How to achieve meetings with a child after a divorce
A family lawyer in his practice often works with problems that arise after a divorce. One of the most painful is the problem of communication with a child after a divorce, when one of the parents starts living separately.
Due to negative relations, and often outright hatred, parents not only cannot peacefully agree on the time and place of meetings with the child, but also block attempts by their ex to get in touch and negotiate. Moreover, it is often the parent with whom he stayed
child, exerts psychological pressure on her and turns the child against the other parent.
Injustice is especially acute in situations where the father/mother regularly and conscientiously pays alimony for the child, sincerely wants to participate in its upbringing and tries to come to an understanding with the other parent, who, in turn, deliberately prevents him from seeing the child.
Each party deserves understanding and support, but parents, as mature individuals, must first of all think about what irreparable harm is caused to the child by limiting communication with the father or mother.
Since there is still a tendency in Ukraine for children to stay with their mothers after divorce, there is an opinion that it is women who use children as a means of revenge on their ex for all the insults and unjustified hopes. However, the desire to manipulate the feelings of the ex does not depend on gender. Unfortunately, both women and men resort to such cruelty.
The Family Code of Ukraine clearly states that the parent with whom the child lives does not have the right to prevent the parent who lives separately from communicating with the child and participating in its upbringing, provided that such communication does not harm the normal development of the child.
If it is not possible to reach an amicable agreement, the law offers two mechanisms for solving the issue of communication and participation in raising a child after a divorce:
• through the body of guardianship and care
• through the court
Resolution of the dispute about participation in the upbringing of the child through the body of guardianship and care
A father or mother can submit an application to the local guardianship authority to determine ways to participate in the child’s upbringing and communication with him. The body of custody and care examines the living conditions, attitude towards the child, employment, other characteristics and makes a decision on establishing a schedule of meetings with the child.
Importantly! Such an application is submitted by the parent who lives separately from the child.
The decision to establish a meeting schedule is binding.
If the parent with whom the child lives does not comply with the decision of the guardianship authority, the other parent has the right to apply:
• to the court for compensation of material and moral damages
• to the body of guardianship and guardianship to conduct a conversation with the other parent
• to the police to bring to administrative responsibility the person who does not comply with such a decision
• to the court to remove obstacles in communication with the child
The decision of the court on the dispute regarding participation in the upbringing of the child
The court is approached if the parent with whom the child lives evades the implementation of the decision of the guardianship authority or otherwise prevents the parent who lives separately from communicating with the child and raising it.
Such obstacles must be supported by appropriate evidence:
• witness statements
• appeals to the body of guardianship and guardianship
• appeals to the police
• correspondence or other communication between parents
In judicial practice, there are requirements to remove obstacles in communication with the child, to determine ways to participate in the upbringing of the child, and to transfer the child. There is no single algorithm or rule. It all depends on the reasons for a particular case.
The court can determine the following methods of participation of one of the parents in the upbringing of the child:
• periodic or systematic meetings with a possible visit of the child to the place of residence of one of the parents
• the possibility of joint recreation
• the child’s visit to the father’s place of residence and the possibility of staying overnight without the mother’s accompaniment
• telephone and electronic communication with the child
This list is not exhaustive. Ways of participation in upbringing can be clearly regulated or limited to the time of communication with the child.
When deciding such a case, the court takes into account the parents’ attitude towards fulfilling their duties, takes into account the child’s personal attachment to each of them, the child’s age and health. Undoubtedly, an important role in such cases is played by the state of mental health of each parent, the fact of abuse of alcoholic beverages or narcotic substances.
Despite the fact that arguments about raising children are painful for both parents, they often turn into a real war, in which the interests and wishes of the child take a back seat.
Remember, when you divorce your husband or wife, you cease to be a spouse, but you remain the parents of a common child.
Of course, a good lawyer will provide you with a comprehensive consultation, help you establish a convenient communication schedule, obtain a court decision in your favor, and then the task is still up to you. After all, it is your moral and legal duty to ensure the best interests of your child.
Frequently asked questions and their answers.
• How long does the trial last for the elimination of obstacles in raising a child?
As a rule, the duration of consideration of such cases ranges from several months to several years.
• The court allowed a meeting with the child in the presence of a psychologist. Is it legal?
So. Quite often, the court stipulates a meeting with the child in the presence of another person: a mother/father, another relative, a psychologist or a teacher. This is done in order to protect the child’s interests, to preserve his psychological comfort, due to the child’s age or long-term lack of communication with the parent who lives separately.
• Can I go to court to get access to my grandchildren?
You can. A dispute regarding the participation of a grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother, great-grandfather, brothers, sisters, stepfather, stepmother in raising a child can be resolved in court.
• If, with the decision of the guardianship authority, I do not give the child to my ex-husband, can the police arrest me?
No, such actions are not punishable by arrest.
However, failure to comply with the decision of the body of guardianship and care to determine the methods of participation in raising a child entails the imposition of a fine of one hundred to one hundred and fifty tax-free minimum incomes of citizens. If the same actions are committed again within a year after the imposition of an administrative penalty, this causes the imposition of a fine of one hundred and fifty to three hundred tax-free minimum incomes of citizens, a temporary restriction on the right to travel outside Ukraine and a restriction on the right to drive a car. Restrictions apply until the decision is implemented in full.
· Has the procedure for ensuring the participation of parents in raising a child changed in connection with the pandemic?
No, the legislation on this issue has not changed.
However, it is worth noting that in connection with quarantine restrictions, it has become more difficult to qualify the actions of parents as obstacles in communication with the child. After all, on the one hand, such behavior of the mother or father can be explained by them as requirements for observing social distance or other anti-epidemic measures, as well as concern for the safety of the child. But on the other hand, the right of a father who lives separately to participate in raising a child should not be limited to such a period and can be implemented in compliance with WHO requirements.