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International Men’s Day and the Role of Separated Fathers

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Today, 19th November 2020 is International Men’s Day (IMD).

IMD in the UK does takes a gender inclusive approach and is a global grassroots movement that invites every man, woman, girl and boy in the world to come together and celebrate men and boys in all their diversity.

Issues that are being highlighted this year include:

  • The high male suicide rate
  • The challenges faced by boys and men at all stages of education including attainment
  • Men’s health, shorter life expectancy and workplace deaths
  • The challenges faced by the most marginalised men and boys in society (for instance, homeless men, boys in care and the high rate of male deaths in custody)
  • Male victims of violence, including sexual violence
  • The challenges faced by men as parents, particularly new fathers and separated fathers
  • Male victims and survivors of sexual abuse, rape, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based crime, stalking and slavery
  • The negative portrayal of men, boys and fathers.

Each and every issue is extremely important.

From a family law point of view, particularly the challenges faced by many separated fathers, there unfortunately continues to be many men’s voices not properly heard. The reality of a father being extremely important in a child’s life can sometimes be overlooked and marginalised by the mother and society. For the mother, this can sadly be as a result of adult difficulties rather than any real child focused issues, which society’s slow-to-change attitude can be used to feed into this.

Generally speaking, when the Court considers an application that relates to children, such as where they should live and who they should spend time with, there is no distinction in law as to how each parent should be treated, in that it should not favour one over the other.

However in society today, there is still often the assumption that the children should live with the mother and that the father’s role is less relevant. We are living in times now though where arguably fathers generally have more input and interest in their children’s lives than ever before, so why are fathers still often treated unfavourably?

That shift of focus is slowly changing, but there is still a long way to go. Many studies have shown that generally speaking, where fathers are actively (and positively) involved with their children, it leads to better outcomes for them as they grow and develop into adulthood.

Separated father’s (where there are no risks) should be encouraged to nurture and develop their relationships with their children and be considered as the positive and influencing role models that they often want to be. It is therefore so important that a separated father should seek help to assist with any challenges that they face, whether that be legal or otherwise to help push the societal shift about views of a father’s role, in a slow moving, but right direction.

If you have issues that you would like to discuss with a member of our family team please call 0800 088 6004.