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Families need Fathers a charity
Parental Support in general
Member Name: freediveheaven
Parental Support in general
Date: 04/12/04, updated on 15/01/05 (265 review reads)
Advantages: Support and information
Disadvantages: Does not have a high profile
Suddenly after many years of silence the issues facing seperated fathers from their children has never had such prominence. Bob Geldof has long been a spokesman on the difficulties and injustice of the family law courts but it has taken the attention seeking antics of a few and the recent court appearances of the Home Secretary to raise the awareness to a whole new level.
This review is about the charity FNF of which I have been a member for the past five years, one year less than the time I have been divorced.
First things first I want to clear up a couple of points. This is not one of those publicity seeking crackpot groups that raises itís profile through publicity stunts, people like Spiderman and the group who tied themselves to the Seven Bridge and Buckingham Palace are not a part of FNF. Fathers for Justice are the ones who grab the headlines with high publicity stunts. Some similarities can be drawn with the Suffragette movement, they carried out the stunts that earned publicity while a more moderate womans group worked behind the scenes to influence politicians and public opinion.
Secondly as with all organisations there are things that you would want to change, for me the first thing that I would change is the name. I believe the title is misleading and by being misleading it will exclude people (women) from looking any further at it. The membership is predominantly male however it represents all parents in campaigning for both parents to have joint responsibility for raising their children. To this end there are female members but they are in the minority, perhaps this will always be the case as in the majority of cases of separation and divorce it is the father who becomes the parent without care.
FNF was established in 1974 and became a registered charity in 1979. Currently it boasts a membership of about 2,500 and is funded solely from membership fees and donations.
The aims of the charity are to provide advice and support for parents to get shared responsibility for the raising of their children and to help people through the legal complexities of divorce and getting access to their children.
The charity campaigns actively on parentís rights and particularly on behalf of those who have been denied access to their children. It does not seek to further its aims through stunts but by reasoned argument and debate.
Canvassing MPís and seeking to get significant changes to the law are part of the regular activities that members can get involved in.
The charity is also active in highlighting the inequalities that exist within the legal system and is not slow in denouncing those decisions within the family courts that defy logic or common reason.
Finally the charity sets great store in providing advice to anyone representing themselves through the courts and thus avoiding the costly and often ineffective family lawyers. In particular it promotes the use of McKenzie Friends who act as advisers during court appearances. Often judges may decide to refuse this help with no sound legal reason and FNF seeks to challenge these decisions.
Annual membership is £30, which reduces to £25 if you pay by standing order. The use of gift aid also boosts the charities funds.
The website provides a wealth of information for anyone who is trying to pick their way through the courts. There are many useful fact sheets in particular advice on how to represent yourself in court with the necessary documents that you can download.
There is also advice available on the CSA including a calculator to enable people to calculate the likely amount of maintenance that will be awarded, a really useful tool that allows you to budget while the CSA take an absolute age to come up with pretty much the same figure.
Members receive a quarterly magazine entitled McKenzie, which has well written articles providing both advice and updates on any changes to the law.
Support is also available through volunteer contact numbers and local branches and it is the former that I have found useful on a couple of occasions often providing the voice of reason that I needed to hear.
The website can be found at
This site and the charity can provide an excellent reference point for anyone who is facing seperation from their children. You will come across some very sad stories of what people have been through but you will also come across success stories from which you can draw strength.
I'm one of the lucky ones, I have had contact at all times with my children and have avoided the courts, two sessions of conselling and a contact agreement was reached that works for the children their mother and me, however it is still nice to know that there are people out there if things do ever change.
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