A High Court judge has told parents who have litigated over access to their twin sons for a “dismal decade” to sit down for a cup of tea and try to resolve their differences.
Mrs Justice Pauffley told the court:
“The very sad reality is that for more than 10 years there has been court conflict between the parents. Various issues have arisen – parental responsibility, contact (how much, how often, staying or visiting, the arrangements for collection and delivery), the children’s last names – but overall the battle has been about the role which their father should properly occupy in the children’s lives.”
The cases was clear demonstration that “protracted litigation over children is profoundly harmful to everyone concerned”, the judge declared. She had detected a sense of exhaustion, she said, with the whole family wanting the dispute to come to end.
Letters written by the one-time couple’s 12 year-old boys had made her “sad”.
Mrs Justice Pauffley had “made some practical proposals as to how the parents might interact with one another in their sons’ presence so as to make their transitions from one home to the other a less tense and a more enjoyable experience.”
“In particular, I suggested that when the boys were dropped off and picked up, each parent should be made welcome in the home of the other, invited to sit down around the kitchen table and offered a cup of tea (or similar).”
Both parents had responded positively to the idea and had agreed to shared residence order, the Telegraph reports.
The judge said:
“It gives me great pleasure to approve the draft consensus which provides that henceforward there is to be a shared residence order in favour of both parents. The boys’ weekends will alternate between the homes of their mother and father. School holidays and half-terms will be divided more or less equally.”
Mrs Justice Pauffley concluded:
“The details will be worked out by the parents. They welcome without hesitation the firm message that this is the final order, that there is no need for any further court involvement, and that any return to litigation would be a profoundly retrograde step.”