Individuals seeking contact with their child will often ask what a reasonable amount of contact is. There is no easy answer to this as what may be reasonable in one case may not be in another.
For example, it may be reasonable for an 8-year-old child to spend whole weekends with their absent parent. This would not be appropriate, however, in the case of a 6-month-old baby who has not had the chance to form a close bond with their absent parent.
Similarly, geographical distance between the parties will have a bearing on how often contact can take place. If there is a dispute between parents as to how much contact a parent has with their children, the Court can intervene in making a Defined Contact Order.
Often a CAFCASS Officer will be asked to file a Report and will make recommendations on the issue of contact with reference to the welfare checklist. A child’s own wishes and feelings (in light of their age and understanding) will be one of the considerations in making a decision.
Prior to the making of an Application to the Court, parties should always be encouraged to explore the possibility of resolving their dispute via the process of Mediation. Indeed the Court will expect any Applicants for a Contact Order to at least have explored the possibility of Mediation as a means of resolving the dispute.
If you wish to discuss your own contact arrangements or how to go about re-establishing contact with your children, please feel free to call one of our experienced family Solicitors on 01536 276313 or 01536 311690 for an initial chat.