Your Position Statement is where you set out your case to the court. You must not put what YOU want but what is in your child‘s best interest. Remember that the Children Act 1989 gives no rights to parents, so do not refer to your rights, however much you think they are being ignored. The purpose of the Statement is to give the judge an understanding of the dispute and an indication of what you would like the court to do in order to resolve it.
A position statement is a very brief statement summarising your position - generally, only one (or at most 2) pages; where a chronology is included, then expect the entire statement to be no more than 4 pages. It is intended to give the judge a general idea of where you stand, so that s/he can focus on what is actually in issue between the two of you.
So it might include:
- whether you are opposed in principle to the order the other person is seeking;
- what arrangements (or order, if you are not applying for a Child Arrangements Order) you are seeking;
- if you oppose in principle the other party's application, explain why, in general terms (e.g. "she/he drinks to excess", "his/her current partner is violent to him/her in front of the children");
- if you agree in principle (e.g. you agree there should be contact / that the child should live with them but disagree with the specific suggestions they've made) say very briefly why (e.g. you don't think the proposals are practical / you feel the level of contact proposed is too much/too little / you feel it doesn't reflect the children's wishes).
It isn't normally necessary to do a position statement unless you have been ordered to do so, and isn't normally needed for a first appointment, but having one at the first appointment can help expedite matters. If you do write a position statement, then you must send a copy to the other side and one to the Court (don’t forget to put the case number at the top) no less than 3 days before the hearing date. It might be tempting to “ambush” the other side with a position statement on the day of the hearing, but this isn’t good practice and unlikely to win you any favours.
If a Position Statement has not been asked for, or you decide not to write one for the First (Directions) Hearing, you may find it useful to prepare something similar just for your own use, so you can think ahead and focus on what the key points are, and so you can give the judge a clear picture of your position if asked.
Remember to paginate (number) your pages 1,2,3 etc, do not use Roman Numerals. Number your paragraphs also, use Times New Roman font and use double spacing.
IN THE FAMILY COURT SITTING AT xxxxxxx
IN THE MATTER OF THE CHILDREN ACT 1989
IN THE MATTER OF children’s names and dates of birth
FIRST STATEMENT OF THE APPLICANT/RESPONDENT FATHER/MOTHER
I NAME, of ADDRESS DO SINCERELY AND AFFIRM as follows:
1. The facts and matters set out in this statement are within my own knowledge unless otherwise stated, and I believe them to be true.
2. Where I refer to information supplied by others, the source of the information is identified and matters derived from other sources are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
3. I am the APPLICANT/RESPONDENT in this Application. I make this statement in SUPPORT of the application for a CHILD ARRANGEMENTS ORDER which is to
4. I am XX's AND AND XX’s FATHER/MOTHER, and the RESPONDENT/APPLICANT; FATHER'S/MOTHER’S NAME, is THEIR FATHER/MOTHER.
5. I currently live at ADDRESS with XXXX . I am a OCCUPATION.
6. DATES OF BIRTH OF CHILDREN AND AGES AT THE TIME OF WRITING
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
1. WHEN YOU FIRST MET AND BEGAN YOUR RELATIONSHIP.
2. DATE OF MARRIAGE
3. LIST IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER SIGNIFICANT EVENTS, STARTING WITH DATES OF BIRTH OF THE CHILDREN, SIGNIFICANT EVENTS AND ANY CHANGES IN YOUR SITUATION THAT LEAD UP TO THE DATE OF APPLICATION.
RESPONSE TO ISSUES RAISED IN THE RESPONDENT’S/APPLICANT’S STATEMENT:
1. BY PARAGRAPH, IF A POSITION STATEMENT HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY THE OTHER SIDE. Don't get bogged down in responding to each and every point; deal only with the most serious allegations, and those you believe to be untrue.
POSITION STATEMENT OF RESPONDENT/APPLICANT FATHER/MOTHER:
1. SHORT “BIO” OF THE CHILDREN – WHAT THEY LIKE DOING, ANY SOCIAL ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL, HOW THEY FARE AT SCHOOL, A BIT ABOUT THEIR PERSONALITIES, AND WHETHER THEY ARE FIT, WELL AND HAPPY CHILDREN WITH NO HEALTH OR DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES. (Where appropriate, a short positive comment about the other parent's parenting - even if it's along the lines of "X is a loving, generous father/mother to [child]").
2. ONWARDS: SET OUT IN NUMBERED PARAGRAPHS WHAT YOU ARE ASKING THE COURT TO CONSIDER, AND WHY THIS IS IN THE CHILDREN’S BEST INTERESTS. Use the Welfare Check List in the Children Act to guide you.
Statement of Truth
I believe that the facts stated in this statement are true.