Family Law Hub

Residence

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  • An application concerning two children: a girl and a boy, aged 3 and 9. The mother and father had separated during 2016 and had since divorced. The mother and children had moved from London to the countryside for the lockdown, but the mother now wished to make that a permanent move. The question for the court was whether it was in the son's best interests to live with his father in London or with his mother and sister in the countryside. The Cafcass report had concluded that it would be better for the son to stay with his father. The single joint expert had not been asked to make a specific recommendation, but made it clear that she thought the partial separation from the mother had been damaging to the son's mental health. HHJ Lloyd-Jones was not impressed by the single joint expert as a witness. In his view, the mother's evidence suggested that she was seeking to mould the children's lives around her own plans, while the father's evidence indicated that he had "a clear grasp of what his son's best interests were". After considering the welfare checklist contained in s 1(3) of the Children Act 1989, and the issues involved in dividing the siblings, HHJ Lloyd-Jones decided that on weekdays the daughter would live with her mother and the son with the father, and they would spend the weekends together, alternating between the parents, half-terms with the mother, with other holidays split evenly between the parents. Judgment, 12/04/2021, free
  • The Irish father sought the return of two five-year-old children to the Republic of Ireland under the Hague Convention. The mother, a British national currently living in England after a clandestine departure, opposed the application, while applying under the Children Act for leave to remove to Ireland in respect of her third child, in case a return order was made in respect of the other children. The father of the third child applied for a residence order and a prohibited steps order. Peel J made a return order for the first and second children upon their father undertaking, among other things, to pay weekly child maintenance and to not support any prosecution of the mother. Peel J also decided that the mother should be given permission to relocate with the third child to Ireland. Among other factors, the father of the third child had shown himself capable of violence to the mother and her children, and so the court could not be confident about entrusting the care of the third child to him. Judgment, 22/03/2021, free
  • The case concerned an application by the husband to set aside: a) an order for deemed service of a divorce petition; b) all orders which stemmed from that petition (certificate of entitlement, decree nisi, decree absolute). The question for the court was: did the alleged procedural errors in service render the orders void or voidable? The court concluded that: a) under the Family Procedure Rules (“FPR”) the alleged errors in service would not necessarily render these orders void; b) when considering the prejudice to both parties, this was not a case where the orders were void; d) if the orders were voidable the court would not exercise its discretion and set aside the orders. The husband’s application was dismissed. News, 13/12/2019, free
  • The father applied for a transfer of residence, stating that his relationship with the children, aged 10 and 11, would constantly be thwarted if they remained with their mother. The mother had covertly recorded various meetings, including one between the children and the Guardian. The creation and modification dates of documents did not align with the dates on which she claimed to have supplied the documents. HHJ Bedford was also satisfied that she had deliberately misled education professionals involved in the children's lives, perpetuating allegations which had been tried and dismissed by the judiciary. Her interference in their relationship with their father had caused them emotional harm and would continue to do so, as long as she parented them solely. During an interval at court, and being aware of HHJ Bedford's findings, the parents agreed to share the care of the children on alternating fortnights, and the Guardian endorsed this plan. HHJ Bedford thus made a suspended residence order: complete transfer of residence to the father would take place only if the mother defaulted from their agreement. Judgment, 02/12/2019, free
  • The judge had ordered a change of residence for the son, but there had been direct communication between the judge and the National Youth Advocacy Service without the parents' knowledge, including a telephone conversation during a break in the hearing. Newton J understood how the judge reached the conclusions which she did, but the hearing was fundamentally flawed and the appeal was allowed. Judgment, 26/06/2019, free

Latest know-how

Latest training

  • Piers Pressdee QC of 29 Bedford Row reviews the major developments within the private children law field in the last year. He focusses on the case-law, identifying the key decisions and seeking to set that case-law within context. Webcast, 24/02/2016, members only
  • Webinar recorded on 15 January 2015. Dafydd Griffiths of 29 Bedford Row reviews the private children law cases of 2014 and picks out some themes to look out for in 2015. Webcast, 15/01/2015, members only
  • Webcast on recent developments in private children law. Webcast, 16/10/2013, members only
  • A recording of a talk given by Lynsey Cade Davies of 29 Bedford Row on 15 August 2013 Webcast, 23/08/2013, members only

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