Child Arrangements Case Study
Counsel from Black Antelope Law was instructed to represent NK, the Mother and Respondent in a child arrangements application brought by the Father of her three children.
The Mother opposed contact on the basis that: (i) she and the children had been the victims of domestic abuse at the hands of the Father; and (ii) the Father’s application was motivated by his desire to regularise his immigration status after the breakdown of their marriage. Both allegations were disputed by the Father.
A fact-finding hearing was ordered by the court to deal with allegation (i) and the court allowed the Father to have indirect contact in the forms of letters and cards in the interim to manage the risk whilst it assessed the allegations. In terms of allegation (ii), it was ordered that the Father’s immigration status would be considered as part of the final welfare decision.
At the fact-finding hearing, the court made findings of domestic abuse against the Father after hearing evidence from both parties. A CAFCASS section 7 report was ordered in light of the findings against the Father.
CAFCASS recommended that the Father should not spend time with the children until he had taken steps to address the domestic abuse by either attending a Domestic Abuse Perpetrators Programme (DAPP) or a Respect accredited programme. It was noted that the Father did not consider himself a perpetrator of domestic violence despite the court’s findings.
As a result of the father refusing to attend the DAPP, a final order at the directions hearing was made limiting the Father’s contact with the children to indirect contact in the forms of letters and cards and small gifts on special occasions and birthdays only.