Here is the response to our letter, not from Ed Balls (shadow children's secretary) himself but from a member of his campaign team. See here to read the letter we sent to both Ed and to David Cameron.
Thank you very much for contacting Ed Balls on behalf of John Rowlinson of Separated Dads. I am a member of Ed's campaign team and he has asked me to get back to you on his behalf.
First, I am very sorry that you have waited so long for a response.
Turning to the questions you have raised, with your letter to Ed you attached another letter that Mr Rowlinson had sent to David Cameron concerning equal rights for fathers and mothers over contact with their children, after separation or divorce. You asked to know what Ed's position is on this.
Ed's position is set out in the Green Paper he published on family policy while Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. The Paper was called 'Support for All' and came out in January this year. You can access it via the Department for Education's website.
In the Paper Ed made it clear that the Labour Government's view was that it is important that children are able to have continuing relationships with both parents after separation and divorce because this is good for them and good for families. The only times when this shouldn't happen are when there are serious concerns about violence or abuse, making contact unsafe and therefore not in the best interests of that individual child. The Paper drew on the available research evidence in explaining why this conclusion had been reached.
The Paper did not include a commitment to change the law so that the starting point in family proceedings is a '50:50 split', as has happened in some other jurisdictions. The Labour Government's position was to encourage a shared parenting approach by agreement between the parties, wherever possible. It did not though seek to achieve this through a legal presumption.
As you probably know, the Green Paper also announced a full and thorough review of the Family Justice system more generally, to be carried out jointly by the Ministry of Justice and DCSF (as it then was). That review is underway and is now the responsibility of the coalition Government to take to a conclusion. I am sure that as part of the review there will be an opportunity for you to submit your views.
I hope this clarifies Ed's position and provides the information you were seeking. Many apologies again for the delay in this response.
Ed Balls' campaign team.
--------------------------- Office of Ed Balls MP (contact details not published here)
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.
After a long family court battle with my ex, i had set in stone 50/50 access to our 11 year old son. since then my ex has got csa involved who have been to my employer to see how much i earn. and are now taking just under £180 every 2 weeks straight from my wages. CSA say it is because somebody needs to be primary carer and in this case it is his mum because she claims the family benefit money, i would never have naturally applied for this benefit as 1- it takes money from that household, and 2-i earn enough money i dont need to claim any benefits.The court arrangements are i have my son every wednesday and thursday from school and overnight returning to school on the following mornings, also every other weekend collect from school friday night and returning to school monday morning. plus i pick him up on the saturday morning hes not with me as he plays football and it is somethig we do together.this is exactly 7 days from 14 and i couldnt have arranged any fairer. i provide everything my son requires and more and this money being taken from us and given to his mother is the spare cash me and my son use for days out etc. i feel this is so unfair. i have appealed against the decision now for the second time, i am now waiting for the hearing date. can anybody put my mind at ease and tell me if i should be paying any kind of money, wether it be lawfully or morally as im just not sure anymore.
5kidsandadog - 19-May-19 @ 3:07 PM
Jan - Your Question:
I do not think there is equality when a couple with children split up.Why do fathers have to pay for a child in supposedly full time education & they only attend 16 hours per week. But the child can work up to 24 hours per week, paying for mobile, bus pass & buying her clothes. Also why are payments calculated be fore Tax & N/Ins are taken off? ? Thank you "Confused Jan
It is compulsory for a young person to stay in some sort of full-time education or training, for example at a college, start an apprenticeship or traineeship or spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training. Full-time education when a child studies a course for an average of 12 hours per week during term time. Break times and unsupervised study time is not included in the calculation. If a young person chooses to work outside of education for 'pocket money', then this is considered at the young person's discretion. The primary carer will still be supplying the day-to-day needs of the child. Therefore, the paying parent is also expected to contribute. CMS changed to calculating the non-paying parent's gross pay (CSA calculated from net pay). One of the reasons for the change to gross payments was to prevent the paying parent sidelining large amounts of money into the likes of personal pensions in order to reduce their net amount.
SeparatedDads - 7-Jun-18 @ 10:22 AM
I do not think there is equality when a couple with children split up.Why do fathers have to payfor a child in supposedly full time education & they only attend 16 hours per week. But the child can work up to 24 hours per week, paying for mobile, bus pass & buying her clothes.
