Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Have some more contact please

I am often asked whether it is possible to force the non-resident parent to have more contact than they seem to want.
It is always possible for parents to agree together whatever contact arrangements they think are suitable.  It quite often provides a welcome break for the main carer if the other parent takes up more contact or enables them to work, for example.  Obviously it may depend on the other parent's own commitments are eg work and what sort of accommodation they have as to whether they can take up more contact. They  might be delighted to do so! If the resident parent / main carer is happy that the other paent is able to look after a child for longer or more frequent occasions it is always worth just asking to see if more contact can be agreed..  If it is not easy for the parents to communicate with each other it could be done in writing,  through a friend or other family member or through a mediation service such as Relate. 

In theory the court can impose an order on a parent saying either no contact or more contact than they would ideally like.  However, the court would be unlikely to do so if the parent was not willing or able to take up more contact.  Obviously if a parent is made to have more contact than they actually want the chances are that the contact would not end up being a particularly enjoyable occasion for the child.  If a parent has working arrangements or some sensible reason why they could not take up contact this would be likely to be viewed sympathetically by the court.