I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Australian ~ Is this publication biased toward women having sole custody of children? Are they playing favourites? You be the judge!

I've read several articles from Ozzy newspapers on the kidnapping of Andrew Thompson by his mother and I get the distinct impression they are feminist oriented and biased. In this one I can't put my finger on it exactly but I get a "gut" feeling this writer is sympathetic to the kidnapper and to the fact the law has been equalized in Australia for moms and dads. To say the mom in this case has some mental health issues is an understatement. To say she has control issues is an understatement. She needs to maintain control not only over her child but her husband as well. The only way she can do this under Ozzy law is to kidnap the couple's son and hide somewhere else. But where? How does she support herself? Is her family complicit? Are they risking imprisonment to keep a selfish person in hiding and a son from his father. The article also indicates a greater number of child kidnappings by mothers since equal parenting was introduced. That could well happen in other jurisdictions when equal parenting is introduced given many of these parents who deem they have ownership of the children are emotionally fragile to start with. We will likely have to deal with more exaggerated allegations of abuse. It is interesting what the reaction by feminists and wives is in Australia given the equal parenting law. It is testament to the fact the feminists are not interested in equality at all but supremacy when it comes to parenting of children. Just check their blogs for the esteem in which they hold dads, including this scribe. There is a group of women from OZ calling themselves anonymums who secretly troll web sites around the world leaving comments behind about how women are victimized by just about everything under the sun. They are truly paranoid but would be just the type to offer cover for someone like the woman described in this article.

Defiant: mother tells why she took her son and ran

Caroline Overington | February 02, 2009

Article from: The Australian

MELINDA Stratton is a woman on the run. In April last year, she fled Australia with her four-year-old son, Andrew, to avoid a custody hearing in the Family Court.

In December, her husband, NSW deputy fire chief Ken Thompson, asked the court to lift a ban on identifying Andrew so he could launch an international campaign to find the boy.

Photographs of Andrew are now plastered on buses in Europe, and on billboards in England. Mr Thompson has launched a website, and a group email has gone around the world, urging people to contact Interpol if they see Ms Stratton.

Ms Stratton - a professional woman from Sydney's northern suburbs, who has an MBA, speaks French and German, and has lived and worked abroad - has so far managed to dodge the authorities, but yesterday emerged from seclusion to tell her side of the story.

A 10-page letter - the first contact between Ms Stratton and anyone outside her immediate family since last April - was provided to The Australian with no identifying marks. It was dated January 15.

Ms Stratton says she had no choice other than to flee Australia, because she had lost faith in the Family Court.

She says the balance of the court - once firmly in favour of granting custody to mothers - had tipped dramatically towards fathers. The Howard government's regime of "shared parenting" had given power to fathers at the expense of mothers.

"I have lost all faith in any form of justice coming out of Australia," Ms Stratton says.

"By remaining silent, however, I ensure that they (the Family Court) can continue to treat other mothers and children this way."

Ms Stratton does not say where she is hiding, but adds: "Currently, my son is well and happy.

"I spent $30,000 on court proceedings. I have been told I will receive harsh penalties as 'punishment' for leaving from the Family Court.

"I am in my 40s. My son is only four. His welfare and future are my priority.

"The decision to break all contact with my family and friends, leave my job and our home was not taken lightly.

"I also understand that the Family Court could take my son away from me and give Ken full custody of him, again as punishment."

The battle between Ms Stratton and Mr Thompson for access to Andrew is complex and bitter.

She says he suffers from depression and anxiety. He says he suffered from "mild anxiety" when his first marriage ended 20 years ago.

"It was nothing more than mild anxiety," he says.

"It was a very difficult time, but it was also a very long time ago."

When he launched his campaign to find Andrew, Mr Thompson said that his former wife had a "mental condition". On his blogs, he says she is "paranoid" and that she may harm Andrew rather than return him to Sydney.

Ms Stratton says she has "no mental problems whatsoever".

Ms Stratton has made more serious allegations against Mr Thompson but The Australian is constrained by law from publishing them. She made the allegations in December 2007, left the family home in January last year, and the country in April.

