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Father denied right to see children more than twice a year

A father has been told by the Court of Appeal that he cannot see his children more than twice a year.

In K (Children), the parents of the two daughters were married from 2004 to 2007.

When the marriage broke down, the girls were removed from the paternal family home with the assistance of the police.

Aside from a brief period with foster carers, the children lived with their mother since the split.

When the dispute over custody was taken to court, Lady Justice Black ruled the father would be limited to supervised contact with his daughters once a month.

In a subsequent ruling, Judge Bellamy reduced the supervised contact to two times a year.

He concluded that the father was very dangerous and the risk to the mother and their children “remained high or very high”.

The mother, meanwhile, was described as “a deeply fearful and anxious woman, whose distress was palpable” as a result of the father’s “wholly un-meritorious” attempt to get a shared residence order.

The father appealed Judge Bellamy’s decision, claiming that “the judge put too much emphasis on the negatives and too little emphasis on the positives” and that “[t]he expert evidence was all one way”.

But sitting at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Ryder called the father’s argument “devoid of merit” and that it “cannot be said … that the judge’s welfare evaluation or order were wrong or disproportionate”.

Despite his satisfaction with the original evaluation, Lord Justice Ryder expressed concerns about the restrictions placed on the paternal family in relation to the girls.

“[When the father visits his children] the extended paternal family, including a paternal grandmother, a paternal uncle and paternal aunt, are to be excluded.”

He added:

“[T]he order is not reasoned on the face of the judgment. The order appears to have been an interim measure rightly imposed by the judge to permit an assessment of the father in the circumstance that the court was looking at whether he had changed his position. Whether there should be objection to the extended paternal family attending contact in the longer term remains an issue to be decided.”

The appeal was also heard by Lady Justice Macur and Lady Justice Arden, who both agreed with Lord Justice Ryder’s decision.

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. Luke says:

    This decision seems quite extraordinary, if:
    “He concluded that the father was very dangerous and the risk to the mother and their children “remained high or very high.”
    then one would expect there to be justification provided for this and if it was then shown to be so the father shouldn’t see the children at all – how does restricting the visits to 2 times a year get rid of such a risk ? Clearly it doesn’t.
    If the father is fit to see the children twice a year I can see no justification for him not seeing them once a month or indeed much more – can anyone explain what appears to be a completely irrational judgement ???

  2. Mike says:

    I am in the same boat as this farther . The risks to the child can be from the messed up mind of the mothers own doing . Or mental health . She probably still loves the man . He doesn’t love her her so the bitch comes out . She then brainwashed and mentally abuses the kids . Cut the dad out of kids life’s and the system sees the kids are safe from further abuse . I have had every injunction against me a due to things the mother did not me . In my case my eldest daughter the abuse is mostdefinatly still on going . My ex still stalks me and my family . They regularly make rude swear signers to us in passing and they often sit at the bottom of family members streets . The mentality of these women is so wrong along with our family laws . It sucks . It our system what wrong . And carcass officers lie through there teethdont blame the fathers we not all bad fabricate things against dads to protect kids from the mother physical and mental abuse .

  3. JamesB says:

    It says something you calling her a Bitch. As much as I dislike my ex I do not call her that as she is the mother of my children. I had dodgy injunctions and non mols at me. I called her that once to her face when she was completely out of order. I don’t know, perhaps I am wrong letting her walk all over me, I don’t know the right answer.

    It is so hard to rise above it, I agree, its like they slap you and if you slap them back you get called an abuser. I remember sitting in court once saying absolutely nothing as her barrister had wound me up. Then walking out rather than saying anything.

    I think the Cafcass officers fall for it, the Judges don’t really care and are looking for an excuse to close a contested case and all it takes is a single instance of losing your temper.

    Now, I am faced with going to parents evenings with someone I don’t like and sitting next to her and pretending to be ok with her in front of the children. I don’t want to but there you go.

    I have 4 children and I think the point is they are not mine or hers and to try and reach an agreement. Otherwise the Judge sides with the Parent With Care.

    You fight you get screwed for contact you don’t fight you get screwed for contact. Basically, sadly, either live with someone you don’t like until your children leave home, or get what you are offered and be as nice to her (not financially) as possible and go home and scream into the pillow, talk to the wall etc which is what I have done. It is not right but it is the system we have and I understand why as fighting in front of the children isn’t good – I have done that – been assaulted and then arrested for it.

    The system is wrong in that it doesn’t offer shared care as default and that needs to change and I do my bit to campaign for that including writing to my MP about, as I did again this week. He come back with the nugget that children are not possessions to be shared which is a chiche and not a sensible answer. If we are to have equality then let children see their fathers more I think is a fair request, I feel very strongly about that. All the Pantomime in court, I don’t know what to say about that. I was probably a bit wrong and patronising saying you are wrong to call her that, just as long as you don’t call her that in front of the children as that will hurt them as she is at least half of them and isn’t good for your relationship with them to think of her in those terms.

    Makes me wonder if I think of my ex in those terms. Probably not. That’s not to say I want to be back with her, just that I appreciate her and what we have done with the children. I do not think I should just F Off and die though and hate that attitude of hers and quite a lot about her. Thing is you and I can only be responsible for our own actions and I try not to hit out and lose my temper. That said I am older and this has been a bit further down the road than you are as we split many years ago. I hope people find more peace then the people in the article and as I and you have seen.

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