Hi fellow members, Im a newbie. Im a bit confused as to the whole process of child access and CMS. When can mediation start? and how and when do you get cafcass involved? Is this before or after mediation or court hearings etc.
The whole process seems very complicated. If mediation works, do you still go to court?
You can have mediation at any time, sometimes it can help you and your ex reach an agreement without going through the courts. It can be costly. The government have a scheme going whereby some people can get help towards costs. Me and my ex don’t get along at all and she would never agree to any contact for me and my child, I felt mediation wouldn’t make any difference.
For the first court case I had a solicitor who took over and more or less did everything, paperwork, court hearings etc again can be costly and no guarantees. My first court case took 2 years and cost 8k. Due to ex making false accusations against my whole family in attempt to stop access. I was successful and got a child arrangement for for contact with my child.Since then I have been back to court twice and represented myself approx £250 and both times I was successful.
To apply to the courts you complete a C100 form, which can be done online. You will see on that form that you have to have mediation before applying, I had this on my own and he signed off the form. You then submit the C100 to the courts and wait. They will check paperwork and if all ok send you letter detailing what happens next. The courts will ask CAFCASS to do safeguarding checks, which includes police checks on you and ex and a phone call to both of you asking if you have any welfare concerns for child, approx 45 mins.
CAFCASS then send a report of their findings and recommendations to the court, you and your ex. The courts could then ask for statements from both of you, which gives you the opportunity to answer back on the CAFCASS findings and add any points you want to raise in your favour. Your ex’s statement might be against you having contact. These go back to the courts and they issue a first hearing date for the case to be heard, discussed.
If you can all reach an agreement a child arrangement order for contact could be agreed, if not you may need more hearings.
This may seem a lot, but once it starts it all follows on. A lot depends on your current relationship with your ex, is it amicable, does she want you to have contact, do you already have some contact?
@Warhammer, Thanks really appreciate your clarification. And glad to hear you had a positive outcome in the end. Must have been tough. 2 years with no access. How was the process of your kid(s) reuniting with you after all that time. This is my biggest fear, long term problem with no access. But glad you made it through.
My ex is awkward about most things, and very likely to make false allegations etc. So its going to be a difficult road. No contact at moment as cant contact ex directly.
my child was a newborn baby when we separated (not married), he was just over 2 years old when I saw him following the court case. At first the Contact was in a contact centre, with reports being done and sent back to the courts. After the contact centre, it moved to the ex supervising me (😡) in a wacky warehouse. Then we went to a FAYS children centre, just me and him, other parents were there with children. He finally came home when he was 2.5 to meet his paternal family. They had last seen him as a newborn, and now he came running in. I missed him crawling, walling, talking, teething etc but it was like he had always been here, he settled immediately. The contact at home was for a couple of hours first, then over time grew and grew until he was 4, he then started staying overnight, again slowly building up in time. The first court case was in 2013, I am back in court very soon to try and get 50/50.
how old are your children? can you not contact your ex through a solicitor, or other 3rd party, or even you contact a family member of hers?