Mr Thompson strenuously denies his wife's claims, saying she "made all kinds of allegations ... the psychologists have said there is no reason to even investigate them".

Ms Stratton says the court psychologist is biased against mothers. She points to papers presented by Family Court practitioners in which they say that mothers can make up allegations of abuse and that children can be manipulated by their mothers to say they have been abused.

The identity of the psychologist is protected by the Family Law Act (1975).

The Family Court ignored Ms Stratton's complaints and ordered her to make their son available for supervised contact with his father three or four times a week.

She complied only a few times before fleeing.

Her move was not unprecedented: although there have been some high-profile cases of men leaving Australia with their children - such as in the case of Canadian mother Melissa Hawach, whose two children were taken to Lebanon by their Sydney-based father and freed by mercenaries - it is overwhelmingly the mother who flees.

According to the Attorney-General's Department, more than 120 children were abducted and taken out of Australia last year. In 75 per cent of cases, the mother was suspected of taking the children.

Mr Thompson said his former wife should return to Australia. "I'm not the one who has run away from the court," he said. "I'm the one who took court action.

"She's decided that the police were wrong, the courts were wrong, the psychologists are wrong, and she's right.

"If she's right, I don't understand why she doesn't come back and see the matter through in the Family Court.

"What kind of country do we live in if people can disagree with what the court says, and just take off?"

The AFP is conducting a criminal investigation into Andrew's abduction and subsequent disappearance.

Interpol has also issued alerts for Ms Stratton and Andrew in 187 countries.

The Family Court publication order warns anyone recognising Ms Stratton or her son not to approach them and to instead pass the information on to police.

On Staten Island and elsewhere ~ More dads are waging custody wars

More dads are waging custody wars

A growing legion say the system is stacked against them
Sunday, February 01, 2009

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- They have spent years -- and thousands of dollars -- battling in Staten Island Family Court for child custody and visitation rights. And the results are frustration and disappointment.

They are among a growing army of well-intentioned fathers who view the system as stacked against them because of their gender, even though New York State law requires judges and magistrates to consider only the best interests of the child in disputes between parents.

The Island's Family Court is flooded with cases -- with an estimated 3,000 case in 2008. And the emotional impact of each reaches far beyond those directly involved in the legal disputes.

It has the power to issue custody and visitation orders until children are 18 years old. While the overwhelming public impression is that Family Court is the place where women go to obtain legal redress against dead-beat dads, there's another angle to the story.

"Times have changed," one father said.

An increasing number of dads are stepping up to the legal plate to fight custody and visitation battles against women they claim are dead-beat moms, he said.

His own struggles in Family Court prompted him to organize a fathers' rights group in 2007, but he disbanded it a few months later because the emotional stress of the beleaguered fathers was too much for him to handle.

Another father, with long experience in Family Court, was not hesitant to lambaste his dead-beat counterparts.

"Some of the men are just irresponsible," he said. "There a lot of jerks out there, and they are getting what they deserve."

On the other side, "There are thousands of guys out there like me," he said. Some men find themselves victims of "moms using the system to send dads into exile from their kids, taking them out of their lives with ease."

Mothers can be vindictive, "hell-bent on destroying you," charged another father who endured a Family Court battle over the custody of his young son. "It's hard. It took me three years to learn how to play the game. It was the worst experience of my entire life."


"He's gone," said Michael, a 52-year-old Island father. "Look at this poor kid -- it's just horrible."

He was referring to Jaquan Porter, who was beaten to death in a decrepit basement apartment in Mariners Harbor the day after Christmas. He was just 10 years old.

Jaquan's mother, Melissa Sekulski, 30, was charged with first-degree manslaughter. After an autopsy, the city's medical examiner's office found that the boy was a victim of "battered child syndrome." This term is used to describe evidence of repeated physical violence, including internal injuries, bruises, lacerations and burns.

Michael sympathized with Jaquan's father, Charles Porter, 30, who lives in Harlem and is employed on the Island.

What do these two dads have in common?

Plenty of frustration with the Family Court system, which in theory is designed to protect children from unfit and abusive parents, men and women alike.

