood, which throughout this experience has been revealed to be perceived as no more than an optional bolt-on to welfare state funded motherhood.

We'd like to express our thanks to Tim for sharing his story. If you would like to tell us your story please get in touch via our contact page. Names and circumstances can be changed to keep things anonymous.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Hi Guys, I am granny to two wee boys aged 4,&8.I have not seen them now for 10 months.They were taken to live in another town by their alcoholic mother.I looked after both boys from birth.My heart breaks for them on a daily basis.I was their only strength against their vile mother.To not hear them say I love you granny is devastating.What's worse is the fact that I have no money to take the case to court.I pray every night that they will be safe.Why o why are people that abuse children in this way not punished?I read similar stories on this site all the time and find it heartbreaking at the amount of dads unable to see their own children,but Tom,Dick,and Harry can.To all of you unwanted dads keep your chin up and fight for your children.
Granny - 2-May-17 @ 9:45 AM
Hi there, i am writing on behalf of my Partner for abit of advice as we just dont know what to do.. here is just a quick run down of what has been happening (there is alot more that has happened, but is too long to go into so i will just go into abit of the past and most of it recently) basically my partner has been in and out of court for 8years trying to gain access to see his daughter, it all started even before his daughter was born as his ex split up with him 3weeks after she found out she was pregnant and got with someone elsepracticaly straight away (she was cheating on him during their relationship as he worked nights and long hours and she didnt like it) shes was difficult about paternity, also she had a few partners whilst she was pregnant so obviously didnt allow him to be involved at all. She has had SS involved even before the child was born and still right up untill now due to being in a series of relationships where domestic violence and drug use have been involved. She has always made contact as difficult as possible and stopped contact, using invalid reasons. My other half was finally awarded overnight contact by the courts 4years ago after only having an hour of supervised contact every 6weeks nearing in mind this took four years :( and everything was going great untill all of a sudden last year the ex used the excuse the child no longer wanted to see her dad!! Which was completley out of the blue (his ex had just got into another new relationship where he has children and who is also well known for drug use) so after not seeing his daughter again for another 5months, back to court it went where the judge deemed this a poor excuse and the child is too young to make her own decision so the order was enforced!! And everything was smooth again untill just before xmas last year where it was stopped again using the same excuse.. the child no longer wanted to see her father and that she gives her younger sister and our dog more attention (me and my partner have been together 6 and half years and have a 2 year old together). His ex is just putting all sorts of ridiculous things into their daughters head :( So back to court again this month.. where the courts have now decided that my partner is only allowed to have supervised contact again and none of his family can see her :( as the child is saying she doesnt want to see her dad and it is down to his ex to now decide when this is to happen.. even given her past of making things as difficult as possible. The ex has also admitted her mental health is suffering and that her and her current partner use drugs every weekend but it is not around the children (so where are they then). there has also been domestic abuse with every partner she has been with (6 since the child has been born, all of which the child has called dad). But the courts and SS have seemed to overlook all this. My partner spoke to SS and they have basically said the drug use isnt an issue and there is no risk. It all ju
Jojo - 19-Feb-17 @ 9:58 PM
dandy - Your Question:
Can I just ask, is it legal to leave out a dedicated Father of an Adult with Learning Disabilities and Autism from Proceedings brought by a dishonest aunt against the Local Authority? I have been involved for many years but, the case sadly ended with myself getting no contact {while I did no wrong} and the aunt {who cries non-stop} got contact and now seeks him to live with her while she worked with the Authority to remove him from my 1st class care.He has deteriorated badly and has been abused and neglected. She is really interested in his money and they can now see that. A Hearing in the CoP is due next week minus myself.The scandalous CoP and others fabricated he has gained capacity to decide not to see me and his brother but, this was done under unfair conditions and the assessment is full of untruths.I believe that they are deliberately excluding me as everything has backfired and it now looks very bad on them whereby exposing their unlawfulness and Human Rights breaches. We have not seen nor heard from him for 3 years.

