Family Law Hub

Child Arrangements

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  • The five-year-old daughter had always lived with her mother, but had been the subject of legal proceedings between her parents for most of her life. All other avenues to engage and promote a good and loving relationship with the father having failed, he was now seeking an order that he should be the child's primary carer and that she should live with him. This application was supported by the child's Guardian. After hearing evidence regarding the consequences of the child being denied a relationship with the father, the mother ceased to actively oppose the father's application. Agreed findings were made that the daughter's relationship with the father had not been consistently promoted by the mother, that the mother was not in a position to promote a positive relationship between the daughter and the father, and that the mother had alienated the daughter from her father. HHJ Raeside (sitting as a judge of the High Court) made further findings including that the father would be better able to promote a relationship between the daughter and the mother. The child's welfare was best met by a transfer of care to her father, as well as an immediate change of school. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • The son had been the subject of litigation between his mother and his father in both India and England. The mother sought an order for the child to live with her in England, the father that the child live with him in India. The Guardian supported the mother's proposal. Williams J stated that the father's proposal was fundamentally undermined by the lack of any realistic means of implementing it in the short to medium term. The mother's proposal would best promote the child's welfare. The child would therefore live with the mother and spend time with the father in England, but he would not be allowed to travel to India with either parent until such time as a mirror order was in place there and all Indian litigation over him had ceased. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • The mother appealed from an order made at a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA). Following a telephone call between father and daughter in which it was alleged he had screamed at her, the mother had stated that the daughter no longer wished to have unsupervised contact with him. HHJ Tolson had said he could not conclude that there was any danger in the daughter spending generous amounts of time with her father. Judd J DBE found that the order could not stand in the terms in which it was drafted, and all the provisions which related to child arrangements after the next hearing would be set aside. In the interim, unsupervised contact would take place every other weekend, with the agreement of the parties, the father taking part in family therapy. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • Proceedings concerning a three-year-old boy. The father applied for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal, with regard to a child arrangements order that he should only have indirect contact with the child (and the child's older siblings). He argued that the Lay Justices had misunderstood a letter from the Home Office, failed to properly apply the welfare checklist under s 1(3) of the Children Act 1989, attached too much weight to his immigration status, and had heard no evidence from the parties. HHJ Middleton-Roy considered that there was considerable weight to each of those grounds. The conclusion of the Lay Justices was shown to be both wrong and unjust. Time for the appeal was extended and the appeal was allowed. The matter would be re-allocated to a district judge. Judgment, 11/03/2020, free
  • The father was HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai and Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. The mother was Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, a daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan. The two children had come to this country with their mother in 2019, and arrangements for contact with the father were being considered. Upon the application of a number of media organisations, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, had decided that three judgments in the case should be made public. These included findings of fact that the father had on three occasions ordered and orchestrated the unlawful abduction and forcible return of two of his other children, involving on one occasion an assault at sea by armed commandos. The father had not appealed against the fact-finding judgment, but appealed against the President's decision to lift reporting restrictions. The Court of Appeal (Underhill, Bean and King LJJ) dismissed the appeal. Judgment, 06/03/2020, free

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