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Mother wins appeal over residence order for daughter

A mother has won her appeal against a court order which meant that her five-year-old daughter would no longer be able to live with her.

The case arose when the mother separated from the girl’s father. She took her daughter with her and went to live with another man. The local authority then expressed concern that the mother’s new partner posed a threat to her daughter.

When the father heard about this he applied for a residence order to enable the girl to come and live with him. The mother then claimed she had separated from her new partner.

However, shortly before the hearing, evidence emerged suggesting the two had not separated. A private investigator claimed to have seen them together at her house after the date when they were supposed to have separated.

The judge insisted that the hearing should last no longer than the two days allocated. This meant there was no time to hear evidence from the mother’s new partner, or to consider documents that suggested he had used his credit card at a location far away from the mother’s house at the time he was said to have been there with her.

The judge held that the mother was still living with her new partner and granted a residence order in favour of the girl’s father. That decision has now been overturned by the Court of Appeal. It held that the judge should have allowed time to hear the full evidence. It ordered that the issues should be considered again at a new hearing.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.