Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 05:08 GMT 06:08 UK

Are fathers getting a raw deal?
Family law
How does the system in the UK compare with Florida?
It's father's day in the UK this Sunday and while it may be a happy time for many families, thousands of men up and down the country won't be able to see their children because of legal orders.

They say that the courts allow their former partners and wives to ignore rulings.

This denies them access to their children and some say the system is in urgent need of reform.

The government is planning to take what's described as a 'hard look' at the family law system so Breakfast is exploring the issues surrounding divorce and the role of the father.


On Breakfast, this morning:

Graham Satchell reported on how parents in Florida are forced to go through a "divorce course" to encourage them to share their parenting duties.



  • We talked to Tony Coe, president of the Equal Parenting Council, and Christina Blacklaws, a mediator and chair of the family law committee of the Law Society.

    Tony Coe said he wants compulsory mediation, and parent education for all parents having problems. He also said both fit parents should be treated equally.

    Christina Blacklaws said:

    Those who have to use courts are not really well served. Courts need new legislation which give them more enforcement powers. Mediation is not what all families need, some may need just counselling.


  • We spoke to the Children's Minister, Margaret Hodge.

    "Mediation is part of the pilot programme we are setting up."


    " We are talking about the one in ten who have to resort to courts. We are launching a pilot this September in three areas. Mediation will be on the cards before going to court. We are looking at issues in Green Paper. We will be addressing: can we get more cases out of the courts? can we speed up the process? and can we implement ideas... "





  • Yesterday, Graham Satchell looked at a case study in the UK, a father who despite winning several court orders to see his son, was still prevented from doing so by his ex-wife.