Avoiding unnecessary court proceedings

Kevin represented a Mother in court proceedings involving a young child. The Father had had no contact with his child for two years, since the Mother left the family home with the child following domestic violence. The Father kept the child’s passport.

He now applied to the court for a child arrangements order. He did not have legal representation. Because of the Mother’s allegations of domestic violence, the court listed the proceedings for a fact finding hearing to determine whether or not the allegations were true.

At the fact finding hearing, the Mother accepted that the domestic violence occurred within the context of their relationship which was now ended, and accepted that the relationship had been under particular strain at the time. She agreed that, in principle, the child should see the Father. The real issue was how the child should be reintroduced to him.

Representations were made on behalf of the Mother that there was no need to conduct a fact finding hearing into the past allegations. The court agreed that the real focus of the case was the issue of how to re-establish contact between the Father and his child. The court agreed to court order that CAFCASS should prepare a report advising the court as to how contact could be re-established and what external agencies could assist the Father. An order was made requiring the Father to return the child’s passport to the Mother.