Taking away Parental Responsibility

Question:

After my daughter’s father taking me to court to see our daughter he was awarded parenteral responsibility only with indirect contact via letter emails once a month. The final hearing was September. Our daughter hasn't had anything from her father. The only thing he has done is contact school to have a meeting regarding her education. He also told school that if its alright with them he would like to come and watch her in her plays. I do not think this would be a good idea as our daughter would be very distressed if she saw him. Now I’m considering going back to court and seeing if I could have the parental responsibility taken away. Where would I stand and would I have to pay for it myself?

Answer:

It is very difficult to get rid of or ‘revoke’ Parental Responsibility (PR) once it has been given.

A parental responsibility order can be revoked by the court on an application made by any person who has parental responsibility or, with leave of the court, by the child him or herself.

Although the test to be applied is the s 1 ‘welfare test’ getting such an order requires considerable justification. In
Re P (Terminating Parental Responsibility) [1995] 1 FLR 1048 the Court terminated a parental responsibility agreement in circumstances in which a father was convicted of causing serious injury to his 9-week-old daughter. The Court held that parental responsibility, once obtained, should not be terminated on less than solid grounds, with a presumption for continuance rather than termination.

In
Re DW [2013 EWHC 854 (Fam) the Court terminated PR when a father had been sexually abusing the child concerned.

This gives you an idea of the type of things that are required. It is very unlikely that what you describe would be sufficient.

As with all such cases nowadays, I’m afraid legal aid is no longer available, meaning at the very least you would have to pay the Court fees yourself (unless you qualify for an exemption) and if you wanted to be represented you would have to pay a solicitor or barrister to do that.

My advice would be to show the school the order that has been made and make it clear that the court did not consider it appropriate for him to be having direct (face to face) contact with his daughter and explain what your concerns are if she accidentally met him.

You
might have grounds for an injunction against him but I stress that is only a possibility. You would need to seek legal advice if the suggestion I make above does not help the situation.


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