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Example case study (Contact application) Case study

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  • Caller is the father to a two year old child.

    Caller has recently separated from the mother and has moved out of the family home.

    Caller has Parental Responsibility via being named on the birth certificate.

    Caller and the mother are currently in a dispute regarding the level of contact the caller is having with the child. The caller wants contact every Saturday and one evening during the week whereas the mother wants the caller to have contact every other Saturday and nothing more.

    There are no welfare concerns present regarding the caller or the mother.

    Advice

    Advised caller that Parental Responsibility means that he must be consulted about major decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, such as the child’s religion and where the child should attend school.

    Advised caller that the presence of Parental Responsibility does not entitle an automatic right to contact.

    The mother is expected to be reasonable in the level of contact provided to the caller.

    Advised caller that if there is a dispute regarding contact, the next step is for the caller to attempt mediation with the mother to try and resolve the dispute. Mediation is a legal requirement before an application can be made to court.

    Advised caller that if mediation is unsuccessful the next step is to apply for a Child Arrangements Order to the Family Court which is nearest to where the child currently resides.

    The court will use the welfare checklist (S.1 Children Act 1989) to determine what is in the child’s best interests in relation to residence and contact.

    The court order which is granted will be legally binding and therefore the mother will be under a legal duty to make the child available for contact as per the terms of the order.

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