The ability to be a part of your children’s life is a right no father should have to live without. This harsh fate is the case for many father’s around the world as divorce—increasingly common—reduces a parent’s relationship with their kids to a simple piece of paper ruled by the courts. This was not the case for 37 year old Scott Whittle.
It was two years ago that the relationship Scott had with his children had been stripped away, as the lives of his boys, James and Jayden were hidden from him. Following a long running custody battle in 2009, the boys spent every second weekend with their father before his ex-wife severed all contact between him and his children. Unable to contact his sons or witness them grow into teenagers, Scott is forced to hold onto the memories of the past constantly wondering what his children are doing and how they are going.
Not only were the boys taken from their father, they were taken away from their family. Forced to retreat to baby photos of the boys, their grandmother Linda Whittle shows her 21 month old granddaughter Chloe photos of the cousins whom she has never met. The absence of James and Jayden has created a void within the family leaving behind unanswered questions as to when they will ever see the boys–making their family whole once again.
Regardless of the Family Law reforms in 1996 stating that both parents of divorce had shared responsibility in raising their children, situations where parents do not have the ability to contact their children are not uncommon. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one million children experience the divorce of their parents where 22% of children in Australia live with only one biological parent. Although, 32% of the children living with one parent will not have contact with their other parent—more commonly their father.
Young boys living without a paternal influence inevitably stops their father from moulding them into the young men he envisioned them to become. A father isolated from his sons will never teach them how to put on a tie for their first job interview, will never get frustrated as the car is stalled one too many times in an effort to teach them how to drive manual. Scott will never see the cheeky smile of his sons again, even, by a small chance that the day comes that he gets to see his children again; the smile will never be the same—it will be tarnished by his absence.