“There was a fear about how to punish [mothers],” says Dr Conneely. “They were more likely to warn, than to punish. I didn’t see anyone imprisoned. Because there was a sense that it would be harmful to children.”

The researchers believe that lay litigants, mainly fathers, who are victims of access order breaches, are unaware of other recourse that they have in law.A total of 34% of the applications observed by the researchers related to maintenance and 28% of the applications related to access.
Of the maintenance applications, 44% concerned breaches and 100% of these applications were brought by the mother. Almost half, or 48% of these cases, resulted in a summons or warrant and two fathers were jailed.

Of applications concerning access, 38% were for breaches of court orders. 100% of these applications brought by the father but only 29% of these cases resulted in a summons or warrant. No mother was jailed for breaching an access order. No application was made before the court under Part 4 section 60 of the Children and Family Relationships Act regarding enforcement for breaches of court orders.

Continue reading: https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/lay-litigant-fathers-losing-out-in-child-access-breach-cases/


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