Meagre reward for a father’s contact application

family life

Or: How do you resolve the problem of the alienated child?

The family courts are regularly criticised for failing to deal with the issue of parental alienation. Not only do they fail to deal with it, say the critics, but often they appear to be positively rewarding the ‘guilty’ parent. The recent case Q v R (intractable contact), however, demonstrates the difficulties that the courts have in resolving this awful problem.

Q v R concerned two boys, S and T, who are now aged twelve and eight. Their parents separated in 2011, the boys remaining with their mother. For a short time the boys had regular contact with their father, but difficulties arose in or around August 2012. A month later we get a telling glimpse of what is to come:

“In September 2012 T’s nursery made a referral to the local authority concerned that ‘mum appears blinkered and appears focused on dad and not letting him see the children’.”

In the following month the father applied for a contact order. Sadly, the parents have been involved in court proceedings ever since. There is too much to summarise all of the subsequent events here, but some of the most important ones were as follows:

  1. At the first hearing in December 2012 the judge ordered that the children should have staying contact with their father on alternate weekends. The contact only lasted for a month, the mother suspending it after reporting that she had overheard the children discuss which one of them the father hit hardest.
  2. The next month the judge ordered that contact between the boys and their father should be reinstated. Again, the mother stopped the contact about a month later.
  3. In April 2013 the judge again order that contact be reinstated, this time on a weekly supervised basis. In a rare hopeful moment, we are told that the contact that followed was “positive”, such that the social worker recommended a shared care arrangement, with the children spending alternate weeks with each parent.
  4. It will probably come as no surprise that the mother did not accept that recommendation. The sequence of the mother stopping contact and the court reinstating it continued.
  5. In September 2013 T alleged that the father had ‘strangled’ S. This allegation was repeated subsequently, although for a time the boys still clearly said that they wanted to see their father. That changed in around March 2014, when the boys refused to see him.
  6. Very significantly, in April 2014 S told a story at school about the time he saw his father smash his mother’s teeth out, and that he had been about seven at the time. This assault did happen in 2007, but S was only two at the time, and did not witness the assault in any event.
  7. In April 2014 the children’s guardian submitted his report which recommended the children have indirect contact only with their father.
  8. A final hearing of the father’s contact application took place in May 2014. The judge found that the children did not wish to see their father, and that this was their own view – the mother had not coached, brainwashed them or influenced them. He also said that both parents had chosen to submit their two boys to a ‘toxic atmosphere’. He ordered indirect contact only, although his order recited that “the Court expects direct contact to the father to be resumed within or soon after six months”.
  9. This did not happen, and in January 2015 the father applied to re-establish direct contact. A final hearing took place in March 2016, at which the parties agreed a contact plan which was to start with a lunch at Pizza Hut the next weekend and build up to overnight staying visits within six weeks.
  10. Some overnight contact did happen in April 2016, but this soon stopped, and the matter eventually went back to court, in May and June this year. The present judgment relates to that hearing, before Her Honour Judge Vincent.

The position of the parties was that the mother was clear that she wanted no order for contact. She said that the wishes of the children should be respected, and that she had not influenced them against their father – their wishes were based upon their own experiences of him. The father wanted contact to be re-established, asserting that the mother was fundamentally opposed to the idea of him seeing the children, and that for many years she had acted in a deliberate and manipulative way in order to frustrate any contact that happened. The position of the children’s guardian demonstrated the difficulties that HHJ Vincent faced:

“The guardian does consider that the mother has influenced the children in a number of different ways to hold a false belief system about their father, and that she is incapable of promoting any kind of relationship between them.  The guardian regards the mother as falling seriously short in terms of her ability to exercise the responsibilities and duties of a parent.  However, the guardian is of the view that, even if based on a false belief system, the boys’ views are genuinely held, and should be listened to and given weight.  On this basis the guardian considers that the proceedings should be brought to an end and orders for indirect contact only be made.”

Further to this, HHJ Vincent had the benefit of a report from a child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr Misch. He said that in his view the mother had repeatedly sabotaged contact, and he considered that the mother’s extremely negative views of the father were picked up by the children. However, he agreed with the view of the guardian that any order for contact would be very likely to repeat the same cycle as before – the children would then continue to be caught up in the parental dispute and the overall effect upon their well-being would be overwhelming negative.

