Claiming that divorce lawyers “pour petrol” on the flames of divorcing couples, and deprive children of the care of their fathers, members of the group Fathers 4 Justice have been staging dramatic protests in the United Kingdom. For example, according to The Huddersfield Daily Examiner:
Fifteen fathers wearing white contamination outfits stormed the offices of Parker Bird solicitors in Queen Street, Huddersfield with sirens blaring, whistles blowing and flags waving.
The article (“Angry fathers in law firm protest,” 02-26-04, via law.com) also noted that F4J bestowed the Golden Petrol Can award on Parker Bird. In addition:
- The protesters claim the firm helps prevent fathers from maintaining their parental responsibilities and abuses the human rights of children and fathers in Huddersfield.
- “We feel that many solicitors manipulate family law against fathers.”
Let me be frank: I’m surprised this sort of protest hasn’t happened more often in the USA. My sympathies are with the fathers. As a Law Guardian representing children and as a divorce mediator, I have seen far too many instances of divorce lawyers needlessly fomenting anger and prolonging proceedings, to the detriment of the own clients, the opposing party and, especially, the children. As lawyer-mediator Leonard Marlow has pointed out in Divorce and the Myth of Lawyers and The Two Roads to Divorce, the only winners are the lawyers.
p.s. For some practical advice on parenting after separation or divorce, see my essay Tips on Parenting-Apart. For advice on getting through the grief process of divorce or separation in order to be a healthier person and better parent, see my 1997 monograph, Good Grief. Both articles were written while operating Project PAX: the Parenting-Apart eXchange, in Scotia, New York.