There is no evidence that family courts in England and Wales discriminate against fathers in custody battles, a study by the University of Warwick has found.
After reviewing almost 200 case files from 2011, the study has concluded that the English judiciary system does not automatically favour mothers on the issue of child custody.
However, there are many people who believe that this conclusion is unfair and that there does exist an anti-father bias in many court cases.
There are no laws preventing a father from being granted custody of his child on the basis of gender although the UK judiciary would favour the father if the mother of the child has a history of alcoholism, drug abuse, mental health issues or a criminal background.
Such similar issues would also be taken into account when deciding whether a father should have contact with his child however this does not necessarily mean that this would be bar to contact in principle.
If this is not the case, and both parents are capable of looking after the child, then custody will usually fall to the child’s primary carer.
As a result, the majority of divorced or separated fathers have limited access to their child, which is usually restricted to evenings, weekends and holidays.
Many fathers are left frustrated that they have been given limited contact to their child despite no evidence that they are incapable of providing equally adequate care.
In the main, and as the report concludes, family courts are only used as a last resort and the vast majority of cases are resolved without the need for a contested final hearing.
When negotiating fair arrangements for child custody or contact, the general principal is to adopt a conciliatory approach and consider the best interests of the child.
In most cases the parents simply require the assistance of solicitors to resolve their issues and they are then able to continue to manage contact arrangement peacefully between themselves.
For more information or if you need to speak to an expert regarding your rights as a parent then contact our friendly Family law team on 0151 264 7363