Court refuses father’s request to text his daughter

Children|September 2nd 2016

The Court of Appeal has rejected a father’s bid to overturn a ruling that he cannot text his 12 year-old daughter.

The man, who lives in London, has an acrimonious relationship with his estranged wife, the girl’s mother. He is allowed to see his daughter twice a month but at an earlier hearing in the Family Division of the High Court, Mrs Justice Parker had forbidden him from texting her between visits, encouraging her to text him, or buying her a mobile phone.

The Judge believed that allowing text message communication between father and daughter would “simply cause more anxiety” given the troubled relationship between the parents. She declared that “previous generations had not expected to be in communication with their parents every day”.

Daily text messaging could also, suggested the Judge, cause the mother to worry about “her whereabouts being traced”.

The father applied for permission to appeal. He said:

“Mrs Justice Parker said the [previous text] messages were too affectionate but I cannot see how a father can be too affectionate to his daughter, just by saying he loves her. Twice a month is just not enough.”

His application was backed by his daughter, who wrote to the Appeal Court. This read:

“I love my dad very much and I really want to be able to text him. Sometimes I miss my dad a lot and I want to keep in touch. The other judge would not allow me to text him and I am hoping that you will.”

But Lord Justice McFarlane came down in favour of his judicial colleague. The parents had a lengthy history of “dispute and counter dispute”, His Lordship noted, and the earlier judge had been obliged to take that into consideration. The man had sent his estranged “unwelcome communications” on a number of occasions.

The girl naturally wanted a relationship with both her parents and he understood the importance of his, Lord Justice McFarlane declared. But Mrs Justice Parker’s ruling had been fully justified and there were “no grounds” for an appeal.

Image by Howard Lake via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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  1. Vincent McGovern says:

    This stinks. The child clearly expressed a wish to have more communication with her father, and is certainly of an age when her wishes and feelings are to be taken into consideration. The system protecting the system is depressingly obvious here. Of course I don’t know the history other than it is a troubled one. Which describes most divorces where children are concerned.

  2. Adrian Berkeley says:

    As usual (obviously due to space and time) there is no logical reasoning detailed here. We do not know what the mother’s view is and how reasonable or not it is. In the view of my local Child Services not allowing a 12 year old to have a mobile and full use as she wants can be evidence of child abuse. Perhaps the daughter should make her own Application?

    • Stitchedup says:

      “As usual (obviously due to space and time) there is no logical reasoning detailed here. We do not know what the mother’s view is and how reasonable or not it is.” You’re absolutely correct but your comment is largely academic. The family courts are not sincerely objective, the first priority of the judge is to cover their backsides and adhere to political correctness and politically correct judicial guidance. In the end this results in risk averse decisions that are in the interest of appeasing the adult female not, as is claimed, a decision that is genuinely in the interest of any children involved.

      • Stitchedup says:

        The same applies to the criminal courts where so called dv cases, translate that as minor breaches of repugnant ex parte non mols secured on the basis of solicitor gamesmanship and bogus allegations; are deliberately put before a dodgy district judge looking to make a name for him/herself by playing the politics, serving summary justice simply to ramp-up the number of convictions of, oh so horrible, perfectly decent men/fathers. The vast majority of such men/fathers have found themselves caught up in an acrimonious divorce/separation as a result of lawyers fuelling the fire, nothing whatsoever to do with genuine domestic abuse/violence.

  3. Mags Ellis says:

    Surely this is a breach of his human right to family life!! It just proves that the law feels the mother is more important than the father. It makes me sick the way this Country dictates to men who want to be good fathers. It’s a disgrace.

  4. WISEACRE says:

    Is there a reason why you do not help us by providing a link to the judgement – especially as BAILII’s search facility does not allow us to search by judge?

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Yes, there is a reason – the judgement does not appear to have been published on BAILII yet

      • WISEACRE says:

        Many thanks for your explanation. It also explains why I could not find it. I am interested in how the information gets into your hands [and into the hands of the Daily/Sunday Mail who I note had the same story]. It would also be helpful if you could tip off all of us when it does appear on BAILLI.

  5. JamesB says:

    I have only read the headline but strikes me as a bit of a no news headline. Speaking as someone with a bit of knowledge on the subject, Teenage girls need to spend more time in the real world and less time on their phones.

  6. Luke says:

    Can you imagine this ridiculous restriction being placed on the mother in this case if the positions were reversed ?
    We all know the answer, this is scandalous.
    The daughter is 12, she should start fighting back against this idiotic ruling – she should say:
    “If you won’t let me text him then I’ll go and visit him personally every week !”
    What are they going to do – hogtie a 12 year old ???

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