We acted for a father who was seeking to spend time with a child. His child was taken out of the jurisdiction against his wishes. The mother was ordered to return the child pursuant to the Hague Convention.
When the mother and child (aged 3) returned to England the father was prevented by the mother from spending time with the child apart from times when the mother sought to supervise the same. This understandably increased the tension between the parties and did not make for the child enjoying a meaningful time with the father.
The parties went to mediation. The mother was not willing to see beyond the father having supervised contact with the child despite the only reasons given by her being that the child was too young to extend the time spent. The matter was listed before a district judge who decided that the time spent with the father needed to be extended.
A separate application had been made for an independent social worker to assist in the arrangements for the father spending time with the child. Whilst this was an expense it was pivotal in providing indpendent written evidence that the time spent between the father and child was of good quality and needed to be extended. There was an exchange of witness statements.
The judge decided that he had the power to hear matters without hearing from the mother or father and he made an order whereby the child now spends 10 weeks holiday time a year with the father and 5 nights out of 14 nights during term time as the child is now at school.
The father was delighted as he was concerned that making an application to court would initially stop his time with his child due to the mother's reaction. This did not happen and the father now feels that the child benefits from spending significant time with both his parents.