- Father lived in Dubai and Mother lived in England with the 5 children (one adult child).
- Mother suffered from mental health issues and began to physically assault the children. Father reported the incidents to social services immediately.
- Father then instructed me to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order for the children to relocate to Dubai, so they are in his full-time care.
- After several professionals assisting and providing their advice to the Court, the Court ordered for the four younger children to relocate to Dubai with Father. Mother was to have supervised contact with the children in the holidays in England.
- Father was extremely pleased that the children were in his full-time care given the safeguarding concerns whilst the children resided with their Mother.
The parties separated and Father moved to Dubai shortly after due to an excellent job opportunity. The parties had five children together and one child was over the age of 18. Mother was suffering from mental health issues but had capacity to conduct these proceedings. Mother began to physically assault the children with harmful objects. The children were too afraid to tell anyone as they feared they would be taken into foster care. The children were aware that their Mother was unwell and hid this information to protect her and themselves.
One child then told Father about the incidents which had been incurring. Father immediately contacted Social Services and took legal advice. Social services were content for the four children to be taken care of by the adult child as long as they were not living with Mother. The adult child had reportedly been caring for the younger children for some time and the younger children confirmed this with the Social Workers. Father quickly arranged for one of his rental properties to be vacated and the children resided there. Mother would attend this property in the hope to speak to the children, but the children were advised by Social Services to not have any contact with their Mother unless a Social Worker was present.
Amidst the above events, Father was advised that an application should be immediately issued for the children to reside in his full-time care in Dubai. Given the children were safeguarded in that they were no longer living with their Mother, the Court did not consider Father’s application urgent anymore.
Mother was not at all in agreement with Father’s proposal of the children relocating. The Court therefore directed Cafcass to prepare a report, Social Services to report their involvement with the family, the children’s current schools to comment on the proposals, Father to provide full details of the proposed schools for the children in Dubai and accommodation details. The Court wanted to ensure they have all the necessary information before them to ensure a decision is made in the best interests of the children.
During the proceedings, Mother was admitted into a mental institute twice for a short while as her health deteriorated. Despite this, the Court were keen to press on with matters as Father wished for the children to be enrolled into their schools in Dubai in the new school year, which was fast approaching.
The court agreed with Father that the adult child being responsible for the four younger children was not fair nor practical. This arrangement was too burdensome on the adult child as it had resulted him in leaving his studies.
Despite Mother contesting the children from relocating, the court ordered the children to relocate as this was in their best interests and the children were also in agreement to this. Mother was granted supervised contact during school holidays and Father was to arrange for the children to return to England during these times. Even though Father was in Dubai throughout the proceedings, save for the Final Hearing, I was able to represent him and obtain instructions whenever necessary.
I did contact Father a few months after the relocation and the children were doing extremely well. They were enjoying school and their extracurricular activities. Father noticed a huge positive change in the children and suggested that this was due to the continuous stress that had been removed from their lives. Father could not express his gratitude enough.