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot really advise on this due to the complex nature of this case. It is rare that a court would remove a child from a resident parent's care and hand the child over to a family member without parental responsibility unless it deemed it absolutely necessary. If you feel you have been unfairly treated, your only recourse would be to complain against the relevant authorities.
SeparatedDads - 1-Feb-16 @ 10:11 AM
Can I just ask, is it legal to leave out a dedicated Father of an Adult with Learning Disabilities and Autism from Proceedings brought by a dishonest aunt against the Local Authority? I have been involved for many years but, the case sadly ended with myself getting no contact {while I did no wrong} and the aunt {who cries non-stop} got contact and now seeks him to live with her while she worked with the Authority to remove him from my 1st class care. He has deteriorated badly and has been abused and neglected. She is really interested in his money and they can now see that. A Hearing in the CoP is due next week minus myself. The scandalous CoP and others fabricated he has gained capacity to decide not to see me and his brother but, this was done under unfair conditions and the assessment is full of untruths. I believe that they are deliberately excluding me as everything has backfired and it now looks very bad on them whereby exposing their unlawfulness and Human Rights breaches. We have not seen nor heard from him for 3 years.
dandy - 31-Jan-16 @ 4:54 AM
@Meltedout - I am sorry to hear this. But usually your children would not be consulted here as they are too young. I should take some specialised legal advice. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 1-May-15 @ 2:02 PM
Hi, I have had ongoing problems with my ex and contact with my children for 5 years, she has concocted all kinds if tales of abuse by me, had me arrested, no evidence etc, just as a lot of dads here have. She is riddled with personality problems, anorexia, bulemia, fluctuation mood cycles, anger, kindness, anger etc. It's too much to explain here, but recently she was hanging with cocaine dealers after her new husband left her after a year of marriage. She has even let a methadone user babysit my children during school holidays, I moved to be closer to my children a 100 miles away. I was driving 400 mile round trips to see my children aged now, 6 & 8. We had a very good relationship, social services were called in once her activities were revealed and my children were exposed to 'significant danger' one night, where she was allegedly raped whilst my children slept upstairs. Have had meetings at the school, social services interviewed the children, and initially they said they have had a good relationship with me, my daughter aged 8, said 'my daddy is a nice daddy' I saw them together last at my ex's home, I gave my son his birthday presents and easter eggs for both kids. As Ieft, they were waving from the upstairs window at me, saying 'bye bye daddy, love you over and over, blowing kisses until I reached the street corner. 3 weeks later, we have a school meeting, and social services saythey have seen my children and both expressed a wish that they don't want to see me again. I am told I can write letters and they will reply, leading possibly to telephone contact and maybe seeing them again if they wish to. I believe myy children have been manipulated by my ex and SS are going along with it. Can someone please advise me, the SW at the meeting more or less said don't bother with court, you're application will be thrown out if the children say they no longer want to see me...is this true, and what are my options?
Meltedout - 30-Apr-15 @ 4:12 PM
My situation was quite similar to yours Phil, but during the period when my son and I didn't see each other, my ex wife had plenty of time and opportunity to 'poison' our relationship . I don'twant sympathy, but when I was born, I was given up for adoption. I wasn't wanted. When he was born, when I was 31 years old, I saw my first 'blood relative' And I fell to my knees, literally. I fall to my knees on a daily basis now. I wonder daily what my son has been told. I took the Court path, eventually to be told that my son was being spoken to by CAFCAS and 'Families Staying Together' !!! Only then to be told that my, then 10 year old Son, doesn't want to see me.I love him dearly, I always will. I now feel that the damage is done, the years have passed, and I feel childless. The memories of the bike ride we had on our last day 'together' is tattooed in my memory box. The time spent looking for and finding that ice cream van, paid off well. We both had a well deserved treat. There are many many now distant memories, but concreted memories. . . I love you Cameron, I'll be thinking about you when I take my final breath.
