Family courts have a powerful default of awarding custody to the mothers in 91% of the cases. This is regardless of the mothers conduct, or of her ability to support and care for the children. A great deal of research has established high correlation’s between fatherless families and child poverty, family violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, school failure, and juvenile crime.
The ideal of maternal-preference originates from the period when two parent families were the norm. Marriage and children are great civilisers and motivaters for men. Women benefit from the man’s pay check and from the male qualities he instills in the children. In two parent families the children are mostly cared for by the mother, but this is becomming less common. By contrast a mother-headed family is often far from ideal. For example, one of the best predictors of child abuse is the presence in the home of a boyfriend or step-father. Some studies have put the rate of abuse as 77 times greater in lone-mother households with a boyfriend / stepfather compared to families where both biological parents are present.
Family court judges are advised by Court Welfare officers who are supposed to make recommendations ‘in the best interest of the child’. These officers often operate without a complaints procedure. Since a welfare report cannot be acknowledged as wrong it can only be right. A report that is by definition right can only be endorsed by the court, which as it happens sit in secret. It is almost impossible for fathers to appeal against bad decisions. Even appeals where there is outrageous justice against fathers are very rarely granted.
There is a widespread misconception that children get over the effects of divorce. This is not the case. There is much evidence that children from broken families are severely disadvantaged [Telegraph 01-Dec-96]. In some children these wounds never heal.