Thursday, 24 July 2008

Fathers 4 Justice back dad's fight

by Lewis Cowen

Tim Line has not seen his daughter since last Christmas
Tim Line who has not seen his daughters since last Summer

Campaign group Fathers4Justice is to take up the cudgels on behalf of former Devizes man Tim Line, who has been barred from seeing his three daughters for nearly a year.

Former soldier and international rally driver Mr Line has been separated from his wife of 18 years since June 2006 but last September his wife stopped him from seeing them.

Mr Line, a former sergeant in the Royal Artillery who now lives in Hilperton, near Trowbridge, said all his efforts through the courts had done nothing but earn fees for solicitors.

He said: "It is horrendous to be on your own in the house. No noise. No children playing. It is like a living bereavement."

In May 2006 Mr Line came home from a trip away to be handed a summons to appear in court two days later on his birthday.

He said: "Our marriage had not been going well but this came right out of the blue.

"My wife's solicitor told me, if I were you, Mr Line, I'd find a place to live in the next few days. I had a non-molestation order served on me, even though I had never been violent towards my wife or my children."

Mr Line found himself homeless, but worse was to come. He had been given access to his children aged 13, 12 and 10, who still live in the family home.

But the access gradually tailed off and a judge told him last November that he was not going to make an order for contact because his eldest said she no longer wanted to visit.

Mr Line said: "The judge said I could write to them and send them small gifts at the appropriate times of year and that my wife was to encourage them to respond."

He hasn't seen or heard from 2 of his daughters since. He saw his middle aged daughter briefly on the doorstep last January, when he dropped off her presents.

He said: "We hugged and said how much we missed each other and that is the last time I saw her". But since joining Fathers4 Justice I see I have been relatively lucky. Other fathers, like Mark Harris, who was sentenced to prison for ten months for waving to his children in the street, are much worse off.

"The law must be changed. Well over 300,000 children have been stopped from seeing one of their parents, usually the father, since this government came to power. Only five per cent of separated fathers see their children every day.

"But solicitors don't want things changed, because they make so much money out of it. They charge £185 an hour and each letter they receive or phone call they deal with costs you £18.50."

Fathers4Justice confirmed it would hold a protest in support of Mr Line, but would not say where and when it would take place.

Fathers4Justice South West co-ordinator Richard Adams said: "Tim Line served Queen and country in the Army for 24 years but as soon as his marriage broke down, this Government's family courts denied him access to his children."


Tim Line 25 July 2008 at 01:47  

Posted by: Monty1262, Plymouth on 5:41pm Thu 24 Jul 08

Its sad to say that this is more common than most people may think.

I serve in the Royal Marines and upon returning from Afghanistan in March 07, i found myself in court 5 days later facing a non-molestation order from false allegations. I had no time to prepare for this, nor would the court allow it. All of my savings from my operational deployment went on solicitors fees (some £4000) which in all reality served no purpose because the court simply will not listen to reason.

I spent the next year going it alone through the courts with the help of Fathers 4 Justice trying to gain access to my two little girls who i used to enjoy a happy and healthy relationship with before i deployed to Afghanistan.

It is only recently that the relationship between my children's mother and myself has become more amicable, the false allegations have been dropped and i am now being re-introduced to my children after missing 18 months (half of their lives) of being denied access.

This more agreeable situation has been worked out between us as we both agreed that the court and all its affiliated departments (namely CAFACASS and my ex partners solicitor) were causing more problems by creating a 'winner takes all' scenario' and NOT working for the best interests of the children.

I have been on several operation tours with the Marines and had to endure all that it has thrown at me, but i can catagorically state that being denied access to my children and going through the family courts has been by far the most hardest and cruelest experience of my life. I serve to protect this countries way of life, only to be put through an ordeal that i would wish on noone. I do not believe that i should be treated any differently to the next man just because of what i do, simply because it doesnt matter who you are nd what you do if you are a father going through the family courts (just read up on the experiences of Sir Bob Geldof).

Being a father isnt something that should ordered, won or enforced by a court, and its because there is often no other choice then this is an unfortunate reality.
For the fathers out there who have done nothing wrong and who genuinly want to see their children, this country is not set up to help us and our children have relationships with BOTH parents.

I deeply feel sorry for Tim Line in the situation that has been forced upon him and he will undoubtably have a long battle against him simply because it is easier for the court to deny access rather than look deeply into a situation, have a full and un(gender)biased investigation and hearing.
We dont just want justice for fathers, we want it for our children too.

For those that are interested in cases like this, please read up on 'Parantal Alienation Syndrome' (PAS), although not 'legally' recognised in this country it explains a great deal about what can happen to children caught up in relationship/access/
custody battles.

