The family court often suffers from bad press. Private law, after all, is seen as secretive and a lot of criticism has been meted out against the Court for making bizarre, unjust or wrong decisions.
But for one of my clients, yesterday, some exceptionally good news, and I could not be more delighted for the family.
My parent client was facing the resident parent relocating out of the area. The children, particularly the one which is of high school age, were very upset at losing their local connections, family ties and school friends.
Internal relocation is always, at best, a 50/50 decision.
Judges, more often than not, permit internal relocation because they take into consideration, not only the best interests test of the a Children, but the secondary welfare considerations of the resident parent.
It is the latter that usually tips the balance in these very emotional decisions.
So how did this parent succeed, where others don’t prevail?
Something I am very keen on is preparation. Not just case prep, but more importantly, people prep.
I say of the Family Court, if you are not taking a solution with you to Court, you are, in my definition, the problem.
Part of my working process is to coach and assist parents on how they should present themselves in Cafcass interviews. In this case, for the Section 7 interview.
First piece of advice, front and centre is never, ever, mother bash.
Next piece of essential advice is to step back from your own views, and instead try to take in the bigger picture.
This is what a Judge has to do.
So consider the other angles. Try to understand, even if you don’t agree with it, where the other parent is coming from.
Above all, be child focused. Your case is not about you, it is about your Child.
And remember, the Court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the Child in Section 8 Child Arrangements Order cases.
Wherever possible, and where necessary, take more than one option to Family Court. M
If a Judge can see that you are putting your Child needs front and centre, rather than your own, the Judge will warm to you as an effective Co-parent.
It’s not a guarantee that you will win all of your position, but it’s a great way of improving your average chances of success.
In my client’s case, the parent considered three options.
Option one was based on the presumption that the other parent was given leave to relocate and take the Children with them.
Option two assumed that the relocation was denied and the other parent and Children remained locally.
Option three took the hybrid view of the other parent bring granted leave to relocate but the Children transferred to live with remaining parent.
The Court thought that these three options were well considered and balanced. More importantly, that it showed that the non resident parent was thinking about the Children before all else.
Your chances of a reasonable outcome improve when you take more balanced options for the Court to consider. Even if that means you might not get everything you asked for.
So what was the outcome.
The Judge and the Cafcass officer praised the non resident parent for their consideration and expressed what a well rounded parent they were.
The internal relocation was denied. It was considered that it was not in the best interests of the Children who had strong and established roots in the local community.
The previous Final Order has been Live with Parent 1, Spend time with Parent 2. This was amended to be a joint lives with both parents Order.
I put effort and thought into every one of my clients cases. I go the extra mile that most Solicitors fail to see as important.
I make sure the things they write in statements do not show them up or single them out for criticism.
And as a result, I have a greater proportion of successful outcomes as compared to my more learned colleagues in the legal profession.
Getting legal advice, support and assistance should not be financially devastating to your pocket. I champion parents. I champion Children’s rights and I Champion affordable law.
And I am so pleased for my client that the right outcome was achieved.