Thursday, 03 September 2015

Key factors of parental contact

WHEN should contact between a child and one of its parents be stopped?

Peter Yates
Peter Yates

This is a question that is often asked of solicitors when a relationship between the parties has broken down, particularly if the party looking after the child has formed a new relationship.

The basic factors appear to be as follows:

  • Contact between a parent and child is a fundamental element of family life and is almost always in the interest of the child.

Contact is to be terminated only in exceptional circumstances where there are reasons for doing so and when there is no alternative.

It will only be terminated if otherwise it would be detrimental to the child’s welfare.

  • There is an obligation on the judge to maintain or restore contact.

He has a positive duty to attempt to promote contact.

Contact is to be stopped only as a last resort and only once it has become clear that the child will not benefit from continuing the attempt.

The court will take a medium-term and long-term view and not accord excessive weight to what appears likely to be short-term or transient problems.

The key question which requires “strictest scrutiny” is whether the judge has taken all necessary steps to facilitate contact as can reasonably be demanded in the circumstances of the particular case.

Ultimately, the welfare of the child is paramount.

For expert advice, turn to Poole Townsend.

For a FREE appointment without obligation telephone Lucy-Anne Ruane 01229 402247.

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