Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Father's rights. Mr G and the high court.

From yesterday's RTE.

"Campaigners have welcomed the outcome of a landmark High Court case on the rights of unmarried fathers.

Today the court ruled that the rights of an unmarried father were breached after his former partner removed his children from Ireland without his consent.
The ruling has significant implications for unmarried parents in the future and has already sparked a call for a constitutional referendum.
The High Court has ruled that the removal of twin boys from Ireland to England was wrongful and in breach of the rights of their father.

A man known as Mr G, who was the unmarried father of two-year-old twin boys, took the action after his former partner took them to England without prior warning or consent.

In a lengthy judgment, Mr Justice Liam McKechnie ruled that the action by the mother breached the rights of the father even though the couple were not married.

Under the Constitution, unmarried fathers have no immediate right to the custody of their children.

However Judge McKechnie concluded that the boys had been resident in Ireland and the couple had lived their lives in a fashion similar to a married couple.

The court heard that the father dropped and collected his children from school and was the only contact that a local crèche had when dealing with the boys.

A District Court case in which judgment was reserved last March involved Mr G applying for custody and guardianship, Judge McKechnie said today that as of 9 March there were rights of custody as a result of the District Court application.

In line with this he said the mother's refusal to return the children was unlawful.

Mr G was represented by Michael McDowell SC who said that the issue of costs was yet to be decided. Mr G has also taken action in the English courts, a stay on proceedings had been issued to await the outcome of the High Court case in Ireland.

Some legal experts say that while the judgment does provide a framework for new legislation to safeguard the rights of unmarried parents, this particular case may not set a precedent."

The rights of unmarried fathers in Ireland has long been a bitter battle to many. Custody of children is usually granted to the mothers and fathers are frequently denied access to their children as the parents war and hostilities over the split colours judgement. Fathers who were active in their children's lives struggle when reduced to weekend fathers, seeking to build a relationship with their children over a limited time.
Now, it's not all one sided. There is more than one man who has been granted access and abuse that by not turning up and by refusing to pay maintenance for his child or children. There are mothers who get their kids up for school every day, put them to bed every night and are doing their level best to hold their family together as best they can without a second parent's help or interest and resent then the court's decision.
It's a quagmire.
But what of the children? What about their rights?
In an ideal world children should have access to their parents. They should have a right to live a child's life, to love both parents without guilt, to see both parents. They should grow up with a loving family, they should be shielded from arguments and vicious splits, hostilities.
They should never be made to choose between two parents.
If a family unit breaks apart, then it is incumbent upon parents to protect their children from a situation they had no part in and no control over. If the children have had a good relationship with their father and their father's family then I think it is down right cruel to prevent them from continuing that relationship. Parents should not run the other one down in front of the child. It's not that child's fault if the parents can't stand each other. It's not that child's fault that an adult union broke down. It is not that child's fault if Dad didn't pay that month, it is not that child's fault if Mum is to attend a wedding that weekend and wants to change the agreement.
It is never the child's fault, so why are they made to suffer?
I have never condoned automatic custody to either parent. I think cases need to be judged individually. I also think it would be in everyone's best interests if you could keep the courts completely out of it.
As adults, the parents must set aside their personal differences and decide what is the best they can do for the children. Sometimes that means sitting down with the 'enemy' and hashing out a way forward. Easier said than done I know. But if it can be done it should be.

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93 Comments:

Anonymous Nonny said...

I’m sick of these whinny fathers, Jesus Christ in the vast majority of cases the child is better off with their mother. How many father do you honestly know make bottles, do the washing, cook, clean, sit up all night with little Tommy when he is ill. If the father is that interested in his children’s welfare then he should move to England.

10:38 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

This seems a just outcome.

Is it likely to go to the Supreme Court?

And, is it likely to impact upon the case involving the sperm-donating gay father whose child was going to be brought to Australia against his wishes?

10:39 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Nonny, you're so, so wrong I'm hoping Gimme will give you your answer.

10:42 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh Nonny. Do you think because a man doesn't make up a bottle he loves his children any less? Or that the child loves his father any less?
Whinny? Oh Nonny.

10:45 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

MY father never cooked a meal in his life but I loved hiim desperately. He taught me to drive and showed me how to enjoy the little things, How to get a kitten's heart to beat, how to use grass as a harmonica. What he was to me will never be in doubt.

10:48 a.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Am I dear Conan, I wonder what kind of father he was lets see now,

"On New Years Eve 2006, the fiancée of Mr G left the family home with the couples twin boys and spent the next few days with the children in other accommodation locally.

A number of days later, she moved to the UK with the boys to her parent’s home. She is both an Irish and British citizen, has worked principle in the Civil Service and is also a professional singer.

