Thirty per cent of all private family disputes involving children which reached court last year had been before a judge before, according to new Cafcass research.
The finding is based on an analysis of no less than 40,599 private family disputes (as opposed to ‘public’ ones involving the care system). Most had previously been in court less than two years previously and a third had already been before a judge at least twice. One child cited in the report had been the subject of 11 separate court cases over a 12 year period.
The researchers examined 100 cases in greater detail to try and establish why the parties had returned to court. The team identified four key reasons: concerns about the children’s welfare; hostility between the parents; the children’s wishes; and changes in family circumstances.
Cafcass Chief Executive Anthony Douglas said:
“Cafcass data is a valuable resource that helps us build a picture of the complex circumstances bringing private law cases back to court. We hope the research will inform sector understanding of the rise in private law applications and help us identify ways to work with children and families in complex cases in a way which brings about a much earlier safe conclusion that is in their best interests.”
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