When you split up with an ex-partner, who you have children with, this will bring many changes to your life. At the time of separation, You, just want to remain an active and loving part of your child’s life. The main consideration for parents is the children, and where they will live and how can you limit the disruption to their lives. You may wish for an amicable separation and co parent the children, after all you know your ex, and they want the best for the children too, don’t they? But sometimes for whatever reason, maybe you just want to start over, you just want to end your unhappy and dysfunctional relationship, and your ex turns bitter and seems obsessed with revenge and makes false allegations against you, or stops you seeing your children clearly having no thought for how this will affect your child/ren. Many parents facing these circumstances do not know how to fight false allegations in child contact situations. They find themselves at the mercy of the courts and spend their energy and time fighting a false narrative, instead of proving what a devoted and engaged parent they are.
This was the case with one of my own son’s, he was arrested several times for harassment, domestic abuse and emotional abuse of his child. He lost contact with his child in the community and had to see his son in a contact centre for 18 months whilst the police did their investigations. However, he took my advice and went to the contact centre every week without fail to keep the bond going with his son. He was open and honest with the police and the court, he kept a diary of events and kept all messages; and eventually after various overnight stays in the police station, the ex-partner was found to be lying in court and evidence was found in a video she sent trying to entice him to her house. It came out that every time she realised my son no longer wanted a relationship other that with the child, she made attempts to win him back and when he refused to come to her house, she became angry and sought revenge. He was acquitted of all charges and was awarded a child arrangement order and could at last see his son without being observed.
Luckily because he continued to see his son in the contact centre, the child was comfortable with my son and happy to go with him. However, during this process as a paternal grandmother having four other children, two uncles to this little boy and two aunties, it was difficult as the little boy was only three and had been taken away without contact with us for 18 months, half of his little life; he is now almost nine and although he is comfortable with me his nanna and his uncles and aunties, and cousins; I sometimes feel he does not have the bond with me as he rightly should.
So how when going through this process do you fight these allegations against you, in order to get the best possible result and have the best possible chance to be the loving parent you desperately want to be.
Many of my clients refuse adamantly to have contact with their children in a contact centre, stating rightly so, that they love their child and were always a good parent so why should they have supervised contact with their own child. I always advise them that they needed to look at the bigger picture and imagine if the investigations went on for eighteen months as they did in my sons’ case. If they refuse to go to the contact centre, the court will often not allow contact as they don’t know you and they need to ensure the child is safeguarded. If you see your child as hard as it may be in the contact centre then when you are awarded the child arrangements order for contact, your child will be happy to come with you and this avoids confusion and parental alienation. https://thefma.co.uk/news/putting-children-first-how-a-child-contact-centre-may-help/
In my sons case and many parents I work with, when the ex-partner often a woman has made the allegations of domestic abuse against you, this entitles them to legal aid and free representation in court; this is so unfair as you are then in a position to now only try and prove the criminal aspect of the allegations and also to prepare your own case in the family court arena. However, with the right advise, this is possible, however you need to remain calm and collected.
The most important thing you need to do is get your statement to the court prior to the hearing, it is important that you get the statement done for by a professional, a cost effective way to get this done is by using a McKenzie Friend https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McKenzie_friend as the aim of the statement is to prove that it is in your child’s best interest to have regular contact with you
I always advise my clients to fill in a child plan which lets the court see that you have thought this out and truly want what’s best for your child. https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/parenting-plan/
The best way to combat untruthfulness is through cross-examination, where you ask questions about the statement OR whatever is said by your ex. to test what has been said. When skilfully done, it can show untruthfulness, which will obviously look unfavourable. Here are some questions to ask:
Ask if your ex is happy with what was said or what’s in their statement. If they say something wrong and tries to go back on their word, it becomes clear to the judge that they are being untruthful. (Don’t try and influence the judge let them work it out for themselves)
If you disagree with something, ask to see evidence.
If something particularly untrue is in a statement and you have evidence to prove the contrary, then ask to give your version in court.
· Box them in with questions, for example, if your child has mentioned wanting to live with you, and you know your ex is lying and saying they don’t want to; you can ask them the question directly. They now become ‘trapped’ as they either admit to lying or is saying that your child is lying.
· KEEP CALM and don’t make it look personal as the Judge needs to see clearly that you are the only one who is truly putting your children’s needs first as it is in their best interest.
· If your ex is clearly lying, most importantly don’t interrupt, let them finish, then with composure ask them to explain what happened, where and when? They will trip up.