ECHR: Traumatized child must be cared for therapeutically
Courts do not always have to enforce the right of a separated father to deal with his child. Because if the child refuses to deal with them, penalties against the mother can endanger the mother-child relationship and thus also the child's well-being, ruled on Thursday, October 6, 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg (ref .: 23280 / 08 and 2334/10). However, if the father's right of access is suspended with a view to traumatizing the child, the child must then be given therapeutic care as far as possible.
The complainant, now 44, lives in Cologne. His son was born in 1998. The parents separated a year later. Since then the son has lived with the mother. This blocked the child's contacts with his father. Courts only occasionally granted the father very limited access rights.
In 2007, the family court set seven hours a month. When the father wanted to pick up his son, he refused to come with him. The family court initially imposed a fine of 3,000 euros on the mother; however, the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Cologne overturned the sentence in 2008. Due to psychological problems, the mother was unable to prepare her son for dealing with his father.
The ECHR had no reservations about this. A periodic penalty payment against the mother has an adverse effect on the relationship between mother and son - and ultimately also has an adverse effect on the child's welfare.
In addition, the OLG had suspended contact with the father for three years. It relied on the child's insufficient psychological stability as a result of the separation.
The Strasbourg judges did not agree. The boy said that he occasionally saw his pediatrician. However, the ECtHR complained that there was apparently no psychotherapeutic care. In addition, the OLG was based on statements by the child that were already 16 months old at the time of the trial.
A suspension of the right of access for several years is not justified in these circumstances, the ECHR ruled. The decision of the Cologne Higher Regional Court therefore violated the father's right to private and family life. It awarded the father a compensation for pain and suffering of 10,000 euros. In addition, Germany has to pay its procedural costs, sometimes also for the lawsuits in Germany. mwo / fle