Full Judgement below:-
11. As a result of the hearing in February 2015, Ethan began to spend four nights a week with his father and three nights a week with his mother. Reports were ordered from the Local Authority under section 37 of The Children Act 1989; orders under that section are made where a court is so concerned about a child that it requires a Local Authority to report as to whether a care or supervision order might be appropriate in relation to the child. Further the very eminent child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr Berelowitz was instructed to report. By that stage Ethan himself had been joined as a party to the proceedings on the basis that his interests within the proceedings would be promoted by a guardian; this is a step that is taken in particularly complex private law cases to ensure that the court has sufficient information about the welfare of the child. Thus the court had the benefit of a wide spectrum of professional opinion – the Local Authority Children’s services (‘social services’), the guardian and Dr Berelowitz. Draft 10 June 2015 14:10 Page 4
12. The author of the report that the Local Authority filed under section 37 of The Children Act 1989, a social worker, did not recommend the commencement of care or supervision proceedings. However she did take the view that Ethan is not emotionally safe with the mother and that he should live with his father on the basis that the mother would have only supervised contact.
13. Dr Berelowitz observed a warm relationship between Ethan and both of his parents. He reported that the mother did not accept that the father was innocent of the allegations that had been made against him; he considered that the mother had questioned Ethan extensively. He recommended that Ethan should live with his father and that the mother’s contact would have to be supervised.
14. The guardian, Tara Bolton, also gave evidence before the District Judge and her recommendations mirrored those of Dr Berelowitz
There are two sides to this debate and the courts need to highlight the floughting of court orders by mothers who deny access to their children.
A child needs contact with both its father and mother. Share them not break him!
The law requires judges to take decisions in the best interests of the child, and they operate on the principle that it will usually be in a child’s interests to have a continuing relationship with both parents. When a mother adamantly refuses to let the child have anything to do with the father, while the father would be happy to continue the contact between mother and child, a judge may feel the only solution is to let the child live with the father.
The Courts should act more “robustly” in cases where contact orders were disregarded.