Are some fathers their own worst enemies?

They certainly complain the loudest about the unfairness of the system, but are fathers, or at least some of them, simply their own worst enemies when it comes to arrangements for their children?

Every family lawyer has come across it: fathers who are aggressive, obnoxious and generally abusive towards not just their former partners, but everyone they come across whilst trying to resolve children disputes, including mediators, the court, Cafcass officers and sometimes even their lawyers. The reasons for such behaviour are not always clear. Sometimes it may relate just to their present situation - they may, for example, be reasonably aggrieved at being denied contact with their children for no good reason. On the other hand, it may be a long-term thing where they played a dominant (or dominating) role in the relationship, and they are now angry at losing that control.

Either way, such behaviour will obviously be counter-productive when it comes to achieving the outcomes they seek. They won't get the best out of their lawyers (and often won't listen to good advice), they lose the chance of a mediated settlement and they are likely to be unfavourably treated by the courts.

And then they go off and complain ad infinitum about how unfairly they have been treated by the system, when all they need to do to discover the source of their woes is to look in a mirror.


  1. What a load of bollocks. Considering they lose in court anyway may as well go down fighting. Going round in circles a bit here. Just fed up that fathers always get the blame as scapegoats when things don't settle. Find it evil.

  2. Tut, tut, abusive language there! I would normally delete such a comment, but won't do so on this occasion, as it tends to confirm my hypothesis! :-)

    Besides, it is not 'bollocks' - I have seen this sort of behaviour many times myself. With respect, you appear to be making the mistake that I am saying ALL fathers are like this, when I am not.

  3. Hi John,

    The first sentence does seem like you might think all fathers are like this.

    You say "but are fathers", and I'm thinking you mean all fathers, and then you back track and retract "or at least some of them, simply their own worst enemies".

    I think there has to be some expectation that any parent, man or woman, faced with losing contact with their child, will be a little bit cross. A massive problem with this is that if your a man and you get cross, especially in the family court arena, you can very easily be labelled as a wife beater. This often plays right into the hands of the PWC and co.

    Surely John, you can also see that the system as a whole is weighted in favour of women. I'm not saying any department in general, as I've had great dealings with CAFCASS and the courts. It's more of a historical and generation thing. It seems a womans place is still clearly in the home when it comes to a lot of family issues, whether they are emotional and financial.

  4. Many fathers their own worse enemies?

    Behind you 100% there John.

    In my experience, it tends to arise from a sense of injustice, a belief that they will never see their children again, or that their children are being turned against them by their ex-wife.

    Under those circumstances, who knows how we would act ourselves?

    I don't agree that they are just angry that they can't be the number one bully anymore.


  5. John,
    You fail to grasp that Court Orders are not worth the paper they are written on and that the mothers are free to ignore them. There is no possible sanction that can be leveled at them.

    Of course fathers are frustrated. Any father who wishes to maintain a link with thier child is utterly held to ransom by the mother. If she does not wish contact to occur then it will not.

    If you wanted to be part of your child's life, had a Court Order saying that you should do so and this did not happen how would you feel?
    That's a genuine question there. Do you have a response?

  6. I was actually talking about behaviour before any court order is made.

  7. Interesting article, which superficially comes across as bigoted.

    Fathers, according to this, basically have to keep quiet and "behave", in which case they have a chance of seeing their children as a second class parent. Those who rightly demand more are labelled as aggressive. It cannot be easy to remain dispassionate as a parent undergoing systematic and discriminatory disenfranchisement by family law in the UK.

  8. i think women are sometimes there own worst enemies to! and sometimes should take a look in the mirror and step out of there shoes and try the children's shoes on for have taken/used a picture of fathers for justice and there is a lot more reasonable organisations that support families and grandparents etc, it works both ways and as a solicitor im sure you have seen it both ways! As you know many fathers are fighting in many cases a general bias and against tradition's much as women want to be equal within jobs and parliament there is as many fathers that want to be equal within their child life's, surely if you encounter a father or mother who don't take professional advice and quite clearly have a anger problem you wouldn't represent them?! This is why i wouldn't be a solicitor as it often feels its based upon making money than actually changing and fighting for ppls rights/life's. I think what your article is doing is hoping to cause a stir and upset many fathers in provoking a reaction as you appearing to class fathers with one stroke of your cleaver worded brush, may be next week you could do a similar one on mothers? that dont listen to professional advice or there children's wishes? deborah

  9. I just read your blog. You are a solicitor, thus you are actually part of the problem. A industry has now evolved that is generated by a fathers love. You, Cafcass, contact centres, judges and the csa all earn a tidy sum from it, the more we fight, the more you earn. hence the massive reluctance to get rid of this golden egg. You know, I know and mr wall knows that there is a better system. However the industry would suffer. How dare you. Love is not a crime. Hate is. Parental alienation is a hate crime. Try fixing that before you tell us to behave whilst our children are kidnaped

  10. I can't really see the point of this, John, other than to be provocative and offensive - nice picture, though.

    Of course fathers behave inadvisedly sometimes; so do mothers, lawyers, judges, CAFCASS officers, taxi-drivers and tree-surgeons. So your point is? And who are you to condemn their behaviour anyway?

  11. A typical hysterical (and completely wrong) reaction, Mr Pryce.

    My hope is that some of the fathers I refer to may read this post, understand it, and modify their behaviour, which would be for the benefit of all concerned (especially the children), save for the lawyers, who would have less work to do.

  12. Hi Nick (you must have posted whilst I was replying to the delightful Mr Pryce). I wondered when you would get in on the action!

    As I said in my reply to Mr Pryce, my point is to try to make these fathers see the error of their ways. Of course, as you say, they are not the only people who behave inadvisedly, but they do seem to be particularly impervious to criticism.

    As to your last point, I do not see why I (or anyone else) should not have a right to condemn bad behaviour.

  13. You seem to be approaching this from an angle that, the court and legal system in place is fit for the purpose. Cafcass are 100% correct in every case and are not bias at all. Every man in family court is guilty until she says otherwise. All women are innocent.

    Men and women have faced this kind of one sided court farce before. Apartheid, Nazism, racism and when we stand up and try and defend ourselves. It's seen as wrong. And because it's normally men saying it, with deep masculine voices, broad shoulders, emotionally charged, it is then seen as aggressive.  You must know this. 
    I agree that crimes are commuted and they should be dealt with in a criminal court. 

    For the most part no crime has been committed in some of these family cases.  A father naturally wants to be part of his Childs life. The present system prevents it and actually aids the alienating parent. Because a relationship breaks down with a child involved, the stance that it's the mans fault and he must have done something, we'll keep him at bay and call him all sorts of names and accuse him of everything until one fits,  is automatically put into force. 

    So faced with these one sided views and obstacles, what would you do? Sit by and say goodbye to your children. Or try and weave your way through deceit, conspiracy, hidden within the British judicial system to get your kids back. And you have to achieve all of this without breaking sweat

  14. The sort of behaviour I'm talking about has nothing to do with grievances against the system.

  15. I think David's comment probably says all that needs to be said. Not your greatest moment, John.

  16. That's funny, Nick - I was thinking that your first comment was not your greatest moment.

    One thing is quite clear from all of this: some people just don't like to look in the mirror.

    Comments closed.