Nozzer - 22-Apr-14 @ 6:58 PM
There are so many stories that I hear regarding dads separated from children and it is not right. I am fortunate that I have my son with me during the school week, however, little or no contact at weekends and school holidays. There are a number of problems with the system. Firstly, believe it or not it is not about the dads or the mums but about the child. I believe that the child has a fundamental right to see both parents. I don't however believe that a 50/50 split on a time basis is necessarily best for the child.I am lucky in that I work from home and can be flexible. It is a complex problem but I really think that the approach needs to change so that we concentrate on the child. Most children would choose to see both parents for an equal amount of time. They have an innate sense of fairness because it is a hard and fast rule that is easy to understand and apply to complex situations. There is another problem in that the services surrounding the residency of a child are dominated by women, and a lot of them are mothers themselves with an axe to grind regarding a broken relationship, or a career centered on child care. It is difficult to find an independent view that is not driven by gender or career. I have a lot of problems with female teachers, normally the divorced ones who see me as an enemy - a man looking after a child! If the child's right to parental contact and financial support from both parents were enshrined in law then I think the whole situation would change for the better. Maybe solicitors could then act for the child, rather than the warring parents.
ExperiencedDad - 4-Oct-13 @ 12:39 PM
Keep your chin up indeed, but be under no illusion that there is any real justice for the majority of fathers within the courts. Unfortunately the process is a complete lottery, you may be very lucky to get a Judge who is interested in basic fairness and isn't skewed by outdated gynocentric beliefs - most older judges actually believe that the best place for a child is with the mother and that living or staying with the father for 'too much' time may cause emotional damage to the child. All of the professional research about the importance of fathers in children's lives is ignored by the judiciary. Many decisions are based on outdated and judge-made case law, not common sense or logic. Rather than considering the child's interests and welfare Judges generally prefer not to do anything which may upset the mother, which may in turn harm the child. Upsetting the father is not a factor which is deemed to have any direct effect upon the child. Mother's are considered to be emotionally fragile, fathers are considered to have no emotions. The family court system is in tatters, not helped by a lack of family judges. Increased pressure to meet tighter time deadlines in public law children cases has meant that private cases are at the bottom of many courts' priorities and are not given the time and care which they deserve, and are often heard by Judges who are less experienced in such matters. It seems that no matter how loudly we shout, fathers voices simply are not heard (by those who can effect change). To admit that they have been getting it wrong for decades would be to admit that they had damaged the lives of thousands of children, and unfortunately for any meaningful change to happen such an admission would be required. That would look bad for the judiciary, most of whom are trained in advocacy themselves, so would be unlikely to ever admit any fault. What is required is a complete re-thinking of the equality of each parent in the eyes of the family courts. This will probably take many more years (the children act 1989 was supposed to address this but failed to). Unfortunately it is difficult to be optimistic that our children's best interests and welfare will significantly improve or be placed above the 'primary carer's' (mother's) interests any time soon, and probably too late for the fatherless generations past and present. Perhaps if all of the excluded/ marginalised fathers and effected children could lobby parliament as a cohesive group, which would doubtless involve 10's or 100's of thousands, our cries may be more effective. I've got another 10 years before my daughter becomes an adult and I will be dedicating most of that time to my plight for bona fide justice for children and equality for both parents. Although the odds are stacked against you, don't give up.
Pea-Brain (this is o - 28-Sep-13 @ 11:46 AM
Keep your chin up mate, I have been through the same as you, after 2.5 years of fighting in court, I was defending myself against legal aid and womans aid, had loads of false accusations i was also arrested and released without charge, judge has now finally seen sense and thrown the case out and awarded me a contact order, I hope things get better for you and you get the result you deserve, women who break court orders should be felt with by the courts, until this happens they will continue to break order after order, if you or I did the same the judge would come hard down on the likes of us, we don't ask much just want a fair legal system where we are equal to the mother and kids should be put first, children need fathers too
Phil Griffiths - 27-Sep-13 @ 10:22 PM
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