The nagging fear of neglect and abuse of their children is what motivates many working dads to hire lawyers, forfeit wages and overtime pay, exhaust personal savings and go into debt as they navigate unfamiliar territory in Family Court.

And they worry about worst-case scenarios: Decisions that grant temporary or permanent custody to mothers addicted to drugs or otherwise unfit for parenting.

"Can I finally do something when my child is dead?" one father, in a custody battle with his drug-addicted ex-wife, asked in an interview 10 days before Jaquan Porter lost his life.


The fathers are furious about the system, which they claim is hostile to them from the outset, simply because they are men.

Jim began his custody battle with his ex-wife four years ago, when their only son was a very young boy.

"The court tried to break me, and treated me like garbage," he said.

The mother is an unreformed drug addict, he charged. But her lawyer managed quickly to transform the custody fight into a battle over visitation rights, because the attorney "knew how to manipulate the court," according to Jim.

"I was the mommy and daddy to my son -- I changed his diapers and fed him. She was always conked out on the couch," he told the Advance.

The Family Court denied Jim visitation rights for five months. Then, when he finally prevailed, "I had to visit my son on Stuyvesant Place (in St. George), in a dirty, filthy room with broken toys."

"Who suffers from all of this? The kids," he said. "We need to get these stories out."

Family Court "drains you financially and emotionally," said John Lotito, 25, who lives in Great Kills.

He described hours of waiting at the Family Court in St. George for each of his appearances, losses of full days' pay and endless adjournments in his four-year battle over custody, visitation and child support for his 4-year-old son.

"It's a way of trying to get you so frustrated that you drop the case. It seems that they want you to walk away. But I will not walk away from my son," he told the Advance.

Ken Licata of Silver Lake endured a four-year legal battle for custody of his two sons, now 15 and 21 years old. This Staten Island-born dad, who is retired from the Police Department and now works as a full-time Realtor, learned the ropes of the system the hard way.

"More and more men want to be good dads and do the right thing, but the courts alienate them," the 57-year-old commented. "I've heard over 2,000 stories from dads, and none of them are good. The system does not make sense. It's a machine for lawyers to make money."

Licata spent over $150,000 in attorney fees, "just trying to keep custody of my kids. They are everything to me," he told the Advance. He suffered huge financial losses and incurred substantial debt in the custody battle, he said.

He eventually prevailed in court, after he dismissed his lawyers and represented himself in court.

"It is bad for dads in Supreme Court, but it's even worse in Family Court," said Licata. "I personally know dads who almost committed suicide because their wives alienated them from their kids."

Licata said that his divorce and custody battle over 10 years ago motivated him to help other people. He said he has remained gender-neutral. "I gave guys a shoulder to cry on, but I also helped moms and grandmothers," he said.


Several dads told the Advance that the mothers of their children easily managed to obtain orders of protection from Family Court judges, without presenting any evidence.

"My order of protection came the day after I threatened to go for custody," said one father. "There was no evidence, but she got it anyway."

Robert, another dad, was shocked when his ex-wife requested and obtained a temporary order of protection on behalf of their young daughter, which had the effect of putting his request for unsupervised visits with the child in legal abeyance.

Even the judge seemed surprised because the mom never raised the issue of child abuse in previous court appearances, according to the official transcript that Robert provided to a reporter. Despite the judge's own stated skepticism, a temporary protection order was issued on behalf of the child.

The judge ordered an expedited and updated investigation of the mom's allegations. This "took forever," Robert said, pointing out that in the end he was exculpated. In the meantime, during the investigation, the court ordered that visits with his daughter had to take place under the watchful eye of a court-appointed specialist, to whom Robert had to pay over $65 an hour for each visit.

"I was basically accused of being a child molester," he told the Advance. "The writing was on the wall from day one that this was a frivolous case, but it robbed me of two years that I could have spent nurturing my daughter.


After the custody issue is settled, visitation arrangements for the noncustodial parent can quickly turn into another protracted Family Court battle.

Visitation fights begin in Family Court with a petition against the custodial parent.

If the parties cannot agree about the type and schedule for visitation when they first appear in court, judges often order the city's child-welfare agency, the Administration for Children's Services (ACS), to carry out a court-ordered investigation, known as a COI; appoint a law guardian to represent the child, and give a temporary visitation order to the noncustodial parent. The case is adjourned until the COI is completed.