Earlier this year, she was discovered living in B&B type accommodation somewhere in England. Mr G immediately sought their return and commenced legal proceedings in the District Court in the midlands."


Hmm seems a bit abrupt to leave your family home on New Years Eve doesn't it with two babies in favor of hiding in a B&B in England.

10:48 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I can see what you are implying (and other interpretations are equally plausible) but was that defence offered to the court?

And, even if it were, explicitly, it would not justify the global condemnation of your initial comment.

What is at stake is not the relationship between the man and the woman, but the relationship between the man and his children.

10:58 a.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

"How to get a kitten's heart to beat"

Heh, what the hell went on in your house? I don't think the man does not love his children but come on now be practical. My brother has two children, 2 and 11 months and whilst he adores them there is no way in hell he could bring them up alone. Do you know what he would do the same thing all Irish men would do, he would bring them home to his mammy. My best friend is in the middle of this shite at the moment with her four year old and his bastard father. Like me and all my friends she owns her own house and is a professional, there she is trying to make a life for herself and her young son and this wanker is tormenting her, she is constantly in court with the bollox, he took him out on Saturday for an 45 mins and then dropped him back. I do not believe that the majority of woman would jeopardize the relationship between their child and his/her father without good reason.

11:04 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

The thin is not to have a man bring them up alone, the thing is to allow kids to have both parents. If the father of your riend's chil doesn't want to raise his child then he might be a bad parent, but not all men are like that in the same way not all women are good mothers. To deny a man access to his own children is unfair to both the man and the child.
If a man brings a child home to his mammy what then? The child has a good time with its granny and extended family. Where again is the problem? What business is it off the mother what the man does during his time with his child-obviously not including endangering the child.

11:11 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Seriously, I need to fucking shake the crumbs out of this keyboard. I hope you can add whatever letters I bounced over.

11:12 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Court report...

"He said the couple's relationship was almost entirely spent living like man and wife as part of a de facto family unit. Mr G was a teacher and the mother, Ms O, had been a civil servant who became a professional singer.

"While both parties had made mutually hostile attacks on each other in allegation and counter allegation, the real dispute turned on a claim by Mr G that he was the children's primary carer.

"The judge said Ms O had fairly conceded that her partner had performed duties and had undertaken parental responsibilities and nurtured them at all times after their birth which he had attended. It was not disputed that most frequently he had got the children up in the mornings, washed, dressed and fed them and had taken them to and from school.

"Mr G had been very much involved with his children in all aspects of their development and upbringing.

"There had been no dispute but that Ireland was their place of residence. The retention of the boys in England, following early proceedings over custody in the District Court here, was in breach of the rights of custody vested in the court."

Nonny, you can't make generalised assumptions about fathers any more than you can about mothers. And both gender parents often rely on family back-up whether as single parents or as couples.

11:17 a.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

O sure without a doubt children should have both parents but I don't buy all this business of giving fathers more rights it will only be to the detriment of children’s well being, stay in mammys house one week then in daddy’s house the next week, where is the continuity? What about the children? O and Conan there is a reason that men have such difficulty getting custody of their children, it’s because woman are more maternal, they are better at it. Grant it their maybe the minority who have gone a little shall we say askew but in the main a child should be with their mother.

11:34 a.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

I don't think any ruling on this case should set a precedent for all unmarried parents - this case certainly appears to need a fair outcome for a dedicated father. I don't really feel ummarried parents should have all the same legal entitlements as married parents. Having children is a much bigger commitment than getting married, so why not make the union legal for the sake of the children and grandparents. It would save lots of legal grey areas and hassle when couples split, and the poor old grandparents of the father would get a look in.

11:49 a.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Shebah you are right, you are much better at making your point than me.

12:02 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

It's not about giving fathers 'more rights', Nonny. It's about giving them equal rights. And, other things being equal (or at least settled equitably in court), that is also in the interests of the children. It's called co-parenting and every study suggests that it is far better for children than adversarial antagonism between parents.

12:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

I agree with Shebah. Plus equal rights? Please it is never equal and deny it all you like but history tells us that far more often than not it is the woman that is not only left holding the baby but has to clean up whatever emotional mess is left after Daddy is gone. That aside each case should be judged on merit not on precedents. I hope to God for once the fundamentals of our judicial system are adhered to and Common Law prevails.

12:22 p.m.  
Blogger Manuel said...

