There are several aspects to the law in practice as it operates in the family court
a) Statute Law
These pieces of legislation are created by parliament. The most important are:-
- Children Act 1989
- Family Law Act 1996
- Care Standards Act 2000
- Adoption and Children Act 2002
- Children Act 2004
- Childcare Act 2006
b) Case Law
This is recordings of actual cases and how judges ruled on these cases and how they interpret (or misinterpret) Statute Law in individual cases. See Case Law.
Each case sets a precedent. This means that if another case comes along that is very similar to a previous case then the new case must be decided in exactly the same way as the previous case.
c) Court and out of Court Procedures
This is all the behind the scenes work done by solicitors, social workers, contact centre staff, CAFCASS, experts and others.
In an ideal world your case would be decided by case law with a perfectly presented set of facts from both sides for the judge to judge upon.
However in reality, both sides solicitors do some horse trading between each other with or without your knowledge and construct a judgment (court order) based on what is agreed. This court order is usually rubber stamped by the judge.
At times, the behind the scenes work can at times undermine the judges ability to make fair judgments. Secret (to you) documents appearing on the court file can undermine your case before you actually get into court.
Also reports provided to the court by CAFCASS can be extremely biased based on their own agenda. CAFCASS has an obsession with domestic violence allegations against fathers. Also they have children protection policies aimed at fathers. Both CAFCASS and NYAS have a strong subculture of feminist influence.
Ex Parte Emergency hearings
One of the gravest form of injustice is when one of the parents (usually the mother) with the help of a solicitor gets an emergency hearing by herself (ex parte) where spurious and unfounded allegations are made about the other party without the other party being present. A judge will make an order of profound consequences to the case in the future. Once such an order has been made it is an up hill struggle. It may take several years of going to court to get yourself into a reasonable position in regards to residence and contact with your child.