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Court of Appeal gives father permission to appeal reduction in contact

The Court of Appeal has granted a father permission to appeal an order reducing contact with his children.

Re SK concerned a couple with three children, aged seven, 11 and 14. They split up and the mother moved away with the youngsters. The father unsuccessfully applied for residence but was granted overnight visits every other weekend.

Later on, the father reapplied for residence and a Cafcass officer was assigned to the case. The couple’s two older children told the officer that they wished to live with their father but the officer was concerned that they did not fully understand the consequences of this and thought they may have been put under pressure, so they recommended that the children stay with their mother.

The judge responded to the Cafcass officer’s worries, saying the children’s best interests lay in continuing to live with their mother, also reducing the father’s overnight visits to just one weekend per month. The father was unhappy and applied for permission to appeal.

At the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Black said she could not interfere with the original judge’s decision regarding the children’s place residence. That judge had been perfectly entitled to take on board  the Cafcass officer’s concerns.

However, neither the mother or father had asked for the father’s contact with his children to be reduced. The court needed to ensure that all evidence was available, including the views of the children. The father was granted permission to appeal on the issue of contact.

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.

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  1. JamesB says:

    I could say a lot about this but I am tired of repeating myself. Is typical. Kids should just move in with their Dad. Possession is 9 tenths of the law. The rest as per this in nonsense.

  2. vob re says:

    I have seen first hand how important it is for children to have regular contact with their parents be it either the mother or the father. You will never wipe out the’ need’ it is immeasurable.
    Once a month is too long for children to be parted from a biological loving parent. All this system has done and continues to do is long term mental health damage,
    Today one in four are damaged by emotional trauma by being separated in childhood. The irony is that many of these so called ‘learned so called professionals have behind the scenes have dysfunctional families themselves.

  3. Tulsa Divorce Lawyer Matt Ingham says:

    I strongly disagree with the Cafcass worker and the judge in this one.

  4. Stitchedup says:

    Truly worrying, it just goes to show what goes on in the lower levels of the family courts. A man dares to challenge, he is shafted as a result…. a disgrace.

  5. Lukey says:

    The children (one of whom is FOURTEEN) want to stay with the father – so instead his contact is reduced – is this Monty Python ?

    How do these people have a job ?

  6. Paul says:

    When I went to court to get my contact order enforced my children then only eleven and twelve, said they didn’t want to see me. Contrary to this case, their wishes n’ feelings were regarded as determinative. At that age. The Cafcass officer recommended I took a “step back” and sent some cards instead. That was the last I saw of them until one came back briefly, and that was ten years later.

    Wonderful aren’t they, these Cafcass courts. Why is it always the paternal relationship which gets shafted, because that’s the common thread?

  7. JamesB says:

    My kids said happy seeing me as they did. Cafcass officer disregarded thatvand said better to reduce as per Mum’s wishes. Best thing to do with cafcass is ignore them.

  8. Billy Wright says:

    It’s all a nonsense. Kids should be 50/50 time split between parents in law, if a parent cannot do 50% they should then have to apply to the courts arguing why they cannot have 50% .
    Good fathers and good mothers are both EQUALLY vital for children.

  9. Toots says:

    From a mothers perspective I think its wise to look at how we are sometimes treated.. My ex is an abusive.. Denies all knowledge of it yet flexes his muscles when it suits him and not the kids. He says he want me to respect him!! And in top of that he has stated he records all on conversations.. To protect himself.. Now why would anyone wish for children to be sent to live with a man like that??? I appreciate not all men are the same but us women are not to. Personally I have manintained the high ground despite the crippling effects its had…

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