The father used:
1- Statement from my wife's aunt claiming that during her visit for two days accompanying her daughter to our home in Florida that my wife would have told her that if the child is allowed to come on holidays here, she would not be returned at the end of the contact.
Fact: this aunt grossly stole money from my wife a few years ago (wire transfer from my wife to her aunt's account in Florida for my wife to recover her funds upon arrival but the aunt kept all of it) and has absolutely no contact/relationship with my wife. My wife's mother who was present during these two days was ready to issue a statement indicating my wife never made such a statement; quite the opposite but the lawyer elected to not use it at all.
2- Statement from my wife's other aunt who stated that my wife is a bad mother who is "grooming her daughter for prostitution"!!!
Fact: my wife has had no contact with this other aunt for more than 10 years (since it was discovered she was having an affair with the father of the child who was still with my wife at that time), she lives in London and still has a very cozy relationship with the father and while my wife's sister was under her care at the age of 8, she experienced sexual abuse and alcoholism. My wife's sister issued a statement confirming all this but again, the lawyer decided to use none of it.
Using both my wife's mother and sister statements would have seriously damaged the credibility of these aunts fabricated statements. Not to say that both aunts and the father met in London a few weeks before court which led to these statements (with one aunt living in Florida and with ongoing financial hardship but amazingly still enough money to spend a week in London…). This meeting was not brought up by the barrister at all!
3- Father claiming my wife would have repeatedly told him and the child she would stay in Florida which has not been the case as well as many other statements my wife would have made but in the end it is a "he says/she says" situation. As the barrister elected to not create a negative feeling to the judge, he did not comment on this mountain of made up accusations. This led the judge to indicate the safeguards in place are not sufficient in spite of a clear description of what they were by the barrister in writing the morning before the verdict. In any case, the UK family orders are fully recognized in the USA so for the judge to not allow contacts in the USA, there is a serious issue of bad general influence on the judge from the father.
There is no interest in grossly talking negatively about the father in court but it is our strong impression that not acting up on the above items by providing evidence greatly influenced the outcome. Not to mention having me and my stepdaughter as witnesses would have greatly reassured the judge regarding the stability of our home…but the lawyer elected to bring none of us on the stand.