It is a sad fact that on the 16 June many children did not have contact with their fathers. For the majority of dads who do not live with their children on a daily basis the stigma of being classed as an "absent father" is hard to cope with on Father’s Day.
Father’s Day contact can be a real battle to organize between warring parents but top London divorce solicitors say that it is vital that children maintain contact with both parents unless there are really good or cogent reasons for a court to stop contact. Sadly, there is often no good reason to stop contact between father and child but contact is stopped at the time of a separation or divorce. Once contact between father and child ceases it is so much harder to persuade a mother or a family court judge to restart contact. That means many children do not get to see their father on Father’s Day.
The best London divorce solicitors say that children struggle with Father’s Day if they live in a separated family and they do not get to see their dad. When a parent prevents contact on a special occasion, or contact stops altogether, often there is little or no thought given to the impact of lack of contact on the child because the focus is punishing or hurting the father. Children hurt too, especially when all the TV adverts are about Father’s Day and spending quality time with your dad.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
For constructive, pragmatic advice on sorting out contact and tenacious representation in contact court proceedings call the family law team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London children law solicitors.
Father’s Day contact
The 16 June may have come and gone this year but what can you do to sort out contact with your child, either on special occasions or on a weekly basis.
The best London divorce solicitors say that the first step to sorting out Father’s Day and special occasion contact is working out the dates that are special to you and your family, such as:
- Father’s Day;
- Your wedding date if you are planning on getting remarried and want your child to attend the ceremony;
- Your birthday;
- The birthdays of any half siblings the child has or cousins who are close to them;
- Your parent’s golden wedding anniversary or other important life event.
Other special occasions may be special to both parents, such as:
- Your child’s birthday;
- Your child’s school evening;
- Your child’s participation in the school play or annual sporting event;
- Christmas, Easter, Eid, Rosh Hashanah or New Year.
Once you know what dates are important to you and what dates are important to both you and the child’s mother you can try to reach an agreement on how to sort out special occasion contact.
Agreement over contact can be reached by:
- Direct discussions - but remember to write the agreement down and get confirmation that the arrangements are agreed;
- Mediation – if you can reach an agreement the family mediator should prepare a memorandum of understanding setting out the contact agreement;
- Solicitor negotiations – a solicitor will record the contact agreement reached between parents.
What happens if contact agreement cannot be reached?
If you know the dates of your special occasions when you want to either spend time with your child or share time with your child you can apply to the court for a child arrangements order.
What is a child arrangements order?
A child arrangements order is the new name for what most of us, including the best London divorce solicitors, still think of as a contact order.
A father can apply for a child arrangements order and the order can set out whether he can see his child on his special occasions and share joint special occasions with the child’s mother. The child arrangements order can also sort out the dates that a father should see his child each week or on alternate weeks.
It helps if a parent is well organised and knows their special dates well in advance so that top London divorce solicitors have sufficient time to make an application to court for a child arrangements order to enable contact between father and child to take place on important dates.
If an application for a child arrangements order is made by a parent the court will make a decision on whether to permit contact based on what the family judge thinks is in your child’s best interests. That can be a complicated assessment when a mother is saying that a child does not want contact or a mother is making allegations against a father. Just because an application may be complicated does not mean that an application for a child arrangements order should not be started.
Some fathers question whether it is worth the hassle to get a child arrangements order as after all Father’s Day is only one day of the year. The best London divorce solicitors will tell you that the Father’s Day contact is not just about you – it is your child’s special occasion as well and one that they should share with their dad.
How can OTS Solicitors help?
Our empathetic and experienced family team at OTS Solicitors can help you sort out contact to see your child. OTS Solicitors advise on all aspects of family and children law and have particular experience in representing fathers in applications for child arrangements orders to sort out contact, even after contact has been stopped.
For advice on any aspect of children law please get in touch with us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to an experienced children law solicitor.
Posted on: Sunday, 16 June, 2019