Mothers who refuse to let separated fathers see their children should have them taken away, a senior family court judge said yesterday.
The children should be handed over to the full time care of the father if the mother persistently defies court orders, Mr Justice Coleridge said.
He called for a ‘three strikes and you’re out rule’ by which children would be taken away if mothers ignored three court orders.
The judge said that family courts are losing their authority because so many people take no notice of their judgments.
Around 5,000 new cases a year come before the family courts in which parents – almost always mothers – defy orders to let the other parent have contact.
Judges are extremely reluctant to jail such mothers because of the damaging effects on the children, so many continue to get away with it.
Mr Justice Coleridge, 61, said: ‘If I were to call it three strikes and you’re out it sounds insensitive but something like it perhaps should be the norm.’
He added that occasionally it might be necessary to send a mother to jail.