CASE STUDIES INVOLVING CHILDREN
Child Arrangements Order
A young father came into see Holland Family Law’s Claire Holland with his 6-week-old child requesting an emergency Child Arrangements Order to prohibit the mother (who had tried to commit suicide in the child’s presence) from removing the child from his care.
This Order was secured by our Claire Holland. Subsequently, the mother then made an application for the child to be returned to her care to live with her. The Court ordered a Section 7 Cafcass report, but in the interim the child should remain in her father’s care.
The case concluded with the Court requiring the mother to seek medical help for her mental health issues and thereafter made a Child Arrangements Order in the father’s favour that the child should live with him and spend time with her mother at the weekends, which was a great result for the client.
– Case resolved by Claire Holland.
Jennifer McNeil resolved a case involving children, whereby a mother was continually hostile toward a father. Holland Family Law’s Jennifer McNeil represented the father in this case.
The children involved in the case required additional support as part of the proceedings, so that their voices were heard, and a Cafcass Children’s Guardian had to be appointed.
With the mother continuing in her hostility toward the father, Jennifer advised him to pursue a change of residence for the children. After a lengthy final hearing, the father was awarded full care of his children.
– Case resolved by Jennifer McNeil
Unauthorised Removal of Children
Under the guise of a proposed holiday, a mother travelled to the south west coast with her children. On arrival, she informed the father – who had remained in Leicester – that she wanted to separate and that she would be staying in the south west with the children permanently.
The father opposed this, but the mother refused to return. The father had no option but to apply to the Court for an order for the children to be returned to Leicester. The matter was heard via a Skype hearing during which the Court heard evidence from all parties.
The Judge said that the children should be returned to live in Leicester at their family home, until the mother’s long-term intention to stay in the south west could be fully assessed by the Court.
The Judge remarked that the mother’s actions were unacceptable, and that one parent should not make such important decisions without the consent of the other parent.
This decision would have had a profound effect on the father’s relationship with the children due to the travelling distance, as well as on the children’s education as they would have had to move schools.
The mother was ordered to return the children home, so they can start their new term in the school and environment they are used to.
– Case resolved by Jennifer McNeil.
Suspension of Children Arrangements Order
Holland Family Law’s Adam Markillie represented a father in proceedings to vary an Order where the child’s mother applied to the Court at the beginning of December to vary a Court Order for the father to have contact Christmas Eve at 4pm to Christmas Day at 4pm, citing her reasons as alcohol abuse by the father.
The mother told the Court that she had seen the Father in the City Centre (the week before her application), blind drunk and incapable of caring for himself let alone a child. The mother wanted the Order varied so that the child did not spend Christmas with their Father and that overnight contacts should stop.
The father was advised that he must be upfront and honest with his solicitor regarding alcohol consumption as it was paramount to the case. The father stated that he did not drink alcohol and that the mother had fabricated the events.
Hair Strand Testing
Based on the information put forward by the client, an application was made for hair strand testing, having warned the client that any consumption of alcohol over the previous 12 months could be detected from hair strand testing.
The Court granted the father’s request for hair strand testing, which the father paid for and the case was listed for hearing the day before Christmas Eve. The Court agreed to a 3-month period for the test as the mother was specific on the date. She had personally seen the father intoxicated.
That date was within the 3-month period the Court directed the testing be completed.
The father fully complied with the testing and the results were forwarded to the solicitor prior to the hearing. A copy was forwarded to the Court. The report stated, “the results of the hair strand test were that of a person who was tea total.”
There was no alcohol registered within the father’s hair throughout the whole 3-month period that he was tested, and this gave a clear indication to the Court that the mother had lied to the Court in her application and again in the face of the Court.
The Judge directed the case be re-listed for hearing on Christmas Eve at 10.00am and that the mother must bring the child to the Court. A penal notice was added to the Order to ensure the mother attended Court with the Child.
At the return hearing on Christmas Eve, the Judge directed the child be handed to the care of the father with immediate effect and instead of him having just the 24 hours as previously ordered the Judge directed that the father have care of the child from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve.