If the issues remain unresolved by the next court date, the judge may order a forensics report, a formal evaluation of the parents and children that a psychologist or social worker carries out. This leads to yet another hearing, at a later date, so the judge can assess the appropriateness of visitation, and the type of visits that will be allowed.

Unsupervised visits are the most straightforward and sought-after. But if the court decides that a noncustodial parent cannot be left alone with the child, it can order supervised visits (with a family member, friend or child-welfare agency representative), or therapeutic visits (in the presence of a mental health professional).


"No real man, no stand-up guy, wants to take a child away from his mother," said Michael.

Other dads also expressed emotional sensitivity.

"We lived together for a few years and then got married," said Robert, whose daughter is now 5 years old. "My wife was the sweetest -- I married a good woman. Then she snapped, and this started a war. That was the end of my life. The Family Court ruined me. They did everything they could to keep me from my daughter."

Jim went through four lawyers in his custody battle with his addicted ex-wife. In the end, she was awarded physical and legal custody of their only child, but he secured unsupervised visitation rights.

"All I wanted was to be with my son. This game is meant to break you. But I would not walk away from my kid," he said.

"There's a terrible injustice being done here."

Licata described the process as heart-breaking. "Dads who coached their kids' baseball games, who picked them up from school . . . the courts just wipe them out of their kids' lives," he said.

©2009 SI Advance
© 2009 SILive.com All Rights Reserved.

One in ten men could be victims of paternity fraud.

This is now an issue bigger than one family and it strikes at the heart and sole of a marriage. Trust. Without it the foundation of a relationship does not exist as it should and the sooner emotionally weak ex's such as Lydia Webb realize it the better. I can speak with a great deal of personal heartbreaking experience over the loss of trust through fraud, its impacts on a relationship, and emotionally weak ex's. I would hazard a guess Lydia alienated the 2 girls against their dad and this would fit the pattern of behaviour of a proven lier and emotionally weak, deceitful cheater. The fact she would draw the children into the dispute as witnesses supports that notion. How further tragic can she make peoples lives. Pity any man who gets caught in her web again. I note with interest that the majority of the comments condemning Mr. Webb are from females. Does this imply they may have something to hide as well and think that motherhood above all else is sacrosanct - but not fatherhood. Gosh I would love to do a study on things like this to determine motives. Of the 30 comments on the Daily Mail online site at the time of publishing this here in Canada most were in favour of his actions. MJM

One in ten men could be victims of paternity fraud. I'm fighting for them ...not the money

By Elizabeth Sanderson Last updated at 9:27 AM on 01st February 2009

There was never going to be a good time. But when the truth finally emerged, it couldn’t have been at a more inopportune moment. Mark Webb was driving to work at eight in the morning when his wife Lydia rang.

‘I was in the fast lane of the M4 heading towards Reading,’ he recalls. ‘I picked up the call on the hands-free and said, “Hi, what’s the problem?” because Lydia wouldn’t normally call so early.

She said, “I’ve got something I need to tell you. You’re not the father of Elspeth. Dave Mottram is.” ’

It was a shattering revelation and one that set in motion an extraordinary chain of events.

mark webb

Determined: Mark Webb is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights

For what might have been a painful but private matter became very public when Mark took his now ex-wife and her lover to court in a bid to claim compensation for the 17 years he had spent bringing up Elspeth, believing her to be his daughter.

Mark’s claim failed and ten days ago the Court of Appeal refused him permission to appeal against the ruling. Since then the ‘paternity fraud’ case has sparked a passionate debate about the rights of fathers.

In last week’s Mail on Sunday, Lydia defended her actions while Mr Mottram has also had his say, claiming he did not know that Elspeth was his daughter. Yet throughout, and for all the conjecture and comment, Mark remained silent.

Now, in an exclusive interview, the 47-year-old production manager for an engineering company explains why he took the controversial and much-criticised decision to try to recoup the money he had spent bringing up Elspeth.

