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Child Custody / Visitation / Contact

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact

Special Situations

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I am a British Jew, and my wife, who is also Jewish, has both UK and Israeli nationality. We are in the middle of custody and separation proceedings in the UK. She wants custody and permission to raise the children in Israel, where she was brought up and has family. She has “offered” visitation arrangements in Israel, and a yearly visit of the children to the UK each summer. I am worried that how such arrangements, if ordered by the court in the UK, would be honoured and even enforced once she arrived in Israel. How can a court in the UK , which is about to decide on whether to grant a mother permission to relocate to Israel with young children, know about the legal position there l regarding the honouring and enforcements of custody and visitation arrangements ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

Via a legal opinion of an Israeli family law specialist on this which could be presented as evidence in proceedings. One possibility is for the court dealing with the UK proceedings to appoint an expert or for it to order a party to present a legal opinion on the subject.

What can a Moslem mother – who lost custody of her child at the Moslem court to her late husband’s family because she remarried a violent man– do to see more of her minor from her first marriage ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

Assuming she wishes to remain with her second husband , one option is to appeal against the court decision awarding custody to her first husband’s family . Another option – if this fails – or if she has already lost at the Sha’ari (Moslem religious) appeal court , is for to file for increased visitation.

Can a rabbinical court that deals with child custody and visitation rights prevent a secular non-custodial parent from seeing his son or daughter on Saturdays because he/she does do not observe the Sabbath according to the Jewish religion ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

Yes – the rabbinical court can take into account parents’ religious observance when setting visitation rights if it decides the child is likely to be confused by the very different lifestyles of the mother and father.

My ex-wife was awarded custody of our five year old son after a difficult legal battle. The clinical psychologist who was appointed by court said that both of us were equally capable of being the custodial parent but because of his age there was a preference for my ex-wife. She is very jealous of our wonderful relationship and is now trying to ruin it. She has threatened to report me to the police for sexually abusing him . Apparently, he mentioned that we shower together. I have always bathed him since he was a baby. Do I have reason to fear ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

A custodial parent who accuses the non-custodial parent of sexually abusing their minor child may file a complaint with the police or help hotline and even apply to the court to change/restrict visitation rights so that it takes place only under supervision. Accusations of child abuse will be checked out , if necessary, by appropriately qualified professionals e.g. the police will use a special youth investigator – but the burden of proving them lies with the parent claiming them . Courts are aware that allegations of sexual abuse can be wrongly used by a manipulative parent against the other – out of spite or to achieve gains. Accordingly, the authorities , namely the police and courts, deal with accusations seriously, but cautiously.

Alcohol ruined my marriage and my life. My wife divorced me because of my alcoholism . I could not hold down a job and support the family, and became violent. She gained custody of our children and because of my total addiction to alcohol I lost my right to even see my children. I have been attending an ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ Support group and have a personal coach who is at my side all the time to make sure I ‘remain dry’. In the past I ‘cured’ myself of my addiction, but crumbled again when faced with pressure. I feel I have got my self-respect back and now want to see my children again. What legal action should I take ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

A father who was lost his legal rights to see his children because of addiction to alcohol but who now considers himself ‘cured’ can apply for a resumption of his visitation rights. The court will appoint a professional to make a report and recommendation on the father, his chances of successful rehabilitation and the rate of progress, and on a strategy for re-building the relationship between him and his children. Because of the father’s previous unsuccessful attempts to be alcohol-free, the court will probably order visitation rights , if re-introduced , to be held at a special ‘communication centre’ where they will be supervised , the child will not be at risk , and progress can be monitored.


I am worried about my ‘ex’ attacking me during visitation rights. I have heard that the court can order these to be held at special communication centres. I am still worried that he would meet me there and attack me verbally or physically . Are my fears grounded ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

Some local authorities make both parents sign a contract relating to the rules and arrangements that govern visitation rights exercised at their communication centres.

The arrangements are carefully worked out to avoid or minimise contact between the two parents inside the centre and the meetings are supervised . For example, among the terms of the contract may be a specific undertaking for the non-custodial parent entering the building not to bring with any weapon . The contract may even be more specific and state that the centre’s security guard will search bags for weapons, and even conduct a body search, where appropriate. Furthermore, the contract may require the custodial parent to refrain from entering the centre during the time the non-custodial parent and the child meet for the visitation session. The contract may state specifically that a parent who does not follow the rules will not be allowed to meet his child at the centre and that a visit may be stopped in the middle at the staff’s discretion.

I have temporary custody of my young child. His father, my ‘ex’ , who is very violent is only allowed to see him at a visitation centre. The social worker appointed by court is responsible for the visitation. Now my ‘ex’ is campaigning to get permission to take our son to a family Barmitzvah. I understand the social worker is against the idea. I am terrified that if my son does go, I would never see him again, as my ‘ex’ would run away with the child, or hurt him to get back at me. What can I do ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

If the father applies to court to gain permission to extend visitation to cover the child’s attendance at a family celebration, then the mother will receive a copy of the application to court, and can file a formal objection. If, for example, there are professional reports which speak about the father’s dangerous tendencies, these can be used to oppose the proposal, by saying that it would not be in the child’s good to attend. Otherwise, the mother can ask the court to be guided by the social worker’s recommendations, as she has the necessary skills to decide what is in the child’s best interests. If the mother has other clear evidence pertaining to threats to abduct the child or harm him in any way then these can be used too, as the family court is not bound by such stringent rules of evidence as other courts are.

My wife has temporary custody of our two children. My parents have always had a very close relationship with the boys and since my wife left home they have not seen each other. The court has now decided that I can only meet my children at a communication centre run by the council – because of the terrible relationship my wife and I have. Is it possible for my parents to see the boys at the centre when I go there to meet them ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

Possibly, depending on the conditions set by the particular local authority regarding meetings at the communication centre. The meetings are designed to allow children to meet with the non-custodial parent but some local authorities allow other family members to attend meetings, too, if special permission is granted first.

I have custody of our child. My ‘ex’ is a hopeless time-keeper and very unreliable about visitation, although he does want to see our child . He is usually late, and sometimes doesn’t turn up at all. It is annoying for me and disrupts my plans, but it is most distressing for our son. The court has now ordered visitation rights to be held at the local communication centre in our neighbourhood. Is this likely to help ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

It could do so. Some local authorities require parents to sign a contract governing the terms and conditions of meetings to be held between the non-custodial parent and the child at their special communication centres. Sometimes conditions relate to punctuality – for example, the contract may state that if the parent arrives more than 20 minutes late without prior notification, the meeting will be cancelled. Furthermore, the contract may specifically state that the centre has the right to suspend or cancel visitation there if the parent does not keep to the terms of the contract.

It may be that a non-custodial parent who loves his child and wants to see him will become more punctual for meetings when he learns that his lateness will have negative consequences and he will see his child less.

Can legal action be taken to protect children from being exposed to undesirable sexual influences of a parent after divorce ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Special Situations

Firstly, there is no place for legal interference with a parent’s right to sexual freedom, whether they are heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Secondly, the family court can, however, regulate a parent’s visitation rights with their children, depending on the circumstances if the child is held to be in substantial danger .

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