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Some Good News For Fathers

The Family Department receive lots of instructions from fathers who are not being allowed contact with their children. Some fathers, because of their behaviour towards their former partner and/or the children should not be allowed direct contact with their children until matters have been fully investigated. 

Many of our clients however are denied contact for little or no reason, and this means they may have to spend far too much time, and substantial sums of money, getting to the stage where reasonable contact is allowed. The longer the time when there is no contact, the more difficult it becomes to rebuild a relationship with the child.

Often the children’s mother will fabricate allegations of the father’s misconduct with the likes of Social Services, Cafcass or the Police, and the Courts will be reluctant to allow any direct contact until full investigations have been carried out. Those investigations are likely to take at least 4 months, and often a lot longer than that, leaving the father distraught, feeling like a criminal.

There is good news at last for fathers.  On 7 September, The Times newspaper reported on a landmark judgement. The previous day The Court of Appeal held that the Family Justice system violated a father's rights by denying him contact with his daughter. The father had been locked in a 12 year legal battle with his former partner for contact with his daughter.  The girl, now 14, was one year old when her parents separated in 2001.  Since 2006 the Family Courts have made 82 orders in the dispute.  Even during 2012 the judge banned the father from direct contact with his daughter, restricting him to sending her e-mails, cards and presents at Christmas and on birthdays.  The Court of Appeal judges ruled that the father and daughter's human rights in respect to family life had been breached by "systemic failure" in the legal system.  Ordering a rehearing, Lord Justice McFarlane said the Court had never encountered a case in which the Family Justice system had "failed a family so completely".

Hopefully the decision of the Court of Appeal will be followed by the lower Courts where the majority of our clients issue proceedings, and as a result our clients will get the contact with their children which is rightfully theirs.

We have specialist family lawyers in all of our offices who are able to advise on all family matters.