Divorce and separation is a stressful and upsetting time for every child involved no matter how old they are. Even adults whose parents decide to separate after a number of years can still be traumatised by the events. And what makes matters worse is that the legal system in this country is not set up properly to deal with custody battle in a number of situations. When one parent decides that they want to move far away from the family home and take the child with them, the justice system is more commonly than not on the side of the mother. The child’s wishes and emotional health play little part.
During the Victorian era, men were always granted custody whenever a marriage dissolved, no matter what the reason and the competence of the mother to look after their child. Now, we see that women are more often than not granted custody of their children when a marriage or partnership ends, often with a harsh settlement deal for the father.
Campaigners are now trying to find a middle point between these two extremes by making the child’s life easier during this time and continuing their access to both parents, unless of course there has been violence or mental damage done by one party.
A report has been published recently which criticises the court’s reluctance to give custody rights to fathers over mothers, and allows a mother to move far with the child so that the father is unable to see their child. It has called this action ‘state-sanctioned kidnap’ because the courts do not prevent one party taking their child a long distance away from their former partner.
Forcing a child to leave one of their parents, their other relatives, friends and the school which they have grown up in causes children emotional harm, stress and damage in the long-term. Judges have sometimes seemed to totally ignore the wishes of the child and granted custody to a parent when they showed a greater wish to stay with the other parent.
If you are going through a separation at the moment and children are involved, speak to a family lawyer like Raleys Solicitors who will be able to talk through your situation and help you decide on the best course of action for you and your child.