Example case study: domestic abuse claims lead to Cafcass final orders

  • Posted

The following case study is based on a matter that our child law solicitors typically take on.

Our child law solicitors helped issue a Child Arrangements Order and a Specific Issues Order after our client and her ex-partner failed to come to an agreement regarding their children.


Rob and Jane had been in a relationship for over eight years and had two children together: an eight-month-old and a five-year-old. Unfortunately, the relationship became toxic, and they separated but continued living together in the same property as neither could afford to move out.

A short time later, Jane fled the property with the children, claiming that she had suffered domestic abuse at the hands of Rob. The three were rehoused in a confidential address for their safety.

Allegations of domestic abuse

Jane alleged that Rob had been physically abusive towards her in front of the children. She also claimed that he had been verbally and physically abusive with the children and in one instance, Rob had grabbed their eight-month-old child out of Jane’s arms.

There were also concerns about Rob’s history of drinking and drug abuse as well as criminal offences in which there had been police involvement.

Rob strongly denied the domestic abuse allegations and sought to have shared care of both children, alleging that Jane had been verbally and physically abusive towards him.

Rob made an application for a Child Arrangements Order as he felt it was in the children’s best interests that he and Jane shared the care of them. Cafcass (Children and Family Court and Advisory Support Service) completed their initial safeguarding checks before the first hearing and noted that there had been some social services involvement with the family and that Rob had a number of previous criminal convictions.

Court hearings

At the first hearing, the court felt it was necessary to have sight of social services records and police disclosure. The court also ordered Rob to undergo drug and alcohol testing. As both Jane and Rob were raising allegations of abuse, the court felt it needed further information about these allegations and ordered them to prepare statements setting out their allegations and responding to the other person’s allegations.

The court listed a further hearing to consider whether it needed a fact-finding hearing (a trial) to determine whether the allegations were true or not. At that further hearing, the court considered the parties’ statements, the police disclosure and the social services records and decided that it needed to determine the truth in the allegations given this would affect the order it made concerning the children. The court therefore listed a fact-finding hearing where both parties give evidence in support of their case. The Judge found that some of the allegations raised by both Jane and Rob were true.

Cafcass final orders

The court felt it needed the assistance of Cafcass when looking at the final arrangements for the children. Cafcass therefore prepared a detailed report over 20 weeks and recommended that the children should live with both Rob and Jane, that they should not communicate nor come into contact with one another and that they should use family members/school to assist with handovers.

Cafcass also recommended a course for Jane and Rob to attend.

They both agreed with the recommendations and agreed on a final order, which was approved by the court, in very similar terms to the recommendations of Cafcass.

Contact our child law solicitors in Bristol

If you and your ex-partner are unable to agree on child arrangements, our expert child law solicitors can help you find an arrangement that prioritises your children’s best interests.

In cases involving domestic abuse, we can work with our specialist Domestic Abuse team to make a Non-Molestation Order to keep you and your family safe.

For an initial chat, call our friendly team on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


    How can we help you?

    We’re here to help. Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Or call us on 0117 325 2929.