This best-selling and practical handbook, now in its third edition, is the essential guide for fathers seeking contact with their children after separation and/or divorce, and all those connected with a father in that situation including grandparents and members of the extended family. Divided into three parts, it explains with clarity and compassion how the law affects all categories of fathers and navigates the reader through this increasingly complicated area of family law.

Part 1

Part 1 deals with the family, the effects of separation on children and fathers and explores ways of resolving matters without resorting to court proceedings.

Part 2

Part 2 deals with the current law, the workings, practice and procedure of the family courts and recent important changes including the Family Procedure Rules 2010. This completely revised and expanded third edition now comprises separate chapters on paternity and parentage; parental responsibility; contact and enforcement; domestic violence; children; grandparents; litigants in person; Human Rights & the family; child support; disclosure, confidentiality, publicity and media access; appeals, and expanded sections on alternative dispute resolution (ADR); shared residence; relocation; and legal funding

Part 3

Part 3 deals with the ongoing issue of reform in light of the Final Report of the Family Justice Review in November 2011, and considers the latest proposals for change.


What’s INSIDE this Book?

Please click the link to view the downloadable PDF of the contents of the book and some sample pages

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Celia Conrad’s user-friendly and indispensible book remains vital reading for anyone interested in issues of concern for fathers and offers invaluable insight into the plight of loving fathers separated from their children.

Comments about Fathers Matter from the author:

‘The idea for the first edition of this book was conceived as long ago as 1999, while I was still working in private practice. One father, for whom my then firm was acting, asked me if I had considered writing a book to help address fathers’ issues.

The content of this book stemmed from a number of conversations I had with male clients during the course of their relationship break-up and in relation to their respective roles as fathers. Several clients told me that, on separating from their wives/partners, they searched the bookshelves in their public library and all the major bookstores in order to find some information for fathers going through a divorce, or who were ‘splitting up’ with their partner. The only guides they could find were for mothers.

Essentially what they were looking for was a user-friendly guide, which provided a thorough overview of the issues they now faced and addressed ways of dealing with those issues constructively. They indicated to me that they needed a comprehensive guide dealing with both the emotional impact on and legal implications of separation and divorce for fathers and their children. Although there were DIY divorce guides and books on child law, there were no specific guides relating to fathers’ problems from a father’s perspective. That is, to assist fathers with any queries, worries, and emotions – as well as the general confusion surrounding a divorce/relationship breakdown. Additionally, they wanted to have a better understanding of their legal    position and the legal process as applicable to them. In short they wanted a practical handbook for fathers.

I did not write Fathers Matter because I am pro fathers and anti mothers, but to highlight the areas of concern fathers expressly requested I address, to provide the information they need and to help raise their profile. In fact much of the material in this book is of relevance to both parents and anyone connected to a party in this situation, not just fathers. It has been my intention to set out the material in  the book succinctly and coherently for those reading it; it is not intended to be a legal textbook.

I do not advocate (no pun intended) the use of solicitors in this book, but merely point out situations where it might be necessary to take legal advice. Having worked as a specialist family lawyer in private practice and, having listened to my clients and fathers in the course of my research, I have taken on board the concerns and criticisms raised against the legal profession, particularly solicitors, which is why there is a section dedicated to chosing one in the book. Mindful that there are an increasing number of fathers acting in person either through choice or out of necessity, due to cuts in legal aid, in this third edition I have expanded the chapter on litigants in person and given helpful pointers throughout the text to assist those who may be representing themselves. Although this is not a legal textbook, it is heavily footnoted as I feel it is very important that fathers, whether they are represented or not, have necessary reference material to hand when dealing with the legal profession and the judiciary.’

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