A mother has been granted permission to take her son on lengthy visits to her place of birth despite ongoing petitions from the father.
Judge Vincent said travelling alone with the mother would afford the child “the opportunity to share adventures with her, to have fun with her, and for her to be recognised as an equal parent”.
The father had applied for the child to live primarily with him and raised concerns that the child was at risk of terrorism and possibly abduction if he were to visit his mother’s native country.
Neither the family nor the mother’s place of birth have been named.
The couple divorced in 2010 and care of the child was placed with the mother. During this time, the father has access to his son for overnight, weekend, and school holiday contact.
Equally, both parents were allowed to take the child on holiday, and the father had taken the child away on several occasions. The mother had also taken the child away to her place of birth on two separate occasions for a period of eight weeks at a time.
However, the mother’s petition to permanently relocate the child to her home nation sparked acrimony between the parents in 2013. The father made a similar petition for the child to live with him the same year.
A Judge denied both requests. A further petition by the father saw the child fall into a shared care arrangement, but this did not fall in line with the needs of the mother, who wanted to take the child away to her home nation for the entirety of the school holidays.
Judge Vincent rejected the father’s petition, saying the child “has a loving and established relationship with both parents” and there is no “obvious need for him to divide his time up in the way proposed in order to improve the relationship”.
She said: “Having regard to all the factors on the welfare checklist, the evidence given by both parents and having particular regard to the recommendations of the Cafcass officer, my conclusion is that the term-time contact should remain as it is. There is no obvious benefit to a change and in my judgment it carries with it a risk of confusion and further conflict which would be harmful to [the child].”
On the subject of abduction, the Judge added: I consider the risk of abduction to be virtually non-existent. I consider that in all the circumstances of this particular case it is theoretical only. In the circumstances I do not then need to go on and consider whether the advantages to A of travelling abroad outweighs the risks to his welfare of going, but for the avoidance of doubt, my firm conclusion is that the advantages do significantly outweigh any risk.”