Children are often the worst affected after the breakdown of a relationship. It is therefore important for both parents to amicably reconcile their differences in the best interest of the children. Sadly at this stage emotions are high and children can find themselves embroiled in the issues and on occasions being forced to take sides of either parent.
The longer it takes for the child to see the absent parent the more damaging it is for the child in the long term.
Should there be a route directly to the court to avoid delay for parents who are not having contact with their children?
The delay to commence court proceedings often invokes a status quo and the main person affected is the child who does not understand why he/she has not seen the absent parent. A child can therefore be left feeling rejected whilst the parents try to resolve issues through mediation and the court.
Currently unless there is evidence of domestic violence, involvement with the police, doctors or involvement of a refuge the parents have to access mediation before an application for contact can be issued.
Should the child not have a voice and a right not to be estranged from a parent when there are no other welfare issues?
One solution could be a procedure to make a fast track application to the court where there has not been any of the above issues but parents have simply not been able to agree arrangements and the children have been left with no contact with the non-resident parent as a result.
Sadly, there’s no plans for a speedier service as yet, but we shall wait and see whether a process or a procedure is set to help enable a “fast-track” service at the family courts, which will eventually help reduce the suffering of any child going when parents separate.