[Solved] Non Molestation / Prohibited Steps order
Usual story, tried to divorce wife, at the point of deciding finances (which she has control of) and the future of our 3 children, I get hit with a pack of baseless lies and allegations which are easily disproved but the orders passed.
I lose my 3 children who I have brought up almost entirely on my own,
I have no financial means at the moment, she has hired the best solicitors and barristers in the area. I can go for undertakings but can someone who has been through this process please give some insight into how to process goes? There is no info on any government websites as to guidelines for this process:
At the initial hearing (which is 30mins), can I provide any evidence (other than just a statement) to try and get this dismissed outright?
If I contest this, how long does it generally take before the 2nd hearing?
Can anyone give any insight into the process from beginning to end?
And finally, in general, best case scenario, how long could it take to get my children back?
Thanks for any assistance!
If she has submitted a thorough statement with her application. you can respond to that in full, attaching any evidence you might have. Respond to the points in parallel numerically for each of her allegations.
If she hasn't submitted a statement with her application, you can prepare a short position statement, but without evidence attached, although you can mention what evidence you have in your statement and say that you have it with you and would like permission to file it.
It's difficult to give an accurate time frame, a contested hearing can take a few months, or longer depending on the courts work load. You may be encouraged to take an undertaking, but if you have evidence to disprove her allegations, my opinion is to fight it... that's just my opinion though.
You can ask about contact, the court may want the other issues to be concluded before dealing with that though... you could add an application for a Child Arrangements Order to the existing proceedings, using form C2, and request an interim order for contact on the form, but there's no way of knowing whether it will be taken up at this stage, you'll know more once you have had the hearing.
Best of luck
Thank you for your reply.
She has submitted a statement with around 40 allegation and 30 pages of text messages, non are dated so it give the illusion of erratic behaviour. She has also omitted parts of of the text exchanges (for example the removal of an acknowledgment that she was aware i had taken the children out for the evening, but then called the police claiming I had abducted them leading to police involvement and the passing of the orders)
I've filed a C2 requesting an urgent return date (the one listed is 2 months away which must be an error as it should be within 14 days)
Am I entitled to address each allegation in the 1st hearing/return date?
It's listed in the order as only lasting for 30 min. It would be difficult to fit all this in in the time allocated
You're entitled to respond to her statement and provide evidence to refute her allegations.
Unfortunately some courts are inundated with cases, it might be that they won't change the date, but you're right about the 14 day rule... give them a call to press the point.
With them only listing a 30 minute hearing, it's doubtful, more likely they will set a date for a full contested hearing, where everything will be looked at. The first hearing will be to see if they can move it forward, perhaps with an undertaking.
If the other side have your statement of response, and it has weight, they may want to negotiate with you before going into the hearing, in which case there is a possibility it could be dealt with.
I'm not legally trained, I can only share my knowledge of others cases with you, which can vary wildly depending on the judge on the day. Preparation is key, keeping calm and making sure your responses are measured and reasonable is important too, as is a concise, well written statement.
Best of luck
Thanks you again.
I think my course best course of action is to prepare a statement and ask to provide evidence.
Of the 40 odd allegations she has made only 5 have any evidence attached to them, so i think I would state that I deny all allegations and request that I am permitted to present my counter evidence in the hearing relating only to the 5 pieces of evidence she has provided given then short time frame (30mins) of the hearing.
In particular the ones relating to the police involvement which facilitated the serving of the orders. If I can immediately disprove them, then all she has left is a number of unfounded allegations and some text messages with profanity, none of which contain any threats of violence.
Does this sound reasonable?
Also, do you think I will be permitted to provide video evidence of her behaviour towards me days before the orders were served? I have two short videos (30secs each).
If so, would anyone happen to know what form this video evidence should be provided Eg: Can I just hand the judge my phone directly?
You could email the court and ask for permission to file your statement of response with evidence prior to the hearing, that way the judge will have the opportinity to view the statement/evidence before entering the courtroom, it might save time.
If the allow it, you would supply a statement explaining your evidence and how it relates to her allegations.
Do the sweaty texts go both ways? If so a cross undertaking might be the way to go, some courts might find in favour of an NMO on the basis of abusive language.
As far as video evidence, it’s a grey area to be honest, but if she knows you videoed her, she can’t claim it was done without her permission. I’d mention it in your statement , with a brief description, and state you have it on your phone, if the court wishes to have sight of it.
It appears some of the answers I was requesting were in the order (littered with errors in a document that makes a difficult ready anyway).
I am to file with the court a response to my wife's allegations by a certain date, setting out which allegations I admit/deny and state any versions of events that differ from her interpretation.
I have spent the last few days doing this anyway so most of the leg work is done.
It's hard going as the majority of her allegations are based on real events that happened, just completely falsified in every regard.
Her statements are relatively short, but trying to respond to the allegation takes a lot of work to explain the context of the situation to make my position clear. There's 40 points of allegations but multiple different statements within each point that need clarified.
I'm walking a fine line between getting my illustration of events across and boring the judge who reads it.
The sweary texts don't go both ways, but there are only 3 or 4 texts from me that are sweary and are in direct relation to rather reprehensible things she has done. Again, she has omitted the reasons for the texts so it make them out to but unnesesarily abusive.
If i could explain the context here it would be clear but obviously I can't.
I obviously have the full text exchange and will supply that as evidence.
One word of advice for anyone going through a divorce who may read this, NEVER send any communications using profanity, regardless of how cordial you feel your divorce is going.
As a result of some sweary texts I have lost my children and my life is quite literally in tatters.
I should add the sweary content aren't name calling or threatening, they are just profanity in the same way they would be used in conversation. I am Irish, so profanity is part of my language, whether I am happy, sad, or angry, it's generally present.
In text form in this context, combined with non-evidenced, baseless allegations of physical abuse, they have proved very damaging.
On a separate note, In terms of the children being removed from my care under these orders, what rights do I have in terms of responsibility, specifically in this case birthday arrangements and things like bedtimes etc.
My Son's 4th birthday is next week and she has already made the arrangements ensuring I don't get to spend any time with him on his birthday which is massively important to me.
It’s a good job you scrutinised the order, but good that you now have the opportunity to file a full statement of response with evidence.
Do you have a format for your statement? We can help with links to help with that. Writing a good statement is a bit of an art, it can take two, three or more drafts to get it right, but less is definitely more and you’re absolutely right to consider the judges boredom level... too long and the really important points can get lost amongst the stuff that doesn’t need to be in there. Be quite brutal cutting it down!
I absolutely get what you’re saying, all couples row and the air can turn blue for the vast majority I’m sure, but that doesn’t seem to be a consideration when it gets to court, although there are judges that will see it in context.
You could try writing to her solicitor to request some time with your son on his birthday, offer for it to be supervised by a family member or trusted third party perhaps.
I know how tough it must be for you right now, just concentrate on presenting the best case you can, and try not to think too far ahead, or get bogged down in what ifs.
Most important is to look after yourself, look after the basics, you’re going to need to be strong in the coming months, so not eating or sleeping isn’t an option.
All the best
I’ve written a very large background statement as a preface to my response to her allegations which will need to be whittled down considerably, I’ve also included my reasons for her motivation for this order, ie my control as primary carer.
Any links you could provide as to how to structure my statement would be very much appreciated.
Here's some links to info about how to structure statements and also a template that you can use.
A good website with info in plain english, some court videos to watch too.