Fathers' rights movement by country


Fathers' rights movement by country

The fathers' rights movement has evolved in many countries. This article provides details about the fathers' rights movement in specific countries.

Australia

Fathers' rights groups began in Australia in the 1970s with the founding of organizations such as the Lone Fathers Association. Other well-known groups include Equality for Fathers, Dads Against Discrimination, Dads in Distress, Fathers Without Rights, The Men's Confraternity and the Shared Parenting Council.cite journal
last =Kaye
first =Miranda
authorlink =
coauthors =Julia Tolmie
title =Fathers' Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
journal =Australian Journal of Family Law
volume =12
issue =
pages =pp 19–68
publisher =
date =1998
url =http://sisyphe.org/IMG/doc/doc-656.doc
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2007-03-24
] As with other fathers' rights activists, Australian organizations focus on issues of erosion of the family unit, custody, access, child support, domestic violence (including false allegations, and violence against men), child abuse, maintenance, the reintroduction of fault into divorce proceedings, biased and adversarial court systems and secrecy issues. Groups have successfully garnered media, as well as influence on politicians and legal reform. On May 22, 2006, Australia passed the "Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006" making both parents responsible for decisions about their child through the concept of ‘equal shared parental responsibility’. cite paper
author =Watts McCray Lawyers
title =A Layman's Guide to the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006
version =
publisher =
date =2006
url =http://www.wattsmccray.com.au/laymansguide/laymans_guide.pdf
format =pdf
accessdate = 2007-03-25
] The Act requires courts to consider an order that the child spend equal amounts of time with each parent under certain circumstances, but the Act does not state that courts must order that the child spend equal amounts of time with each parent. [cite paper
author =Watts McCray Lawyers
title =SOME PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE FAMILY LAW AMENDMENT
version =
publisher =
date =2006
url =http://www.wattsmccray.com.au/pages/content.asp?pid=468&agid=&action=preview
format =pdf
accessdate = 2007-04-20
] While Dad's in Distress expressed both appreciation of the Act as a small step in the right direction and concern whether the changes would be taken seriously by Family Law Practitioners [cite press release
title =Dads in Distress Welcome new changes
publisher =Fatherhood Foundation
date =2006-06-29
url =http://www.dadsindistress.asn.au/news481.html
accessdate =2007-04-20
] and Barry Williams, national president and founder of the Lone Fathers Association, stated, "I think these new laws are going to be the best in 30 years", [cite press release
title =New law agony for divorced fathers
publisher =Fatherhood Foundation
date =2006-07-02
url =http://www.dadsindistress.asn.au/news486.html
accessdate =2007-04-20
] The Men's Confraternity welcomed the changes but also expressed disppointment and stated that the Act does not "force the Court to view parents as equals." [cite press release
title =Submission by Men's Confraternity
publisher =Parliament of Australia
date =2006-07-15
url =http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/laca/familylaw/subs/sub40.pdf
accessdate =2007-04-20
] [cite web
title =Men's Confraternity discuss Family Lawyer Tricks
publisher =Men's Confraternity
date =
url =http://www.mensconfraternity.org.au/?page=p13
accessdate =2007-04-20
]
Militant activists, such as the Blackshirts, have been convicted of stalking [“Stalker: lesson learned”, Herald-Sun, 30 September 2004] and have "terrorised" women and children while wearing "paramilitary uniforms and black masks." [cite news
last =BBC News
first =
title =Australian militant fathers under fire
publisher = BBC
date =2002-07-25
url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2150665.stm
accessdate = 2007-03-24
] [“Threat to crack down on vigilante group.” The Age, 25 July 2002] [Militantsharassed woman, daughter.” The Canberra Times, 6 August 2002]

Canada

In an attempt to pass a law creating a rebuttable presumption for shared parenting, Fathers Are Capable Too: Parenting Association (FACT) and three other fathers' rights groups have launched an action in Federal Court to overturn the child custody provisions of the existing federal Divorce Act claiming that the legal test used to decide which parent obtains custody is biased against fathers, thereby violating the discrimination based on sex provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. [cite web
last =Gordan
first =Sheldon
publisher = Canadian Children's Rights Council
url =http://www.canadiancrc.com/Newspaper_Articles/CBA_Fathers_Day_2003.htm
title =Fathers' Day (A Report about The Fathers' Rights Movement in Canada highlighting the perspective of members of the Canadian Bar Association)
accessdate =2007-05-28
]
Members of Fathers 4 Justice Canada ( not associated with Fathers For Justice - Ontario, a registered charity ) have participated in a number of protests designed to increase awareness of the court-ordered separation of fathers and children. These actions include flying a Canadian flag from a bridge in Vancouver, BC in June 2006, [cite web
title =Members of Fathers 4 Justice Canada Protest1
publisher =YouTube
url =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR_sS20WVKk
accessdate = 2007-05-26
] scaling the Pautullo Bridge dressed as Robin, scaling a construction crane dressed as Batman [cite web
title =Members of Fathers 4 Justice Canada Protest2
publisher =YouTube
url =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nca_s4OHxks
accessdate = 2007-05-26
] , and "decontaminating" a Canadian Family Law meeting in 2004. [cite web
title =Members of Fathers 4 Justice in Canada Protest3
publisher =YouTube
url =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQk5KUSgLkE&mode=related&search=]
accessdate = 2007-05-26
]

