Open letter to David Cameron in response to the “Runaway fathers are like drink-drivers” article.

19th June 2011

Dear Mr Cameron

I read the article in the Daily Telegraph on 18th June titled “Runaway fathers are like drink-drivers” with great interest and even greater dismay.

It is rather unfortunate that you have chosen the day before Father’s Day to single out only the dads who allegedly take no emotional or financial responsibility towards their children.  True, some dads may not care about their kids, in which case they can not be made to feel something which they don’t.  This concept is alien to you and me… how can a normal human being NOT care about their children?  My late step father was one such person.  He had kids before he married my mother which he never saw nor wanted to, and speaking from personal experience, such people should not be MADE to give emotional support or be around their kids, because quite simply, they are incapable of doing so, and would probably cause more damage then good.  That said, I agree that they should at least pay maintenance for their kids.

My utter dismay comes from, first of all, your complete lack of understanding on family matters outside the scope of marriage; parents separate, and in most cases, carrying on as a family unit would most probably have been unhealthy for all concerned, especially the child.  I am happy for you that you have your little family bubble, however a lot of people don’t… and it’s outside this bubble where your ignorance screams blue murder, I’m sorry to say!

Let me, therefore, attempt to fill in a few blanks for you.  Believe it or not, there are actually dads who, after separation, desperately want to participate in their children’s lives.  Unfortunately, the law in this country is such, that upon separation it is perfectly acceptable for the mother to remove the child from dads care completely, imposing how often, if at all, the dad can see the child, and if the wannabe supportive dad feels that he sees too little of the child, he then has to instigate court proceedings.

Even worse, if the mother is hostile to the dad (and I do think that the psychology upon separation and after finding a new partner is in desperate need of a study)… or worse,  suddenly decides she wants to relocate out of town, or even worse, overseas… and even worse (can it get any worse?!!)… she has a new partner who is also hostile to the dad, and they together, put all kinds of spanners in the works for the dad, and lead the child into believing all sorts of nonsense (which, by the way, is very deeply damaging to the child and utterly heartbreaking for the dad).  Do you have any idea what dads in this situation have to go through, what kind of emotional and psychological hell it is to have your child removed from you, kept and being damaged in a lair of of abhorrent hostility, out of your reach?  This is the other side of the coin, which you have completely failed to mention in your interview in the Telegraph.

Now how do you think those dads, who are on the receiving end of being deprived of their children (and more importantly, their children being deprived of them) feel after reading your interview in the Telegraph?

There is NO mention of hostile mothers, or the family courts who mostly support them.

Children need both parents in their lives, which you imply that you also believe.  I strongly believe that it is every child’s basic human right to have both parents in their lives.

Unfortunately, the family law does not make this easy.  I know that your aim is to promote marriage, give tax breaks for married couples, and make happy little family units like your own, but like I said, it doesn’t always work like this.  Couples fall out of love with each other; couples break up.

Therefore my questions, Mr Cameron, are firstly… what are you going to say to those on the other side of coin, who brazenly block dads access to children for their own gratification, whatever that may be?

And secondly, what are you going to do for the dads who WANT to participate in their children’s lives – emotionally, not just financially – but are unable to due to family laws which belong in the dark ages?

Best wishes,
Bojan Timotijevic (Lily’s dad)