Also why are payments calculated be fore Tax & N/Ins are taken off? ? Thank you "Confused Jan
Jan - 6-Jun-18 @ 4:13 PM
Its disgusting that this is still going on. Im lucky as i do have access to my son, (6 yr old) but now nowhere near as much. I used to have an amazing amount of quality time with him. They honestly might as well write a father's 'P.R' information on the toilet paper in the ladies loo's!. I was put through 'hell' by sons mum, 'P.R' totally ignored etc. The judge couldnt have cared any less about me & my sons relationship. Got the feeling i wasted his time trying to get someone to help, & show someone what was reall going on.
Del - 5-Jan-16 @ 11:30 PM
Albzogu - Your Question:
The law in uk about father's it is apsoluly a disaster it is supposed to be 50/50 for father and mother hell no I can say 90% to mothers side. I have two kids my self for nearly seven years I realy suferd badly from their mother that used my kids as a tool to hurt me, and even now after so long years she still doing the same many times I could not see my kids for long time now it is bee over a month I haven't seen my kids it really hurts my hart but what can I do I am stuck with a mother that cannot understand wahts best for her kids and with a law that doesn't give a damp about people's problem. A fathers looks like nothing important. I dosent matter that fathers cant see kids even if they are realy getting hurt because they canot see their own children but at less this should be don for the kids because they getting hurt much more then the parents on this situation. Miss you lots with my hart love you Adrian and Aaron
I am sorry to hear this. However, if you have had access before, then you can go through the procedure laid out in the article: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, link here . I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 7-Oct-15 @ 2:16 PM
The law in uk about father's it is apsoluly a disaster it is supposed to be 50/50 for father and mother hell no I can say 90% to mothers side . I have two kids my self for nearly seven years I realy suferd badly from their mother that used my kids as a tool to hurt me, and even now after so long years she still doing the same many times I could not see my kids for long time now it is bee over a month I haven't seen my kids it really hurts my hart but what can I do I am stuck with a mother that cannot understand wahts best for her kids and with a law that doesn't give a damp about people's problem. A fathers looks like nothing important . I dosent matter that fathers cant see kids even if they are realy getting hurt because they canot see their own children but at less this should be don for the kids because they getting hurt much more then the parents on this situation.
Miss you lots with my hart love you Adrian and Aaron
Albzogu - 7-Oct-15 @ 1:41 AM
@David - thank you for your heartfelt words and yes you do have a point. However, I can't understand why you should not be allowed access or parental responsibility. To get this you would need to go through the courts and you can self-litigate which takes away the hefty court costs, see our partner article; Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself here. There are a lot of fathers finding success this way. Our Separated Dads Facebook page may help you too, if you read back through some of the previous postings there is a lot of good advice contained that can help you gain access. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 26-Mar-15 @ 12:23 PM
I am an unmarried father of a 5mth year old girl who has stolen my heart. Her mother who is a counsellor left me shortlyafter she was born.My story is not unique but in brief I have found out the following which has made me utterly depressed and more importantly my daughter will not know the bond with her father as she should.
Mother is unwilling to place me on the birth certificate and I have no rights despite the fact the mother made a declaration to the child maintenance services that I am the father. Why can't the official government agency called cms not talk to the birth record's office to prevent additional mediation and court costs but most importantly the loss of the father to the child and vice versa.(Easy fix) (how can you be a father but not be the father?)
An unmarried father has no right to access even if on the birth certificate. This gives absolute power in the hands of the mother. If the mother wants to use the children as a stick she may do so at will.(neither party should have absolute power, after all Mussolini and Adolf Hitler have taught us a lesson in that.)
Question : Why cant fathers have rights to access by default whereby those rights are diminished if they behave inappropriately and it is proven to be so.
The cms are calculating my maintenance based on a previous tax return. My circumstances changed near the end of the tax year and I was made redundant and am now self employed earning a fraction of my formal earnings, yet a declaration signed by myself was not accepted and I am beingmade to pay excessive payments not relating to my current circumstances. Thank heavens I have a credit card but what do I do when the bottom falls out?
My daughter is almost 6 months and I have not been able to take her for a simple walk on a weekend .I am distraught with grief over this and have written to my local conservative MP for support in the form of making the laws reflect fairness forfamilies but had a non response to my questions. I have no expendableincome ,this as the laws currently stand means I do not have a daughter. The relevance is it is not a vote winner! I have always paid my taxes, do not use bad language ,drink and think men who bully ladies are beneath contempt but it appears it is happening more to men these days.