HHJ Vincent made adverse findings regarding the mother, which she summarised as follows: “she has in my judgment failed her children by allowing and encouraging them to build up in their minds the idea that their father is a dangerous man and that they are not safe with him.”

Notwithstanding this, HHJ Vincent decided against re-establishing direct contact. She explained:

“After very careful consideration I have come to the conclusion with a very heavy heart that I should not force the boys to have contact against their wishes.  My reasons are as follows:

(a)  I have to have regard to the views of the very experienced children’s guardian and Dr Misch, both of whom advise me against this course of action.  Both have come to their final recommendations after very careful consideration.  Their opinions were based on sound evidence and their own robust professional assessments and I have no good reason to depart from their views;

(b)  I am satisfied there is a real and significant risk of emotional harm to the boys in the ways described above if they are forced to see their father when they have consistently said they do not want to see him;

(c) There is a real and significant risk in this case that this is what I characterise as a ‘running into the road case’ by which I mean because the children have expressed such strong views that they do not wish to be with their father they might put themselves in harm’s way if made to see him against their wishes”.

HHJ Vincent did make an order for indirect contact with the boys, including writing to them six times a year and, as they get older, contact via phone, email and social media. She said of this:

“I appreciate that these suggestions are meagre and visit a grave injustice on both the father and the boys.  I appreciate he may feel the mother who has been found to be at fault nonetheless has her way.  I have however come to my conclusions after anxious and careful consideration and in the particular circumstances of the case I regret to say that this is the limited extent to which I am able to grant the father’s application, having regard at all times to the welfare of the boys as my paramount consideration.”

The full report of Q v R can be read here.

John Bolch

John Bolch often wonders how he ever became a family lawyer. He no longer practises, but has instead earned a reputation as one of the UK's best-known family law bloggers.

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35 comments

Peter - July 11, 2017 at 6:13pm

This is a great example where prevention is better than cure. The law has done little to prevent parental alienation from taking place in the first place and then it becomes too difficult to resolve afterwards. It is very clear where the failure is. Totally wrong on this father.

James Franklin - July 11, 2017 at 6:14pm

What a disgrace. The children and father are emotionally abused by the mother, she has committed child abuse and clearly breached S76 of the SCA 2015, yet she is rewarded and the father punished.

No flipping tell me the system is fair. The women should be prosecuted and the father given custody to rebuild and repair the relationship with his children.

Lee - July 11, 2017 at 6:26pm

Disgusting and just goes to show that alienators, contact deniers and indeed child abusers are awarded in the family courts! Something has to change!

Lee - July 11, 2017 at 7:16pm

The Father has not himself any favours whatsoever though by assaulting the Mother 10 years ago. Although I am not sure that this should be any reason to not award direct contact now though if this was an isolated incident.

spinner - July 11, 2017 at 8:39pm

The mother is then rewarded with the full CMS from the “fathers” earnings whilst zero respect is given to his wishes or needs.

Andy - July 11, 2017 at 11:32pm

Typical law dragging its feet over compete and utter lies foretold by the mother in her quest to as today’s buzz word parent alienation..in most common form.
Just look at the lengths the law has created to give what can be only described as sheere time wasting by so called professionals who quite frankly have not a clue themselves.
It seems if you tell utter crap the system will support you..
High time this buzz word should be ditched and the law says 50/50 care…no quibble…
It’s systems like these that dissolve any normality in today’s society…with the courts,Judgements and solicitors creaming finances just to get you here it’s no wonder booted out fathers give up as the money train goes straight to the mother..even if she is a wast of space the system supports her…

Rob - July 12, 2017 at 7:58am

Utterly appalling. State sanctioned child abuse. And, as always, no sanctions for the mother. It’s a bit like saying “the children are used to being hit every day and it’s part of their routine so it’d be wrong to upset this and move them to a parent who doesn’t hit them”! Sadly this is an every day occurrence in the family court.

