Man 'portrayed as bad by former partner' wins family court fight over daughter

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A man has won a family court fight over the care of his daughter after a judge said he had been wrongly portrayed as "bad" by the youngster's mother.

Judge Liza Gordon-Saker said the girl, who is approaching her 10th birthday, had lived with her mother since a break-up more than three years ago.

But Judge Gordon-Saker said the youngster's "positive experiences" of her father were being "eroded" by her mother.

The judge has concluded that she should leave her mother's home and live with her father.

Detail of the case has emerged in a ruling by the judge following a private family court hearing in Norwich.

The judge said the girl, who is approaching her 10th birthday, could not be identified.

Judge Gordon-Saker indicated the girl had been at the centre of family court litigation since the parents separated.

She said the man was meant to have stayed in contact with his daughter.

But the judge said he had not seen her for more than a year and she suggested the girl's mother was the problem.

"(He), not surprisingly, feels let down," said Judge Gordon-Saker.

"The difficulty is that (the mother) is intelligent and plausible, and gives the impression of wanting to make contact work when she is doing the opposite. "

Judge Gordon-Saker said evidence suggested the girl wanted to see her father.

"What has happened since her parents separated (has) affected her understanding," added the judge.

"At her young age, her positive experiences of her father are being eroded by her mother."

The judge went on: "In my judgment, if she had the true picture of her father and was allowed by her mother to enjoy contact, she would wish to spend time with him.

"She has become entrenched in her mother's views ... She knows from her own memory that her father is not the bad man he is portrayed as."

Judge Gordon-Saker said she could not opt to "do nothing".

"This child is continuing to suffer harm in her mother's care," said the judge. "It seems to me there has to be change."

Judge Gordon-Saker said the youngster could not "relax and build a relationship" with her father with her mother "hanging around".

"(The mother) is an intelligent woman," said the judge. "I just have seen no evidence of change in (her)."

"(The girl) will not be allowed a meaningful relationship (with her father) if she stays with her mother.

"She is not a happy child and her mother has not put her welfare first."

Judge Gordon-Saker added:  "Her mother has shown she does not have the ability or willingness to put her daughter's needs first."

The judge said the girl should continue to see her mother.