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Consent order temporarily suspended in access dispute involving parents in different jurisdictions

By: Shane Kiely BL

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High Court, in a long-standing dispute over access to a child (A.) where the applicant father is resident in another European jurisdiction, and where the parties had previously entered into a settlement which was made a 'Consent Order' of the court, rules that: a) since the relationship between the applicant and A. has broken down to the extent that it has, it is in the best interests of A. that the terms of the Consent Order, insofar as they relate to access by the applicant to A., should be temporarily suspended; and b) access from this point forward, but for the time being only, should be on such basis as may be recommended by the professionals engaged to assist in the restoration of the relationship between the applicant and A.

Family law - judgment relates to two motions - first in time was issued by the applicant, the former husband of the respondent, and which he issued on 11th July, 2018 - second motion in time was issued by the respondent on 25th October, 2018 - daughter A, was born in 2008 - divorce proceedings issued by the respondent in another jurisdiction in November 2008 - three Court rulings the other country concerning the parental authority, access and accommodation rights relating to A., a ruling of this Court on 13th August, 2013, pursuant to an application made by the applicant under the Hague Convention and Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (“Brussels II Bis”), an appeal from the decision of this Court to the Supreme Court, which in turn referred three questions to the European Court of Justice (the “ECJ”) which delivered its decision on the questions referred to it on 9th October, 2014 - on 31st July, 2017, the parties entered into a settlement which was made on order of this Court ( the “Consent Order”) - consent order to state that child has access in other country - respondent seeks to vary consent order so that father has only electronic access via Skype/Facetime - in September, 2017, the respondent had communications with the other's country embassy in Dublin in the course of which she directed that no new passport should be issued in respect of A. without her consent - at this point however, A.’s passport was not missing - A. did not go for Christmas access in 2017 - section 47 report ordered - A. perceives her father as being unfriendly, harsh, punitive and distant - A. appeared to see herself and her mother as being part of the same unit - applicant is convinced that the respondent has engaged in a campaign of parental alienation - evidence falls short of establishing that the respondent has been engaging in parental alienation - applicant has not seen A. since November, 2017 - not entirely clear what the applicant wants - report of the Assessors sets out a series of steps that are designed to re-start a relationship between A. and the applicant - access to be temporarily suspended - onus on respondent to cooperate fully into the future with whatever measures may be put in place to re-establish and nurture a good relationship between the applicant and A.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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