The incompetence, the prejudice – the so called “professionals” should hang their heads in shame.

Cameron Paterson - July 12, 2017 at 10:19am

How do you force a 12 year-old and an eight year-old to do something they have clearly said they don’t want to do – i.e. see their father? How would that kind of heavy-handed state intervention not be traumatising to them? As the judge said:
“There is a real and significant risk in this case that this is what I characterise as a ‘running into the road case’ by which I mean because the children have expressed such strong views that they do not wish to be with their father they might put themselves in harm’s way if made to see him against their wishes.”
Yes, the father in this case clearly got a raw deal but how do you punish the mother for her wrongdoing? Send her to jail, leaving the two boys on their own? Force them to go and live with their father against their will? It’s a dilemma. Regardless of who did what, the courts have to deal with the reality of these situations as they exist at the time the hearings are held.

spinner - July 12, 2017 at 11:15am

You nip it in the bud at the start and tell the mother is she continues this behaviour she will lose custody of her children. If she continues take the children and give them to the father. This situation has developed over time and it is the court’s fault for not taking an equal line with mothers, 50:50 care needs to be the default. Once it has got this serious the only way to break the mother’s indoctrination is to remove them from her care and place them with the father or a 3rd party as she clearly doesn’t have the children’s best wishes at heart.

James Franklin - July 12, 2017 at 2:05pm

Cameron, you fail to recognise the fact that several professionals concluded and offered evidence to support the notion that the children had been effectively “brainwashed” by the mother. I suggest you re-read the article and understand where some of us are coming from

Yvie - July 12, 2017 at 2:28pm

Parental alienation is now becoming more widely recognised. Both mothers and fathers are equally capable of brainwashing the children and poisoning them against the other parent. It can often be very subtle and very difficult to prove. It begs the question why a child would turn against a loving parent for no apparent reason.

Father of 4 - July 13, 2017 at 6:09pm

The ‘good reason’ is to satisfy the wishes and expectations of the other, favoured, parent.

Cameron Paterson - July 12, 2017 at 3:08pm

That’s true of course, there was evidence of that. I was just trying to point out the practical difficulties of forcing a relationship onto the children or taking away their mother

stuart - July 12, 2017 at 7:39pm

Oh Cameron! Are you for real?
How do you make an 8 and 12 year old do something that they don’t want to do? Are you a parent? What would you do if they didn’t want to go to school? Didn’t want to go to the dentist? Wanted to stay out all night smoking cannabis? Wanted to watch porn on their i pads?
If as a parent you could not cope with those everyday situations you could and should expect the Social Services, and if necessary the Courts to intervene – because to not do so harms these children and puts them at risk.
Parental Alienation is psychological abuse. The consequences of allowing children to decide their destiny, when they have been emotionally manipulated, will cause them a lifetime of emotional harm. Guilt. Therapy. Lower educational attainment. Mental illness, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse and being alienated from their own children. The consequences of doing nothing, as this Judge has allowed , have appalling long term effects. It is high time you, your legal colleagues, the Courts, Judiciary, CAFCASS and social workers woke up to this.
The solution is so very, very simple. It is not jailing or fining the mother. It is giving this father three months of residence of his children – with minimal contact with their mother. Urgently. This could be monitored by the Guardian. The children would very quickly learn that they had nothing to fear and so much to gain. Then – assuming all went well – an Order for a Suspended Reversal of Residence – so if the mother remains unable to promote a meaningful relationship with both parents, the father has the chance. It is as simple as that.
Please no more hand wringing. You have a duty, Cameron, to educate yourself about what can be done in these cases to stop the ongoing abuse of children, and to use the influence of your web site to promote solutions. This case is a disgrace and it is high time, for the sake of future generations that parents understood that there are real consequences for behaving in this appalling way.

