Implacably Hostile Parents in Divorce

24 August 2017

An ‘implacably hostile parent’ is a term often used in Family Law in England and Wales. It describes a parent who tries to sabotage their child’s relationship with the other parent.

If the mother or father of your child is acting in a way that is preventing you from seeing your child, you should to speak to a Divorce Solicitor. There may be action you can take, such as getting a Court Order.

Examples of Implacably Hostile Behaviour

Being implacably hostile is more than just being a bit awkward. Lots of parents who divorce find it difficult to maintain an entirely amicable relationship, but most manage to make it work so that their child can see both parents.

Rather, implacably hostile is when a parent deliberately disrupts the relationship between their child and the other parent. Normally the person who is described as implacably hostile is the resident parent (meaning the person the child lives with), as he/she will have more control as to where their child goes, what their child thinks, and who their child speaks to.

Generally when a parent is considered implacably hostile, he/she is either preventing contact between the child and the other parent, or undermining the relationship so that the child doesn’t want to spend time with the other parent. Examples of implacably hostile behaviour include:

  • Making unpleasant comments about the other parent in front of the child, meaning the child forms a negative impression of the other parent
  • Not allowing the other parent to have contact with the child
  • Making it difficult for the other parent to have contact with the child – for example, agreeing to a meeting but changing plans at the last-minute, or not showing up
  • Not passing on phone messages, birthday cards and other forms of communication
  • Encouraging the child to not see the other parent, perhaps by offering another (seemingly better) alternative
  • Making false claims about the other parent that he/she is in some way dangerous

It’s important to note that the best interests of the children is always the most important thing. So if there’s good reason to prevent a child from seeing their other parent, it won’t be deemed implacably hostile. An example of this is when domestic violence is a risk.

What Can You Do?

If your ex is trying to exclude you from your child’s life, you should speak to a Divorce Solicitor as soon as possible. A Divorce Solicitor can assess what options are available to you, helping you resume contact with your child.

It can be difficult to resolve issues where one parent is being implacably hostile, but there are things you can do.

Contact Order

One option is to apply to the Court for a Contact Order, now known as a Child Arrangements Order. If you’ve already got a Contact Order in place but your ex is not meeting the terms of the Order, you can make another application to the Court, asking for the Contact Order to be enforced.

If your ex still fails to comply with the Contact Order, your Divorce Solicitor can advise what legal action is best. This might include Mediation, or asking the Court to transfer a Residence Order, meaning your child would live with you instead.

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