A message to British Politicians, and the public regarding family law.
Hi there, my name is Aimee Nicholls, I’m 16 years old, and 11 years ago, my parents divorced. It doesn’t matter why right now, that’s history. But it is important that you know that it wasn’t down to my dad. It wasn’t something that he wanted, and he couldn’t do anything about it. It’s certainly not something that I wanted, but I also had no say. My dad is definitely the more natural parent out of my mum and dad, and I’ve always been closer to him. I do love my mom and dad both the same. But, if I could only live with one of them, it would be my dad, and it’s been that way for 11 years. There was no reason for that not to happen. He hadn’t harmed me in any way, and he didn’t pose any risk, or threaten me. My dad shared my care before my parents split.
He and I were just never given that option. It wasn’t even considered, ever. Despite what people want you to think, I’ve learned that family law is just set up that way. It works exactly how it was designed to work, to keep dads and their kids apart. It makes more money for everyone working in family law, and my situation is only partly resolved after 11 years of fighting. I now live with my dad, but it’s not easy. The system doesn’t like giving up, unless you’re one of the few families it allows to be different to “prove” that it’s fair. It clearly isn’t fair.
When I voted with my feet at age 15 to go live with my dad again, a family court judge, like all of the other ones before tried to force me to go back to my mum. And he told me I was too young to express my views to him. I was, like, 2 weeks away from being an adult at 16. [In the Uk you are a legal adult at age 16] He said he needed social services to tell him what my views were. Think about that. I was sat in a court room at the age of almost 16, in front of him, and he effectively stuck his fingers in his ears and sang la la la. He ignored that I said that I felt at risk, probably because risk never really comes into it, unless it can be pointed at a dad to split him and his child up. More delay, more work for the system, more income, more funding. That’s what it’s all about. If you need a good reason to open up the secret family courts to the public, this is one. I bet the judge would not have dared say any of that to me if there were people watching. I was almost an adult, and I understood exactly what he was doing. His game of pretending to not be able to hear my voice was really disheartening.
It was horrible. Why would I want to go back to social services who had always mislead the court about my views? They make it their job to lie, and to twist things, and this judge was just giving them another chance to do that. After 11 years of being involved, I would say it’s worse than it’s ever been at this point, right now, for kids. They have found more ways than ever to stop kids seeing their dads. Ever since I started speaking out, I’ve heard from hundreds of families, and it’s always the same thing. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. For the politicians watching, the ones that want to believe all the lies; wake up. It’s worse than it’s ever been, and it’s happening on your watch. For example, the courts are still trying to ruin things for me and my dad. They stripped him of all his income, so that he can’t care for me. If they cant force me to live with my mum, they’re just going to ruin it for me and my dad. That’s fine now, it’s fine for me, I go out and work, I’m 16. But why should we not just be left to live peacefully after all of this. It’s over. It’s gone. Give up on it. And not every other family has that opportunity. Not every other kid my age is like me. They don’t speak out. More should, but they don’t. And that’s why the system can carry on.
And also they banned him for no reason from ever seeing my sister Kitty, who is now aged 7. Which means I can’t see her either, and she can’t see me. There’s absolutely no reason for either of those. There’s just no reason. The problem is, you can’t keep my generation quiet, and we will remember you. I will find my sister one day, and she will know what was done to us, and by who. And those people will have to answer to us. And on that topic, I’d like to mention a few special people, who deserve to be remembered for making my life hell.
First of all, judges. I say judges [plural], not just one, because my family has been through a lot of different courts and different judges, and they all say the same thing. That’s not a coincidence. The only way that could happen is if the system is set up that way, and it’s set up wrong. I saw it myself when I made my own application at 15. The application doesn’t even cater for someone like a child. It only caters for the [mother], and it’s really hard. But I did it, and it can be done. But the judge just slapped me down and ignored everything I said. The final order that was given was only partially what we had gone there to achieve. The judge just couldn’t care less, because it’s not what he’s used to doing, and he’s not meant to do that [i.e he is meant to put me, the child, first].
Next, there’s teachers and school counsellors that I talked to numerous times when I was in school. Obviously telling them I wanted to live with my dad. Later they told social workers that I had never indicated a problem, or expressed my views. They are probably all still in their jobs abusing kids just like me.
Next, there’s the [family courts] expert witness that made my dad sound like he was some kind of psychopath. Clearly he isn’t, but that doesn’t matter. This guy took a huge fee and wrote some rubbish to ensure that my sister and I would be kept from seeing my dad. And he’s still out there as well, destroying families, taking his large fee’s. I hope he’s enjoying the money that he got from destroying my life, and my sister’s life. She’s seven.
When they took her away from me, she screamed and cried. I took some precious things from her, her precious things, to promise her that I would see her again, that I would give them back. Ive still got them, you know, it’s been two years now, since I’ve seen her, and a lot longer since my dad has seen her.
And, lastly, a very special mention for the CAFCASS officer from Oxford who did everything in her power to keep me from my dad. From lying in the reports, to “losing” my wishes and feelings report [that said that I wanted to live with my dad and why]. Also, repeated interviews which were not meant to happen. With increasing pressure until I told her that I wanted to live with my mum. I guess she’s still out there as well, destroying other children’s lives.
The system is completely broken. Almost everyone working in the system has some vested interest in what’s going on, and they’re making it worse. If it’s not money and work, its politics. I found that out when I uploaded videos to YouTube of me speaking about my case, and feminists attacked me at the age of 14, saying I was a whore and an actor, and a liar. These people are just pure evil, and I cant see a reason, or accept why this is all going on. These are the people that the government are listening to, not us [the real] victims. The whole secrecy thing, it just makes it a 100 times worse. I personally think that would be one of the main things that would resolve this. Family law, and the courts, and social services and CAFCASS all just have too much money, and they use it to put pressure on the government to continue doing what they do. Nobody else’s voice gets heard. Politicians just need to stop this, and not in a few months, or two years, or a few weeks even. They need to do it now.
I want to see my sister. I want her and my dad to be together. I want us all to be together, why can’t that happen? There’s no reason for that not to happen. You should explain it to me and Kitty in a way that makes sense to us, because all we know is that we love each other, and we love our dad, and some pensioner in buckle shoes and a wig keeps telling us that it’s not in our best interest. I think family law is not in my best interest. And I think it’s time for it to go.
I’m Aimee Nicholls. Thank you for listening. Now go out and do something about it.