Complex care case involving multiple parents and children

Children – Public Law

29 November 2023

Michael represented one of two fathers in complex care proceedings involving several children from infancy to teens. The case involved complex relationships involving two mothers (M1 and M2) and two fathers (F1 and F2). Michael acted for the Father (F1) of the third child (referred to below as E).

The local authority had been involved for a number of years, mainly in respect of concerns of neglect and domestic abuse involving both the mothers and F1, resulting in the children being placed on Child Protection Plans on more than one occasion. When proceedings were issued the older children were living with M1 (who was pregnant with the youngest child).

The local authority did not seek Interim Care Orders or removal, and a combination of shared care CAOs and ISOs were made in respect of the four of the children (involving both mothers and F1). A separate CAO was made in respect of the child of Michael’s client (E) providing for E to live with F2 and have contact with M2.

The youngest child was born during proceedings and remained living at home with M2.

A non-molestation order and a PSO were made (to prevent contact between E and F1), and these remained in force throughout the proceedings

After very lengthy discussions at court all matters were agreed and shared care CAOs were made in respect of all the eldest children, including E. Supervision orders were made in respect of all the children for six months to assist all the parents with the arrangements for the children and in particular the arrangements for inter-sibling contact.

All the parents were praised and complemented by the court throughout the proceedings for putting their own issues with each other to one side and the needs of all the children first, avoiding what could otherwise have been a bitterly contested lengthy final hearing.

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