A mother has lost custody of her son after causing him ‘emotional harm’ by trying to alienate him from his father.
The case involved the estranged parents of an eight-year-old boy.
The court heard that the mother had a history of being obstructive about letting the father have contact with their son.
The father claimed she had caused emotional harm to the boy by trying to keep them apart. The mother argued that the level of contact between the boy and his father should be reduced.
The father’s claim was supported by the local authority, a clinical psychologist a child psychiatrist and the child’s guardian.
Throughout the hearing, the mother refused to take the views of the experts and professionals on board. She also displayed a continuous negative attitude towards the father.
The judge ruled that the boy should live with his father because he had acted more in the child’s interests. The mother had acted in her own interests in trying to alienate her son from his father, which caused him significant emotional harm.
The judge felt this would continue if the boy was to carry on living with his mother. He said the father was better able to meet the son’s needs, which included having a positive relationship with both parents.
The mother argued that the judge’s ruling was disproportionate and wrong.
However, her appeal application to the High Court was refused as it was without merit. The overwhelming evidence – even including evidence provided by the mother – supported the action of changing the boy’s primary carer.
Almost any judge would have reached the same conclusion.
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Case Citations:  EWHC 768 (Fam) IN THE MATTER OF MFS (APPEAL: TRANSFER OF PRIMARY CARE) sub nom PP (Applicant) v (1) MS (2) MFS (Respondents) & ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL (Interested Party) (2019) Fam Div (Williams J)
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