Nonny said "I’m sick of these whinny fathers, Jesus Christ in the vast majority of cases the child is better off with their mother. How many father do you honestly know make bottles, do the washing, cook, clean, sit up all night with little Tommy when he is ill. If the father is that interested in his children’s welfare then he should move to England"

Manuel replied: I would have loved the fucking chance to see my son on his first day at school. I would love to see him open his presents on Christmas morning. I would love to help him with his homework. I would love to teach him to play football (or have him show me). Instead I get a photo of his first day at school. I get a photo of his joy on Christmas morning. I get a copy of his school reports. I get an email about the match. Whinny? I'd say. It really hurts to be separated from him. Cry myself to sleep sort of hurt.

So maybe you should think about the other side of the story before you label everybody as whinny. Well done Mr G and best of luck.....

12:31 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Gotta agree with Conan, equal rights for fathers is only fair. The courts undoubtably favour the mothers to an unacceptable standard.

If this were happening in reverse, no doubt the feminists would be up in arms, and it would be called a travesty of justice.

12:31 p.m.  
Blogger gimme a minute said...

How many father do you honestly know make bottles, do the washing, cook, clean, sit up all night with little Tommy when he is ill.

Well, let's see...

I'm completely enraged by this nasty closed minded attitude and it's taking all my powers not to just get all aggressive and sweary.

Also, it seem unlikely that I can write anything less than three pages in fmc's comments to truly express how nauseating I find these sentiments to be.

there is a reason that men have such difficulty getting custody of their children, it’s because woman are more maternal, they are better at it.

Bollox. I'll take on any number of 'the too posh to push, suv driving, kids in the creche all day so they can go to the gym and have coffee with mates' mothers from around her in a parenting contest and I'll be the one going home with the plastic trophy. And there are many like me.

Grant it their maybe the minority who have gone a little shall we say askew but in the main a child should be with their mother.

Hang on there, cowgirl. Who's askew? Fathers who look after the childcare or bad mothers? 'Cause if it's the former then we have another problem and if it's the latter then let's call them bastards too.

I'm too angry to write coherently and I'm taking up too much space.

I am sickened by this sexism. That's all I have, really.

So if you'll excuse me, I left the baby starving in a pile of her own and the dog's faeces, because, after all, I'm just a man.

12:51 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Manuel, I did not mean to offend you but why don't you see your son, who is stopping you? I am not saying men should not see their children but this posy parading themselves around now trying to change the law, it’s ridiculous what about the wife beaters, the men who are bastards you are automatically giving them rights my arse
Look at all the unmarried mothers in Ireland are you trying to tell me that most of the fathers of their children are willing to play an active part in their child’s lives, most of them won’t even pay child support, there is a back log of cases at the moment where women are seeking some sort of child support from those wonderful fathers, the gas part about it all it the average payment per child is 30 euro a week. If they want their children go out and fight for them. Lord knows women will have had enough of a battle. You are obviously still in contact with the mother so go and see your son.

12:52 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Before this erupts into bedlam, let us just sort out a few things here. This is not about dead beat parents, this is about parents who WANT access to their children and have found-through the Irish courts- that they have been restricted because of their gender.
There is no doubt in my mind that children are best served when they have access to both parents. Maybe Mother's are more maternal, so what, it is not a father's role to be maternal, it is a father's role to paternal, and children really need them in that role.
A united front, parents that commuicate and care for the best needs of their children should be the ultimate goal, especially if that child has already suffered through his or her parents splitting the family unit. And this means weighing up the rights of all in an equal and non hysterical manner. An even playing field, non gendered and fair.
At the end of the day children are only children for so long, how we shape them and care for them forms how they will be as adults. If we want finely balanced adults then how can we say starving that child of the love of one parent is the best option?

1:33 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

That is all fine and well miss cat but the save the father brigade is going to use this case as a cornerstone with hopes of getting the government to have a referendum to amend the constitution. Now as there is a significant number of deadbeat estranged fathers in Ireland do they deserve to be automatically given rights to their children? Think of the consequences not for the mother mind for the poor innocent child. These pleasant ideals of equality are all very well but just because there are a handful of dedicated men out there you cannot just give the rest the benefit of the doubt. Peoples inability to think further than their own situation astounds me. On that note I’m going for a run I am extremely pissed off.

2:05 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

"Now as there is a significant number of deadbeat estranged fathers in Ireland do they deserve to be automatically given rights to their children?"

Yes. And then it is up to them to use those right or not. But to deny them on basis of gender is outrageous.

2:08 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Nonny said: "These pleasant ideals of equality are all very well but just because there are a handful of dedicated men out there you cannot just give the rest the benefit of the doubt".

And what about tarring the rest of us with the same brush Nonny? I think you're being a bit unreasonable.

2:10 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Oh my.
As a feminist I hold steadfast to the ideal of equal rights for men and women.
Without that, we are lost.

