What is contact?
Contact is where the non-resident parent (i.e. the parent which the child does not ordinarily live with) has visiting or staying rights in relation to a child. Contact can be direct (face to face) or indirect (by way of letters, telephone calls etc.). Contact can also be visiting or staying or supervised by a third party (such as a social worker) or supported (at a child contact centre).
How are contact arrangements made?
In most cases contact can be agreed between parents but if this is not possible, family mediation may assist. If agreement can still not be reached it is possible for the court to make contact orders.
It is also possible for the court to make contact orders in favour of non-parents such as grandparents but the court must agree that it is wiling to hear the case and grant leave for the case to proceed.
There is an assumption that in the majority of cases it is in the interests of the child to have a relationship with both of its parents.