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TOPIC: contact progression?

contact progression? 5 years 7 months ago #61899

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Good evening all,

I'm after a little advice if possible? I've been having contact with my daughter for 2 hours supervised every 2 weeks, At the last court hearing the judge ordered that me and the ex do a statement on how we see the contact progressing after the 6 sessions are done. The contacts have gone really well. Even with mom trying stop it.

obviously the next step is for unsupervised contact, but what should I be expecting? My goal eventually is every other weekend shared holidays Christmas and birthdays......but how do I build upto that?

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contact progression? 5 years 7 months ago #61903

  • Mojo
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From the sound of it the judge is looking to progress contact. The next step would be to move contact out of the contact centre and onto unsupervised contact.

I suggest you use the same timeframe for each step, for instance 6 sessions every fortnight equates to 12 weeks.

Next step - unsupervised contact for a full morning or afternoon in your home, or supervised at the home of a family member, a grandparent perhaps. Every fortnight x 6 = 12 weeks.

If that goes well, for the next 12 weeks , a full day every fortnight.

Again if all is well and the child is comfortable and happy this can now move to overnights, beginning with one night and then progressing that to two nights over a 8 -12 week period.

You could also request a midweek contact every week, depending on your work commitments. That could start as a teatime visit initially, progressing to an overnight.

As far as holidays, you would request 1 or 2 weeks in the summer, or even half of all school holidays, alternating Christmas and birthdays, extra at Easter and bank holidays. You could also ask for Father's Day.
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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Last Edit: by Mojo.

contact progression? 5 years 7 months ago #61929

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Thanks for your advise. Nice to know I'm on the right track. Keep my fingers crossed for Tuesday Next week.

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contact progression? 5 years 7 months ago #61941

Hi Bosko,

Not much more I can add that Mojo hasn't already covered.

The judge will be looking for structured, steady progression of contact.

So long as you show a structure that gives the child time to adjust (such as the 6x over 12 weeks suggested) the judge should be all for it.

At my first hearing, due to allegations etc being thrown around by the ex, it was a few hours at a contact centre each fortnight.
When we went back a few months later, I asked for daytime unsupervised (e.g. 10 - 4) fortnightly for 10-12 weeks taking place locally (I live 70+ miles away). That would then progress to daytime contact alternating between their town and my home, again for 10-12 weeks.

By that time we had another hearing and we pushed for overnights, alternating between day and overnight for 8 weeks to allow transition, and then into weekend overnights...

So long as you show that you are providing time for the child to acclimatise to the changes, and taking these steps "in the best interests of the child" to coin the legal phrasing, you should have no issues :)

All the best,
BD
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contact progression? 5 years 7 months ago #61952

yup what MOJO has said is spot on the judges are all about moving things forward it's took me exactly 6 months from going to a contact centre every two weeks to over night stays over the weekend we are looking for things to move to every other weekend fri-sun with an over night on a wednesday and a few hours on a sat in between the weeks :)

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I'm no way trained in Family court matters so don't take my ramblings as gospel but I've been through the Court mill and learned so much along the way I just like passing my experience on to other Dads who face this absolute nightmare from hell, you might not be able to beat the system but don't let it beat you :)

contact progression? 5 years 7 months ago #62071

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Thanks for the advise guys! Sent my statement in to the cafcass /court and the ex on Tuesday as that's what the court ordered.....The ex didn't hand her statement in, that's not a surprise as she hasn't filed anything with the court since the start of this process.

Put in the statement increased contact along the lines of your advice.

Today was the last contact with my daughter, before I go back to court on Tuesday next week. My cafcass officer was coming to this session as she wanted to see how the contacts were going and also wanted to talk to me about how I see contact progressing.

As normal the contact went really well, we had a great time lots of laughing, no issues at all.

As the contact came to an end the support workers took my daughter back to her mom, the cafcass officer came across to speak with me, stating that she thought the session had gone really well and that she wished she could of filmed the contact so she could show the judge what a good time we had!! Then she started talking about my statement, saying that she would be recommending that contact to stay the same 2 hours every other Friday as if I were to go for longer hours on a Saturday then mom wouldn't facilitate contact and would fail to show?? Stating also that she knows that mom gets at my daughter for having fun when she is with me!! I mentioned to her that my daughter said at the previous contact that mom said she was not to hug me and if she did she would be in trouble!!

The cafcass officer then went on to say, that mom is meeting her educational and physical needs(previously saying that she isn't meeting her emotional needs), and that if I don't go with the 2 hours every fortnight, and the judge thinks that the only way mom will stop alienating her against me will be stopping my contact with my daughter all together??

Feeling very deflated......Really thought that our contact would progress but looks like it won't.....

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contact progression? 5 years 6 months ago #62140

Hi Bosko,

Really disappointed to hear that - sounds as though you have a rather weak-minded CAFCASS officer there...

She's pandering to the alienating parent!! No excuse for that. In my honest opinion, the CAFCASS officer is talking crap.
Basically the contact is going well, and she thinks contact should increase, but won't recommend that because the mum might not show up??

They should be looking at the alienating behaviour and dealing with that, not keeping your contact down to satisfy the ex.
I would be very clear, and stick to your guns - contact is positive and should be increased (within a reasonable timescale) etc.

If the ex doesn't bring your daughter to contact, she's back in court for failing to adhere to the order!
If she continues to attempt to alienate your child, then cafcass and the court should be addressing that issue...

This has really got my blood up - as I went through similar things, and are now liaising with school and Children's services etc, to get my daughter adequate emotional/psychological support two years after I first raised my concerns!

Everything done should be in the "Best interests of the child" - increasing contact that your daughter enjoys is in her best interests. Attempting to maintain a status quo to appease an alienating parent is not!

