Hi, it's my first time posting here, I've searched high and low and can't find the answers I am looking for on Google so I'm hoping someone may have some similar experience.
I have 2 children with my ex, she got a new partner about 18 months ago and over the course of their relationship my children had mentioned 3 times that the new boyfriend had hit them or been physically aggressive towards them (smacked their bums within the first 3 months, hit them on their hand etc). I had mentioned this to my ex and she said they were lying and that I shouldn't trust them, the children had went into alot of detail for it to be a lie but I have her the benefit of the doubt (poor judgement I know) but at the start of August my ex randomly text me the day before I was due to have my children saying the eldest had been differcult and while taking him to the naughty step she had left bruises on his arms.
Upon getting my children the following day, I asked them both seperately what had happened, they both told me that the boyfriend had dragged my son to the naughty step by his arm (sustaining the bruising) followed by dragging him upstairs by his legs where he then hit his head. My younger son also said "when ***** takes me to the naughty step, he always kicks me into the door first". I asked where their mother was during all of this, they told me she was in bed after a night shift.
Since then, I have withheld my children from my ex, called social services who conducted an investigation and they deemed the children not at risk because I had removed them from her home and was withholding them from her. I also contacted mediation as I wanted to make a legal agreement for the children to live with me and see her on certain days and she is the one to lol after the children, not the boyfriend. I contacted my solicitor and they said this was possible via a residency order and her making a promise to the court. In the meantime, I have said that she can join us on our dog walks in the evening to see the children but I wouldn't allow them back in her home until we had an agreement in place
We each had our own mediation sessions with a joint one due at the end of the month. She called up mediation and cancelled the joint one and asked for the c100 form and had consulted a solicitor herself. That was all done on the 11th and the c100 completed by the mediator on the 15th. But since then I've heard nothing, she hasn't mentioned anything to me about court or making an agreement or anything and she is the type of person to try and rub these things in my face.
If she has submitted to court, how long should I be expected to wait until I recieve some sort of letter from them?
I've had the children for 2 months now without any help from her and wondered whether I should also file for cms as I know that court proceedings can take months if not even longer, I already have 2 other children at home and my wife is on maternity due to having our youngest 2 months ago so as you can imagine the financial strain is pulling a little and I can only forsee it increasing, but I don't know if filing for cms will look bad on me if things do go to court?
It's all very confusing and this is a very long post but I have no experience with this and want to know what my next steps are.
do you know who your ex' solicitor is? you could contact them and ask if they filed a c100? before covid, you would get court paperwork in the post a couple of days after making application. but not it's unpredictable. some people have waited months during the lockdown.
you can open a case with CMS now if you want. however as there is no court order, it can get messy. will be like your word against hers, about who the kids live with. and CMS will probably believe her if she lies. also if child benefit is being paid into her account, then that goes in her favour and CMS will probably decide that kids are with her. you can still register with CMS, and after residency issues are sorted, you can send your court order to CMS to set things out in stone.
My advice would be to leave maintenance until after you have residency sorted, purely because you don't want her fighting to get them back because she wants the money. Once residence is sorted, then go for maintenance and child benefit, when there's no way for her to stop it.
I have the child benefit for both of the children in my name. I have been receiving it for one child as we split it 50/50 but a fortnight ago I put in a claim for my other child and was awarded it so that goes in my favour.
I did think it may take a while with covid, and I've no idea which solicitor she is using. She took 2 months to seek advice from one and has only mentioned it once which leads me to believe she had her free 30/60 minutes. She's not entitled to legal aid either.
I had my solicitor do an estimate of costs and she came back to me estimating £3000 for a straight forward case and then beyone £15,000 for a long fight so I'm unsure if she has had similar estimates.
I guess it's just a waiting game! I won't go through with the cms just yet, I'll give it more time to see if I receive anything from the courts.
when i was at my first or 2nd hearing, ex was crying to my barrister about child maintenance. though CAO c100 has nothing to do with maintenance, my barrister just told me to start paying. so i signed myself up to CMS.