It seems very common that when a Dad applies to court for a Child Arrangements order, an ex will respond with false allegations of domestic abuse (or worse). This has become more common since legal aid was removed for family court applications. The only legal aid available for Family Court now is for abuse cases. So if your Ex claims abuse she may get full legal aid, including provision of a solicitor and a Barrister. This is the nightmare that some Dads have to go through. False allegations of abuse and self repping due to lack of funds, when their ex has a Solicitor and a Barrister. This is why the Dads with Kids forum exists - to help you through this kind of situation, get to the end in one piece and have a normal life with your kids.

It is a bit like jumping through hoops. You know you are innocent and the allegations will be dismissed when investigated. It is also a strategy by some exes to delay the court process and keep your kids from you even longer. Because if serious allegations are made, Cafcass will usually do a Section 7 report to look into and investigate allegations and that can take about 3 months - before you then get the report with recommendations by Cafcass to the court, and a final hearing.

It can be a massive shock to find that the response to your court application is a C1A form with false allegations of abuse. You are not alone in this situation. Share on here and find support. It is quite common.

Some exes lie to win. Some are actually encouraged in "dirty tricks" by their own solicitors - because it's an adversarial system. And shockingly that is nothing to do with what is in the best interests of the children. However when it goes before a Judge, the court will be looking at the best interests of the children. So bear that in mind when wording your application. It's not about you or your ex, it's about the kids and your right and responsibility for parenting them. It is in the kids best interests to be parented by both parents.

In some cases there is a fact finding hearing to dismiss or prove any allegations. You may need legal advice before attending one of these.

So you have to jump through the hoops until you get to a final hearing - when you can submit a full statement and evidence. This is usually where the ex's hostile attitude unravels. As their statement may be full of mud slinging without any evidence. Your statement needs to be calm and focused and backed up with evidence. The idea at final hearing is that both parties are cross examined on their statements and if you or your barrister can show the Judge that the ex has lied in her statement, her whole statement and evidence is undermined to the court.

Likewise, your statement and evidence needs to be 100% accurate and 100% truthful - and child focused. No mudslinging or criticism of the ex.

If you're preparing for court, start organising. Emails and texts can be used as evidence (for or against you) so also be careful to only communicate politely and reasonably so your emails and texts are unreproachable. Print the relevant ones out and file them. Keep a diary. Keep notes of when the children have been with you and what you did during that time. A good way of keeping a diary is to email diary entries to yourself. That way they are date and time stamped and more authentic than something typed in a Word document which could have been typed at any time. Make a folder in your email account and keep all the diary entries there. Some may be useful for evidence later.

At all times, in writing, or at hearings, behave in a calm, responsible manner. Not easy when you are struggling and full of emotion but let that out on here and present yourself calmly in court situations. Never get angry. However much you are provoked by the other side's legal team - otherwise you could be labelled "possibly aggressive" and back up the ex's assertions that you are capable of domestic violence.

Hang in there and post on the Dads with Kids forum for ongoing support.