Family Court - When Lies Become The Truth
Posted on 6th October 2022
A disgruntled Mum applies to the Family Court for a child arrangement order. She wants to ensure there is a framework in place for when and how the children’s Dad gets to see them. She wants that framework to be underpinned by a sealed Court Order.
What she actually wants is to reduce the amount of time Dad sees his children to the absolute minimum. Why? Because she and Dad have split up and she wants to punish him for that fact. Also she is in a new relationship now and Dad ‘hanging around’ is just awkward, so she would prefer he is isolated.
Welcome to the acrimonious world of Family Court where parties use the Court as a weapon to diminish, damage and punish their former partners. Where the resident parent, ie., the parent with whom the children are living, uses the children as bargaining chips in a game of poker. This is the problem with the family court system.
So, back to our disgruntled Mum. She meets with a solicitor to get an update on her case and he asks 3 questions:
a) Did your former partner have an affair?
Mum replies no and says they simply drifted apart after being together for a long time. In fact, if the truth be known, it is probably Mum who had the affair given that she was in a friendship with her new partner long before the relationship with Dad broke down.
The solicitor confirms with her that her unwavering stance is that during her previous relationship, her new partner was only ever a friend offering support as she struggled with day to day life. Mum committed this stance to memory.
b) Did your former partner work and support the family?
Mum replies that her former partner did work and had a good job. She did not need to work as he paid all the bills and looked after her and the children. They had holidays, a nice home and a good life.
The solicitor confirms with her that her former partner controlled the relationship with his archaic attitude as the breadwinner. He dictated how life would be lived and demanded that Mum stay at home and keep house giving her no access to the family finances. Mum committed this stance to memory.
c) Did your former partner ever hit you, threaten you or abuse you?
Mum said he had never done any of those things. She said there had been arguments which increased as the relationship broke down and once, in frustration, her former partner had smashed a mug in the kitchen sink.
The solicitor confirms with her that her former partner used verbal abuse and aggressive posturing to control the relationship and intimidate her. Mum feared for her own safety as his behaviour became more erratic and violent such as smashing up household items. Mum committed this stance to memory.
The solicitor then recommends, in the light of Mum’s comments, two things:
i) Mum should apply for a non-molestation order to prevent Dad from coming near the house because of the domestic abuse she has already suffered
ii) Mum should append her child arrangement application with a C1A form which is used to detail episodes of domestic abuse in the relationship.
On the solicitor’s advice, Mum does not attend the urgent hearing to hear the non-molestation application. The solicitor tells the Court that Mum feels too vulnerable now she has had opportunity to reflect on her former partner’s behaviour.
The non-molestation is granted and Dad is given the opportunity in a few weeks to challenge it.
Why is it granted given that Mum’s account is a total fabrication of the truth? Because the Family Court has to air on the side of caution and act in the best interests of safeguarding any children involved. Until it is proved otherwise, Dad will be considered guilty of these ‘crimes’.
Prior to the first hearing to consider the child arrangement application, CAFCASS (the Court’s social services department) will speak to Mum and Dad. Dad says the couple simply drifted apart. Mum says she was the victim of domestic abuse and her children are at risk. She also says she has a non-molestation order in place.
At the first hearing for the child arrangement application, the Judge asks Dad what he has to say about the domestic violence allegations. He, of course, denies them. The Judge then rules that until the Court is better versed on who may be telling the truth, the Court will issue two directions:
Firstly, to safeguard the children, Dad cannot see them or have any contact with them except for indirect contact which means he can write to them fortnightly.
Secondly, to enable the Court to test the allegations, a Finding of Fact hearing will take place. In essence, this is a trial where Dad is the accused. He will be cross examined by Mum’s legal team to give his account of the domestic violence incidents.
He will say he did smash a mug but it was just frustration. They will say he is minimising the incident and he started smashing household items to intimidate and threaten their client.
A disgruntled Mum applies to the Family Court for a child arrangement order. By simply uttering the words ‘domestic abuse’, she controls the proceedings and she can systematically destroy Dad. Even if her allegations are dismissed, no-one is saying they didn’t happen, they are simply saying they can’t be proven…
Contact us today if you need assistance with family court order cases.
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