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Family must discuss bitter breakup, judge declares

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The parents of a ten year-old daughter must make an effort an effort to discuss their bitter break-up, a High Court judge has declared.

In Re D, a newly published High Court ruling, Mrs Justice Pauffley urged the former couple to talk about the “distress, unhappiness, mistrust and bitterness” which had followed their split.

The mother had left the husband for another woman and the husband deeply resented the situation, making many “snide remarks” about the mother’s new partner.

The judge explained:

“His evidence revealed how frustrated he is by the way in which he feels his place in his daughter’s life has been taken by [the mother’s lesbian partner]…he fails to see how his dislike for her must hurt the mother as well as [his daughter].”

It would be “very encouraging” if the father could apologise for the “unkind things” he had said the mother’s partner, the judge continued.

But Mrs Justice Pauffley also criticised the mother, saying she and her new partner had become so caught up in their new relationship that “they cannot envisage a role for [the father] and they deny [the daughter] the opportunity to have a positive relationship with him.”

The judge urged the mother to “act in her daughter’s best interests” and “acknowledge some of the father’s pain”.

She ordered that the father have “extended time” with his daughter and that social workers supervise the family.

Read the full judgement here.

Earlier this week, Mr Justice Cobb declared that sisters born following a donation arrangement between two same sex couples had been “irredeemably harmed” by years of legal wrangling over contact with the donors.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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