The father of 12 year old twins sought an equal time-sharing arrangement. The mother gave evidence that the children said they wanted to spend less time with their father, because they were upset by his criticism of them and of the mother. As the father had not cooperated in having a Views of the Child report prepared, the judge held that there was no evidence to counter the mother’s testimony that the children wanted to spend less time with the father. The judge accepted the mother’s evidence of the children’s views and reduced the father’s parenting time.
The mother’s evidence was that the children had told her that they wanted to spend less time with the father. The father said that the children said it was more that they wanted to spend time with friends, not that they did not want to see him. The parties had consented to an order that a Views of the Child report be prepared, but it had not been done because the father disagreed with the mother paying for the report, subject to apportionment of costs at trial. Mr. Justice Skolrood declined to draw an adverse inference from the father’s interference with preparation of the Views of the Child report, but noted that the absence of such a report meant that the only evidence of the children’s views was the mother’s testimony. As there was no evidence to counter that of the mother about the children’s wishes, the judge accepted that both children had expressed a desire to spend less time with the father, and the result was a reduction of the father’s parenting time.
Read the full case (see specific discussion at paras 41-48 and 63-65).