Posting on behalf of a friend, as I don’t know a lot about residence issues. Would welcome any comments, ideas, thoughts from more experienced posters.
Background is H and W married for 25+ years. Have 4 children – 3 grown up and 1 D aged 9. Well to do family, H is an exec who spends a lot of time abroad on business. W is a professional & well educated EC national who has no family in UK.
H has been abusive and controlling throughout marriage. H gives significant financial support to elder children of marriage and uses this influence to rally support for himself over W with elder children. W finally snapped a couple of years ago and started proceedings for divorce. H has fought it tooth and nail all the way and caused as much grief as he could. W has also had cancer, radiotherapy, chemo and little support from H throughout. On ‘watch’ with local social services because of F’s physical and mental abuse of D.
W was finally persuaded to go for non-mol and occupation order and went to court last week. Judge said one of worst cases of abuse he had seen and granted immediate non-mol and occupation order.
D has had problems at school and was unhappy with choice of private school made by F. Has developed new phobias to a variety of things since starting at this school. Wants to go back to school she was originally at. M supports decision.
F was away on business when non-mol and occ order granted, so was served on his return on Sunday. D had been sent to her elder sisters while notice was served. Accepted it and was given 2 hrs to collect possessions and leave. When W returned to FH later, a good deal of D’s things (including nightwear etc) had also gone.
As family were on watch with Social Services, W contact assigned social worker, who seems to have an unhealthy bias towards F, to advise that she had taken out non-mol and occupation order and was seeking residence order for D.
Was in court yesterday and social worker reported that D has expressly said that she is sorry for the bad things that she said about F to social workers and that she wants to live with F and does not want to see M. Court ordered that D should stay with F and a further hearing arranged for Thursday this week. M has been granted contact at a contact centre for one hour today.
M simply cannot believe that D has genuinely said this. M and D had very good loving and supportive relationship and it was M that instigated Social Services involvement to protect D from F. External parties believe that F is in cahoots with Social Worker and the statement is a blatant manipulation of the child, to get at W.
Does this sound plausible? Does W have any comeback on what Social Worker claims to be the daughter’s wishes? How should she proceed?
Would welcome any insight or comments. Thank you. Mike
I think Tom (Tom33?) had Social Services do a complete turn around on him so it might be worth a PM to him?
Sounds like a nightmare. You''d like to think social workers weren''t capable of that kind of behaviour, but i''m sure it''s possible. Is there any link between the social worker and the father? is her husband a friend of his for example? Might be worth digging a bit there.
From the other side, if a child is saying one thing, it''s hard for a court or a social worker to go against that. If there is no obvious sign of ''coaching'', it''s going to be difficult to prove. And of course you have no idea whatsoever what dad may have ''threatened'' if she didn''t sound convincing. The child may well be thinking she''s protecting her mum in some way.
I think keeping contact going is very important and Mum needs to be wary of denigrating the father or putting any pressure on D today at contact and just reassure her that she is loved no matter what. Sometimes children do say things to separated parents that they think the parent wants to hear and tell professionals something completely different.
On Thursday an interim decision will be made but residence won''t be finalised for some time to come. One solution might be to argue for interim shared residence on the basis that if a new status quo becomes established she would be disadvantaged because it would upset the child''s sense of security and confuse her if it was changed back again later.
There are likely to be welfare reports and possibly a finding of fact hearing. Outsiders should be contacted such as the school and Children & Adolescent Mental Health Service, if they have been involved, and that would shine some light on the problem. There may ultimately be a case for a Guardian to be appointed to represent the interests of the child and/or a report from an independent expert witness such as a psychologist or psychiatrist could be instructed.