2:22 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

This and similar cases have arisen, Nonny, because men have to go to the courts to assert their rights, and to have those rights vindicated.

Historically it has been assumed by the institutions of the State (much as you assume) that mothers are the default and best custodians of their children.

That attitude is sexism/lazy feminism at its worst. It disregards the needs of children, it tells fathers they are dispensible, and it tells women they are responsible for their children - unless they decide (by themselves) to assign that role wholely or temporarily to an institution, to adoptive parents, or to relations or childcare while they establish a career.

It takes no account of individual mothers' ability or suitability for that role, nor does it take any account of individual fathers' ability or suitability for that role. And, pivotally, it disregards the interests of children. In short it is blatent, sexist discrimination.

2:29 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Why in Irish law, for instance, should a man who is the unmarried father of a child have to get a formally witnessed statement of his legal guardianship of that child in order to have any legal status with regard to that child?

Need I add that he has to have the mother's assent/signature on this statement?

Need I add that the mother does not have to go through any such demeaning process to establish her guardianship?

2:43 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Errm possibly because the woman would have given birth to the child so there would be no question of whether it was actually hers or not!!

2:47 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

Some of what nonny had said on this blog really beggars belief. The idea that in the majority of cases the child is better of with their mother is based on a few people that are known to nonny.

Bringing the notion that men can be 'wife beaters' into the conversation reminds me of an australian who said to me once that you cannot give a job to an aboriginal because they are all drunks. Nonnys selection of preferred facts (yes, wife beaters do exist) is the same as that australian's preferred facts (yes, some aboriginals are drunks). However, both are being used to shore up prejudices and not to provide any insight into the problem.

I know a woman who is separated from her husband, who has custody of the children, because she used to beat him up.

Using Nonny's logic, this now means that all men should have custody of their children because husband beaters exist?

Nonny is not using logic, simply prejudice.

Like some of the other commenters, I am sitting here boiling with rage at having had to read this stupidity.

3:03 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Well yes, anonymous, that's quite obvious. As is the assumption that any bloke could be the father even if she's been living with the one man before, during and after the birth of the child/ren.

Unless she is married, of course. In which case the legal husband is the legal guardian of any and all children she may bear, even if (at its most extreme) he's been a non-cohabiting (with her) homosexual since the day of their wedding.

3:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

I do support father's rights, and even if they don't contribute financially, they should still have access to their chidren - but except in exceptional circumstances, the mother should have custody. It's horrid the way couples use children as bargaining chips to score points off each other, the ones who are hurt are the children - but nobody can legislate against human stupidity.

3:10 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Let's have a bit of context here and not blame feminism for the patriarchy, please.
I've said this on JC Skinner's blog and it bears repeating.

Men wrote the Irish Constitution which formally codified women as mothers in charge of the family. de Valera and his set were fully committed to keeping women in the home and in their eagerness to do so they relieved men of the burden of fatherhood while also removing men's rights as fathers. Men wrote the rules and enforce those rules (only 20% of judges in Ireland are women, btw). So your beef if with the patriarchy, not feminism.
Feminists long for a world where fathers are a real part of the family and equally involved with raising the children. Just like Gimme and Common Law are for their daughters, for example.

3:10 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:16 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Medbh, the legal situation that has evolved here has arisen not exclusively on account of the 1937 Bunreacht. Introduced with the catholic church's sanction at a time when similar attitudes to mothers were flying around fascist Europe.

When adoption law was first introduced it was done so to codify the practice of removing children from their unmarried mothers. Again Dev sought and received church sanction for this.

In the late 1960s it was argued forcefully (by liberals) that it was wrong rather than right to remove 'illegitimate' children from their mothers' care. The State gradually began to offer (very basic) support to mothers so that they could keep and care for their children.

We have done away with industrial schools and the infamous mother and baby homes. We have done away with the status of illegitimacy. We have - mostly - done away with the mindset that views mothers of non-marital status as wanton harlots. We have done away with the 'marriage bar' in the civil service. We have decriminalised contraception. Many of these changes have been hard-won by male and female feminists.

However, we have not done away with the mindset, or its legal expression, that views fathers as feckless inseminators. Even where they are involved morning, noon and night in their children's lives. That, to my mind, is more a failure of feminism than a function of the patriarchy.

3:33 p.m.  
Blogger tapsi said...

In my experience most fathers are just as devoted to their children as most mothers (and often they're more patient). I know many men who do all those things Nonny mentioned and more, and unfortunately I've also met women who were perfectly incapable of taking care of their children.

