Family Court

Dispatches also set up questionnaires online for those who have used the family courts. This is not a representative sample, because those who replied were self-selecting however over 4,000 users responded, including 2,776 mothers and 1,147 fathers, making it the largest ever survey of family court users:

  • Over 2,000 parents said they felt the judge was actively hostile towards them.
  • Among those whose cases had concluded, over 70% of both mothers and fathers were unhappy with the outcome.
  • 67% agreed or strongly agreed that their children’s mental health had been affected by participation in the family court proceedings.
  • Court proceedings were reported to have taken on average 18 months to complete, with 1 in 10 cases lasting more than 5 years. The average cost of proceedings was said to be around £13,000, though 1 in 20 claimed they had spent over £100,000.
  • A 1960 law, intended to protect children, says that nothing that happens in a family court can ever be reported without the express permission of the judge. It is a criminal offence to report what has happened in court and if no-one can ever know the specifics of the problems, they can’t be fixed.

Claire Waxman, Victim’s Commissioner for London, “The family courts need a major overhaul, that secrecy is actually enabling abusers and so it’s really important that we lift the lid off the family courts and we actually understand the court decisions that are made”

Is it legal to hire a private investigator to follow someone UK?

People often ask the question – is it legal to hire a private investigator in the UK? And the simple answer is yes. However, what services a private investigator can offer legally is where confusion can often arise.

What do private investigators look for in a child custody case?

The court will look at the parents’ lifestyles and stability to make their decision. They will also consider whether either parent has a criminal record, evidence of neglect or abuse, history of violent behavior, abuse of alcohol or drugs, and many other factors.

At what age can a child decide?

In law, there is no fixed age that determines when a child can express a preference as to where they want to live. However, legally, a child cannot decide who they want to live with until they are 16 years old.

Once a child reaches the age of 16, they are legally allowed to choose which parent to live with. The exception to this is where there is a Court order (such as a Child Arrangements Order) stating that they should live with one parent until, for example, the age of 17 or 18.

If you can come to an agreement with the other parent and your child, then this can help to avoid costly and lengthy Court proceedings.

However, if you can’t agree where your child will live and an application is made to the Court, the Judge will start to take your child’s wishes and feelings into account from the age where it is considered they understand the situation. This is typically from the age of 12 or 13 but will depend on the child and other issues such as any learning difficulties or disability.

The wishes of a child under the age of 12 may also be considered, but the Court is likely to give less weight to these.

Is a brother a legal guardian?

You can apply to be a child’s special guardian if you’re not their parent and you’re over 18.

You can make an application with someone else. This is known as a joint claim.

You and anyone you’re applying with can apply if:

  • you’re already the child’s legal guardian
  • the child lives with you because of a child arrangements order
  • the child has lived with you for 3 of the past 5 years
  • you’re the child’s relative or a foster parent, and the child has been living with you for at least 1 year
  • you have the agreement of anyone named in a child arrangements order as someone who the child will live with
  • you have the agreement of all the people with parental responsibility for the child
  • you have the agreement of the local council, if the child is in care

If you do not fit one of these descriptions, you’ll need to ask the court’s permission to apply. You’ll need to send the following forms to your local family court:

Can a sibling be considered a guardian?

According to Find Law, siblings need to petition the court to become a guardian. … Some qualifying factors for guardianship include the attachment between the child and the potential guardian, and whether the guardian is willing and able to provide for the child.

Medical Experts in the Family Courts

The British Psychological Society, incorporated by Royal Charter, is the learned and professional body for psychologists in the United Kingdom. We are a registered charity with a total membership of just over 60,000.

Under its Royal Charter, the objective of the British Psychological Society is “to promote the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of psychology pure and applied and especially to promote the efficiency and usefulness of members by setting up a high standard of professional education and knowledge”. We are committed to providing and disseminating evidence-based expertise and advice, engaging with policy and decision makers, and promoting the highest standards in learning and teaching, professional practice and research.

The British Psychological Society is an examining body granting certificates and diplomas in specialist areas of professional applied psychology.

Role of psychologists as expert witnesses

This particular pdf is designed to serve as a companion to the Psychologists as expert witnesses: Guidelines and procedure (BPS, 2015) document by focussing specifically on the role of psychologists in family proceedings.

The document outlines the relevant regulations and code of conduct to which members are expected to comply, as well as defining issues related to competences, and the court’s expectations in relation to psychologists acting as expert witnesses in this particular setting.

Hidden Dangers of the Family Courts

While mothers can be abusive and the family courts can mistreat some fathers, extensive research shows institutionalised gender bias in the system. It can be an extremely unfair and harsh system for women and children and sexist attitudes are firmly entrenched. A pro-contact culture has developed; if an unaware mother raises court action to reduce or stop contact because of child abuse, the court case can turn into her worst nightmare. Abusers can fabricate evidence, frustrate the process, lie under oath, not pay awards of expenses, breach several court orders and get away with it. In contrast, mothers can get met with eye-rolling, disdain, and hostility. Mothers who fail to follow court orders face a reduction in contact, a charge of contempt of court and jail, or, in the worst cases, a transfer of residence and a severing of the relationship between them and their child.  There is no remedy in law for a mother if an abusive father breaches a contact order; fathers generally don’t get held in contempt. The law appears to serve only one parent.

Who Is More Likely to Get Custody: a Mother or a Father?

What is the mental and physical health history of each parent?

How old is the child, what is the state of the child’s physical/mental health, and (if old enough) does the child have any preference?

What is each parent’s job? What are their personal habits, both good and bad (e.g., clean, healthy, excessive drinking, history of violence)?

Does the child have a particularly strong emotional bond with either parent? How likely is that parent to foster an emotional bond between the child and the other parent?

Will the child have to adjust to a new school, city, quality of life, and friends if living with one parent versus the other?