Undertaking a lengthy tour away from home can be tough, spending long periods away from loved ones. This can be even more problematic when a relationship breaks down and there are children making it difficult to continue a relationship with the child.
One difficulty is that of timing. When serving parents are deployed, very often they can be away from home for a number of months. As such, they are reliant on the other parent to facilitate indirect contact either by telephone or by skype to ensure that relationships are maintained. The current Covid-19 outbreak has made many of us rely more on communication by Skype, FaceTime or Zoom.
However, what can be done when the parent with whom the child lives denies contact?
A child has a right to a meaningful relationship with both parents, unless there is a risk of harm to a child. Risk factors include drugs and alcohol abuse, police involvement or mental health issues. In the absence of any such concerns contact should be taking place. If contact is not taking place, the Courts can take a very dim view where a relationship between a parent and a child has been restricted or denied.
Parents can choose to enter into Parenting Agreements, which set out what time each parent will spend with the child. When set days are not possible, these agreements can build in the flexibility to ensure a minimum number of days per month or year are spent with the child. Such an agreement can be made legally binding if the parents apply to the Court to ratify the Order.
Another method to resolve matters is mediation. Distance need not be a barrier. A lot of mediators are now starting to offer services via skype and this again has become more prevalent in the current outbreak. Mediation brings parents together with an impartial lawyer to reach an agreement beneficial to the child. Again any agreement reached here can either remain as an agreement or can become legally enforceable should both parties consent and make the necessary application to Court.
If all else fails a Court application is the last resort but be assured that ultimately it will involve making a decision which is in the child’s best interests.
It is important to know that the law will always encourage positive and meaningful relationships between parents and their children. Distance is not a barrier to contact, just a challenge that parents and if necessary the Courts can overcome.
If you need further assistance, please contact one of our offices below to fix an appointment.
Aintree – 0151 526 9321
Formby – 01704 872156
Heswall – 0151 342 6447
Huyton – 0151 489 6161
Kirkby – 0151 548 7370
Maghull – 0151 526 7131
West Kirby – 0151 625 9254
Woolton – 0151 421 2400