The normal presumption of the family court is that a child will benefit from contact with both of its parents. However, when a judge heard evidence of numerous examples of unreasonable behaviour by a girl’s father, the court ruled that he should not contact his daughter, her mother or her child minder and could only see the child if her mother permitted it.

The judge believed that the girl’s mother was capable of assessing whether or not contact with the father would be beneficial to the child. The father, on the other hand, was described as obsessive and considered to be untrustworthy as regards any assurances he might give regarding his future behaviour. As he had repeatedly threatened legal action, he was also banned from bringing any further legal proceedings with regard to the child for a period of two years.

In addition, the court ruled that the mother was required to keep the father reasonably well informed about the girl’s upbringing and wellbeing.

The father appealed against the decision, but it was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Says Pauline O’Rourke, “The circumstances in this case were unusual, but it is not uncommon for the behaviour of a parent with regard to access to children to be unreasonable. If you expect separation or divorce to lead to problems over care for and access to your children, our family law experts can help you.”