France

Separation of the parents has no effect on the rules governing the awarding of parental authority. Parental authority continues to be exercised jointly except if in the interest of the child the exercise of this authority must be entrusted to only one of the parents. [ [http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/parental_resp/parental_resp_fra_en.htm European Commission - European Judicial Network - Parental responsibility - France ] ]

Germany

In Germany, one parent may apply to the family court for sole right of custody. The court will agree to such an application if the removal of joint custody and transfer of custody to one parent is in the child’s best interests. [ [http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/parental_resp/parental_resp_ger_en.htm#5. European Commission - European Judicial Network - Parental responsibility - Germany ] ]

Non-married Fathers; "Shared Custody" (and any real rights concerning children) may be obtained only through marriage or by the mother signing a declaration of shared custody! Thus, sole custody (for the father) is of course not realistic under the current German family law. Any type of legal proceeding within German courts would also be pointless as the Supreme Court of Germany has consistently ruled against granting non-married fathers "shared custody" without the consent of the mother. For a very detailed explanation of the legal situation, see Wikipedia German web page; [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorgerecht]

Mathieu Carriere, a well-known German actor, who after the mother and sole custodian of his 8-year old daughter sued him for allowing several newspapers to publish pictures of Carriere with his daughter, decided to refuse to pay a 5,000 Euro fine associated with the lawsuit and instead announced publicly that he would be serving a 10-day prison sentence in support of the campaign for equal rights for both parents following divorce or separation. [cite web
title =German Actor Willingly Goes to Jail for Being a Dad!!!
publisher =Families & Fathers
url =http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/site/news.php?id=39
date=2004-12-13
accessdate = 2007-05-26
]

Ireland

Shared parenting is usually only granted by the courts where the children are not a contentious issue and there is broad agreement on their upbringing education etc. [ [http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/parental_resp/parental_resp_ire_en.htm European Commission - European Judicial Network - Parental responsibility - Ireland ] ] The Fathers Rights-Responsibility Party was registered in 2007 and contested the 2007 Irish general election. John Waters of "The Irish Times" frequently advocates improved father's rights in his weekly op-ed.

Italy

In January 2006, the Italian Parliament enacted a rebuttable presumption for shared parenting.

On May 18, 2007, members of the Fathers' Armada protested to highlight their claim that only women have rights after a divorce. Delegates met with the Equal Opportunities Minister, Barbara Pollastrini, who pledged support. [cite web
title =Fathers' Armada Wants Equal Rights for Dads
publisher =Italy
date =2007-05-18
url =http://www.italymag.co.uk/2007/news-from-italy/fathers-armada-wants-equal-rights-for-dads/
accessdate =2007-05-26
]

Jamaica

Dads protested against family court in Kingston, Jamaica. [cite web
title =Dads Protest in Jamaica
publisher =Jamaica Observer
url =http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/html/20030613T230000-0500_45087_OBS_DADS_LASH_OUT_AGAINST_FAMILY_COURT.asp
accessdate = 2007-05-26
]

Japan

Father`s Rights in Japan (FRIJ) and Children`s Rights Network Japan [http://www.crnjapan.com] are campaigning to change the current legal position which allows the abduction of the child by the mother with no legal redress. [http://www.frij.net]

The Netherlands

Legislation introduced in The Netherlands in 1978 gives preference to shared parenting. However, delegates from the Netherlands to an International Conference on Shared Parenting held in Langeac, France from July 25-30, 1999 said that sole custody is still awarded to mothers in most cases due in part to the judiciary emphasizing its independence from the legislature. [cite web
title =PARENTAL EQUALITY
publisher =The Irish Delegation on Langeac
url =http://www.gabnet.com/ep/ie/ldcr90815.htm
date =1999-07-31
accessdate = 2007-05-28
]
The application for assigning responsibility to only one parent (sole custody) may be made by either or by both parents. Only if the judge is of the opinion that it is in the best interest of the child, will he allow the application. [ [http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/parental_resp/parental_resp_net_en.htm#7. European Commission - European Judicial Network - Parental responsibility - Netherlands ] ]

