As a strong advocate of fathers rights, I am becoming more and more frustrated by the level of inefficiency in our legal system. I had a client earlier in the week who wanted me to make an application for access to his 3 week old baby (Baby D) – it is his first child and as all parents can imagine -he is super excited! Within minutes he has shown me several photos. The relationship has broken down and the mother is now denying him access to his son. He feels like he has done the right thing and gone straight to a solicitor for help.
Can you imagine how I feel telling him that the next available date in the District Court is the 26th of November? Baby D will be 4 months old at that stage. If the mother does not turn up, the judge will no doubt adjourn the case for a further period of 4 weeks. It may well be after Christmas until he is able to see Baby D again. He feels so let down, I feel like I have just crushed his world. How can I possibly offer him any comfort or reassurance when we have a legal system which is so inherently flawed? Are we forgetting that the right of access is a right that belongs to the child? Is our legal system okay with letting down our children? Are we okay with standing idly by waiting for someone else to deal with this issue?
If mother doesn’t turn up or repeatedly fails to adhere to court orders, what happens next? What are the repercussions for someone who continuously ignores court orders? Surely there should be some means of criminalising repeat offenders.
I have yet to meet a father who wants the mother of his child sent to prison with the keys thrown away. Yet when someone continuously denies you access to your child, continuously uses everything within their power to stop you seeing your child as a means of hurting you or seeking revenge on you, maybe then prison is the only option. I think a very strong hard approach needs to be taken with litigants who ignore our judiciary system. It is time that our judges let it be known that ignoring orders is simply no longer acceptable. If you need assistance in applications to the court for family law matters please do not hesitate to contact me at laura[at]brophysolicitors.ie or (01) 6797930.