• Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: Reestablishing contact after absence

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93782

  • Jomo
  • Jomo's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 7
  • Thank you received: 1
I am looking for some advice for my son.

He has a now 13 year old child with his ex. His ex was very bitter after their split and wanted to control every minute of his time. He went to court and she created problem after problem. His son became very emotionally disturbed and refused contact. CAFCASS became involved and eventually recommended indirect contact only. They state in the report that contact has failed due to the hostility between parents but that son is becoming more and more entrenched and no more could be done. He wrote for the first 18 months once a month but never got a reply. He had a breakdown and for his own health he had to stop. He has had no contact with his son now for 5 years.
He is feeling better and would like to start seeing his son again and wants to meet him. He has contacted his ex who has told him his son doesn't want to see him and she won't arrange a meeting. She's told him to write.
He doesn't feel writing will do any good (it didn't before) and wants contact differently - face to face over the phone or something.
His ex will obviously not cooperate. If he takes it back to come are they likely to order he writes? How long for? His ex has said 12 months!
If anyone had any ideas or suggestions that would be fab.
I am worried about his mental health but also know how desperately he had missed his son all these years.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93784

Hello there

Just read your post and I find it heartbreaking. I’m not the best person to advise you on here, but I just wanted to show some support and understanding.

I’ve used this site for a while, and there are some amazing people on here who share some excellent advice.

I’m currently ‘in the system’ having gone through almost three years, and 15 hearings. I don’t think I need to stress to you the effect it has on ones emotions. I’ve had hardly any contact with my children, and the process does seem somewhat biased and unfair.

I’m probably looking at the same scenario as your son - indirect contact. But my eldest son has stated he does not want contact - it’s really hard.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jomo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93787

  • Jomo
  • Jomo's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 7
  • Thank you received: 1
Hi Jonathan,

Huge thanks for your response. It has been heartbreaking for us all, but especially for my son.

I am sorry to hear that you are going through the same thing. We are certainly very disillusioned with "the system". Originally they CAFCASS officer seemed to be really supportive and very pro contact, but at the slightest resistance from the mother they just back tracked. We supported son with court as we felt it was the only way to remove the complete control his ex had of the situation, but all that seemed to happen was she retained control and because she raised concerns with sons reactions, everything got delayed and delayed waiting for "professional" involvemebt until it was months since he had seen any of us, and then he didnt want to see us at all.

She is very certain that court will order writing. If they will it seems pointless to go down that route again.

My grandson is 13, surely a phone call or even skype would be far better than a letter.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jonathan1122

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93793

  • actd
  • actd's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 10672
  • Thank you received: 1651
If his ex isn't prepared to enter into any negotiation, then you son needs to look at mediation as it could take a court order to restart contact, and mediation is a requirement before moving on to court. If he hasn't seen his son for 5 years, then it's going to necessarily be a slow process, but he needs to start. At 13, his son's wishes will be listened to by the court, and there has been 5 years of influence by the mother, so he is going to need to establish some form of communication, even if it is with letters initially.

Take a look at www.nfm.org.uk
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jomo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93796

I think it’s very sad that the children involved can become isolated from their families. Your right that even a phone call would be nice, and it keeps a relationship going.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absences 1 year 1 month ago #93802

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 8561
  • Thank you received: 1815
Mediation would be the first step if your son isn't getting anywhere with the mother.
Unfortunately, with such a long time since the last communication between father and son, coupled with the CAFCASS recommendations from the previous case, the process is likely to move slowly, if mediation fails court is the only other option.

Should it go to court, at 13 your grandsons wishes and feelings will carry weight. The mother has had a further 5 years to alienate the child further. However, even if not successful with direct contact, indirect contact will show the child that his Dad wants to be in his life and as long as the letters from your son don't point any fingers of blame, are fairly light and upbeat with no pressure, there may come a point in the future when his son will rethink his decision... at the moment he may not want to upset his mother and may well feel like it's his duty, as the man of the house, to protect her from being hurt.

Best of luck
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jomo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

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.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93804

  • Jomo
  • Jomo's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 7
  • Thank you received: 1
Hi.

Thanks for all the replies.

Does he need to do mediation even though they already have a court order? His ex has indicated she isn't willing to do it anyway. She has said she wont enter any negotiations until he has written for 12 months.

How much weight will my grandson wishes carry? I don't think he can give any horrible reasons why he doesn't want to see my son, just that he doesn't like him. Is that enough for CAFCASS?

I suppose the crux of the issue is my son would prefer to seek other contact rather than writing, as he has no faith that will lead anywhere. If court is likely to order that he has to write then he may as well accede to that now rather than antagonise his ex by going back to court.

Does anyone know what a standard route for reestablishing contact is?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93805

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 8561
  • Thank you received: 1815
Hi there

Unless there has been domestic violence, or mediation has been attempted in the last 4months, attending mediation is a requirement, before a court application can be submitted.

If mediation fails, the mediator would sign the form to enable an application for a variation of the Child Arrangements Order, which 5 years ago would have been called a contact order.

As a teenager, your grandsons wishes will carry weight, it’s likely he will be talked to and his wishes and feelings sought as part of the welfare report.

The court will refer to the existing court order and the recommendations made at the time, although new welfare reports will most likely be ordered.

It’s impossible to predict outcomes, your sons case would be heard by a different judge and the reports will be prepared by different officers, which may produce a different set of recommendations.

All I can say is that it’s likely that a period of indirect contact may be ordered, but a lot would depend on his sons wishes. It might be that as he is older, he may be more able to speak up, he may express the wish to try again.

Best of luck

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

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.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93807

  • Jomo
  • Jomo's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 7
  • Thank you received: 1
Hi Mojo,

Thanks for responding again.

We didn't know that about mediation so that's helpful.

I think it sounds like the court is likely to err on the side of caution unless his son wants to do something different, so it makes sense for him to write now rather than apply to court. He can then review in 3 to 6 months. If the letter writing is going well and his ex won't move things forward he can apply for contact to progress, it its going badly then he can either keep writing or take it back to court asking for support.

It will be disappointing for him, because he was really hoping for a face to face meet or at least a phone / skype call but its better than nothing.

Thanks everyone.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93813

Also keep in mind that once a child turns 16 the courts will not make any orders. In fact, I know of cases where the child was 15 and the court refused to make an order on the basis that the child was almost 16.

But like others here have said, it's very unlikely that, at this stage, your son will get anywhere through the courts. They will order more letters, run down the clock, then say there's nothing more that can be done. Very very sorry.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93923

  • Jomo
  • Jomo's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 7
  • Thank you received: 1
Thank you for your response.

Sadly it seems like the only option is to dance to her tune then and hope for the best or to walk away again.

Hopefully as my grandson gets older he might question for himself the lies he has been told and seek us out.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Reestablishing contact after absence 1 year 1 month ago #93931

  • Mojo
  • Mojo's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Moderator
  • Moderator
  • Posts: 8561
  • Thank you received: 1815
It might be a good idea to keep duplicates of all letters and cards you send and put them in a keepsake box. If he does come looking, you and your son can show him that he was never forgotten and was always in your thoughts.

All the best

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

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.

  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2
Moderators: Samantha Downes