One Divorce Every Five Minutes During Recession

Two wealthy parents, described in court as being “intent on destroying each other”, were sent by a Judge to a parenting course and for prolonged CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) supervision because of the damage they were causing their children.

couple fightingIn K v D (Parental Conflict) [2015] EWFC 49 the court heard Children Act 1989 proceedings relating to the couple’s two young children, aged 10 and 12. The proceedings were unusually bitter because of the costly and acrimonious financial battle between the parents which had preceded the dispute over the children.

The couple owned a £5.5 million home in the UK but the father was usually resident in Dubai. He had embarked on a new relationship and fathered a third child, who was never mentioned to his two children in the UK.

Meanwhile the mother had embarked on a relationship with her divorce lawyer. The father refused to pay maintenance and ignored an order made during the ancillary relief hearing. The mother and children were left to struggle financially. The children were made aware that their school fees had not been paid and blamed their father for the predicament.

The mother’s solicitor/new partner offered financial support for her and her children and over £300,000 of fees due to him went unpaid. The judge commented on how it was improper for the solicitor to continue to act for the mother whilst in a relationship with her and the solicitor was referred to the Solicitors Regulations Authority.

The judge gave many instances of occasions where the father had expected to spend time with his children but the mother and her lawyer had made alternative arrangements. The mother and her lawyer had also hired a private investigator to follow the father. The judge found there were at least two occasions of domestic violence perpetrated by the father.

The evidence of the CAFCASS Officer concluded that both children were hardy but vulnerable due the level of tension between their mother and father. The judge was highly critical of the father for causing his family to struggle financially. He was equally critical of the mother for not co-operating with her husband regarding their children and for drawing them into the marital conflict.

The judge made an order that the children remain with their mother and spend time with their father without leaving the UK for 12 months. He ordered both parents to attend a Separated Parents Information course.

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