How much defense is too much?

Posted By: Paul Turner on 05/08/2023 at 23:29

I’ve had protective orders issued against me as I’m a supposed kidnapping threat for my daughter and have been alleged by my ex (we were not married) to have committed emotional and psychological abuse. Just FYI, these are not true. If they were, I’m sure my ex would have jumped at the chance when I offered to disappear from their life until I could approach my daughter and explain what had happened if she was going to continue behaving so aggressively irrational. I was going to have them removed at the second hearing – but my ex has now gotten a barrister and threw many more pages of allegations on top of the original submission to the court. Not being British, or having any understanding of the system, this felt unfair. I’m in a horrible position now of trying to understand how much do I push back. I was able to offer some gentle nudges, allowing room for potential reconciliation in the future and the space to potentially co-parent. I will contextualize most of the allegations which removes their bite, but some are just flat out wrong and I will say as much – basically that it is a lie. That leaves the judge trying to ascertain which of the two people who are accusing the other of being a liar is telling the truth. I have been advised by friends that I have to go at the character of my ex, talk about how she has a history of lying and manipulation. Some of the allegations against me are that I refused medical care for my child (which I did question – but then we went to A&E – so much in such a short time that we were then visited by child protective services). My ex is a consultant pediatrician. However, my sister is too, and my father, brother, and nephew’s wife are all doctors. We have identified a trend of overmedicalization and have a number of examples to prove this. I worried if I submit my own assertions to the CAFCASS officer and later to the court, I will end up having her career questioned and possibly losing her job. I worry if I don’t, I will not gain access to my daughter again. I had reached out earlier and asked that the allegations be dropped and we work through things in arbitration and that was submitted to the court as me being controlling. I know at this point, I’m in a lose/lose situation. My biggest fear is my daughter is removed from the care of either one of us. My next biggest fear is my ex will have her time with my daughter restricted and limited as they were saying I would if I could not disprove the allegations. Along with that, I do not want my ex to lose her job. I’m happy to raise our daughter who is only 19 months old, but really would like her to share time between us (proposing we do so with the nanny going back and forth) so that she benefits from the love and care of both her mother and father. Any words of wisdom or experience that anyone can share? How do I navigate this minefield? My attorney is worried and saying I can’t hold anything back…and also that I can’t go at the mother too hard. I have a CAFCASS interview on Friday.

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