Representing a mother in a contact dispute

Marie represented the Mother in a case where the children have been seeing their Father on a supervised basis over a number of years, after the end of the parties’ relationship. This was as a result of concerns about his alcohol misuse and domestic abuse allegations.

At the FHDRA the court listed the matter for a fact finding hearing, Police evidence and ordered hair strand testing in relation to alcohol use. There will also be a s.7 report in due course.

At the fact-finding hearing it was considered that the main issue was the Father’s alcoholism rather than incidents between the parties. The Court decided that, on the basis of the medical evidence confirming alcoholism, they did not need to have a fact-finding. The Court ordered the hair strand tests again (which the Father had not previously complied with). They ordered a S.7 report and a Dispute Resolution Appointment.

At the DRA, the hair strand testing confirmed chronic excessive alcohol use by the Father over the preceding 6-month period. The Cafcass report recommended that contact take place for short periods of 2 to 3 hours only. The Parties agreed a final order based on that recommendation and the case concluded.

Parties agreed a final order by consent at the Dispute Resolution Appointment for limited contact of 2-3 hours once per fortnight with the Father taking a breathalyser test at the beginning and end of contact. The order is on the understanding that if the Father does drink during contact further contact will be stopped. The Father gave a formal undertaking to the Court not to drink alcohol for 12 hours prior to contact or during contact.