Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK
- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -
Enforcement of contact orders by direct action
One British father, finding that he was denied the contact with his child which had been ordered by the court, sought the help of his local fathers group. A member of the group accompanied the father to the child's home and they pasted copies of the court order to the door and windows, attracting the attention of a neighbour who came out to see what was going on.
Putting moral pressure on a recalcitrant parent
At first the neighbour was rather hostile, but became supportive when he realised that a court order was being broken. Nodoubt the whole street got to hear about it, because next day the child was allowed out to see her father and there have been no similar problems since.
Those who are concerned about the effect of all this on the child need not worry. Thanks to this prompt action, the daughter has had a marvellous relationship with her father ever since - something she might have been denied if he had relied on the laborious machinations of the courts.
Commenting on this, senior Judge Hyam said:
"This question of one parent depriving a child of contact is a moral question, and it seems to me that this account shows how moral pressure can be brought on such a parent.
If we lived in a perfect society, which of course we do not, you would have a situation where a parent who deprives a child of contact would be committing something which was perceived by everybody to be morally wrong. And that is the sort of society which we ought to be aiming for.
It's not a question of the law stepping in; it's for every man and woman in the country to have a moral perception of what they ought to do and what their neighbour ought to do."
Last updated - 28 February 1997
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