Stitchedup - July 13, 2017 at 11:22am

That’s a good suggestion Stuart. My ex has done her utmost to alienate me and my whole family; it’s as clear a case of parental alienation as you’ll get. However, I do not believe the answer is to jail parents. If only the courts could get their heads out of their backsides and see the harm they are doing by convicting and jailing parents. What’s needed is help, support, counselling, mediation…. anything that can reduce conflict rather than encouraging conflict as they do by prosecuting, convicting and jailing. How the hell is it in the interest of a child to see a parent jailed for letting their emotions get the better of them or simply handling divorce/separation badly??? It seems to me that the courts are more concerned with throwing their weight around and abusing their authority than seeking genuine low conflict resolutions to family disputes. Orders secured in the civil courts with no burden of proof should not result in criminal convictions if breached, particularly if the act itself that resulted in a breach would not normally be considered criminal behaviour. So lets stop convicting people for talking or texting; fine people perhaps if the breach was genuinely malicious or a nuisance, but no criminal convictions and certainly no jail. Divorce/separation is one of life’s most stressful events, people should be given support and understanding and not have a gun held to their head.

Paul Apreda - July 13, 2017 at 6:17pm

Cameron – I applaud your approach to engagement on this. I fear that you are fundamentlly wrong however.
Firstly – the Court is failing to uphold the children’s right to direct contact & a meaningful relationship under Article 9.3 of the UNCRC. The caveat in that Article is on the basis of the best interests of the child NOT their Article 12 right to be consulted and their views taken into account.
Secondly – I presume that the children attend school? If the mother didnt send them to school she would be fined and ultimately imprisoned irrspective of the children’s wishes and feelings.
Thirdly – when children are removed from their parents under a s31 application the ‘wishes and feelings of the child’ would be overridden by the Court’s decision based on their best interests.
These are examples when the pareamounty principle appears to be no longer paramount.
We are meeting the President again next week. I will be asking him for his advice on how we can persuade fathers not to seize their children at the start of difficulties, make vague or general allegations about abuse or other issues and simply deny contact whilst gaining time to abuse their children by poisoning them against a relationship with the mother.
The issue of abuse is a real one of course and could be prosecuted under s66 of the Serious Crime Act NOT s76 which relates to individuals of 16 and above. s66 amended the 1933 Act to specifically include ‘psychological abuse’ as a criminal offence. Our efforts will now be directed to identifying a parental alienation case where the abuse has taken place post December 2015 and we will be making complaints to the Police and the CPS for them to take action to protect children in the absence of such activity from the Family Justice system. best wishes, Paul

Mr T - July 12, 2017 at 10:15am

This is the problem right here. Parental alienation colluded to by the courts. How are they going to explain to this kid that they took away their father? Crime right here.

Father of 4 - July 13, 2017 at 6:05pm

What I don’t think anybody has considered is that the influence of the mother could be current and that if her influence were to be removed, the boys relationship with their father might quickly improve. That isn’t guaranteed but it is certainly a possibility, especially if the children are offered appropriate support.

What definitely ISN’T a solution, is for the court to tie it’s own hands behind it’s back and send a clear message that if you want to prevent contact between your children and their father, you simply need to ignore the court orders and be difficult. If there is no consequence to action, what stops people from doing it

Peter Davies - July 14, 2017 at 10:22am

There seems to be some very loud and creaky hand wringing going on in these parts. OOOO…ER…We need to listen to what the child wants (even when they are merely repeating a parent’s wishes and the law requires the child’s wishes and feelings to be ASCERTAINED)… OOOO…ER…The child should be allowed to decide ((even when they are merely repeating a parent’s wishes)…OOOO…ER…The child shouldn’t be forced to do what the child does not want to do (even when it is beneficial to them and involves obeying a court order)…OOOO…ER…The child should be allowed to tell the judge what the child wants (even when they are merely acting as a mouthpiece for another parent. etc. etc. and so the emotionally abusive parental and feckless apologists’ mantra drones on and on and on…

