A GROUP of dads has led a series of protests around Oldham town centre to highlight “unfair” family laws and the legal costs of gaining access to their own children.
Chris Thompson led a protest which began outside the Evening Chronicle building in Union Street and moved to solicitors’ offices in Queen Street, then Oldham Magistrates Court, Oldham Civic Centre and the county court in Rochdale Road.
Men representing a range of family-law protest groups said current English law is biased towards mothers in access disputes.
Mr Thompson, who lives in Manchester and has family links to Oldham, is involved in a dispute with his former partner, the county court and local council over access to his children and the process under which family-law decisions have been made.
Speaking of yesterday’s protest, he said: “The current system makes men beg in court for access to their children, and leaves them either penniless from solicitors fees or defeated.”
Fellow protester Thomas Moore, from York, said: “If this protest was about foxes or badgers, there would be 10,000 people here.
“But there are hundreds, thousands, of children who are effectively abducted by one parent or another under current family law disputes.
“A hundred years ago, fathers had the absolute right in family issues. Now they are totally disenfranchised. The laws need to change to reflect a balance of rights.”