Deceit: Lydia Webb today with her daughters Elspeth,(right) , now 22 and India (left)

Deceit: Lydia Webb today with her daughters Elspeth,(right) , now 22 and India (left)

He tells how he had always believed in his marriage and how Lydia’s secret and the subsequent court case have torn apart his relationship with Elspeth and another daughter, India.

He also reveals that for him, at least, the battle is not over, as he intends to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Clean-cut and precise, with closely shorn hair and inky-black eyes, Mark is not given to outward displays of emotion. Yet even now, seven years after that phone call, he still finds the enormity of the situation difficult to take in.

‘I wonder every day how anyone could keep this to themselves for 17 years,’ he says. ‘It must eat away at you. Up until Lydia’s call, I had no idea that Elspeth might not be mine. I was stunned. People say my pride’s been hurt, but it’s beyond pride. I suppose my dignity has been damaged more than anything else.

‘I’d always been proud of all our three girls and their achievements. And even though I believe in nurture, not nature, it’s still hard to think that people might look on it differently – that maybe Elspeth’s the girl she is because she’s her “real” father’s daughter.

Childhood fun: Elspeth, left, and her sister enjoy at day out at the fair

Childhood fun: Elspeth, left, and her sister enjoy at day out at the fair

‘I loved Elspeth and I still do. When you’re a dad, and you do a dad’s job properly, there’s nothing that can shake you into feeling differently about a child.’

And he insists: ‘I know people have criticised me and they don’t like the fact that money is involved. But it’s not just about money. It’s about something much bigger than that. Exactly what rights do you have as a dad? It’s a very serious, complex, frightening issue.

‘Lord Justice Thorpe said the case raised very interesting sociological points. I don’t think interesting is the right word, quite frankly. Studying Roman sewage systems is interesting, if that’s what you’re into.

‘This is not just interesting. It’s something that’s going to have a huge effect on people’s lives over the next couple of decades. I love my children and I see what they’ve gone through and this could happen to another family tomorrow unless we change things.’

In order to understand the devastation this case has caused, it is necessary to go back to the beginning. Mark and Lydia first met 20 years ago in Devizes, Wiltshire, the market town where they grew up.

He was the son of a painter and decorator, she the daughter of a tyre fitter and secretary. Lydia was 15 and still at school, Mark two years older and studying to be a baker.

He says: ‘It just worked. She was quite artistic, musically talented – a very good singer. She was basically an innocent girl from a small town who hadn’t really been anywhere, and my history wasn’t so dissimilar.

‘She was my first serious girlfriend. Until then I’d been more interested in cricket than girls.’ They married four years later in 1982.

Lydia has since said that Mark quickly became controlling and manipulative, hitting walls when he was angry and constantly threatening to leave her.

She also claimed that the gradual chipping away of her confidence left her emotionally vulnerable, which is why she was drinking heavily the night Elspeth was conceived.

Lydia, then a secretary with a computing company, was at a conference and ended up in a hotel room with an older colleague, Allen Mottram, known as David.

Mark says: ‘I’d met him when I’d gone to the office to meet Lydia. But we were in our early 20s and he was in his 30s. You don’t think the guy’s going to have any interest in your girlfriend and so I never thought any more about him.

'As for my being controlling, that’s absolute rubbish. We both had our say – nobody controlled anything. Everything was going really well.’

Elspeth was born on March 18, 1986. Mark says: ‘I was there for the birth. It was an amazing thing to witness. Elspeth was a lovely little girl. She’s always been an absolute charmer.

‘I believe that, in bringing up a child, you form that person so, yes, I did see traits of both of us in her. Elspeth was very good at running and I was quite some athlete as well.

'I thought she got that side from me and she got her musical side from her mum. We also had the same sort of Monty Python sense of humour.’

Two years after Elspeth was born their second daughter, India, arrived. Lydia claims the marriage began to fall apart soon after. She believed her husband was being unfaithful and got back in touch with David Mottram.

Lydia and Mark’s third daughter was born in 1992. (The Mail on Sunday has agreed not to name her to protect her identity while she is at school.)

After this, Lydia insists she stopped seeing Mr Mottram and tried to save her marriage – even though she says it was, by then, in deep trouble. It is an allegation Mark strongly denies.

