Call us: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm

Mother vows to take international child contact case to European Court of Human Rights

A mother who has been separated from her son for seven years has said she will take her contact battle to the European Court of Human Rights.

Claire Walters has only seen her nine year old son Donavan a few times since he went to live with his father in Belgium when he was two, the East London and West Essex Guardian reports.

A child contact order states that Donavan should see his mother and half-sister monthly and speak weekly on Skype, but Ms Walters claimed this has not happened. She also said that her son cannot speak English, making communication more difficult still.

Walters recently lost a court battle in Belgium. She was told she would have to travel there if she wanted to see her son. She said:

“The court has about four months’ worth of bank statements where, according to my solicitor, I’m left with about 60 Euros a month to play around with. It’s not enough to travel to Belgium with my daughter.”

Ms Walters has now said going to an international court is her only option for contact with her son:

“I have letters from my MP, Eleanor Laing, saying she can’t help me and Families Reunited tried to help, but there’s nothing anyone can do. My next step is to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.”

Walters was first separated from her son in 2006 when she contacted social services with concerns about whether she could look after her children. Donavan was then sent to live with his father abroad, while his half-sister Morgan went to stay with her uncle. Morgan, now 11, returned to live with her mother in Essex four years ago.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Lukey says:

    It’s very difficult, but she decided to give up custody of her son and her ex-husband took him on, the fact that he lives in Belgium is not his fault.

    The father may or may not be acting with good will in regards to Skype but I don’t see that anything can be done – the kid has been mucked around enough.

  2. Observer says:

    According to a lot of dads who have had their human rights abused in this country, the ECHR doesn’t actually exist, in the sense that it routinely refuses to get involved in family law cases. The courts here know this, otherwise they would be a lot more careful when abusing dads.

    It will be interesting to see how far this mother gets, how soon the ECHR gets around to her case (if at all). Look forward to an update, as it would be very revealing of our so-called gender equality in 21st-century Europe.

  3. michelle jatta says:

    one comment enough is enough, children have been mucked around enough. do you know the ins and outs of the case or just what you read in the press. spend one day, just one day in this mother’s shoes and then you may feel a little different, or even a day in the childs mind. do you actually have children, have you ever been in a situation like this, or are you just assuming how you would behave on this matter. Please read studies on the damage on a child when it does not have access to both parents. This should change your opinion. This woman has been denied access that she was promised. This child under their human rights has a right to access to both his mother and father. this is being denied and something has to be done, a great overall should be done in cases like. whether it is from a father or a mother. COMMENT REMOVED I just hope that you never have to deal with a situation like this . Maybe this ladies determination will give the way for any changes. Some say she is fighting a loosing battle, but she is not giving up. the only time she will give up is when she has no breath left in her and she is taken from this world. Instead of all the fathers out there complaining, why do not we stand together and hold hands, support each other, maybe then we can start the trend for change

Leave a comment

Help & advice categories


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for advice on divorce and relationships from our lawyers, divorce coaches and relationship experts.

What type of information are you looking for?

Privacy Policy