Father must accept reduced contact with his daughter
A father has been told he must accept reduced contact with his daughter after losing his appeal against a court ruling.
The case involved a couple who had separated when their daughter was 18 months old. The girl lived with her mother but the father applied for a shared residence order. Before the hearing could take place, the girl claimed that her mother had hit her causing a bruise on her head.
However, social services suspected that the father had used his influence over his daughter and manipulated her into making the allegation.
Care proceedings began and the judge accepted psychiatric evidence that the father suffered from personality disorders. The court concluded that the mother had not caused her daughter any harm. An order was made placing the girl with her mother and maternal grandparents.
Contact with the father continued but the girl often came back feeling unsettled. There were reports that the father had been involved in a number of bizarre incidents. The local authority investigated the case and concluded that the father’s level of contact should be reduced from 26 meetings a year to four.
The father claimed there had been a miscarriage of justice but the High Court ruled against him. The judge said that contact could increase if the father altered his behaviour and sought treatment for personality disorders. The father was also told he could not make any more applications relating to his daughter for five years.
The Court of Appeal upheld those decisions. It said that there was clear evidence that the girl had been emotionally unsettled by some of her encounters with her father, who seemed incapable of helping himself without outside intervention and support.
Please contact Siobhan Thompson or Paul Owen if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.