He says: ‘Lydia had intermittent spells of becoming very distant and quiet, but otherwise everything was fine. I’d stay at home and look after the kids and she’d go to her singing groups, the local theatre, the opera.

‘The outgoing side of Lydia never changed as far as I can tell. This suppressed, meek person never occurred. Just look at all the programmes for the local theatre and opera productions she appeared in at the time.

‘It was a happy marriage. As parents we totally succeeded. The girls are bright, clever, well-mannered and all did well at school. I believed our marriage was stable and we had a good life. And I know Lydia thought that, too, because I have letters to prove it.’

But Mark admits to two brief flings, both of which he told Lydia about. Then, in 2000, he began to suspect that she was having an affair.

He says: ‘I’d just got home after several weeks in hospital. I’d had liver failure. Nobody knows why. Within 24 hours I’d gone from running 13 miles a day to being in hospital on a drip.

‘The phone rang, I picked it up and gave our number and the line went dead. I did 1471 and got through to the voicemail of Dave Mottram.

I didn’t know there’d been any contact between them for years, so I was surprised.

‘I asked Lydia about it when she got home and she said she’d been enquiring about a computer for Elspeth. He was in IT so I just accepted it. A few months later I took another call – at midnight.

He asked to speak to Lydia and I passed over the phone and she had a very short yes and no conversation with him.

‘That’s when I started asking serious questions. We tried to carry on as normal but it began to nag away at me. I kept asking questions and I think that was what finally prompted her to tell me the truth.’

It was in February 2002 that Lydia made her devastating confession. Mark says: ‘Whatever had happened that morning, and I still don’t know, something had spurred her on. On the phone she sounded drunk.

'When she told me about Elspeth, I said I was coming back home to see her – that we had to sort this out. By the time I got to the junction to turn off for home I got a call to say she was in hospital. She’d taken an overdose.’

Mark decided to stay with Lydia. ‘It was a hard choice,’ he admits, ‘but we’d been a family for 17 years and there were three children it was going to have a huge effect on. And, to all intents and purposes, we had a good marriage. We thought it was best not to tell Elspeth until later. She was 16 and going into exams.’

But the following year, Elspeth found out the truth when she read her mother’s diary. Mark says: ‘She was devastated. She said, “Is it true?” I said, “As far as I know, from what your mum has told me.”

I told her not to worry and said, “I’m still your dad. It’s not going to change anything from my point of view.” ’

But he concedes that it put a tremendous pressure on the family. ‘We sat the girls down and told them,’ he says. ‘Luckily, they were very matter-of-fact about it. Their view was that Elspeth was still their sister and it didn’t change anything.’

At the same time, more details emerged about Lydia’s affair with Mr Mottram. Mark says: ‘It became clear that it had been going on all the time since 1985.

‘At first I thought they’d been together on a couple of occasions. Then it emerged it was a few more, then it was this house and that house. Then she told me that Dave Mottram had known he was Elspeth’s father a few months after she was born.

I couldn’t get a true picture of our marriage any more.

‘In a letter she wrote to me at the time she said, “I’ve given you lies and deceit and misery for 17 years.” The misery isn’t true, but the lies and deceit bit is. That was the worst part, not the part about Elspeth.’

In 2003 Mark moved out of the family home. Relations became increasingly fraught when Lydia approached the Child Support Agency for maintenance for their two youngest daughters, even though India had decided to live with her father and the couple were to share custody of the youngest child.

Lydia also pursued Mr Mottram for maintenance for Elspeth.

Mark says: ‘Outside of the CSA, she and Dave Mottram agreed that he would pay her £15,000 for that year. I would have preferred him not to have been involved but I didn’t offer to pay for Elspeth because it wouldn’t have kept him away.

‘What I thought was, I’ve brought up three children and it now transpires I wasn’t the father of one of them. I’ve got to pay for these two, so should Dave Mottram now have to repay the money I’ve spent bringing up his child?

'I asked the CSA and they said no, that payments only start from the day you make a claim. But how could I make a claim for something I didn’t know about? It seemed so unfair.’