I can't believe that with every single couple that is unmarried it's the man's fault (and his fault alone) that they are unmarried, so I don't see why he should not be considered equal parent to their child?

3:34 p.m.  
Blogger tapsi said...

I have to add that I come from a different country with slightly different laws and views on these things, though I believe that child-parent relationships are much the same here.

3:37 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Conan, feminists don't argue that men are shiftless sperm donors. That would be a product of traditional patriarchal gender norms which gave men a free pass from the work of raising a family when it suited them. Feminists work for egalitarian relationships and the issue of father's rights in Ireland is another example of how the patriarchy harms men.

The progress that feminist activists have made over the last 30-40 years is an incredible achievement and there's still work to be done.

3:51 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Medbh, I think you need to read my last paragraph again.

4:51 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

I would just like to point out that I don’t think a father should be denied the right to see their respective children and I do indeed believe in equality. You see the thing is in order for equality to be maintained their needs to be a level playing field from the off set and here in modern Irish society it does not exist. Men dominate our political parties, they are paid more than their female rivals, they even form a majority on the boards of our maternity hospitals, it is only by proxy that the provisions in the constitutions exist, you can bet your life our founding fathers didn’t do it as a gift to the women of Ireland and now it has come around to kick them in the arse, so if we are to go ahead and use Mr. G’s case as protocol or precedent you are putting women at a further disadvantage. The vast majority of lone parents in Ireland are women, that’s it, you cannot argue with that, that is a fact (look at the Census) and as we live in a democracy where majority rules they are the people who deserve the full support of our legal system. I am a capitalist not a feminist, I simply believe the natural order of things is for a child to be with their mother unless exceptional circumstances arise.

6:01 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

QED.

6:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Conan ?

6:10 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Nonny, the problem is that if we follow your system we will never have an egalitarian society.
I'm glad you note that you're not a feminist because you're clearly not. If you cling on to the essentialist biological bullshit that women are better parents and should be then you keep the patriarchy in check and continue with women's submission.

6:30 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

so if we are to go ahead and use Mr. G’s case as protocol or precedent you are putting women at a further disadvantage.

Can you imagine the reaction if a man was to say a groundbreaking case, which gave more rights to women, put men at a disadvantage?

Jesus wept.

6:31 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Nonny, I don't make it a practice to go around scolding women, but I really think that you should take a moment to consider your comments, especially towards your fellow bloggers who are themselves parents. What you are saying is ignorant and offensive on many levels and this it makes things so much harder for feminists to argue without getting shut down as man haters.

6:36 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I don't agree that women are better parents. My father was the better parent in my family. And most of my friends have two parents that were equally terrific in their own way. What constitutes better anyway?

6:36 p.m.  
Anonymous Common Law said...

Nonny I think you may be slightly out of your element.
Men are not Maternal,no. By definition they are not Maternal. Men are Paternal.
It's a different thing but that does not render it any less vital in a child's upbringing and indeed to a child. Let's not loose sight of the really important thing here.
Your opinions are old fashioned and really need to change.
Sorry, cause you have been getting a hard time here to today, but you are talking crap.

6:51 p.m.  
Anonymous Common Law said...

Also...sorry can't help myself. The word is whiney or whiny not whinny which is what horses do. I was really confused about the neighing horses for a while there!

7:09 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Don't be correcting folk's spelling, I'm the worst typist here. I frequently type things arseways, back to front and spell things as though in other languages. This isn't school.

7:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Common Law said...

FMC - you are so right sorry!! Iwas confused though. But I am a bit stupid. But you're right!!

7:35 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Quite all right. Now I must away to watch the footie.
Have a good evening everyone.

7:41 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh ... said...

"The vast majority of lone parents in Ireland are women, that’s it, you cannot argue with that, that is a fact (look at the Census)"

I don't know enough about Census figures to argue - but how can you use the above to justify anything: more women are automatically granted custody of the kids, sometimes against the wishes of the father ... and that somehow means that we shouldn't give custody to fathers, because so few are the main guardian?!?!?!

Circular logic, I think!

8:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh ... said...

"I don't buy all this business of giving fathers more rights it will only be to the detriment of children’s well being, stay in mammys house one week then in daddy’s house the next week, where is the continuity? What about the children?"

Surely the continuity is in the fact that both people care for the child; not where they live! I mean a situation where a father gets one weekend in 2, and over-compensates with the kids, and the mother is 'left' with all the parental (non-fun) duties is hardly a solution either - the parents could each get resentful, and the kids see one parent as the disciplinarian; and the other as the fun one (ok, maybe a bit oversimplified, but you get what I mean! - no continuity!).