In the real world older children do not want to do most things. I can remember being particularly awkward. My own children have been angels by comparison. However, I’m reliably informed that pesky scientists (and professionals whose practice is predicated upon unfashionable qualities like reason and evidence) call this growing up. Things children dislike are likely to include those things which benefit them like, learning to get up in the morning… going to school… going to bed… listening to music at volumes that do not break glasses and crockery… wearing school uniforms… eating balanced meals… washing… immunisations… beneficial medical treatment… learning maths … not wearing make-up… tooth brushing … visiting grandparents… taking a rest from using their phones / tablets… eating greens instead of sweets … wearing appropriate clothing… good manners … doing household choirs… maintaining ones bedroom in a state that does not make it a fire hazard… politeness … seeing dad when the court considers it will benefit a child’s welfare etc etc. There are literally millions of things that children object to and sometimes refuse to do that schools, parents and anyone else with responsibility for them have to negotiate, cajole, harangue, coerce, manipulate, persuade them into doing daily if not more often. For some unfathomable reason normal and reasonable parental responsibilities are routinely excused when it comes to intractable cases. Can anyone explain to me why contact with a well adjusted and diligent father, who can provide valuable respite and protection from day to day life with an emotionally abusive mother, gets denigrated and relegated to a lower station than tooth brushing or tidying ones bedroom?

Exceptionally, there are problems that parents cannot (or will not) solve. In these cases the state intervenes. Parents who fail to ensure regular school attendance are fined under the terms of the various Education Acts. If this does not work they are imprisoned regardless of the OOOO’s and ER’s uttered from the sidelines. The principle is that a child is entitled to an education and it is a parent’s job to ensure they get it because it will benefit the child’s welfare. The courts appear to help and support children to develop and become autonomous. As a general rule they will be allowed to make decisions and agree to things that will benefit them but they will not be allowed to say no to things which will benefit them or say yes to things which will harm them or remove the opportunity to make informed choices after reaching the age of majority. There is one striking exception: court orders, normal parental responsibility and welfare immediately take a back seat if little Johny and mummy would rather Johny play with his nice new iphone, (watching porn), in bed stuffing popcorn, getting obese and furring up his arteries instead of going out for a run with Dad. Uniquely, when it comes to contact with a positive role model, that will provide welcome respite from a manipulative and abusive parent, Johny’s welfare is not as important as what Johny wants because unlike any other aspect of growing up when it comes to contact whatever Johny wants Johny must get.

But, let us not forget that if lawyers that used to practice in the family courts tell us that bias does not exist, in spite of glaring evidence to the contrary, then we must all be obsessives suffering from a persecution complex and provided the same silly mantra is repeated often enough we will all gush with admiration at the emperor’s wonderfully tailored birthday suit.

JamesB - July 14, 2017 at 12:23pm

Except where the child disagrees with the Parent they live with mostly and Cafcass, and say that they want to see their parent more (as mine did), then the line comes back, she doesn’t know what she wants or is saying and is too young to have an informed opinion. They also put pressure on her to change her mind, which unter intense pressure, she said something like, whatever, whatever mummy says, who was in the next room.

These (Cafcass experts and family courts) make me sick. Appalling anti father prejudice.

JamesB - July 14, 2017 at 12:27pm

My daughter (to give her massive respect – I hope to see her again for the first time in ages this weekend) did say she wanted to see me more often, which didn’t go down well with the Mother applying to reduce contact. Because it went against mothers wishes it was discounted and rubbished, if it agreed with mothers wishes it would have been used against me with massive overwhelming force of in the child’s best interests. Woman good man bad approach of the family law in E and W is not right.

JamesB - July 14, 2017 at 12:29pm

I have the transcript in the cafcass report and regard it and the interview and court process as child abuse.

JamesB - July 14, 2017 at 12:33pm

I mean, do you really press a six year old on why they wan’t to see their Dad once they have said “because I like seeing him”? I think that is wrong. They just kept saying why until she gave up and said whatever Mum says. That is badly wrong and symbolic as is this case and the anecdotal evidence where no official figures and lack of contact order enforcement etc. of an institutionally bad approach.

John robson - July 14, 2017 at 1:35pm

Once again a judge agrees mother Alienated her kids so let’s give her her own way. He said himself she had made the children hate there Dad. Well any Dad surprised. Am not and am in same shit corrupt cycle.

JamesB - July 14, 2017 at 2:17pm

Should be 50:50 shared time for the children with Mum and Dad by default.