So, in December 2004, Mark tried to sue his ex-wife for deceit. In March 2006, he added Mr Mottram’s name to the claim, demanding more than £100,000 in damages. Mark explains:

‘It’s based on what would have been requested had we known Dave Mottram was the father from the outset. The lawyers worked out that it came to £100,000 plus interest.’ But, for all Mark’s protestations, it seems a hard-hearted and financially-motivated approach.

Mr Mottram is a wealthy businessman who lives in an £800,000 house. Mark works hard but has never achieved the same level of success.

Asked whether he would give his daughters the money, given that this is a fight about principle rather than profit, he says: ‘Of course there would be money for them. I’m their father, including Elspeth’s.’

But he cannot understand why his actions might upset Elspeth. Mark, who lives with his partner of a year, a writer, in Devizes, says: ‘I would have explained to her that this is not personal, to try to get back the money I’ve spent on her.

‘When the case started, Elspeth was not involved. The request for repayment went only to Lydia and Mr Mottram. I refused to talk to the children about it and didn’t call them as witnesses in court because neither I nor my lawyers thought it was right. It was Lydia’s team who called Elspeth.’

Yet his determination to pursue the case has now cost him the love not just of Elspeth, but her sister India. Contrary to reports, Mark did not reject Elspeth once he found out he was not her father. In fact, their relationship remained close and loving.

A text on Mark’s phone from September 2006 reads: ‘Hi, Dad. How are you? Hope you are well. What are you up to? Much love x.’ Another, dated November 2006, reads: ‘Hello, Dad. How are you. Must see you soon, love Elspeth x.’

It was only when it became clear that Mark was going to pursue his case, no matter what, that relations broke down. He says: ‘I’ve tried for the past two years to talk to Elspeth about what this is about, but she won’t talk to me or give me her new phone number.

‘India says she doesn’t want anything to do with this. We haven’t spoken properly for a few months now. She said to me, “Can you stop this?” I said, “No, it doesn’t just affect me.”’

It seems a very high price to pay, but Mark now has the zeal of a convert and intends to take his case to Europe. ‘It is a serious debate,’ he says. ‘At what point is a father entitled to know, for sure, that a child is his? Some statistics say that as many as one in ten men may be unaware they are not the real fathers of their children.

‘DNA can be used by the Government to catch a criminal and put him in prison 20 years later, but it can’t be used retrospectively to make a father pay for his child.

‘This isn’t about Lydia or Elspeth or Dave Mottram, it’s about a much bigger picture. I hope the girls will see sense. Elspeth’s always been a very complete person and she still is. She’s incredibly bright, applies common sense to what she does and hopefully she’ll decide to give me her phone number one day. I’d like that very much.

‘I’m striving to show my daughters that the right thing to do is not always easy. It’s a risk, but I give them credit for being intelligent and worldly enough to see the bigger picture.’

Go for it!! You are right and the issue is right. She defaruded you. If she had defrauded an employer she would be jail. There is no difference!!

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i hope he wins

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I don't know why women do this( and I am a woman). My Parents divorced when I was 2 years old. Years later it transpired that I had an older half sister who had been adopted when she was a few months old. My Mother had pretended that this child was my Fathers. He later found out and gave her an ultimatum. To 'save' the marraige the child was thus adopted. The damage was done though, My parents divorced after I was born. It was a bitter divorce and I was not allowed to see him. Finally at age 19 I met him but,later he died. So my younger life was pretty much ruined by the yearning for a Father who was so hurt and bitter because he had been lied to by my Mother that off he went. Meanwhile I met the half sister who has brought tremendous hurt into my own life by her own troubled wilful actions. Ladies don't lie , it ruins lives.

Mark Harris, NF4J in the UK wrote to the President of the Family Division Court System, Sir Mark Potter

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Judges do not enforce contact orders upon Mothers Official !

Judges do not enforce contact orders upon Mothers Official !

