For the parent in court today (Private Proceedings)

Posted on Monday, 31st Aug, 2015 at 11:54:12 PM
First of all, dont panic. If you stay calm, put forward reasonable proposals, and ensure your proposals are based upon your childs needs you shouldnt come out too badly. Keep to the important points, dont be unnecessarily combative, dont be aggressive and dont make false allegations.

Avoid the common pitfalls. Judges prefer to see reasonable people than angry and emotional ones. Dont overload statements with repetition and irrelevant matters. Decide upon what you believe to be a fair outcome, and then be prepared to compromise during proceedings where the compromise is reasonable.

If the other side is aggressive in court, dont copy them. Remain reasonable and calm. Dont go into court expecting bias, but if it crops up, challenge it in a reasonable way. If you go into court saying you want 50% of your child's time, without reasoning out why (beyond some notion of equality), you're going to struggle. If, however, you explain why the time you're asking for is in your child's best interests, and put this in context of arrangements which existed prior to separation, and also the activities you support your child in, then the court is more likely to listen.

I can reassure you that, despite fears, there are very good judges, professional social workers and helpful CAFCASS officers. We see far more good judgments than bad. Far more people leaving courts feeling they got a reasonable outcome than did before. That said, it can be a bruising and long-winded process, so make sure you have emotional support, and seek counseling if you need help with managing the stress.

If you are separating or separated and arrangements for the children are in dispute, its natural to be anxious, stressed and sometimes angry. Unrestrained emotions cause people to have poor judgment, and sadly, that can be devastating to their case.

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