All the best,
BD
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contact progression? 5 years 6 months ago #62142

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Some thoughts.....

...."Put in the statement increased contact along the lines of your advice.
Today was the last contact with my daughter, before I go back to court on Tuesday next week. My cafcass officer was coming to this session as she wanted to see how the contacts were going and also wanted to talk to me about how I see contact progressing.
As normal the contact went really well, we had a great time lots of laughing, no issues at all.
As the contact came to an end the support workers took my daughter back to her mom, the cafcass officer came across to speak with me, stating that she thought the session had gone really well and that she wished she could of filmed the contact so she could show the judge what a good time we had!!"

>>>>Cafcass Officer should have a report available to support this. Could you get a written report from the contact centre to back this up?...bit late for this but you could suggest to the judge that you get a report from the contact manager to file with the court .


...."Then she started talking about my statement, saying that she would be recommending that contact to stay the same 2 hours every other Friday as if I were to go for longer hours on a Saturday then mom wouldn't facilitate contact and would fail to show??"

>>>>You shouldn't even be in a contact centre! The option is available to a judge to move contact into the community - with a family member as a chaperone at the very least!

>>>>Try this:AR (A Child: Relocation) [2010] EWHC 1346 (Fam) at paragraph 57 and in reference to Re C (Abduction: Residence and Contact) [2006] 2 FLR 277- “On the facts of this case it is clear to me that supervised contact would only have been appropriate if there was the clearest and most compelling evidence that in some way S's best interests would be jeopardised by unsupervised, normal contact. Given the terms of the Strasbourg jurisprudence to which I have referred, it is almost as if there is a presumption in favour of normal contact and it is for those who say it is inappropriate to prove by clear evidence why this is so.”

The above is some case law that you could use to your advantage....make a note of it and use it as part of your argument at the hearing.

Perhaps you should write a brief statement of the discussion that occurred between you and the CAFCASS Officer after the contact session and make the point that the Officer, even though she was really happy with your contact with your child, is putting the mothers best interests above that of your child's by stating to you that the mothers hostility should affect her recommendations for keeping the contact the same, instead of what is best for your child, which would be to progress the contact to unsupervised away from the centre so that you can develop a normal father/child relationship. Hand the statement to the court usher when you arrive at court and ask them to put it in front of the judge before the hearing. Have a copy for your ex and CAFCASS.


....."Stating also that she knows that mom gets at my daughter for having fun when she is with me!! I mentioned to her that my daughter said at the previous contact that mom said she was not to hug me and if she did she would be in trouble!!
The cafcass officer then went on to say, that mom is meeting her educational and physical needs(previously saying that she isn't meeting her emotional needs), and that if I don't go with the 2 hours every fortnight, and the judge thinks that the only way mom will stop alienating her against me will be stopping my contact with my daughter all together??"

>>>>>Cafcass need to consider the “Needs Wishes and Feelings” of the child not the “wishes and feelings of the mother” as per the Welfare Checklist.
>>>>>This conforms to the Cafcass National Standards, especially 4 (active intervention and case management) and 5 (children’s active involvement).
>>>>>Cafcass are recommending contact then why are they not considering the “Needs” of the child. ie relationship with both parents.

...you must push the point that contact has been great and a positive experience for your daughter, as acknowledged by the CAFCASS officer.

Like BD the attitude of CAFCASS both frustrates and infuriates me. Best of luck for tomorrow. :)
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Mum and Grandmother, supporting my son who has residency of his son.
I want to see a much fairer system in place, where Dads and their children have a voice that can be heard.
There are many groups of people that have equal rights within our society and its about time Dads were given equal rights too.
Last Edit: by Nannyjane.

contact progression? 5 years 6 months ago #62145

^^ What Nannyjane said is spot on!

Apologies for not providing such a constructive response Bosko - but CAFCASS had me seeing red :)

Follow NannyJane's advice, and you'll be well set.

All the best,
BD.
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contact progression? 5 years 6 months ago #62147

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Bosko hasn't been back to the forum since the 20th March BD....I do hope he has gotten some good advice. :unsure:

The best of luck for today bosko. :)

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Mum and Grandmother, supporting my son who has residency of his son.
I want to see a much fairer system in place, where Dads and their children have a voice that can be heard.
There are many groups of people that have equal rights within our society and its about time Dads were given equal rights too.
Last Edit: by Nannyjane.

contact progression? 5 years 6 months ago #62259

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Hi NannyJane and badgerdom,

Some great advice from you both! Unfortunately I didn't check on the forum on Monday evening as I was trying to get everything in my bundle ready for Tuesday. So I couldn't put your advice into action, I'm gutted.

Felt a little out of my depth on Tuesday, in front of the cafcass officer and my Daughters solicitor, they were clearly trying to push me down the route of sticking with the 2 hours on a Friday when I tried to give them my reasons for more contact the cafcass officer kept saying I've seen this sort of case before where Dad pushes for more contact and Mom disagrees and then Dad ends up losing all contact......obviously losing contact again would be disastrous! So I tried to push for extra hours on Friday and only managed to get an extra 30 mins.....Mom wanted her cousin to shaperone us during contact but I disagreed so she is only doing the hand overs....

If only I'd have checked back before I'd gone to court things might have turned out much differently.....

I have to go back to court in the middle of June, so hopefully I can take your advice on board and be a little better prepared next time!!

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contact progression? 5 years 6 months ago #62261

Hey mate so what exactly have the court ordered for contact until June?

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I'm no way trained in Family court matters so don't take my ramblings as gospel but I've been through the Court mill and learned so much along the way I just like passing my experience on to other Dads who face this absolute nightmare from hell, you might not be able to beat the system but don't let it beat you :)
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