Court & Custody Battles between Parents Essay
I have recently had an experience with a family that I have been working with for quite some time. The concerns were around the safety of the children with the father whilst in his care, hence the reason for the mothers persistence to pursue a custody battle to try and have full custody of the children.
The dilemma is that over the past several years an incredible amount of research has confirmed that in order for children to grow up with a healthy self-identity it is fundamental that they have a healthy relationship with both parents. Now it would seem like common sense that, yes, it is important for children to simply have a relationship with both parents. However, there are those circumstances where a parent feels the child would be better off not having contact with the other parent.
The dilemma is that whilst the courts are concerned for the safety of the child, they are far more focused in seeing that parents are making every effort to have the child spend time with both parents. If the judge of the day feels that, for whatever reason, a parent is preventing the other parent from seeing their child, then it is not uncommon for the judge to give full custody to the other parent!
Yes in some circumstances this seems ludicrous! But it’s important that the general population understand that from Judges point of view, they want to see that the child is being given every opportunity to have a relationship with both parents and this is their focus. Obviously if there are safety concerns on any level than it’s also common for the parent of concern to have supervised contact. This means that the parent caring primarily for the child would be expected to take the child on a regular basis to either a private or recognised organisation where they have staff, psychologists or trained individuals to supervise the contact between the child and the parent who is deemed as being unsafe to be alone with the child.
In this case the primary carer can find this very difficult as they, no doubt, maintain having significant concerns for the safety of their child. However, again in a judges eyes this parent needs to remain positive and encourage their child to have this contact with the other parent, or again the judge may make the decision to give the other parent full custody of the child.
Unfortunately, unless there is significant and substantiated evidence to suggest that a parent has hurt that child, then these are ‘allegations’ and often it is a case of “he said, she said”, and generally the allegations are not enough to stop a judge from allowing the child to have either unsupervised contact or custody with the parent of concern.
My recommendations for the worried and/or resistant parent, would be to strongly comply with your court orders and never take matters into your own hands and attempt to stop or hinder the contact with the other parent, as the judge will not look kindly upon this and their decisions will be very much based on how parents handle the contact.
At the end of the day parents generally have the child’s best interest at heart and feel they are just trying to protect the child. But sometimes it’s important for parents to step back and have a look at the big picture and really think about their actions, so that they don’t end up doing the very opposite of their good intentions of protecting their child!