The High Court has approved regular contact between a father and the child he conceived with a woman in a civil partnership.
In Re SAB, the child’s mother had a relationship with the man she met over the internet after her relationship with another woman ran into difficulties. However, she later reconciled with her former partner, and they claimed they asked the man to act as a sperm donor. The baby, when born, lived with the two women, who entered a civil partnership. They claimed that the man had agreed to have no involvement with the child but he denied this.
The father saw his child for a period of time after the birth but then the relationship between him and the two women broke down. He went to court and applied for a contact order.
A Cafcass officer recommended that the father should have regular contact with the boy. Contact should initially be supervised, she said, to provide some reassurance to the two mothers and help the to rebuild the father-son relationship. He had had no contact with the child, now 20 months old, for almost a year at the time of the hearing.
Describing the case as a “very sad situation”, High Court judge Mr Justice Holman said that, on the balance of probabilities, it was unlikely that the man had agreed to have no involvement with his child. This was not in keeping with his personality or personal history, the judge declared. In addition, the mother had initially allowed the father to see the child and this did not suggest an agreement to have no involvement.
There was nothing to suggest that the father would have a negative impact on the child. The child was, in fact, likely to benefit and the judge granted a contact order, as recommended by the Cafcass officer.