My mantra is if a relationship fails ,either partner does not have to be nasty and vindictive to each other but it appears so many do not understand this and the childrenloose out. Sadly the current laws throw fuel on the fire.
As so much as there was a law whereby husbands could not be charged with raping their wives which was only outdated in recent times. That was ridiculous that it took so long to change ,it is just as ridiculous that fathers have no rights to access for their very own children.
Proposal: Let the courts be for wrongdoing and fathers have the right to be a part of their children's lives as a starting point.(Easy Fix)
Will there b
David - 23-Mar-15 @ 5:35 PM
hi i would like to wright a letter to mr ed balls can you please give me an address where i should send this to,thank you julie
alfie100 - 12-Dec-12 @ 8:47 AM
This is unacceptable fence-sitting by Ed Balls whose government was never particularly pro-shared parenting despite what he says now. There does need to be a legal presumption of shared parenting. Moreover if serious child safety concerns are raised by the mother but found as either bogus or exaggerated then there should be an additional legal presumption that she is not wholly fit parentally with more contact awarded to the father accordy.
Paul - 17-Jul-12 @ 10:43 AM
This is a very emotionally charged issue, and I personally believe that parents should take 50/50 responsibility for their children - in all matters - wherever it is safe to do so.
I've made it as easy as possible for my children to have the access to their father that they need, including changing my job and moving a couple of hundred miles so that their father didn't have to travel that distance and back every other weekend. This was done with the kids' best interests at heart - and in spite of the fact that their father initially said he was only temporarily planning to live that far away and then changed his mind, upsetting the children a great deal.
Money and access are completely separate in my view and should never be connected - I believe a father should pay 50% of the costs of raising his children (but also taking into account however much of the costs if any are paid by the state). If, as has often happened in my case, maintenance is not paid, this should have no effect on access to the children - but this is important - AND VICE VERSA. If you have an unreasonable ex, that is bad for all, but the costs of raising a child remain the same regardless of access. This responsibility does not change.
I would like to see more actual perception in these comments that the children and their welfare comes first. Regardless of any bad behaviour by mothers.
The kids are the ones that end up hurt when people engage in any kind of tug of war - and if you have established that your ex is happy to be unfair - your understanding of this and not doing anything that could inadvertently hurt your kids becomes even more important. The law can and should do much - but you must take responsibility where the other parent will not, and make sure you don't fight in a way that could cause them harm. What is happening to you may not be fair, I understand that - but you are eminently more able to cope with it and deal with it than your child/children.
Red - 30-Jan-12 @ 4:19 PM
I am currently going to court again for the 3rd time to fight for my right and more importantly the rights for my girls to see their father. I am constantly amazed that the courts favour the mother when in today's sociality women are having children in order to claim father unknown and get money from the goverment when they have never worked. In my case I thought I was embarking on a loving relationship when in fact all she wanted was the children and not me as soon as the girls were born goodbye Eddy. I have been supporting my girls volunteerly but whem i found out she put father unknown i was furious i went to court to get this amended and had my name put on the birth certificates then informed the DWP department because she was claiming money from the state and getting mega money from me, but when i see the girls they are in rags never have breakfast do not have a very balance diet I took her to court because 20 hours a month is not adequate time with me children. There are many stats on the internet regarding absent fathers in the childrens lives (mainly girls) 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes , 90% of all homeless runaway children are from fatherless homes 85% of all children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
* 80% of rapists motivated by displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
where is the justice who says the mother make better partents ...what a load of rubbish
Eddy - 24-Jan-12 @ 1:27 PM
I have had a court order giving me access every other weekend to my children and yet, when I took it to court to try to get it made enforceable the judge ruled in the ex's favour stating that I was trying to get the order changed. I was made to pay her costs for the case and all the preceeding work - money I couldn't afford.The last sleep over they had at my place was Aug 2008 and since then I have seen them only once or twice a year, usually around their birthday. This is hardly equality yet I am still expected to pay my maintanance to the CSA for them. It's about time that the CSA payments were linked to court orders to say that if the orders are ignored then the payments shouldn't be made.
wiltshirebear - 3-Jan-12 @ 2:55 PM
Mr Balls colleague simply seems to skirt the more important issues raised in the letter! Such as why mothers often appear to get carte blanche when it comes to family courts, more so for her needs rather than the childrens! I am truly amazed by the way at how many stories on here seem so similar to my own by the way! No happy ending for me yet having waited the best part of three years now and I havent seen my little girls for the entire three years, but al keep fightin as we all should brothers!