New Zealand

Members of the fathers' rights movement raise awareness about the need for shared parenting in New Zealand by sponsoring an award-winning [cite web
title =Blogger's Choice Award for Hands On Equal Parenting
publisher =Bloggerschoiceawards
date =2007-05-26
url =http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/16569
accessdate =2007-05-26
] website, holding meetings, and protesting publicly from their War-4-Kids wagon. [cite web
title =Hands On Equal Parenting
publisher =
date =2007-05-26
url =http://handsonequalparent.org.nz/
accessdate =2007-05-26
] Fathers of New Zealand sponsors a website that offers advice to help fathers succeed in family court. [cite web
title =Father of New Zealand
publisher =
date =2007-05-26
url =http://fathers.orcon.net.nz/
accessdate =2007-05-26
]

weden

If one of the parents wants a change in custody, the question of custody may be decided by a court. The same applies to the questions of which of the parents the child is to live with and how access for the other parent is to be organised. In divorce proceedings, moreover, the court must, in the absence of a claim, award custody of the child to one of the parents if joint custody is manifestly incompatible with the welfare of the child. [ [http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/parental_resp/parental_resp_swe_en.htm#9. European Commission - European Judicial Network - Parental responsibility - Sweden ] ]

The United Kingdom

The fathers' rights movement in the UK consists of a variety of groups, ranging from charities, self-help groups to civil disobedience activists. The movement can be traced to the founding in 1974 of Families Need Fathers, though the organization does not see itself as a fathers' rights organisation, pointing out that its primary focus is on the children's right to have a meaningful relationship with their fathers. FNF provides self-help support groups, promotes research into shared parenting, and lobbies political for legal changes in the family law system in the UK. It has been credited with several successes.cite web
title = The Operation of the Family Courts
publisher = House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee Family Justice
date = 2004-11-08
url =http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmconst/116/116ii.pdf
comment=Evidence Submitted by Families Need Fathers on page 146
accessdate =2007-03-18
] The founding of Fathers 4 Justice in 2003 brought the cause of fathers' rights to public attention with high-profile stunts with members dressing as comic book superheroes and other easily recognizable characters to scale public buildings and monuments. With time their protests became increasingly controversial, and internal strife divided the group. It was officially disbanded in January 2006 following a suggestion that Prime Minister Tony Blair's son be briefly kidnapped, though further protests by a F4J splinter group, the 'Real F4J', have occurred. Other fathers' rights activists have been criticized for harassment, threats and illegal activities, including fraud. [cite news
last =Coates
first =Sam
coauthors =
title =Fathers 4 Justice split by infighting
work =
pages =
language =
publisher =The Times
date = 2005-06-08
url =http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1645108,00.html
accessdate = 2007-03-24
] [cite news
last =Travis
first =Alan
coauthors =
title =Militant fathers intimidating court staff
work =
pages =
language =
publisher =The Guardian
date =2004-12-31
url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1381126,00.html
accessdate = 2007-03-24
] In the UK, fathers' rights groups have advocated for changes to the Child Support Act including child support, shared parenting and access to childrencite web
last =Dyer
first =Clare
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Contact ban for hated father
work =
publisher = The Guardian Unlimited
date = 2003-05-23
url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,961940,00.html
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-03-18
] and lack of enforcement of court orders.cite web
last =Dyer
first =Clare
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Fathers get raw deal on child access, say MPs
work =
publisher =Guardian Unlimited
date = 2005-03-02
url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,,1428230,00.html
format =
doi =
accessdate =2007-03-18
] [cite news
last = Collier
first =Richard
coauthors = Sally Sheldon
title =Unfamiliar territory
work =
pages =
language =
publisher =The Guardian
date =2006-11-01
url = http://society.guardian.co.uk/children/story/0,,1935970,00.html
accessdate = 2007-03-24
] Pressure from the fathers' movement has influenced the UK Government, which published a draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill in February 2005 [http://www.dfes.gov.uk/childrensneeds UK Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill] ] that aims to widen judges' powers in dealing with parents who obstruct their ex-partner from seeing their children.

Bob Geldof reported that of the approximately 15,000 custodial cases that are resolved in family courts each year, only 7% of fathers in the UK are allowed to live with their children, and that 4 out of 10 fathers lose all touch with their children permanently. He reports that family courts think it extremely unhealthy for a man to articulate his love for his children. He states that 1 in 4 children live in single parent homes, children who grow up without their fathers are 5 times as likely to be unemployed and 3 times as likely to be involved in crime, 80% of all social housing is for single parent families, and that taxpayer costs for fatherlessness are at least $15B pounds per year. [cite news
last =Geldof
first =Bob
title =Bob Geldof on Fathers
publisher =YouTube
date =
url =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQeNwLsA058&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcomment%2Emyspace%2Ecom%2Findex%2Ecfm%3Ffuseaction%3Duser%2EviewComments%26friendID%3D121573235%26MyToken%3D735e66ed%2D83cd%2D43f9%2D9d
accessdate = 2007-05-26
]

USA

Fathers' rights advocates explicitly compare their movement to the civil rights movement, and point to long held US Supreme Court rulings that parents have a right to care for their children. In 2000, the US Supreme Court reaffirmed this principle in Troxel v. Granville, when it rejected the argument that a judge could supersede a fit parent's judgment about his child's best interest.

As in other countries, fathers' rights activists work on providing education, support and advocacy with issues of custody, access, child support, domestic violence and child abuse, maintenance, and family court issues. In the US, the state governments are autonomous and state laws vary, but states must comply with federal laws or risk the loss of federal funding.

References


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