In an ideal world, where both parents live in the same house, you'd never expect that one parent does all - the point (to me anyway) is that both parents participate in continuous care of and love for the kids - and a consistent message on stuff like discipline and the manner in which the kids are brought up (not to go all Supernanny on it!). And yes, in an ideal world, this all happens in a single home, with the parents together - but can also happen in separate homes, by sharing custody and putting the kids first. Sadly a lot of custody stuff seems very one sided and bitter, and I feel sorry for everyone involved in a situation like that.

9:08 p.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

Hot topic today, FMC! :)
I must agree with the majority here though, I don't think "better parenting" is gender related, there are good and bad examples on both sides, and each situation is unique. But like with other things in society, shouldn't we strive towards equality - bla, bla in an ideal world and all that - but at least under law...?

9:53 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Evening toots, well it is a emotive issue for many, with very real casualties But we'll keep an eye to the courts and see how they handle it all.
Right, Law and Order and then a hot chololate, yah!

10:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Heh, I’m glad I had a few drinks this evening for if I was completely sober I would probably cry, what with all the name calling and character beatings I took today, but that is simply my opinion and I don’t feel the need to resort to abuse to put it across. I guess I am somewhat old fashioned. I do whole-heartedly take all of your views on board and I am sure if I ever have the misfortune to find myself in a predicament such as Mr G I will reflect on them accordingly. I think I better leave quietly out the back door now as I seemed to have caused ructions although it was never my intention to offend anyone so my humble apologies to the injured.

Mr Major I see one of your posts was removed, rest assured I will take it as I am sure you would have intended, an extremely offensive insulted.

10:33 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Heh, I’m glad I had a few drinks this evening for if I was completely sober I would probably cry, what with all the name calling and character beatings I took today, but that is simply my opinion and I don’t feel the need to resort to abuse to put it across. I guess I am somewhat old fashioned. I do whole-heartedly take all of your views on board and I am sure if I ever have the misfortune to find myself in a predicament such as Mr G I will reflect on them accordingly. I think I better leave quietly out the back door now as I seemed to have caused ructions although it was never my intention to offend anyone so my humble apologies to the injured.

Mr Major I see one of your posts was removed, rest assured I will take it as I am sure you would have intended, an extremely offensive insulted.

10:33 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh ... said...

Hey Nonny, I really don't think there was any name calling or character beating (granted, I didn't re-read all the comments, but I hope I'd have remembered from the first read)???

I guess we all come from our own personal experience; you mentioned a bad situation with your friend, and I'm thinking of a good friend of mine who married a divorced guy where the custody is completely shared (not in Ireland!), and I've nothing but admiration for the way that he and his ex-wife deal with things, and are flexible with each other in terms of their schedule, and agree stuff about how the child is brought up, and always put the kid first - and he is such a happy wee thing. Maybe they are just very, very lucky to have things work out; but I can't help but think: what a terrible, terrible shame if the Dad in question ended up being a weekend (or worse) Dad - a shame for the Dad, and the child ... but a shame for the Mother too, I think.

Off for a glass myself - hopefully it will all look better tomorrow, don't cry! Just thank the sky that you aren't Mr or Ms G, both of them are, I'm sure, utterly miserable.

11:08 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Where was the name calling and insulting? If you're going to spew opinions like those expect them to be challenged. The fact that they were challenged from all sides speaks volumes.

My other post was removed because it was irrelevant, not because it was "an extremely offensive insulted".

I have no problems with leaving "an extremely offensive insulted" as you well know.

11:08 a.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

There are no easy answers to this kind of miserable situation. I know of one unmarried partnership where the mother took the two little girls (under 5's) home to Australia after finding out the guy was playing away. The father is not too bothered as he feels he is still too young to be tied down, but his parents who looked after the kids every day while the mother worked are absolutely devastated. There are no legal rights and the father's name was not even on the birth certificates.

11:25 a.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Let me see Mr. Major errm,

“you are talking crap”

“Nonny is not using logic, simply prejudice.

Like some of the other commenters, I am sitting here boiling with rage at having had to read this stupidity”

“Your opinions are old fashioned and really need to change”


O and aparently I need some lessons in spelling. People interpreted my opinions to mean I was extremly anti fathers. This was not the case I simply think that a child is more often than not better off with their mother and if Common Law did prevail each case would be guided by precedent but ultimitly determind on it’s merit. Anywho that was yesterdays argument, everybody is entitled to their own opinion I guess.

11:42 a.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Those comments were made about your opinions, not you personally, no matter how hard you try to make it look that way.

11:46 a.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

O my god twenty you can’t tell people that they are talking crap and then proceed to correct their spelling mistakes simply becouse you do not like what they are saying, that is not challenging their opinions in an approprriate manner or anything like it.