Sir Mark Potter

New F4J member Mark Harris wrote to the President of the Family Diviision, Sir Mark Potter, asking if he would like to meet with him and his daughters to detail just how the 33 family court judges that dealt with their case each failed them all during the fathers' ten year battle to see them. Sir Mark Potter, ignored their request to meet but did detail in his long winded response that family court judges simply DO NOT ENFORCE ANY CONTACT ORDER UPON A MOTHER OR CHANGE RESIDENCE OF A CHILD SO THAT CHILD CAN HAVE BOTH PARENTS IN IT'S LIFE. So there you have it, despite the intentions of the Children Act to shared parenting back in 1989, despite Parliament passing the Contempt Act so Civil orders can be enforced, Potty Potter (like his predecessors) will only make Contact Orders by consent. No change in government, no new laws will succeed in reform of family law while tossers like POTTER and his corrupt members of the judiciary manipulate the legal process and Acts of Parliament in secret while treating mothers as above the law. You cannot have 'some justice' in courts, either their is 'Justice' or 'Injustice', there is no middle ground. Mark Harris Quote: PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY DIVISION SIR MARK POTIER PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY DIVISION AND HEAD OF FAMILY JUSTICE Mr Mark Harris Address deleted For privacy 19 January 2009 Dear Mr Harris, Thank you for your letter of 4 December 2008. In broad terms, it raises two matters. First, your own complaints and those of the membership of new Fathers 4 Justice in relation to their own treatment before the family courts. Second, a request that I take action to "return fairness to the Family Courts". So far as the first matter is concerned, as Head of the Family Division, my powers do not include review of individual cases during or after their progress through the courts. Such cases are subject to appeal procedures so far as any misapplication of the law or complaints of unfair process in the course of the proceedings are concerned. I have no right or power to interfere in such matters (unless sitting as an appellate judge in the case concerned). Similarly, in so far as complaints may be made of oppressive or inappropriate conduct on the part of a judge in the '~ourse of proceedings, other than simple misapplication of the law, such questions fall to be investigated under an established judicial complaint procedure. On the wider front, namely the general content and the application and enforcement of the law in relation to applications for residence and contact in respect of children, which I believe to be the main substance of your concerns, again I lack the power to change the law, which is a matter for Parliament. Such guidance as I can, and on occasions do, give by way of Practice Directions or Guidance to the judiciary generally is limited to matters of procedure rather than substance. In this area, the law under the Children Act is clear, namely that, in corning to decisions in relation to matters of residence and contact, or indeed any matter concerning children, the welfare of the child is to be regarded as the paramount consideration. Where those welfare interests lie has to remain a matter of judgment for the judge in the individual case. Royal Courts of Justice Strand London WC2A 2LL Website www.iudiciarv.gov.uk 1

PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY DIVISION I know that this can give rise to feelings of frustration and concern on behalf of non-custodial parents, particularly, those adversely affected by noncompliance with the court's rulings by the principal carer. However, that is because, when it comes to the crunch, there are very few cases in which judges consider that the welfare of the child will be advanced by the sending of a carer to prison or the "reversal" of a residence order once made, though on occasions that requires and continues to be done. Again, howeyer, that "ill always be a matter for decision by the judge in the individual case and is not one which I (as opposed to parliament) am in a position to change. In relation to the last two paragraphs of your letter, I am always willing to consider sensible proposals for reform of the Family Courts once I have seen these set out, and I have given public support to proposals for the admission of the press to family proceedings. However, as I understand the last but one paragraph of your letter, you are there in fact referring to reform of Family Law, in relation to which the position is as I have set it out above. Finally, I am pleased to note that, as I would expect, you are personally opposed to any suggestion that judges' personal details should be circulated "in hope that something far worse than the protests may occur". I hope you will continue to use your influence to reject any such misguided suggestion. Yours sincerely, Royal Courts of Justice Strand London WC2A 2LL Website www.iudiciarv.gov.uk 2


Michael J. Murphy said...

His comments are blatantly and unfairly biased. What he is saying is the children's best interest are served by the custodial parent blocking access even if that custodial parent has a court order to ensure the NC parent gets access. He is saying the NC parent, usually the dad, is peripheral and marginal and the child is best served if the blocking parent is not forced to comply with a lawful order. We did think that but we clearly now know with certainty. The fight continues and I'd say this revelation is another small step to getting changes rather than a step back. I'll post the letter on my blogs on this side of the Atlantic.