JamesB - July 14, 2017 at 2:20pm

Tore my son literally from front door frame once. Five minutes later we are all smiles singing to the radio. Just an example of children not sure what to do and trying to keep Mum happy perhaps which is natural and it isn’t them or the mother that is the issue, but the establishment and courts in these cases.

Rob - July 15, 2017 at 8:35pm

Today’s article by Karen Woodall on what success looks like, and what it takes to restore and reunify children and alienated parents is worth a read in context with the Judge’s comments and final Judgement in Q v R. It clearly shows that in Karen’s experience, once you separate the children from the alienating parent, and start the re-unification process properly that children can and will change their hostility to contact with the targeted parent.

Reading the judgement it also seems to me that the mother could be prosecuted under s66 of the Serious Crime Act. As the writer of the above post (John Bolch) points out in another of his posts on this site, a failure for Authorities (the CPS for example) to prosecute could infringe the rights of both the children and the targeted parent under Article 8 or Article 3 of the ECHR (http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2017/07/13/failure-to-prosecute-violent-husband-is-breach-of-human-rights/) It is a shame that he doesn’t make the connection to s66 here and to his previous post himself.

Karen Woodall’s article can be found in full here:
https://karenwoodall.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/what-is-success-in-treating-parental-alienation/

Peter Davies - July 16, 2017 at 6:44pm

This judgment is very troubling. Because of it’s conflicted and flabby reasoning I have struggled to understand and make sense of it: I have just realised why. In complete contrast to HHJ Gordon-Saker in Re B this judge appears to have been seduced by a manipulative parent who has been allowed to dictate the course of proceedings throughout. The judge has fecklessly fallen for the mischaracterisation of any attempt at reunification of the boys with their dad by mimicking firstly the guardian’s mischaracterisation of it at para 46. followed by the mothers own mischaracterisation at para 61, through using the words ‘made’ and ‘force’ to suggest something nasty and unpleasant to describe a process could just as easily be characterised as an opportunity for the boys to have a non-emotionally abusive parental relationship. The actual reunification process is more likely to include gentle encouragement, logic, reason and calmly helping the boys to critically analyse their situation in order to perceive reunification and respite from an emotionally abusive parenting as beneficial and good instead of mischaracterising it as harmful and bad. The judge, having acknowledged that, ‘…the boys will have suffered and continue to be at risk if significant harm…’ assumes that reunification and reestablishing contact would involve force and be harmful without reference to any evidence whatsoever about what form reunification would actually take. She has failed to even identify, let alone ‘grapple with’ the available means of reestablishing contact and protecting the children from harm.

Notwithstanding this criticism, the judgment speaks of an incident where the boys were indeed forced (para 52) to undergo contact which in spite of the frequently expressed concerns about lasting harm arising from the of force actually resulted in a positive experience of contact with their dad seen on a video in spite of the mother’s attempts to mischaracterise this too! (para 73). Where is the evidence to support such an ill informed and jaundiced view of the reunification process other than the unquestioned acceptance of the word of a mother who has made a string of groundless and false allegations besides supporting the wrongful reporting of historic events? The fact is that force is the last thing that successful reunification is likely to involve. But the evidence actually shows that even where it was employed there was no evidence of harm and if anything the evidence was clear for all to see that boys had a good time.

At para 137 the judge outlines why she has not proposed a ‘a stepped approach’ to unification. The reasons are staggering i.e no-one asked her to, the experts did not advocate it and the local authority could not give a toss and have literally cocked two fingers at the findings of the court anyway. Her assessment of therapeutic interventions was vague, woolly and contained no specific or verifiable evidence to support what could be no more than personal prejudices and gut feelings. When the case benefited from a Doctor with experience in the field why on earth was his expertise not sought in this regard?

I had initially thought that the dad’s DV history was a key factor at the back of the judge’s mind but at para (145) she effectively dismisses my suspicion. ‘It would on my findings be to the boys’ benefit to have contact with their father, to get to know him, to have the opportunity to be reassured that he is not a bad or violent man,…’.

The judge analyses the possibility of the boys running away from their father because of his harsher parenting. However, the corollary of this is that the mother’s parenting and inability to get the boys to obey court orders is a strong indication of lax, week, permissive and harmful parenting. Furthermore, it is also an indication of inappropriate adultification and role corruption of the boys, their use as regulatory parents and evidence of additional harm being inflicted by the mother.

