Family Law Hub

Child Arrangements

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  • The children lived in England with their mother, an English journalist, and had regular and extended contact with their father, a Dutch government worker. The father applied to relocate the children to the Netherlands. Both were described as exceptional parents by the CAFCASS officer, who thus made no recommendation either way. HHJ Moradifar found both parents charming, intelligent and focused on their children's welfare, which was the paramount consideration. A lack of justification for interference with the current living arrangements led to the husband's application being dismissed, but the judge made a "joint live with order" that the children should live with their father during substantial parts of the holidays. Judgment, 12/11/2019, free
  • The grandfather's application for a child arrangements order had been dismissed. He appealed that decision. HHJ Ahmed allowed the appeal. The first instance judge had applied the wrong criteria. The application had been dealt with as a substantive application, rather than an application for permission to issue the substantive application, and findings of fact had been incorrectly made. Robust case management has a place in family proceedings, HHJ Ahmed said, but it has its limits. The application for permission to apply for a child arrangements order would be listed before a different district judge. Judgment, 02/11/2019, free
  • HHJ Wildblood QC decided that this heavily anonymised judgment should be released for publication, because it was in the public's interest to see badly wrong things could go in cases of parental alienation. There had been a failure here to identify the problem before the damage was done, and early intervention was essential. Indirect contact was of limited use in such cases. The extent of the children's alienation from the father had been underestimated, and now, following a failed transfer of residence, he had no contact with them at all, and had withdrawn proceedings to prevent further distress. In this hearing HHJ Wildblood QC gave the local authority permission to withdraw their public law proceedings. Judgment, 21/10/2019, free
  • The father applied for the son's care to be transferred from the mother to him, after the son rejected contact. Keehan J was highly critical of the evidence given by the social worker and the NYAS caseworker, accepting instead the report of an expert in the field of parental alienation. He noted that the mother's evidence at times consisted of a diatribe against the father. The mother saw no benefit in the son and father having a relationship, and she had plainly alienated the child against him. The best interests of the child required that a child arrangements order be made, that he should live with his father. Judgment, 17/10/2019, free
  • The father appealed against the dismissal of his application for a prohibited steps order, which would have prevented the mother taking their child to Iraq. He argued that the judge had not adequately considered the risk of the child not being returned, nor whether the child would be safe in Iraq. However, Russell J DBE found that the judgment was wholly concerned with the child's welfare, the risk of the mother retaining the child was low, and indeed the greater risk of wrongful retention lay with the father. The appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 14/10/2019, free

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