U v U – WLR Daily

Posted November 8th, 2016 in appeals, children, custody, family courts, law reports by sally

U v U

‘The parents of four children, two girls now aged 16 and 14 and two boys aged 12 and 6 years old, were married in Afghanistan in 1999 and came to the United Kingdom in 2000. They were all now British citizens. From 2011 the family experienced growing disagreement between the parents, and in 2012 the father married a second woman in secret which his wife did not know about until 2014. Following a number of incidents that year in which the police had sometimes been involved the father changed the locks to the marital home, the upshot being that the mother went to alternative accommodation with the three eldest children and the youngest boy stayed with the father and his second wife. By September 2014 the relationship between the parents had broken down. Proceedings in the case had been conducted before a High Court judge over some 14 hearings. At the first main fact-finding hearing in early 2015 in respect of child placement arrangements the judge made adverse findings against the mother including that she had caused the three older children emotional harm by her negative comments and outbursts against the father, that none of the mother’s allegations against the father justified ceasing contact between them and their father, and that the judge’s concern was to restore their relationship despite the mother’s resistance to contact between them and the father. The appointment of an expert psychiatrist from a well-known child health clinic was agreed between the parties to make an assessment of the family and also to offer therapy. The expert was able to achieve meetings between the three older children and the father, but unsupervised contact between the youngest child and the mother was not achieved until early 2016. At the latter contact session with the mother the child’s fringe was found to have been cut in a rough and ready manner. Each party blamed the other for the incident. It also emerged that the father had concealed a device on the child which recorded the conversation between the mother and the child. That showed that the mother had asked whether there was a new baby in the father’s house. At the welfare hearing in March 2016 the judge had four full reports from the expert who was also present and had made some recommendations, there was no CAFCASS officer’s report, the judge made further adverse findings against the mother including that she had cut the child’s hair, that she had assaulted the father and was unlikely to change her attitude towards him or that she would promote a positive relationship between the father and the three older children, that none of her allegations against the father had been proved, that at an earlier stage he had found that the three children had had an enjoyable holiday with the father in Barcelona but that they now refused to live with him because of the emotional harm caused by the mother’s attitude, and he concluded that the father was committed to the children, that the second wife was a force for good, that he was minded to order that all the children should live with the father but in the event only the older boy was ordered to reside with the father and the boy’s younger brother, noting that such an arrangement was contrary to the ordinary course for siblings to be in the same household. The mother appealed, contending that the welfare analysis was insufficient, that the older children’s wishes and feelings had not been properly considered and that a guardian should be appointed for their separate representation’

WLR Daily, 20th October 2016

Source: www.iclr.co.uk