Case Study One: Finding of fact hearings and allegations of domestic abuse and violence

Head of Family Law Gabbie Clasper describes two case studies relating to finding of fact hearings and allegations of domestic abuse and violence.

Case study one

Tracey and Paul were in a relationship for two years. Tracey had two children from previous relationships, who were both girls. Tracey fell pregnant to Paul and they moved closer to Paul’s parents and extended family who supported them. Their baby, Thomas, was born about a year into their relationship.

Tracey and the children disappeared following an argument at home during which Paul lost his temper, threw a plate of food at the wall and grabbed Tracey by the hood of her jacket as she thumped him on the chest.

Paul issued an application for a child arrangements order to spend time with his son Thomas after tracing enquiries were made and Tracey and the children were found living in a different area of the country using different names. Tracey opposed Paul spending any time with Thomas, alleging he was a violent and dangerous man. She claimed she had been re-housed by Women’s Aid, had been advised to use different names and was under police protection. Shortly after being traced, Tracey’s eldest daughter made allegations to the police that Paul had been violent towards her throughout the time they had lived together as a family. 

The CAFCASS (Children and Court Advisory Support Service) officer reported to the Judge that if Tracey and her daughter were telling the truth, Paul was a violent and dangerous man and that it may not be in Thomas’ best interests for him to spend time with his father. However, if Paul was telling the truth, Tracey was a manipulative liar who had coached her eldest daughter into lying to the police. The Judge decided a finding of fact hearing should take place to decide who was telling the truth. 

The Judge believed Paul, finding that Tracey was an unreliable witness who lied about many aspects of her life, concluding she had tried to manipulate the police and court system. The reason for the argument during which Paul threw a plate of food was because he was frustrated about Tracey having lied about incurring massive credit card debts. Tracey had fled debt. The Judge found that apart from this one incident, none of the other allegations of violence made by Tracey or her daughter were true. Paul could prove with independent evidence that nothing else Tracey said was true. The Judge found that Paul was honest and truthful in his account of the relationship, that his extended family were deeply supportive of him and provided a loving and stable and child focused environment. Paul had participated in an anger management course as recommended by the criminal court. Tracey’s eldest daughter was said by the Judge to have been coached into lying for her mother. Paul went on to enjoy extended periods of time with his son unsupervised.

To read more about finding of fact hearings, head over to our blog. Emsleys’ Family Law team does not have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency and cannot offer legal aid. For more information on any of the issues outlined above, please contact us on 0113 201 4900 for a free, initial consultation.

Gabbie  Clasper

Written by

Gabbie Clasper

Head of Family Law

Gabbie has over 20 years’ experience in family law. She has expert knowledge in complex issues including financial aspects following divorce; pre and post-nuptial agreements; cases with an international element; and civil partnerships. Gabbie is regularly instructed by clients based across the country and abroad. She...

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