For immediate release: 24th June 2015
It has been reported this afternoon that the father in the Rebecca Minnock case has decided not to pursue contempt of court proceedings. The judge made clear that he would likely have imposed a custodial sentence had the application for committal continued.
Jerry Karlin, Chair of Families Need Fathers, commented, “It is to the father’s great credit that he has decided to put the interests of his child first in such a difficult situation. It is a wonderful example of how a parent can look to try and move beyond conflict to focus on their child’s welfare, even in very high conflict separations.
The case does raise a common problem with committal proceedings though, as it places a parent in the unenviable position of deciding whether to pursue them. To do so can easily appear to a child as if they are trying to ‘punish’ the other parent, even where it may be one of the only ways to ensure an order is enforced. There is an argument to be made about whether the decision to pursue committal proceedings should rest with parents alone, or the court. Parliament may wish to legislate for other options, including community work, as alternatives to committal proceedings for contempt in line with measures introduced for the breaking of child arrangements orders.'
I hope that this case can now be progressed away from the public eye, with a focus on what is best for the child in the years ahead.”
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Note for editors:
Families Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status.
Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s relationship with both parents.
Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.
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