There have been a number of high profile cases this year in which the Courts have had to deal with the issue of implacable hostility in private law children disputes. Implacable hostility defines the attitudes shown by one parent who will try to prevent or sabotage the children from having a relationship with the other parent. After a break up many parents manage to make amicable arrangements for the children to have contact with each parent but when this cannot be done, applications can be made to the Court for Orders to ensure that children can maintain relationships with both parents. In cases where there is implacable hostility the Court can be faced with situations where a parent has gone to the extreme of making false allegations of abuse against the other parent to justify their stance in preventing contact. In these cases the Court will be required to make findings on whether such abuse has indeed taken place or whether the allegations are fabricated, before going on to make Orders that ensure the parent who has been prevented from seeing their child can have a proper relationship with them. In some cases this has involved the Court ordering that the children move from one parents care to the other.
In the recent case of Re A the Court of Appeal said "it is and should be a given that it will normally be in the best interests of a child to grow up having a full, real and entirely ordinary relationship with each of his or her parents, notwithstanding that they have separated and that there may be difficulties between the two of them as adults". The Court reiterated the principle that all parents have a responsibility to do their best to meet their child’s needs in relation to the provision of contact and that it is not acceptable for a parent to shirk that responsibility and simply say "no". If a parent is unreasonably withholding contact from the other then the Courts are now sending the message that they can, and will, make Orders to ensure that this is not allowed to continue.
If you are having difficulties in securing contact with your children then we have a team with expertise who can assist. Call us on 01752 663295.