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What can the court do if parents are not putting children first

What can the court do if parents are not putting children first is a matter pondered by accredited solicitor at Northwich solicitors Stonehewer Moss, Michael Brennan. If parents each have PR, meaning the legal rights and duties for the care of a child, and separate it is if primarily up to them to agree child arrangements. Today there is published evidence that children are being exposed to far too much hatred via social media sites and Michael recognised in this that at separation and thereafter many parents fail to put their own interests and complaints aside to allow their children to grow up unharmed by parental antagonism. Michael comments,”I have dealt with children disputes in an out of court since the week the Children Act 1989 came into force. For more than 10 years it was clear the court was not being respected and orders kept returning to court but today that is less of a problem as the orders have clear warning notices and it is contempt of court to disobey, potentially resulting in imprisonment but more likely a re consideration of the child arrangements against the obstructive parent. Outside or after court proceedings, however, today everyone seems to rush to the court of public opinion that is social media. I will be sharing this blog but I have stopped looking at one well known social media site for over a month now and feel better for not reading the toxic sludge of opinion that appears on the sites. I am sure I was nearly as guilty of this as others. This is a time were respect for others is limited to those that like and share our opinions; it is a race to the bottom and surely children are getting a skewed view of human relations as a result. Most family solicitors will experience clients and opponents armed with reams of social media records; sadly I suspect the courts are now jaded about such evidence and will assume that is current social etiquette. If parents report on going child cases, that would be contempt and the court can impose prohibited steps orders restricting use of social media involving children. Non molestation orders can be made if offence is being caused and the police have powers about harassment.

If parents are not putting children first, perhaps each representing themselves at court and the views of the child are being lost, with cafcass support it is possible to have a guardian appointed for the child with his or her own legally aided solicitor under rule 16.4. Ultimately, children caused serious harm by parental conflict may be the subject of care proceedings. Hopefully this will not happen to most people but separation can make the most rational adult a different person and social media can be as damaging as the whiskey bottle, becoming a permanent record your children may become aware of at any time. Silence used to be demanded of children in Victorian times and perhaps in our post truth days parents should selectively exercise the gift of silence online themselves.”

What can the court do if parents are not putting children first and exposing children them to hatred online can be viewed here . Michael is a Resolution member and collaborative law practitioner with accreditation in child arrangements at the Law Society and Resolution.

For advice negotiation and representation in child arrangements please call 01606872200 e mail visit


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Stonehewer Moss Solicitors, Citadel House, Solvay Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 4DP

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