From: Matthew O'Connor <
To: R.J.Whiston < Alain Williams
Date: 24 November 2002 08:20
Subject: Retreat Strategy - Does it
Can I endorse Roberts comments about the retreat
I used this approach exactly one year ago in the RCJ.
I felt like most of us, that my 'begging' for pathetic
amounts of contact was humiliating and degrading and
empowered the court as well as my wife.
By 'accepting' and using the system I was giving it
credibility. If I had continued to play within the
rules then I don't doubt that I would still be there.
I made it explicitly clear in the strongest terms to
the Cafcass officer and the Judge that I was going to
walk away after the hearing if I did not get
substantial meaningful contact including overnight
The result was a stand up row with a woman judge who
produced such classic lines like 'you must be patient'
(after a year and a half), 'you must learn to get on
better with your wife' (which of course why I was
standing there as LIP in the RCJ - silly me) to which
my response was that she was clearly orbiting a
different planet in a different universe to the one I
thought I was living in. The words 'ground control to
Major Tom' sprung, not for the first time, to mind.
Needless to say she wasn't very pleased however she
also didn't want dad to walk away. I had presented the
court and my wife with a fait a complis. My wife had
the shock of her life as I was going to move abroad
and BINGO! A much needed reality check kicked in and
she realised her wallet was about to exit stage left.
A year later my wife now COMPLAINS that I don't see
the kids enough! We have buried any differences and
she even owns an Equal Parenting Umbrella and a
Fathers 4 Justice T Shirt!
I can only endorse the retreat strategy. Yes, its high
risk, but lets face it, how many people do we see
trawling through the courts for years getting nowhere?
Its about time some us adopted what I call the 'big
brass balls' strategy. STOP using the system - you
give it credibility every time you do so.
Life is about risks. Its about time more of us started
F4J will be leading the charge in this respect next
From: Fathers4Justice <firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 20 July 2003 23:15
Subject: [fathers4justice] Revisiting our basics
Most, if not all of you, should know the position of
F4J in this regard. Those of you who have been
involved in any of the group meetings would also
The only cock up has been the 29 year hash others
made of changing the law. We may fail to, but on
occasion we must me allowed to push the previously
acceptable boundaries back.
Yes, there will be dialgoue in the future, not about
strung out theoretcal pilot projects that have as much
chance of take off as a blindfolded, one legged,
poverty stricken dodo, but of change to the primary
legislation, a bill of rights for the family.
History has taught us that change will come from the
outside, not from within the (family law) system. The
very people who attended that conference are the very
people who will be held to account in the post
apartheid style truth and reconcilliation commission
we are proposing - to hold those who were previously
unaccountable in this democracy to account to their
peers and parliament for the judgements and decisions
which saw thousands of families torn apart.
Thinking that this was a cock up, illustrates the type
of backage from history this movement carries and
which it must shed to move forward.
Alot of work went in to that event at very short
notice to send a message - that we will NO longer
tolerate family law injustice.
The fact that individuals on this forum failed to
understand that message is a cause for much
dissapointment and concern especially given the
considerable start this group has made in just 6
The basics have always been there but perhaps some
people were not aware of them in which case I refer
them to my first paragraph. If anyone wants to address
this issue to me off forum please do at
Added on 24 July 2003.
Today Matt told me that on
the morning of the recent Oliver Cyriax conference, when he first heard that
time and place details for that evening had been posted on the
Fathers4Justice Forum, and that Fathers4Justice members planned to attend, he
did what he could to minimise the damage, including trying to liaise with