The “Nuclear Option” in Family Proceedings

Unfortunately in Family Proceedings involving arrangements for children, the “Nuclear Option” is sometimes used when a vengeful adult falsely claims that a former spouse or partner has sexually abused their children.

For those accused it is undoubtedly a harrowing experience.

In children proceedings the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.

The Court proceedings are conducted in private and the Court have to adjudicate on the allegations on the “balance of probability”, not “beyond reasonable doubt” as in criminal proceedings.

Investigations will be made by Social Workers, the Police and Officers from CAFCASS (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service).

They will err on the side of caution and the result can be that there may be lengthy periods of time when children and parents are not in contact whilst investigations continue.

In situations where it found by the Court that allegations are fabricated, the Court can then Order a change of residence in favour of the previously accused parent.

This happened in the case of Rebecca Minake in May 2015.  She went on the run with her three year old son after making allegations against the child’s father.  The Court in this case, after investigating the allegations, found that they had been fabricated to frustrate contact between the father and his son.  The Court ordered that he should live with his father and have only supervised contact with his mother.

False allegations blow families apart and there really are no winners.

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