Does your child have a right to have contact with their sibling?
Updated: Aug 13, 2019
A subject so close to my heart. My son, a person who I care about more than myself, his feelings, his heart and his life comes before mine.
When we were stopped from seeing my step-son, by his mother, what broke my heart more than anything was the sibling relationship that had to stop.
And the fact that he had no rights to see his big brother.
I’m still unable to see how his mother was unable to see and feel the effects of this on her own son. But, I do not judge anyone’s individual journey, I am just unable to empathise with it.
There was a recent case, Re H  EWCA Civ 1200 , where a half sibling applied for contact with their younger half siblings. It was rejected by the father, as the children were unaware they had an older half sibling. However, it was appealed, and the Judge for the appeal believed that the trial judge had elevated the anxiety of the father over the potential gain for the children. It was ruled that there would contact agreed, under very specific guidelines.
It used to be that, as a society, we believed it was best to keep a child’s background from them. If they were adopted, we must keep it quiet, for example. However, it is becoming much more accepted that a child deserves to know their background, to have access to every member of their family.
“If it’s safe to do so” keeps being used, however, I believe it doesn’t need to keep being used. We all know we need to keep children safe, and the more we keep focusing on that, the more false allegations are made. If it's "not safe to do so" it's obvious, it should not be done.
In child services cases, it is so important that siblings are kept together. For moral and emotional support. However, there seems to be a lack of this in private family court cases, for now. Although, evidently, it is getting better.
Siblings, whether half siblings or not, have shared characteristics and a shared history. This bond cannot be broken. It is likely to be the longest relationship of a person’s life, which should be acknowledged in respect of sibling contact.
They acknowledge that there are family structures where half-siblings or foster-siblings can be just as important to an individual as their parents.
I know for a fact my son’s relationship with his half-brother, my step-son, is just as important as mine and his. As are many other relationships that he will develop.
They mention that brothers and sisters can experience profound separation anxiety during family court proceedings.
Despite blogs and cases expressing that things are changing for siblings, had my other half not wanted to go to court and apply for contact with his child, I would have had no way of applying for my son to see his brother.
I sent letters to his mother which resulted in calls from the police, I really had no other option than to wait for my other half’s court appearance.
So, in my opinion, your child doesn’t have that right. However, we are definitely on the road to change! Positive change!
I would love to assist you if you are going through anything similar. Please get in touch with me!