Courts don’t deal with perjury or enforce contact?


W v G [2015] EW Misc B47 (CC)

It is unusual to see judgments published by the County Court so this case may have escaped you (it did me and thank you to the person who tipped me off yesterday). The case concerns an intractable contact dispute made more complex by the subject children having a half‐sister who also lived with the mother who lives some distance from the father.

In earlier proceedings, the court had made an order for shared living arrangements as a result of the mother´s failure to promote the children´s relationship with the father or properly recognise his role in their lives. The mother was also referred to the Crown Prosecution Service by the judge in those earlier proceedings for having committed perjury.

Following the order for shared living arrangements having been made (within a child arrangements order), the mother failed to comply resulting in the father applying to court for sole residence with parenting time being near equally split between the two parents´ homes.

Examples of the mother´s behaviour include:

  • Her frustrating telephone contact (claiming she did not have a phone when she did);
  • When telephone contact did resume, her having the children call at inconvenient times or her allegedly letting the children choose when to call;
  • Unilaterally making decisions as to the children´s choice of school;
  • Her being present at the school with the half‐sister on the days when the father was due to collect the children;
  • Turning up at the children´s school with dirty clothing claiming the father was incapable of providing adequate care;
  • The mother frustrating holiday contact despite the judge having previously ordered the father set the dates due to the mother´s previous conduct.

The children´s guardian, in her report, describes the mother as “continuing to be contemptuous of the father and devaluing his role in the children´s lives”.

Residence is reversed, although the children to remain at their current school to minimise disruption to them while the father considers relocation. In the event he is unable to relocate by the summer of 2016, him then to decide whether to relocate the children and change their school to one near his home. The judge curtails the mother´s parental responsibility in respect of having the children examined by any professional or their being enrolled in extra-curricular activities without the father´s consent.

A copy of the new order was directed to be given to the children´s school and nursery, the order making clear that both should treat the father as the principle primary carer regardless of the current division of time in each parent´s care.

Were the mother to be convicted of perjury and sentenced to jail, the judge warns she must be prepared to allow the father to care for the children at her home along with their half-sister for the period of incarceration to minimise disruption to them.

We wouldn’t suggest that such outcomes are common, however they can happen and do happen.

Read the judgment here.

Download the judgment here.