News & Insights

Parent’s obligation to encourage contact

Contact is always a difficult issue to deal with between the absent parent and child(ren) of the family.

In the case of Re H-B (Contact) [2015] EWCA Civ 389, the father had not had contact with his daughters, now aged 14 and 16 years, since 2008. This was following an incident where the father’s new wife became angry with the eldest daughter and grabbed her causing superficial injury.

The Court criticised both the mother and father stating that they had behaved in ways that are destructive to the prospects of contact. The judge went on to say:

There are many things that a child does not want to do, for example, going to the dentist or going to school. The parents’ job in exercising all of their parental skills –which may include the use of both the carrot and stick and reason and argument – is to get the child to do what it does not want to do. The child’s refusal cannot as such be a justification for parental failure is clear; after all, the children whose education and health is prejudiced by parental shortcomings may be taken away from their parents and put in to public care.” 

If you are either a mother or father also in feud regarding contact with your children, please remember that the Court requires you to encourage contact, whether the child wishes to or not. If you are not pro-actively encouraging your child to see the other parent, you are likely to be criticised by the Court which may hinder your case.

Please contact Lynn Gooch on 020 8502 3991 for further information.