[Solved] Hearing in the new year
My court journey started in July of last year and ended by October of last year with a final order by consent that gave me five nights per fortnight with my little ones. Fast forward to August of this year and mum breached the order and cut all contact
After three months of not seeing our children, we went to court in November. It was agreed by consent that our children see me the following day after the hearing for two nights followed by a single night the following week on an alternating basis. I am happy but I feel a sense of caution and fearing that this may change come January
There were allegations of DV last year that never went to a fact find and despite there having been contact for the past year, those same allegations were revived by mum in November saying that I have been aggressive at handovers even though mum has barely attended any as nan undertook the majority. In November, no fact find was ordered at that stage or a section 7
It goes without saying, I deny all allegations and fear mum made these more recently to justify the three months the order was breached
January is to be a dispute resolution appointment. I have lots of evidence of abuse I suffered during the relationship (audio, text and witnesses to control etc) I have only been asked to submit a brief statement at this point but I'm worried that if a fact find in January is ordered, that contact between me and our babies will be suspended until the facts have been established
Our daughter has been affected by the last three months saying she is scared to lose me again and won't go to sleep without me sitting by her bed and holding her hand. Do you have any advice on what I should be doing at this stage? And what is the likelihood that I will lose contact again given there are cross allegations?
I'm hugely anxious. Mum is pursuing a non mol order despite me having not spoken to her for many months.. I didn't even make contact with her during the three months she breached the order because of the dangerous allegations she makes
Any help/advice would be very much appreciated
It's not a good idea to think too far ahead, I feel if the court had reservations about contact, they wouldn't have reinstated overnights immediately. Even with the ex repeating the allegations at the hearing, you still got contact straight away.
Also, one one hand the ex is making allegations, but then consenting to resumption of contact on the other. If she was that concerned about your aggressiveness, she wouldn't have agreed. I think you should make that point briefly in your statement.
I would concentrate on moving this forward, rather than raking over past abuse. You could make brief reference to your fractious relationship, and mention that the allegations being made are simply the same allegations that were made during the previous case, which were considered at the time, but didn't prevent a contact order being put in place.
Keep your statement child centred, write about the impact that the sudden cessation of contact has had and how your daughter has reacted, her well being is best served by a speedy conclusion and reinstatement of contact.
Try and think of ways you can manage handovers and communication with your ex, could you pick the children up from school on the Friday and return them to school again on the Monday, that would solve the problem of handovers at least.
Has the ex applied for a non mol? Has that been to court yet? As you've had no contact with the ex, hopefully you can prove that and get the non mol discharged.
All the best
Thank you for your response. I've tried my best to keep looking forwards but mum is continuing to beat the drum over historical abuse which cafcass at court seemed to think was a blunder that the judge didn't order a finding of fact
You're absolutely right that the salient point should be that on both occasions where mum has raised these allegations, she has consented to overnight contact which is telling. Mum even turned up to the handover the day after stating I was too intimidating to be in the same room as her which is utterly baffling
In our statements mum is required to confirm if she still wishes to pursue an application for non mol. On the basis I'll have made no contact by then for close to six months, I hope the court will see there is little merit in such an order. I'm just terrified that my babies will go through heartache and disruption again should contact cease given the obvious emotional effects the last three months have had on them
I will of course remain positive and hope that the court wouldn't impose further trauma on my little ones
Thank you for your advice mojo, very helpful as always
As Mojo said, I wouldn’t bring up any events that happened before October 2017 when the last court case finished.
Focus on your child and showing you are a responsible parent, and things will swing in your favour. Ideally aim to get the previous order reinstated.
Are both your statements due to be filed on the same day?
Make the point in your statement that you haven’t made contact for six months now and then suggest ways how you can manage that when dealing with your children.
It might be that the finding of fact could follow, cafcass made the point that they felt it should have been ordered the first time... but contact has been resumed by consent regardless of that, and that’s important. Make the points strongly, but without waffle and concentrate on what’s best for your kids.
All the best
I agree with what has been said above.
Courts rarely like to look back and the fact she is allowing overnights speaks volumes.
In cases where there are genuine concerns, a resident parent would not agree to that.
Yes, both statements due to be filed 14 days before the hearing
I'll ensure i make it clear that contact was resumed by consent and hopefully the court see the merit in that which flies in the face of any concerns mum may claim to have come the next hearing
Thank you for your advice 🙂
Just a tip - if you have been asked to file your statements on the same day, make sure the court get yours on time, but perhaps check with court that they have received the mothers before exchanging statements with her.
Good advice as always Yoda.
A sensible suggestion Yoda, thank you. I'll ensure I do so
I used a barrister to do the speaking in court at the last hearing but my barrister will be leaving the Bar before the next hearing due to a new appointment
I'm hugely nervous about representing myself at court because I don't want to mess it up for my children by missing something or doing something incorrectly. Can anyone advise on their experiences acting in person and whether it's advisable to avoid doing so?