At para 65 the judge laments, ‘There is a depressingly large body of authorities concerning ‘intractable contact’, and this case bears many of the hallmarks of the reported cases. The label ‘intractable contact’ in my opinion focuses on the adult dispute, and encapsulates the weary despair with which such cases are often viewed by lawyers, judges, experts and other professionals involved.’ Arguably, the judge empathises with these sentiments and presents us with the possibility that the biggest hurdle to overcome in this case is the misplaced weariness and despair of the ‘…lawyers, judges, experts and other professionals involved…’. All of them appear to fail to recognise that the case is first and foremost a child protection case and they have all allowed themselves to be hoodwinked into believing it is a hopeless war of attrition by an obsessively determined and delusional parent. We know that alienation cases are about control and it is essential for judges and other ‘professionals’ involved to take firm control of a skilled manipulator early on. The sad catalogue of lax judicial control in this case, in spite of a good deal of judicial continuity, is a shocking indictment on the system generally and the lack of awareness, astuteness and understanding of the trial judge in particular. The children in this case have been repeatedly failed and the personnel involved require a period of training at the very least. What an absolute shambles the court has created.

Rob - July 17, 2017 at 11:36am

Well put Peter. What would/could the grounds for appeal be, if any, by the father against this Judgement?

Peter Davies - July 17, 2017 at 12:18pm

Thank you Rob.
Several cases have already been successfully appealed where judges have failed to ‘grapple’ with all the available alternatives for reestablishing contact. Other cases have been successfully appealed where the judicial reasoning has been flawed, where inappropriate weight has been given to children’s views and where judges have failed to ‘ascertain’ children’s views and carry out a reasoned analysis of them. A recent line of ECHR cases has also awarded compensation to parents when the member states have failed to do everything they could to reinstate contact. The authorities quoted are cherry picked and to appear balanced and fair should also have analysed others which say why it is often the case that children’s wishes should not be determinative.
I think there are one or two reasonable grounds for appeal!

JamesB - July 17, 2017 at 10:45am

It seems to me that feminists should be backing men in family court for 50:50 shared care. That they do not, well their silence on the matter is deafening, I could go into the details but will not as everyone can work them out, feminists get listened to by men the more they can talk about men and women. Its political correctness gone mad.

JamesB - July 17, 2017 at 2:12pm

After reading this. I am uncomfortable supporting a man who punched a woman so hard he knocked her teeth out. I don’t think I mis read that. That said, I did nothing remotely like that and like this chap was offered unenforceable every other weekend and the system sucks for the men who try and get something from it against the sisterhood and the establishment.

JamesB - July 17, 2017 at 2:13pm

Misread, one word, not mis read above.

JamesB - July 17, 2017 at 3:10pm

quote says:
Very significantly, in April 2014 S told a story at school about the time he saw his father smash his mother’s teeth out, and that he had been about seven at the time. This assault did happen in 2007, but S was only two at the time, and did not witness the assault in any event.

It does not say whether or not the teeth were knocked out or if it was self defence or anything. Perhaps it is just mud throwing against the father. Difficult to tell from that. From the rest of the article it seems he is a decent chap which makes me think this item is misrepresentation of an incident which was not him knocking the teeth out in aggression. Layers words. Re-reading that it says very little other than there was an incident to knock the chap with. Perhaps she was entirely the guilty one there. That said, knocking someone’s teeth out sounds bad.

Perhaps she had false teeth and lost them while beating or being restrained the man? Rather than a right or left punch. Not enough information provided. Its political correctness gone mad.

JamesB - July 17, 2017 at 3:12pm

If anyone has the details on the incident I would be interested. I suggest it would also be of interest to show how lawyers words present what happens differently from what actually happened. Perhaps we will not know, but the info provided in the article I’m not sure if to feel sorry for this man or not, perhaps deliberately worded like that by the judge to prevent criticism of her ruling. Another example of lack of openness in family court not helping I suggest, its political correctness gone mad.

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