judge backs tug-of-love dad"
07 October 2004 08:32
Levis, East Anglian regional coordinator of the group, said: "It seems that
for once common sense has prevailed."
leading family judge delivered his stern lecture after hearing the six-year-old
girl from the Cromer area, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had missed
three consecutive overnight stays with her father.
mother claimed her daughter was too upset to be allowed to go, but Lord Justice
Thorpe said the girl's worries could only stem from her mother.
anxiety is contagious," said the judge. "She picks up on her mother's
is as plain as the sequence which will follow if it goes on. The mother must
clearly understand there will be contempt proceedings.
court may consider – for the furtherance or the sustenance of the girl's
relationship with her father – it is necessary to remove the girl from the
are terrible developments and if the mother hasn't understood that, then it's
little short of tragic."
night, Mr Levis, who lives at Northwold, near Thetford, said: "It makes a
change to hear of a judgment like this.
of the main issues we are tackling is that contact orders are made and then
flouted. And then little happens, the only recourse being a return to court,
which costs yet more time and money. There is no sanction. But from what I have
heard of this case, it is common sense at last."
Levis insisted there was an issue of "judgments changing with the
wind" and his group would continue to battle for "an equal presumption
of shared parenting". He also said F4J represented mothers as well as
fathers, pursuing parenting equality between the sexes.
yesterday's hearing, the judge insisted that the mother do everything in her
power to get her daughter to go to the monthly overnight stays with her father.
is the mother's responsibility to prepare her for that visit," said Lord
has the power to make it happen. We are not dealing with a rebellious
mother had been attempting to overturn an earlier decision, when a judge had
concluded the father was mentally stable enough to look after the girl
court heard the man had been suffering from depression and obsessive behaviour,
but was making a good recovery.
Justice Wall, who was sitting with Lord Justice Thorpe, dismissed the mother's
appeal after listening to legal argument.
said the mother could have no complaint about the decision, which was handed
down at Norwich County Court in July.
giving his judgment, which was backed by Lord Justice Thorpe, Lord Justice Wall
added: "There can be nothing more normal, more appropriate, nor less
stressful, than an overnight visit with her father."
the parents to put their differences aside for the sake of their daughter, he
said he did not want the case to turn into an "intransigent dispute".
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