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TOPIC: Help please court process

Help please court process 7 months 4 weeks ago #96837

Ok so I have my first hearing on the 4th Feb directional hearing which what I have gathered not much happens apart from the next course of action

Cafcass advised they would probably be doing home visits and safeguarding checks which is perfectly understandable. Also I accused my ex of doing drugs and hopefully a drugs test will be ordered too . Anybody know the timescale I'm looking at for these things to happen ? My worry is she will stop the drugs in time before the test goes ahead . I explained my concerns to cafcass but they wasn't very helpful I was just wondering if anybody else who has been in this situation knows a rough timescale what we are looking at ? It sounds like cafcass will do a section 7 too

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Help please court process 7 months 4 weeks ago #96859

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Hi there

If the court orders an S7 this can take 12 - 16 weeks, depending on their work load.

If you’ve had your telephone interview with CAFCASS, you can receive their safeguarding letter anytime, right up until the morning of the hearing. Its a brief report, to tell the court some background of both parties, any history of involvement with police or social services, any allegations that have been made, and it will make certain recommendations to the court.

If the court orders a drug test, this will be in the form of a hair follicle test and will be ordered to take place before the date that the next hearing is listed.

With hair follicle tests, the results usually cover the previous 6 months, they take 1 cm for every month they want to test. If she dyes or cuts her hair, the testing company would include that in their report.

So factoring in the S7 and possible drug testing, you’re probably looking at a second hearing nearer June, but again that depends on the courts workload, I’ve given a rough estimate.

Best of luck

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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.

Help please court process 7 months 4 weeks ago #96868

Thanks ever so much for the reply I appreciate that no end

I've had the cafcass report and as I raised concerns about her mental health and the drugs they have recommended to the judge a section 7 could take place also a drugs test for her . Does this mean these things will happen ? I would rather they did than not in all honesty.

She does bleach her hair but she has done that for years will this affect her test ? I know 100% She takes drugs I just need to prove it . Will the drugs test be one of the first things done? I am really worried she will just stop for a while and then pass the test and this is the factor that gives me the most leverage !

Will there be a chance that contact will be allowed in a contact centre whilst the case is ongoing ? I haven't seen her for months now and I'm so damn desperate.

I never wanted it in court I just didn't have no other options I feel so out of my depth self representing as I've never been in this situation before .

Thanks For the help anybody that does :) this is causing me so much stress and worry

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Help please court process 7 months 4 weeks ago #96877

Self representing is a daunting task to most people, so you most definitely are not alone in feeling a little overwhelmed. But with the right approach and the right support you can achieve a good outcome. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Learning the ropes and staying child focused are 2 major keys to success.

When I had my 1st directions hearing back in 2013, I asked for interim contact whilst proceedings were ongoing and the judge granted that. So it definitely won't hurt to ask. In many cases Cafcass can help you arrange contact sessions in a contact centre. They did that for me. If the court are of the view that you pose no risk to your child, then some contact sooner rather than later is best for the child. A long gap with no contact makes it harder to re-establish a parent-child bond, and the court should know this.

If I remember rightly, in my case, the court ordered an S7 report mid November and it came back mid February, so 12 weeks is normally about right for that type of report.

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Help please court process 7 months 4 weeks ago #96879

Thank you again for a response it's crazy how a few comments on a forum can help ease the mind slightly !

I am totally focused on my little one and she is my priority her mother seems more interested in the whole tit for tat rubbish which I am just not getting involved in she's a great mother but does need to sort her drug use out and that's my only really concern hence why I think she will find a way around the test especially if it takes a long time to sort out so I'm not too hopeful about that side of things .

Do you have any advice for the first hearing ? I've gathered that I'm allowed to take some notes on the day and pass them to the judge? And have a copy myself to refer to ? I am worried I will forget alot of the things that I want to say .