I think there is an enormous possibility you are sitting in front of your computer laughing becouse you know you are winding me up.

11:55 a.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Spot the difference, Nonny:

1 - You are a stupid twat.

2 - Your opinion is a load of crap.

Which one of those is a personal attack?

12:01 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Nobody said either of those but they employed it they said, “you are talking crap”, not your opinion is a load of crap or you are a stupid twat. They implied it. Anyway I'm not trying to be a martyr or looking for sympathy but you’ll be content to know you are annoying me.

12:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

*implied

12:14 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I wasn't going to get back into this.... but.

Now Nonny, you see the way you're feeling annoyed / aggrieved / insulted / attacked etc? Ok, well imagine that the State and the law was doing that to you, for no reason other than because prejudicial assumptions are made about you because of your gender?

Well, if you can sense what that might be like then you're getting a little closer to empathising with the feelings of the men who look after and care for their children but who have no legal status or recognition in this country.

12:28 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Excuse me now Mr Conan, I do empathise with the fathers, I really don’t you interpreted my opinions correctly. Just because I think in the majority of cases a child is better off with their mother I can't know empathy. Those dedicated fathers are in the minority. I think I am fighting a losing battle here as clearly my sentiments are being misread.

12:37 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Anyway I'm not trying to be a martyr or looking for sympathy but you’ll be content to know you are annoying me.

I'm not trying to annoy you. I'm just trying to make you see there's a big difference between somebody disagreeing strongly with your opinion and the 'name calling and insulting' you accused people of.

12:43 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Twenty you torment. You cannot refer to somebody’s comments as crap or shite in an attempt to get your point across. Plus you cannot expect it not to taken as an insult. I simply did not agree with the implications of Mr G's case, If people don't agree with that fine and by all means say so and argue your point legitimately but what place does correcting a person’s spelling have? It is simply a cowardly attempt to weaken your apparent opponents argument. That is not arguing strongly by any stretch of the imagination.

1:18 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

It can only be taken as an insult by somebody who doesn't fully understand what an insult is.

You had a strong opinion yesterday which was countered, vigorously, by lots of people. Not one of them insulted you personally, only your opinion.

If you want to insist that these were personal attacks then you go on living in your own little world.

1:32 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Don't understand insult hmmm,

Dictionary.com

1. to treat or speak to insolently or with contemptuous rudeness; affront.
2. to affect as an affront; offend or demean.


Errm I think that fits the bill.


If you want to insist that these were personal attacks then you go on living in your own little world.


O and thanks for that last comment.

1:41 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

I hereby give up.

It's like talking to a brick wall.

1:49 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Yippy I won and there I was thinking this was the start of a beautiful relationship (heh he he heh)

I’ll take that last remark as a compliment.

1:53 p.m.  
Blogger Gaye said...

I am a woman but I am ashamed to say I know women who fell pregnant without the consent of their partners / husbands because they thought they'd hook "their" man in and / or solve their relationship problems with a kid.
I also know women who have been separated and divorced and in front of their kids they call their ex-husbands wankers and losers and that sort of thing, so when the fathers are trying to talk to their kids all they get is children treating them badly.
I also know men who vow to never get married (and have a family) so that they can walk out easily when shit hits the fan, what kind of love is that?
There are people who cheat on each other every time they step outside and get drunk. Women or men, irrelevant, both do it.
I guess what I am trying to say is, I don't think it's fair to label women as forever nurturing and caring and best option in parenting, while assuming all the ex-husbands are bad fathers to start with. It really depends on what kind of a human being the man or the woman is. On their very own upbringing, their own experiences as children and youth, which shaped them out to be who they are today as parents. Some experienced terrible things and learned from it and became wonderful parents, some were too scarred to turn their life around and managed to ruin it for their own kids, mother or father alike.
Generalization of this kind is terrible, terrible thing to do. There are amazingly capable men and amazingly unloving women out there, there are all sorts of people, regardless of their gender they make huge parenting and life mistakes or they turn out to be brilliant parents to their children regardless whether their relationship works out or breaks apart.
It is between the man and the woman to make a break-up least painful and scarring for the child.
Obviously this woman in question made a terrible mistake, by not trying a healthier solution for the children's sake. If the man is not abusive and a threat to his own children, there is no reason to flee with the kids and forcing him to resort to court action. That's just unacceptable. I applaud the court decision.

2:06 p.m.  
Blogger Gaye said...

Sorry, one more thing I forgot to add to my awfully long comment:
Children do not have the luxury to choose to be born or choose the family they are born into. It is really the responsibility of the men and women who bring them to this already cruel enough world to make it as happy, healthy and as least painful experience as can be for their children, beyond their very own agendas in life.

