Representing father in contact proceedings

Kevin Jackson represented the father who had been refused contact with his young daughter for over 2 years. There were allegations of domestic abuse against him. His daughter had health issues and developmental delay, which made communication difficult. There was an earlier report from CAFCASS recommending that there be no direct contact.

At the court hearing, the father disputed 2 of the allegations and the judge found these ‘not proven’. The father did make significant admissions in relation to some of the other allegations. The judge made findings against him in relation to some of the allegations that he had denied.

In evidence, the father presented as a changed man who now had a stable life and a responsible job. He showed insight into the effects of his past behaviour. He was willing to attend courses to address his past behaviour. He was keen to be involved with the hospital and school to better understand his daughter’s needs.

Having considered the father’s evidence, the CAFCASS officer revised her analysis and recommendations: She recommended that the father attend an anger management programme. She was willing to refer the parents to the Improving Child and Family Arrangements programme which in this case, would work with the parents to rebuild contact arrangements and help the parents to communicate and cooperate with each other. The father accepted that he would need to be patient and allow contact to progress at his daughter’s pace.

The judge accepted the CAFCASS officer’s revised recommendations and made court orders that were intended to promote the child’s relationship with her father and to provide safeguards for the child and the mother.