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The Essential Guide to Fathers Rights


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As a father of two young children, and someone who has been through a very acrimonious divorce, and who has had to deal with (and is still dealing with) a bitter ongoing contact dispute with my ex where I have been denied contact with my children and have faced false allegations of violence and abuse against me, I want to use my experiences constructively and help other devoted fathers faced with the same situation.

When I first separated five years ago I searched for as much information as I could find on fathers rights. Back then there was hardly any information directed at fathers and our needs and what was out there wasn't very good. Then a close friend of mine recommended a legal handbook specifically written for fathers to me which he had discovered on the internet and written by a former family law specialist who gave up her career as a family lawyer to write and research her book and to actively campaign for loving and devoted fathers rights to have contact with their children. I thought it was very interesting that a woman should write a book for men and I was curious to read it.

I have to say that the guidance and information in the book was enormously helpful to me - I'll explain why in my review of the book in a moment - and since then I have purchased the fully revised and expanded second edition of the book which in my opinion is even better than the first because it contains additional sections on key subjects of relevance for fathers such as paternity; civil partnerships; grandparents; the separate representation of children; litigants in person; disclosure, confidentiality and publicity and appeals.

What I want to give you is a straightforward review of the book so you can decide for yourself whether this is a book which would be useful to you:

  • The first thing you notice about the book is that it's compact (160 pages) and that every page is jam-packed with detailed information. This book contains no fillers. It's solid information. I understand that the author wanted the book to be a handbook which fathers could take with them to court etc so the size was a factor she considered when the book was produced.

  • The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 deals with the family, and the effects of separation on children and fathers; Part 2 deals with the current law, the workings of the family court system and recent important changes. Part 3 deals with the issue of reform and considers proposals for change.

  • The book is divided into 19 chapters. Part 1 entitled Family Matters (Chapters 1-5) deals with the importance of fathers and our role, discusses ways of trying to reduce conflict after a break-up and how to resolve issues amicably including mediation and counselling; covers what to do about telling the children and how they might react and their wishes.

  • Really positive information is provided about how to maintain a role in our children's lives post-separation, how to deal with new partners and contact with grandparents and other members of the extended family, and there are useful pointers in how to deal with our exes. I found all the advice very helpful to me. I feel that the author really understands the problems and empathizes with us as well as telling how it is.

  • Part 2 entitled The Law (Chapters 6 - 17) is really well-written, clear and easy to follow. The author starts with outlining the law and legal system, explains the court system and process; she then deals with how to find a good solicitor. I particularly liked this chapter! She then goes on to deal extensively with paternity, parental responsibility, child arrangements for divorcing fathers, unmarried fathers, civil partners and step-fathers and explains the whole court process in depth right from the commencement of proceedings through to final judgment in understandable terms.

  • She breaks information down into bite-sized chunks which is easy to absorb. She simplifies complex legal points and she also uses case-studies from her own experiences within the law and her research to further explain points and to demonstrate how the law works in different scenarios.

  • There are separate chapters on the representation of children and litigants in person and McKenzie Friends, disclosure, confidentiality and publicity, residence, contact, emergency procedures and appeals. She also deals with Child Support and the Human Rights Act 1998.

  • Part 3 covers reform and pressure for change and recommendations for a way forward.

    The book has helped me because it has given me a greater understanding of the law and fathers’ rights, legal procedure, how to deal with my ex and how to progress my case both inside and outside court. It also saved me a lot of money on lawyers’ fees because it also gave me the confidence to represent myself in court when necessary. I know that I would have had to pay thousands of pounds for the advice I've had from this book. What I really like about the book is the way it is structured. The fact that every chapter is broken down into sections and the author really explains everything so clearly is what makes the book so good. The author has a very easy writing style and you really feel that she has a true understanding of a father's dilemma, and that she cares about this subject and us.

    So what are my final thoughts on this book? Well, it won't solve 100% of your problems but that has more to do with my ex and the law than the quality of the book! It has certainly enabled me to go a good way to resolving my problems. All in all this book is an invaluable resource so do check it out for yourself.

    Jonathan Masterton is a father who has struggled to maintain contact with his children post divorce. For details of the legal handbook for fathers reviewed here please go to

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