Enabling children to remain with a Father despite a Mother’s objections

Marie acted for a Father who took over the care of two children when the Mother’s difficulties with alcohol became acute. The children went to live with him, and Children’s Services were involved and assessed the family. One maintained regular contact with the Mother, but the other refused contact.

The Mother, though having relapsed since the children went to live with the Father, sought the return of the children to her full-time care. In addition, she refused to agree to the children moving schools to one nearer the Father’s home, forcing him to drive them one hour each way to school for one academic year.

The Father wanted the children to remain with him, and the s.7 report by Children’s Services supported this, assessing that they suffered harm whilst living with the Mother.

Marie supported her client through a fully contested hearing, following which the Court ordered that the children should live full-time with the Father, with contact with the Mother, and made a Specific Issue Order for change of schools in the Father’s favour. The Court also appointed a Guardian to consider the issue of the younger child not having contact with the Mother.