Usually where there is disputed evidence about whether domestic abuse has taken place, the court directs that there should be a fact-finding hearing. The decisions made at this hearing can impact on all your future arrangements for your children in the short and the long term.
If this hearing is directed then the person making the allegations has to set out a schedule called a Scott Schedule and provide a statement explaining the allegations in detail. The person responding to the allegations then puts their replies in the same schedule and also provides a separate statement. Both parents can produce witnesses and other evidence if those are directly relevant to the decisions the court needs to make.
If the police have been involved then the court would normally direct that the police records are made available in the proceedings. Those will be looked at in detail.
The judge will consider all evidence which is presented. It is up to the party making the allegations to prove the allegations are true but the court only has to be satisfied that it is more likely than not that they are true. For the person responding to the allegations the struggle can be to persuade a court that something did not happen when rarely is any independent evidence available.
We can prepare you for this process and ensure that you are represented by a solicitor or barrister who makes sure that your case and your evidence are fully understood by the court.
Following the evidence the court will make a decision on each allegation and records in an order those facts which it considers are relevant to future decisions about your children. This can be a distressing document for the person against whom the allegations are made, but with experienced representation we can endeavour to reduce the impact of this.
Following the fact-finding hearing, the court decides the next steps in the light of its findings.
It is important to remember that each case is different. Stantons understands this and our advice is tailored to you.
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