A man in London who is separated from his wife has failed to reverse an order which stops him from sending text messages to his 12-year-old daughter. In addition, the man was also not allowed to provide his daughter with a hand phone.
The order was made by a judge (Mrs Justice Parker) after private family court hearings. The man then attempted to persuade the Court of Appeal to reverse the order.
Nonetheless, the man is allowed to see his daughter 2 times a month. The child had reportedly written a letter to Lord Justice McFarlane to request that she be allowed to text her father. The young girl wrote: “I love my dad very much and I really want to be able to text him. Sometimes I miss my dad a lot and I want to keep in touch. The other judge would not allow me to text him and I am hoping that you will.”
Lord Justice McFarlane said that there was a long history of “dispute and counter dispute” between the parents and that Mrs Justice Parker had done her best to “grapple” with the parents’ “toing and froing”. From Mrs Justice Parker’s point of view, allowing texting between father and daughter would “simply cause more anxiety” and that “previous generations had not expected to be in communication with their parents every day”.
The man said: “I just want to stay in touch. Texting is the way young people communicate these days. It’s no good saying that in the past children didn’t speak to parents every day. The world has changed. Children have computers and they text.”
See: Patrick Lion, “Taxi driver is stopped from texting his 12-year-old daughter after judge said there was ‘no need for them to be in communication every day”, Mailonline, 1 September 2016
Children’s issues usually rank as one of the top concerns of my divorce clients. Many are afraid that they will be “cut off” from their children’s lives completely after the divorce, especially if the other party has care and control of the children.
This cannot be any less true. The Family Justice Courts in Singapore place the welfare of children as its paramount consideration. Even if one party were to have sole care and control of the child, the other party will likely be given access.
Parental access to children in Singapore
How is access to children in Singapore decided?
If the parents are amicable, it may be sufficient to indicate “reasonable access” in the Court order. In this case, the parents are expected to talk to each other and sort out access arrangements by themselves in the future.
Should parents not be able to do so, the access terms may need to be stated clearly in the Court order. To avoid future disputes, parents may wish to indicate who will have access to the child on:
- Public holidays (especially holidays of significance to them- for instance, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Deepavali, etc); and
- School holidays.
You may also wish to discuss about the form of access- such as:
- Overseas access;
- Supervised access/ Unsupervised access; and
- Overnight access.
To understand more about the issue of access to children in Singapore, contact us today!
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