Court of Appeal rules on alcoholic father

Children|Divorce|Family|Family Law|News|November 30th 2012

In a recently published case, the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by a father denied contact with his children.

The case Re W concerned a man who had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence. He had regular organised contact with his children but this was terminated after a drunken argument at the older child’s birthday party. The man drank alcohol at the event and grilled the children about their mother and her new partner before confronting her and several other adults at the party.

At a subsequent hearing, a judge ruled a that the man was unable to assess his own behaviour and this was unlikely to change unless he stopped drinking. The judge therefore ruled that all contact with the children be stopped for the foreseeable future.

In dismissing the father’s subsequent appeal, the justices said the original judge had correctly started from an assumption that contact should take place but there was too much evidence that the father would continue to harass the mother, affecting her health and wellbeing.

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