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Monday, 22 April, 2002, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Geldof stands up for single fathers
Paula Yates and Bob Geldof
Geldof won his custody battle with Paula Yates
Bob Geldof has urged the courts to reject the notion mothers should get automatic custody of children.

He called for judges to, where applicable, leave the children with the partner who is not moving out.

The singer won custody in 1998 against his former wife Paula Yates, to care for their three children.

His comments follow a controversial case last week in which a judge awarded against a house husband in favour of his estranged wife.

Courts and judges need to understand that not all men are brutal, indifferent bores, and women ministering angels

Bob Geldof

Geldof went to court after his divorce from Yates and won custody of Fifi, 18, Peaches, 12, and Pixie, 11.

He also cares for five-year-old Tiger Lily, the daughter Yates had with INXS star Michael Hutchence, following her death in 2000.

The former Boomtown Rats singer told Reader's Digest magazine: "Where one partner leaves the other, the children should remain with the partner who has not left.

"To suggest that the interests of the children are nearly always best served by the presence of the mother is just not empirically true.

'Different functions'

"Men adore and love their children as much as women, though they may display it in different ways.

"Courts and judges need to understand that not all men are brutal, indifferent bores, and women ministering angels."

Geldof confessed the custody battle had been part of his "nightmare years" following the break-up of his marriage and preceding her death.

A Court of Appeal case last week appeared to strengthen the principle that mothers made better carers.
Geldof with Peaches (left) and Pixie
Geldof: dads can be good fathers

The judges refused a man leave to appeal against an earlier decision in the High Court.

The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, argued he was the victim of sex discrimination after custody was given to his former wife.

He was previously caring for the children, but their mother said she wanted to give up her career to look after them.

Lord Justice Thorpe, sitting with Lord Justice Buxton, said the "reality" was that men and women had different traditional functions.

He acknowledged the right of parents who initially put their careers ahead of parenting to re-evaluate that decision.

In November, a survey by lone parent charity Gingerbread suggested single fathers faced discrimination at work.

A quarter of the 115 questioned had given up their jobs because employers were too inflexible.

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