The Family Court has ruled that a couple’s love for their son is not enough to prevent his adoption.
Her Honour Judge Pemberton ruled that while her decision may be “devastating for the parents and for the wider family” it was in the boy’s best interests to be adopted.
North East Lincolnshire Council launched proceedings shortly after the child, ‘KR’, was born. There was a history of domestic violence between his parents.
The parent’s relationship was “a complicated one”, the judge declared, because the father was the mother’s step-uncle – he was the son of her grandfather’s wife. Additionally, the mother was very young when they began their relationship: the father claimed she was 16 but she maintained that she was just 15 at the start.
Not only was their relationship complicated, it was “extremely volatile”. Many of their disputes were “alcohol fuelled” and had to be resolved by police. In 2013, the father was convicted of battery after a fight with the mother. He also had “a history of mental health difficulties” which he blamed on a 2003 assault during which he suffered “quite serious injuries”.
Once the local authority learned the mother was pregnant, they came up with a plan for the child’s care. Initially they intended to allow the mother to care for her son if she lived away from the father and did not allow him unsupervised access. However, the parents continued to see each other even after KR’s birth.
A psychologist who analysed the couple concluded that the council “should not assume that the mother will remain separate from the father” and that there was “a significant risk of intimate partner violence”.
The local authority subsequently applied for care and placement orders. This would allow them to find a new adoptive family for KR.
Judge Pemberton said that while this was “a very sad case” but ultimately not a difficult one. She said that the parents had not provided any convincing evidence that they were able to change their behaviour and, as a result, KR was “likely to suffer significant neglect, physical and emotional harm” if he remained in their care.
She recognised that the parents both loved their son “but sadly, that love in itself is not enough” to stop the adoption from taking place. Therefore she granted the council’s application and made the requested care and placement orders.
To read Re (Risks from domestic abuse) KR (a child) in full, click here.