Improvements to custody service that is failing fathers

Judges are being given new powers to impose community service orders and fines when contact orders are breached by resident parents in custody cases.

From October 2007 the new legislation will be particularly welcomed by solicitors who act on behalf of fathers as an estimated 60 per cent of divorced dads have little or no relationship with their children after a separation.

Amendments to the Children and Adoption Act could mean courts in Britain and Northern Ireland would find it easier to resolve the problem of mothers breaching contact orders.

Many fathers are prevented from going to law courts to ensure access to their children by fear, according to author Michael Robinson, although in fact less than one per cent of applications for court orders are refused.

"When mutual agreement or mediation are no longer options, parents are often left wondering what to do next," says the author of The Custody Minefield, a self-help guide for separating parents. "Through knowing more, parents can reduce personal anguish and stress, and instead invest their emotional energies in finding the best solution for themselves and their children.

"Understanding more about the legal processes involved, and the types of court orders available, helps people reduceā€¦court time, and lets them focus on the other important aspects of their life."

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