Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More Irish divorces, separations settled amicably than expected, report finds


Ninety per cent of divorces and judicial separations in Ireland are settled without a court battle, according to a report, Family Law Matters (download here) by Dr Carol Coulter (right) for the Courts Service. The finding is more positive than had been expected. In almost all cases, whether agreed or contested, custody of children is awarded jointly, with the care of the children usually going to the mother. Dr Coulter is also Legal Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times.....

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your claim that the report on the Family Law courts "is more positive than had been expected. In almost all cases, whether agreed or contested, custody of children is awarded jointly, with the care of the children usually going to the mother" has to be challenged. Although this may reflect “the practical situations of the parties”, I find it incredible that there hasn’t been an outcry from the Equality Authority on this issue. If Joint Custody is, apparently, the norm, should the care and residency not be granted jointly to both parents? Why should the mother have to shoulder the responsibilities of care and residence, such as providing accommodation, getting the children up in the morning and ready for school, organizing childcare and feeding them breakfast, dinner and tea, while the father simply sees them at the weekends and sends the cheque in the post? Fathers should be made take responsibility for the care of their children, particularly as the majority of mothers are now working. If we are to have true equality, both in the home and the workplace, a woman should be treated exactly the same as a man, and men should not be allowed to renege on their responsibilities, by making agreements in court “for practical situations of the parties”.

Or did I miss something?

Padraig said...

From the child's point of view, though, I wonder if it's more practical to be living with one parent during the school week and to see the other parent at the weekends?

cats said...

Hiya, Padraig.I think you missed my point. Despite the fact that society is apparently striving for equality, rather it is actually seeking to give women all the advantages that males currently have without the reciprocation. In a truly equal society, men would be seen as equal parents and joint custody with shared parenting in both homes would be the norm. From the childs point of view,it is more practical to spend time living with both parents in order that they grow up feeling that both parents are equal, rather than seeing the male as some sort of outcast.

Thomas James Francis McBennett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thomas James Francis McBennett said...

Padraig, You said:

"From the child's point of view, though, I wonder if it's more practical to be living with one parent during the school week and to see the other parent at the weekends?".

Does this mean you'd see no problem with the vast maority of children from separated homes living with their father during the week and seeing their mother at the weekends? Do you think many women would be happy with this arrangement?

Padraig said...

Cats,
But is an arrangement whereby the children stay with one parent during the week and see the other at weekends necessarily the same as seeing that other parent as an outcast?

Padraig said...

Thomas,
No, I have no objection in principle to the children living with the father during the week and seeing the mother at weekends. I am sure there are many cases in which they would be better off with such an arrangement. But if the mother is the one who stays at home to rear the children in most cases where couples are still married, why should it be different in most cases when they are apart?

Padraig said...

By the way I deleted one of Thomas's posts only because the same one appeared twice.

cats said...

Sorry, Padraig, but in relation to your reply to thomas,you seem to be stuck in the last century. In this day and age, the majority of households require two incomes to maintain the mortgage which necessarily involves some form of childcare and so it is not true to say that the mother is the one who stays at home to rear the children in most cases. Even if it were, when a couple who marry end up separating, everything changes and so it would be wrong to use the past as a model for the present.
In your reply to me. I believe that without shared parenting and responsibilites, the non residential parent is seen as the lesser parent. Both parents should be seen by the children as being equal by having to do the household chores, the school run etc, rather than one (in most cases the mother) doing all the work while the other (in most cases the father)is there for the good times only. Or maybe I'm wrong to expect equality such as this?
These are only my opinions but it is a fact that the HSE, school management, etc, treat the non residential parent as a lesser parent.

Thomas James Francis McBennett said...

Padraig, You said:"if the mother is the one who stays at home to rear the children in most cases where couples are still married, why should it be different in most cases when they are apart?"

On the face of it, this sounds reasonable. But it doesn't work the other way ie.,if the father was the stay at home parent he wouldn't get primary custody in the event of a separation. This is because there is root and branch anti - male sexism in the whole sphere of custody arrangements regardless of what Carol Coulter may say in her report.

Unless we face up to this bias, the bias - which - dare - not -speak - its - name, we will get nowhere. but what we will get is increased fatherlessness, increased male suicide, increased crime and all the other social ills which occur when the father is denigrated and despised.

mary t Cleary said...

Madam



Padraig O’Morain, (Health Supplement , Irish Times 27th Feb.), welcomed Carol Coulter’s research report on family law. He stated that “In contrast to what we have been told, she found that most separating/divorcing couples settle issues of maintenance, access and so on without fighting it out in court. The effect of this, of course, is to facilitate the involvement of the non-resident father with his children. The report found that in almost all cases joint custody is granted though the children remain in their mother’s care. Clearly, this is hugely beneficial to the children. Clearly, also, those who have been busily condemning the family law courts as places in which a man cannot get justice have done themselves and us no favours”.

While he doesn’t name the ‘those who have been busily condemning the family law courts’ I presume he means groups like Amen, who for years have been campaigning for fathers’ rights. Like so many others who have commented on Carol Coulter’s research he has jumped to conclusions that have little to do with reality. Both Frank McGlynn (letters I T, 24th Feb.) and John Waters (Opinion 26th Feb.) have pointed out that it is the fear of going to court that causes men to settle beforehand. These so-called settlements usually involve minimal access for fathers and their removal to vastly inferior accommodation oftentimes unsuitable for overnights their children. They are regularly advised by their legal representatives that this is the best they can expect.

‘Joint custody’ but with ‘primary care to the mother’ is meaningless in terms of equal status or rights to the parents and is in fact contradictory. Instead of jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions and painting pictures of a Utopian dream world where men are treated fairly in the family law courts, Padraig O’Morain should talk to some of the fathers who have reached ‘settlements’ outside of court and he will discover what really goes on both outside and inside the family law courts.



Mary t. Cleary

Amen


Navan

McDavitt said...

I've just come across this post from last February and thought I'd add something to the debate. I consented to the custody of our children being granted solely to my wife. However, I was unaware of this as it was negotiated between my wife's solicitor and my own without my knowledge. A complaint I made to the Law Society about this behaviour resulted in my receiving a refund of €3,500. However, I still do not have joint custody of our children which results in constant discrimination by State institutions such as the HSE and the school our children attend.I was effectively removed as a parent to our children but the official record shows that I "consented" to this.
Fathers don't matter. Children are seen as the property of mothers, single or married, whereas fathers have no rights. Fathers might believe that they have rights but, on separation, suddenly discover that they are expendable. Fine Gael propose to introduce paid paternity leave but the reporting of the family policy ignored this in both the Irish Independent and the irish times.

Padraig said...

Hi McDavitt, I can see that €3,500 is of little use compared to having your rights respected by your own solicitor. By the way, I've included your comment in a new post, "Groups for separated fathers in Ireland growing" today.