Father Seeking More Contact

Family and Children

In the case of Re W (a child) (contact order: father seeking increase in contact) [2013] a father lost his appeal for more contact with his child.

The father and mother had been married and had one child (W).  The mother had a child from a previous relationship (N).

After the separation the father and W had a contact arrangement including unsupervised overnight stays.  N then made allegations that the father had behaved in a sexually inappropriate way to her.  There were further allegations that he had behaved inappropriately to his own child and had been violent towards the mother.  After a fact finding hearing the allegations in regard to N and the violence towards the mother were held as proved.

Supervised contact resumed between the father and his child at a contact centre.  The father then applied for more frequent contact including overnight stays.  There was also evidence that the child W wanted to see her father more in a more natural setting.  Despite the child’s wishes the judge ruled that she was too young to appreciate the potential harm she could be exposed to and the father’s application was refused.

The father appealed arguing that there had been sustained contact before the allegations.  He also argued that the judge should have considered whether there was a real risk of harm to W.

The appeal was dismissed.  The judge had ruled on what he believed was in W’s best interests and not what had gone before.  He had been entitled to balance the risk to W’s relationship with her father and the risks to her following the fact finding hearing.

Child Law Solicitors Eastbourne, Hailsham, Polegate, East Sussex

If you would like advice on child issues please contact our Family Law Department for a free initial appointment in Eastbourne 01323 727321, Hailsham 01323 841481 or in Polegate 01323 487051.

Carolyn Richards
Carolyn Richards
Alexandra Funnell
Alexandra Funnell
Guy Brown
Guy Brown
Nicholas Dennis
Nicholas Dennis