I cannot keep up with the contact/visitation arrangements set in my divorce agreement in relation to my children, as I have to take on another job, so that I can meet the child support payments to their mother, who has custody, and manage to survive financially, myself. My ‘ex’ keeps threatening me with legal action, claiming that the court can “fine” me if I don’t take the children during the parental time set. Is she right?

Answers

Yes! Arrangements regarding contact/visitation/parental time with the non-custodial parent are regarded as being very important to children’s emotional wellbeing, by Israeli family courts. Any process brought by the custodial parent against the non-custodial parent, to enforce those arrangements at the family court, will be dealt with and determined, according to the particular circumstances of the case. However, during recent years, there has been a growing trend for family court judges in Israel to award financial sums against fathers who do not keep to visitation/parenting arrangements set by courts. For example, in dealing with an application by a custodial mother, to enforce visitation arrangements, in February 2015, Jerusalem Family Court held that for every breach of parental time/visitation “missed” by the father, he would pay the mother 50 shekels, per child on ordinary weekdays, and at weekends, eve of festivals, and festivals etc, the amount would be doubled, to 100 shekels, per breach, per child. In its judgment, the court held that the father discriminated in favour of the elder children, and tended to miss parenting time with the younger children, which was detrimental to their emotional wellbeing, and contrary to their best interests.