Representing a Father in an acrimonious situation

Kevin represented the Father of a young child. The parents had recently separated amid cross allegations of domestic violence and abuse, and the child was in the care of the Father, who was refusing to let the Mother have contact. The parents were in dispute as to which the child should live with, and the acrimonious relationship created a risk of physical and emotional harm to the child. Both parents also had young children from past relationships, which complicated the picture.

The Mother made an application to the court to have the child transferred to her care. In the court proceedings, both parents filed statements setting out their allegations, and began gathering evidence in support. The court had to decide whether it should conduct a fact finding hearing, having regard to the new provisions of FPR 12J.

The parents acknowledged that they were each capable of meeting the child’s day to day needs and that they each had good family support networks, which was supported by independent evidence. The main concern was to keep them apart so that there would be no risk of a volatile situation developing.

By focusing on the areas of common ground, and helping the parents to appreciate the risk of harm to their child, Kevin helped his client to refocus on the child’s needs.

The parents agreed a shared care arrangement which divided the child’s time between them. Handovers were agreed that avoided both parents being involved.

After careful consideration, the court approved the shared care arrangements and proceedings were finalised at the second court hearing. The court was satisfied that the handover arrangements were appropriate to safeguard the child.