switches custody to father
10.10AM, Sat Jul 3 2004
"It is tragic that this father has had to wait so long
for this to be resolved. A child's best interests are hardly served by a
case that is dragged on over a period of time and at great cost" - Matt
A key court decision to grant a father custody of his daughters after the
mother flouted contact orders for four years has been welcomed by
Fathers 4 Justice said that the High Court ruling was a vital victory and
called for more judges to take a similar stance when faced with resistant
The comments come after Mrs Justice Bracewell transferred the residence of
two young girls to their father because the mother persistently refused him
contact, despite court orders.
But Fathers 4 Justice, famed for members throwing flour bombs at Tony Blair
in the House of Commons, warned that such moves were still very rare and
often came too late.
Founder Matt O'Connor said: "We obviously welcome Mrs Justice
Bracewell's judgement but I am afraid she is one of the more enlightened
members of the judiciary."
Mrs Justice Bracewell, sitting in the Family Division, awarded custody to
the father, known only as Mr V, in May but the ruling has only just been
The "V" couple separated in 2000 and divorced last year. From the
time they stopped living together, Mr V had not been allowed any contact
with his two daughters, now aged seven and nine.
Mrs Justice Bracewell held that Mrs V had "undermined contact and had
agreed to it without any intention of making it work."
She said she had coached her children to make allegations, and invented or
grossly exaggerated minor incidents to justify stopping contact.
The judge accepted that Mr V had proved himself totally committed to his
children and that the only way for them to have a relationship was to
transfer residence to him.
Mr O'Connor said: "It is tragic that this father has had to wait so
long for this to be resolved. A child's best interests are hardly served by
a case that is dragged on over a period of time and at great cost.
"We welcome the decision, but so often such things are too little too