(Family Division; Sumner J; 11 October 2007)
The father had applied to the court for a sole residence order, arguing that in the light of the mother's generally negative approach to contact, including a sudden move to Devon, the court ought to transfer residence to him unless it was confident that the mother was committed to promoting and expanding the child's relationship with him. In the proceedings the mother initially disputed the conclusions of the child psychiatrist as to the long-term consequences of a breakdown of the child's relationship with the father, but later acknowledged that she needed to be positive about the father.
The courts would be slow to change a child's residence in such circumstances without giving the resident parent a chance to understand what had gone wrong and to remedy it, provided that such a course was compatible with the child's best interests. The changes in the mother's attitude justified the child remaining with the mother, but under the continued supervision of the court.