I would jump at the chance of a contact centre I have no reasons to pose a risk to my little one so hopefully the judge sees it this way too ! I've done lots of scary things in my life but this has me so worried and anxious I'm not sleeping as it's all that is on my mind . I have another child too who does live with me would this likely go in my favour too ? As he's a healthy lad and never had any issues. She has a solicitor and I can't afford one and feel really inferior going up against them he's quite expensive and apparently really good I just want to see my little one and want to be as well equipped as possible I have read alot of posts on here and the stickies of what to do I just feel more confused now though

Edit : I also call my little one every 2 or 3 days too would this help my case as it's contact of sorts. She asks me all the time when she can see me and I just can't give her an answer it's so awful

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Help please court process 7 months 4 weeks ago #96887

On the day of my 1st hearing, I took along a position statement, which I handed to the clerk when I arrived. The judge read it before the hearing, so he had a good idea of my position before the hearing began, and it helped things along. You can also have your own copy in the hearing that you can refer to as and when necessary. That way you won't forget the points you want to make. The statement will only need to be 2-3 pages in length. Just remember to keep things child focused. Highlight how well the contact you have had so far has gone. Explain how further contact would be in the child's best interests. Keep it positive and don't attack mum. However, if there are issues you want the court to look at, then do state them.

I used to split my position statements into 3 parts. One that summarises the current position. One that puts forward any concerns you have i.e. issues that need resolving. And then one that tells the court what you would like to happen going forward. That way things keep focused without jumping all over the place. Just number each point/paragraph, so you can easily refer the judge to your points as you go along.

Take a note pad too, so you can make notes. There may be questions you want to ask that pop into your mind, and if you jot them down, you won't forget to ask them.

You mentioned that another child lives with you. Demonstrating to the court that you have experience of parenting would certainly help rather than hinder.

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Help please court process 7 months 3 weeks ago #96894

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Hi

Your position statement should be no longer than 1 to 2 pages of size 12 typed font. It should include a little bit of background, why you've made the application, and what you would like the court to do. Do not attach any evidence to this statement as you won't have permission at this stage.

I would suggest that you say you are seeking an eventual order of (for example) alternate weekend staying contact but you understand it will take time to progress from the current situation to that proposed, but that you are urging the court to make an interim order for contact to begin forthwith.

Take 3 copies with you - one for you, one for the court, and one for your ex. Look at your court listing - if it mentions lay justices or magistrates, you will need to take an extra 2 as the court will need 3 copies instead of 1.

Cafcass are extremely unlikely to organise a contact centre for you, so you need to do your research before you go. You can find the closest contact centres to the child by looking here;

naccc.org.uk/

Contact centres have 2 types of contact - Supervised which is one to one and reports are made on the sessions for the court to use, and Supported which is in a room with other parents and no report is provided.

You need to find out the costs and also about any waiting times for either type of contact. I would suggest that you don't include contact centre proposals in your position statement in case the mother agrees to unsupervised interim contact. If she won't agree to that, you can verbally suggest a contact centre and let the court know costs and waiting times. It usually falls to the father to pay for the contact centre.

As Cafcass have suggested a Section 7, it's more than likely this will need to be carried out. Depending on which part of the country you are in, this shouldn't take longer than 12 weeks.

If you have evidence you would like to be included in these proceedings, you will need to ask the court's permission to file a statement of evidence. This is usually done within a few weeks of the hearing.

Any questions, please feel free to post and we will do what we can to assist.

Best of luck

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I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

Help please court process 7 months 3 weeks ago #96914

Thank you both for your advice you both pretty much said the same thing which puts my mind at ease a little !

I will write my position statement and take it with me with several copies . Could I possibly day if my ex will not reach an agreement for unsupervised contact that I would take any type of contact that I was deemed to be allowed to have ? I'm not bothered how I see her I just want to see her I will do whatever it takes to see her .

The section 7 i have no problem with I have nothing at all that would go against me , I have a 3 year old as well as I stated before who isn't known to social services or anything and has never had any problems at all he's a well rounded healthy 3 year old and this certainly does demonstrate how I parent for sure I mean he knows more dinosaur names than I do haha .

I suffer with anxiety and I think this is what she will use against me as I had alot of problems growing up being abused by my own father my anxiety does get the better of me from time to time but I have an excellent support network who know how to pick me back up . Alot of people see mental health issues and run a mile I do have mine stable I hold down a full time job and look after my family however sometimes i just need that bit of help . Will this go against me ?

Has anybody had any experiences with the drugs test ? And the sort of time scale that takes will it be ordered at the 1st hearing I'm praying it will be and as soon as possible ! I think this will be by leverage.