The mother objected to the Order of the Court, stating she would not see the child over Christmas. The Judge responded by telling the mother that she had perjured herself in her application to the Court and in her testimony to the Court and could go to prison.
But by not allowing the mother to have contact with the child over Christmas was a sufficient response regarding her actions.
– Case resolved by Adam Markillie.
Children Arrangements Order and Prohibited Steps Order
Holland Family Law’s Adam Markillie represented a mother, who had escaped with her daughter from a very nasty domestic abuse relationship, to help secure a Child Arrangements Order. The abuse was physical, verbal and coercive in its nature, and was witnessed by the child of the parties.
The mother, whilst wanting to protect her daughter from the abuse, was very frightened of her estranged husband and what would happen to her if she acted against him. The child did not want to see her father and was frightened of him.
The mother protected the child by not allowing the father to have contact with the child. The father applied for a Children Arrangements Order for contact with the child.
The mother attended the first appointments with a support worker. On discussing the case and hearing all the options that were available to the mother, and being advised that she is not on her own, the mother instructed that the applications by the father must be opposed to protect the child.
Prohibited Steps Order
The child, having seen her father’s behaviour towards her mother, was frightened by her father and did not want to have contact with him, fearing she would be physically and verbally abused by him if she was to do or say anything wrong.
The father made threats to attend the child’s school and remove her from school because he had parental responsibility and it was “his daughter.”
An urgent application was submitted for a Prohibited Steps Order and an area Exclusion Order against the father and the Court granted the Orders as an interim measure whilst the case was referred for a CAFCASS Section 7 Report.
Finding of Fact Hearing
The father was totally opposed to the Prohibited Steps Order and CAFCASS advised the Court that a Finding of Fact Hearing would be necessary to consider the allegations made by the mother against the father, before they could complete a Section 7 Report.
The Court directed a Finding of Fact Hearing should be listed and directed that the parties submit statements regarding the five most serious allegations as the father stated that he was being abused by the mother.
At the Finding of Fact Hearing, which was listed for two days, the Judge concluded that the mother had been subjected to the abuse she alleged in her statement and that it was likely the child had witnessed the abuse the mother had been subjected to by the father. The case was referred to CAFCASS to complete its Section 7 report.
CAFCASS spoke with the child and all parties and made recommendations to the Court that the child should not have to have contact with the father in accordance with the child’s wishes and feelings. The father was directed to complete anger management programmes, which he opposed.
Father Opposed Cafcass Recommendations
The father was opposed to the recommendations of CAFCASS and the case was listed for trial for the parties to argue their case.
Following arguments and submissions by both parties, the Court agreed with the submissions put forward by the solicitor on behalf of the mother, and directed that the father shall not have any direct contact with the child, but could have indirect contact and that it was a matter for the child as to whether she wanted, in the future, to have a relationship with her father.
The Court suggested that the father give the daughter time. The father opposed the indirect contact on grounds that the mother would never give the cards and letters and gifts he sent to the child.
The solicitor discussed this point with the mother and to protect the mother from allegations by the father that she is withholding his correspondence to the child, suggested we ask the school if the correspondence could go to them.
The solicitor contacted the school in a break in the proceedings and the school agreed with the mother’s solicitor to handle the management of the correspondence as this would give them an opportunity to help the child if she chose to open the correspondence and was distressed by any of its content.
This was to prevent the father placing coercive messages within the correspondence or putting the child under pressure to see him. The Court agreed with the indirect contact being sent to the school and the mother was not going to be subjected to abuse by the father over allegations she has not given the indirect contact to the child.
The Court ordered that the interim Prohibited Steps Order and Area Exclusion Order remain in place, that a Children Arrangements Order – Live With – be granted to the mother and a Children Arrangements Order – Contact With – be granted to the father, but indirect contact only and all correspondence to be sent to the school.
The mother and child were both relieved with the Court’s direction and the protection the Court put in place for both the mother and the child following the representations and submissions put forward by the mother’s solicitor.
– Case resolved by Adam Markillie.