How much defense is too much?

Posted By: Paul Turner on 25/07/2023 at 15:47

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.

Latest Comments 2

The CAFCASS interview was postponed a couple of weeks so I have more time to think about this.

19:05 27/07/2023
Paul Turner

So sorry to hear your Ex is continuing to be so unreasonable. Throwing dirt at her is not a good strategy. Being clear and accurate with the facts is what's required. You say that it's hard for a court to know who is lying - but is it really? If you show you have created a reasonable coparenting plan and your ex is refusing to even acknowledge it or adapt it - just going 'my way or the highway' - then it's pretty obvious who is being difficult. If you are clearly hoping to co-parent and not get full custody - and a court decides in the very unlikely event that your daughter should not be with her mother - then as long as you are able to care for her then why would they take her into care? Yes, it's wise to be cautious, but unless your daughter is in direct danger, they will be reluctant to remove her from any parent. If she continues to lie and ignore court orders that demand that she allows your child time with you, then she may be penalised but they don't remove children from parents without a compelling reason, and since her claims against you are baseless, it's about holding strong and demanding your daughter's right to be with her dad at least some of the time. That may not be as much as you hope, but better than what your ex is trying to achieve. Your Ex's career etc is not under your control. You don't have to slag her off - just tell the truth and back up the fact that you consistently encourage the use of dispute resolution (sharing copies of those communications). Facts, not judgment. A character assassination is not helpful. You are not trying to prove she is an unfit mother. You just want the court to approve a parenting plan and make a court order to insist she sticks to it. That is the focus here, surely? What do you mean 'disprove the allegations'? Surely it is up to your ex to prove her allegations. How can you disprove something you haven't done??? As long as you refute them within the legal window, that's of course important to do. You can work with Cafcass and push for a shared parenting order self representing. Some legal advice is useful but you should be able to do this yourself, except if you need a lawyer or legal representative to be in physical court if you cant get it done online. Has Celia been able to help you with this? Try to come along this Thursday to the Meetup so we can have a proper chat. If you would like an introduction to another lawyer for a second opinion, let me know via email and it shall be done. Suzy

18:13 25/07/2023
suzy Miller
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