The little one is my only interest and I will make sure the judge knows that my little lad misses his sister too and it's just not fair! Hard to explain to a 3 year old why he can't see her . I just hope it all gets sorted sooner rather than later as each day just feels like a day too long .

I will get my research done on contact centres this week and prepare my statement for the 4th of February . Thank you so much to everybody that has commented I wasn't expecting that it's nice to get a general outline of what will happen and what I can do to help enhance my case ! In the end i literally want every other weekend and share of holidays . I think this is a respectful amount of time to ask for I just want to spend time with my daughter I'll take whatever I can get

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Help please court process 7 months 3 weeks ago #96930

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I wouldn’t offer supervised contact straight off, you can do that verbally at the hearing, if it looks like it’s going that way, but make it clear that your reason for accepting supervised/supported contact would be because it would be of benefit to your child, to have continuity of contact with you, as not seeing you will cause distress.

If your anxiety is brought up, I would push the positives; that your problems stemmed from issues as a child, but as a fully functioning adult, that you are in full time work, support your family and have a good support network should extra help be required. If you’re not on medication, that’s another strong point to make. 1in 4 of us have MH issues at sometime in our lives, we’ll managed it shouldn’t be held against you.

Your other child’s distress is important and should be mentioned, courts do consider the impact on siblings.

Your asks are entirely reasonable, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself, nobody is expecting you to know the intricacies of law, just be yourself, put your child’s needs first, remain calm and be prepared to compromise.

If you need a template for your position statement, just ask.

All the best

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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.

Help please court process 7 months 3 weeks ago #96959

Thank you so much again! Everything you have said makes perfect sense and I know I am more than likely worrying about nothing I just never expected to be in this position .

I have my mental health under control and can prove so with doctors reports etc if I need to I am guessing the section 7 would cover this anyway?

Please if you could help with a template for the statement that would be really amazing as I'm not sure where to really start with it or how to lay it out etc .

I never expected this much help and I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart ! I will make sure I come back and and let everybody know how it goes and hopefully I might be able to help others when I have been through it myself :)

In regards to the drug test does anybody at all know when this will be ? For example will it be ordered at the first hearing and then she will have day 7 days to get it done etc ? As I can't seem to find an answer on this and is there anyway I can push it to get done faster I'm happy to pay whatever it takes.

Do I go full suited and booted to court as well ? Or is that a bit OTT ? I have plenty of suits so not a problem I just don't want to be overkill and the judge thinking I'm trying to be something i am not I want the judge to see me for me and just I love my daughter and want a relationship ! Breaks my heart everyday and my little boys I hate when he asks to see his sister because I just can't give him an answer at 3 he doesn't understand at all what is happening .

Again thank you so much sorry for rambling too

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Help please court process 7 months 3 weeks ago #96972

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Here's some links to info about how to structure statements and also a template that you can use.

www.thecustodyminefield.com/flapp/positionstatements.html

Template ~

media.wix.com/ugd/69743a_6f5457e9a07b43a...ith%20questions.docx

www.thecustodyminefield.com/flapp/statement.html

A good website with info in plain english, some court videos to watch too.

www.mfjc.co.uk

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Help please court process 7 months 3 weeks ago #96973

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As far as the reporter mentioning your MH in the S7, I’m pretty sure the reporter couldn’t access your records, I think the court would have to order you to provide them, but your ex is likely to mention it and you would then be asked about it as part of the reports process.

You could ask your GP to provide a letter, to pre empt any concerns over your MH, that might be enough of a response to any concerns raised by your ex..

I can’t see the test being ordered so quickly, the court is more likely to order that it’s done before the date for the next hearing, as that’s likely to be three or four months after your upcoming hearing, it does allow leeway. You could suggest dates for it at the hearing, and ask that she agree to one of them so that you can organise and pay for it... it’s difficult to say how it will pan out.

It’s always a good idea to go well presented in my opinion, first impressions count. If you’re used to wearing a suit, there’s nothing wrong with doing so. If you want to go smart casual, that’s acceptable too. I wouldn’t tell someone to go buy a suit and some people feel comfortable turning up in their everyday clothes. I’m old school and my personal preference would be a suit, as a point of respect for the bench. :)

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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.
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