A warring divorced couple whose son has been emotionally damaged by their battles were given a message today by a senior judge - who used the powerful words of poet Philip Larkin. Lord Justice Wall quoted:
'They f*** you up, your mum and dad / They may not mean to, but they do / They fill you with the faults they had / And add some extra, just for you.'
In his Court of Appeal judgment, he added: 'These four lines seem to give a clear warning to parents, who, post-separation, continue to fight the battles of the past, and show each other no respect.'
The case involves the future care of a nine-year-old boy whose 'parents have undoubtedly caused him serious harm by their ongoing, mutual dislike and recriminations,' said the judge.
They had come 'within a whisker of losing their child', said the judge, who reversed a county court ruling ordering the boy to be removed from the home of his mother.
Lord Justice Wall said Judge Everall QC had decided at Luton County Court that it was no longer possible for the parents and the boy to work together.
He added: 'I do not do so. I hope this case has given the mother a fright. I hope it has also given the father a fright.'
The appeal judge then gave his message to the parents, urging them to improve their relationship for their child's sake.
He said: 'Separated parents, in my experience, frequently fail to understand that their children love both of them, and have loyalty to both.
'The fact that one parent has come to hate the other, or that both hate each other is no reason for the child not to love both and have loyalty to both.
'It thus poses the most enormous difficulties for the children of separated parents when each parent vilifies the other, or makes it clear that he or she has no respect for the other.'
Lord Justice Wall, who said the case had a 'profoundly dispiriting' history, added: 'This mother and father are no different from many separated parents who make the damage to their children caused by their separation much worse by continuing their battles against each other in legal proceedings.'
He said they had already caused their son 'serious harm'. But he allowed the mother's appeal to keep the boy with her and contact for the father and said he hoped the judgment gave them 'an opportunity to mitigate that damage. 'If they do not do so, they may well lose the care of their child,' he warned.
The original order that the boy should live with his paternal grandparents was set aside. The identities of the 31-year-old mother, 37-year-old father and their son - referred to as CR in court - are protected by reporting restrictions. Lord Justice Wall said the parents met in South Africa in 1999 and married in 2002 but their relationship was already in difficulties both in England, the home of the father, and South Africa where the mother was born.
The couple were divorced in 2003 and at all times since their separation the boy had lived with his mother. Court battles over custody of the child began six years ago and psychiatric reports found that his involvement in the parental battle would have a 'high risk' of increasing his 'negative and aggressive behaviours', causing a negative self-image and relationship difficulties.
A psychiatrist wrote that if the allegations about the way the parents had treated their son could be proved, they would be enough to indicate emotional and physical abuse. Lord Justice Wall said: 'None of the professionals in this case doubts that the dispute between his parents has caused CR serious emotional harm.
'The simple fact of the matter, however, is that the local authority, which is the ultimate arbiter of these matters, does not think the threshold has been crossed, and had made it clear that it will not institute proceedings.'
The poetry used by Lord Justice Wall was taken from Larkin's This Be The Verse, written in 1971. It is said to be the poet's best known and most frequently quoted poem.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1175058/Judge-quotes-Philip-Larkins-This-Be-The-Verse-divorced-parents-emotionally-damaged-boy.html#ixzz23VXYSPWi