LEGAL EAGLE: I want to stop my ex-partner seeing his child because of his drug abuse

My ex-partner made an application to the court for contact with our child and we are currently in court proceedings. I stopped contact as I believe my ex-partner misuses drugs/alcohol as he posts it on his social media.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 12:00 am
Mother fears for the safety of her child.

I do not feel as though our child would be safe in his care. However, my ex-partner is presenting himself completely different to the court and he may delete the social media posts. I am scared in case my concerns are not addressed and direct contact will be ordered.

If you believe that there is evidence on social media that your ex-partner is misusing drugs and alcohol, you can raise these concerns to the court and with CAFCASS.

Social media posts are admissible in the Family Court and could be used as evidence to support your concerns. This may have an impact on what contact is granted by the court.

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If your ex-partner deletes the social media posts, this does not mean that it is deleted forever, and you may want to consider taking any screenshots in case they are removed. However, if they have already been deleted, you could make an application to court to instruct an expert to undertake a forensic analysis of your ex-partners phone where deleted posts can potentially be recovered. It would be up to the court to decide whether it was proportionate to embark on this as it will generally not support any fishing exercises. The Court must think that it is necessary for the expert to be instructed.

Firstly, you will need permission to instruct an expert and the court will only give this if the expert’s report is “necessary” to resolve the proceedings justly. The court will consider a few things to see if the test of necessity has been satisfied. This includes; any impact on the welfare of the child, the issues the expert would relate to, the questions which the court would require the expert to answer, what other expert evidence is available, whether the evidence could be given by another person, the impact on the case and the timetable, the cost and any other matters set out in the Family Procedure Rules.

If the court considers all these points and agrees that the expert is necessary, then you will be able to instruct an expert in that field.

If you require any advice such as this please contact Ben Hoare Bell LLP solicitors on 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected] Visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk for further information.