Parents cannot use their child’s refusal as an excuse for non-contact

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The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has reminded parents that they have an obligation to encourage contact between their children and the children’s parents, even if the child does not wish to see them.

In the case Re H-B (Contact) [2015] EWCA Civ 389, the father had not had direct contact with his two daughters since 2008, following an incident with the father’s new wife. The father was, in this case, appealing against a refusal of his application for direct contact with the daughters.

The President compared contact with other things that children may not wish to do, or even refuse to do, for example going to the dentist, going to visit relatives, going to school, or doing homework.

Dismissing the appeal, the President held that it was a parent’s job to “get the child to do what is does not want to do” and that a child refusing to see one of their parents was not a justification for that parent to be estranged from the child.

Read the full text of the appeal judgement on Family Law Week website.

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