As specialists in family and matrimonial law, we meet so many dads striving to do the best for their families, often in very difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, it is rarely those that you hear about. Instead, what tends to grab attention is the focus on absent father or those who do not live up to their responsibilities. It’s frustrating that more positive stories about dads fighting hard to keep their family together or do the best for the children, don’t hit the headlines in quite the same way.
Mums, perhaps understandably, are the ones who tend to get the recognition. Certainly, in the past it might have been mums who spent more time with the children, who children turned to in times of need, and who did much of the life management that is needed with young families.
However, we have come a long way since the 1950s and stereotypical family roles. The dynamics of our modern families are often more complex but no less exciting and fulfilling for our children. For many families nowadays, parenting is much more equally shared. Many fathers combine a full-time job with their family responsibilities. On blustery, cold and wet weekends in winter, many a dad can be seen coaching his own and other children on the football and rugby pitches.
There are many great dads in happy, successful relationships. As family lawyers, our experience tends to be of dads trying to keep their family together, wanting to maintain a proper relationship with their children, after their relationship with mum has broken down. We also see, in very tragic circumstances, those dads who become mum and dad to those children who have lost their mums, as recently highlighted by Rio Ferdinand in the BBC documentary ‘Being Mum and Dad’.
A couple may separate or divorce but parents never stop being parents. Post-separation, dads can help to maintain stability, play an active role in schooling and help their children feel loved through a very difficult time. There are thousands of positive stories out there that get little or no air time and that is why we chose to publically support the Dad of the Year category.
So this award, part of the Heroes of Derbyshire Awards, provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the roles of all dads throughout the county. The Woolley & Co family law team in Derby of myself, Andrew Robotham and Davina Warrington are looking forward to learning more about the great dads we are sure are out there in Derbyshire, and picking a winner – and giving them some well-deserved praise.
Divorce and Family Lawyer