I know that not everyone is innocent, but stories always have 2 sides to it before anyone replies to this saying that im just another feckless dad. I would happily shed your ignorance on the matter.

Regards all,

from a father who was wrongly denied access to his children for 18 months, and i consider myself one of the lucky ones.

Tim Line 25 July 2008 at 01:48  

Posted by: J.Munby, Manningford Bruce on 7:00pm Thu 24 Jul 08

his sounds like yet another piece of family court corruption-just give the mother whatever she wishes and to hell with the father, his kids or even any justice. Mr Line should simply not bother with wasting his money on solicitors who don't fight, but take to protest under the Fathers 4 Justice banner. Do your protests Mr Line so the kids will hear about it!
Then they will know that you are still thinking about them and fighting for them. Read the book FAMILY COURT HELL by Mark Harris, it worked for him!

Tim Line 25 July 2008 at 03:58  

Posted by: geddi, calne on 10:58am today

Massive sympathies here lads. I spent 11 years fighting to see my kids on a regular basis and almost cracked up through it. There are still raw scars inside me which I don't think will ever completely heal. I missed out on their development and they also missed out. It was time which can never be regained. It was time which was lost completely.

Hats off to Fathers For Justice. May equality between sexes in this country one day be achieved.

Charles 31 July 2008 at 03:46  

I am one of the fortunate few who went through an amicable divore (though still a horrendously stressful and emotional time). I was luckier still to have uncontested custody of my 2 daughters, aged 1 and 2 at the time.

I have read all too often about terrible stories such as Tim's and each time thanked my lucky stars.

Now I read about Tim, a friend whom I met over a backgammon board many years ago, and admire greatly as a person and a great backgammoner!!

When I think back to my own divorce (now 20 years ago) and try to imagine what it would have been like if I had not only lost the girls but also been denied access to them, I wonder if I would have been able to cope at all.

But, Tim, you are such a strong character with a terrific sense of honesty and integrity. I know that you will not only cope but will fight this terrible injustice until it is corrected.

I am so pleased that you have the support of Fathers 4 Justice and you know all you have to do is yell and I will be there for you to do whatever I can to help.


Michael J. Murphy 5 November 2008 at 09:24  

Best of Luck Tim:

It is the hardest thing we will ever do to fight the laziness and conservatism of family courts whether it be in your country or many others, including mine. Most organizations in the women's support ecosystem are highly feminized and the family courts more so than many. Lawyers, in their infinite desire to make as much money as possible, kow a good bandwagon and will continue to want top keep the adversarial system in play rather than opt for shared and equal parenting as a presumption in law.

All we can do is take one day at a time and be patient. Blogging and other forms of publicity is required to show the community and the world the stark unfairness of the current system.

You are a former warrior and you know the value of discipline. That is an important component in us doing the right thing and getting the attention we desire to get the laws changed. My children know I am fighting for them and part of the reason they are less alienated now is the publicity surrounding PA I have generated. It will keep your ex on guard.

Best wishes from a F4J colleague in Canada.

See this for an inspiring look at another warrior coming home:

makian 7 March 2009 at 06:44  

hi all
having just recieved a non molestion order here is my potted history,
in 2006 returned home (work in oil industry)on leave opened post, found out wife been taking loans out and not repaying them,so far so good but in 2003 wife had us made homeless by doing same thing,cue angry man ,put hand on wifes shoulder, police called,me in cells for night ,no charges,
wife promises to seek help for her behaviour,then in 2007 our daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor,stopped work and spent all time with daughter hospital stays radiotherpy runs chemo,during this period the relationship with my wife allready rocky deteriated to such an extent
that i called in the social workers and mental health team to try and help (my wife was assulting me destroying furniture ect also throwing me out on a regular basis with accusations of an affair over twenty years ago)
so i get the wife going to councelling ,we as a family go to councelling,great i think the fire brigade has arrived,,all goes well untill the last time at the councellors she asked me what i want to happen,at this time its just me and the wife so i say ,all i want is for the conflict to stop while our daughter is still alive and that when it is over if my wife wants it we can then go our separate ways,with that she storms out, when i return home the door is locked and a few of my clothes are in bin bags on the porch,since then i have seen my kids 5 times ,and had one overnight stay with my daughter in hospital,then ontop of it all this catch all non molestation order full of lies (2006 non assult )which no one will grant me legal aid to defend,so here is me sleeping on a mates couch, jobseekers allowance of the princely sum of 60 quid a week,no chance of seeing my daughter ,and the professionals i called in to help and support do not want to know,my advice to anyone is keep away from them,,

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