UK Family Law Reform

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I just want to see my little daughter

By Gareth Hughes, Daily Post

Aug 26 2005

A DISTRAUGHT dad last night blasted courts for not forcing his wife to stick to legal demands allowing him to see his daughter. The Rhyl man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was given rights to see his young daughter after the couple parted. The girl's older brother lives with the dad. But her mum persistently refused him access to the youngster - and despite pleading nine times to judges, she was not ordered to stick by the courts' ruling..After a three-year battle costing him £8,500 in legal fees, he said he was about to give up the fight in despair. The couple were married for 17 years before they separated. He immediately started legal action to gain regular access to their daughter, and was allowed to see her every Sunday. But when he turned up to collect her, his wife refused to let the girl go with him, he claimed. Since then she persistently refused him access. "I have been back to court nine times, and every time I am told that the order is in place and that my wife must comply, but she never does," he said. After a meeting arranged by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) an officer prepared a report supporting his plea. It read: "The daughter expressed great love and affection towards her father and brother and told them how much she loved them and missed them, and would very much like to see them again." The dad added: "That hasn't changed anything, and she simply refuses to let me see our daughter, whom she is using as a weapon to hurt me. She has told our daughter not to refer to me as Dad but as 'the bad man'," he said..He sought advice from lobby group Fathers 4 Justice but still made no progress. He also contacted social services but officers were unable to become involved because the girl was not at risk. "I just find it amazing that the courts will do nothing to enforce the court order, and I'm sure there are many fathers out there who feel let down by the system. There is no history of violence, or any problems like that," he said.."It is a criminal offence not to comply with a court order, and while I wouldn't want my wife sent to prison she must be made to comply," he added..The father, who works in the health service, said his son sometimes bumped into the girl and her mother in Rhyl, where they still live, and the girl made it clear she very much wanted to see her dad. A Cafcass Cymru spokesman said: "This is a complex matter that involves the future arrangements for these children and therefore is confidential. "

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