2:14 p.m.  
Anonymous Sniffle&Cry said...

FMC, small village community, no religion, egalitarian, friendly, a "not only me but others, too; not only here but elsewhere, too; not only today but tomorrow" type of place. In this place, children would be cared for, all children regardless of parentage. How do we get to that place ?

4:03 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The debate rages on!

4:18 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

How do we get to that place ?

Drugs.

4:28 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:35 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh I don't know Sniffle and Cry. I don't pretend to have any concrete answers.
But let's just say it isn't a place at all, but a matter of being. Then I can answer what I suppose people should do to get there.
I suppose you just try to do things one day at a time. I suppose you try- on occasion-to put yourself in the other person's shoes, or at least, try to see thing from their point of view once in a while. I suppose you leave yourself open to learning, I suppose you examine your own weakness and resolve to do something about it. I suppose you accept when you are wrong and don't crow about it when you are right. I suppose you try to be kinder. I suppose you try to treat people as you yourself would like to be treated.

I'd imagine that might take you to within a stone's throw of being on talking terms to a neighbour of that particular village.

4:37 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Heh LSD twenty! If you scroll up and read the first comment and indeed your original blog look how far we have come. Lets all hold hands and sing, "A little Peace" sniff sniff!

4:44 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

"and don't crow about it when you are right"

Oh, please FMC, can't we crow just a little bit when we're right - (a bit of silent crowing, maybe?). My love interest crows like a rooster over the smallest gains.

5:19 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Nonny you nutter, I have to agree with most views here as you cannot discriminate on gender basis.

5:23 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:38 p.m.  
Anonymous Sheesh ... said...

Long post alert! Just want to say one more thing I was thinking about today: we all have our opinions based on our upbringing/environment/personal experience. I think that it is a thing to applaud, if two people whose relationship has broken down to such an extent that they can't be with each other any more can get over that and work together to share custody and put their child's happiness first. Nonny's opinion is that the child should be with their mother, except in exceptional circumstances (hope I'm not mis-quoting you there). Anyway - I am pretty sure that I'd be guilty of automatically thinking "why?", if a mother has full custody (I mean I would tend to assume that she did because it is automatic here; not necessarily because she should). And Nonny would (I really don't mean to be putting words in your mouth here) perhaps think "why?" if the father got custody.

What I am trying (badly!) to say is that I believe the law should protect such cases (and indeed all cases) from all of our preconceived ideas (mine included), and treat everyone equally - whether male/female, white/black, rich/poor etc - and only come to decisions based on the evidence. I'm sure this doesn't always happen - but surely we should want a legal system that does this ... even to save us from ourselves? What I mean is that for instance, I would be totally opposed to the death penalty; but I can't say how I would feel if I lived somewhere which had the death penalty, and someone was alleged to have committed a horrible crime against one of my family or friends. Perhaps that's a very roundabout way of looking at it - but I think whatever my opinions are, the law should disregard them, and look dispassionately at the evidence on both sides, and come to a decision - and I'm certain that gender should not form part of the evidence.

I will stop now!

8:03 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

All righty then. Let that be that.

10:59 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Sheesh, I think all of your points very valid indeed perhaps society perceived norms does play a part in shaping ones opinions, mine in particular. I hope whatever the outcome of Mr. G’s case the little nippers come out on top!

11:01 p.m.  
Anonymous Nonny said...

Sorry Miss Cat think we crossed there I will retire from your blog now, sorry for the ructions!

11:03 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Okay Nonny, so let me go again, good night to you toots...
and let that be that.

11:23 p.m.  
Blogger dablossom said...

i have seen the results for myself and lived with the consequences of a child being handed over to a negligent mother and taken from her father in a custody battle, my stepdaughter has had to be put into councelling and her health has deteriorated due to living with her mother primarily, her dad is a wonderful father and her mother uses the child as leverage for money and the child is the one who is suffering dads should have equality and all cases should be taken into account unfortunately my partner ended up with a judge who was all for the mum regardless of her infedility and abandoning her husband and child for two years... its disgraceful!!! now hes fighting again for full custody through his divorce because the mother wants to take the child out of the country to live we fear for the childs welfare... i say u go dads fight for your babies the mother isnt always right and the court system in this country needs to sit up and pay attention as they judge by gender the child suffers as a consequence.its so frustrating...

4:30 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gaye

It took so long for women to get some level of equality and in most of the world that is not yet a reality.

Some poor girl had to run from her home in the middle of the night and you are clapping?

What is wrong with you?

3:00 p.m.  
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