TOPIC: First Hearing advice

First Hearing advice 7 months 1 week ago #97316

I have read everything I can here and elsewhere - bought and read the Lucy Reed book. I have a couple of issues I can't seem to find an answer to - really around strategy. I am representing myself although I have paid for two fixed-price sessions from a family lawyer before I issued the C100 form.

We have had the Cafcass interviews and Cafcass have shared their findings - they are saying there are no safeguarding issues and they don't expect to be involved beyond the first hearing.

I didn't get the C7 form until after the Cafcass interviews had been done.

Ex has ticked the box on the C7 that says "Do you believe that the child(ren) named above have suffered or are at risk of suffering any harm from any of the following:"

As I understand it, she'd normally be required to give details on a C1A form - but she hasn't submitted one.

I wrote to her lawyer pointing out that I haven't had the C1A - they haven't replied although they did confirm receipt of my e-mail.

I called the Court - they haven't had a C1A - they seemed very lax and said they don't always even get a C7 form before the hearing. I said I thought there was a 14 day deadline for paperwork but they effectively said they don't care about that.

I called the Cafcass person who was really surprised that Q7 had been answered yes.

We have one week to go to the first hearing - ex was trying to get it adjourned but so far has failed.

So (finally) to my questions -

Do I have to wait until the day to see the C1A form? It seems crazy to have a form and deadline and then ignore it - especially as she has a solicitor. It seems clear to me she is making these false allegations to try and delay the process and it looks as if the Court Service are facilitating that. I know they have to take any allegations seriously but allowing her to tick a box and then not give any details is really taking the Mickey.

Should I submit a position statement now (or soon)? The Charlotte Trace advice linked to in a sticky at the top of the forum suggests I should - whereas a lot of forum posts here and elsewhere suggest saving my position statement for the day.

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First Hearing advice 7 months 1 week ago #97318

Don't be surprised by her solicitors if they don't give you a copy until the day or a few days before if they decide to, i've had things handed to me on the day of a hearing before. although on that one it is rather underhanded and will be frowned upon by the judge.

With it being a first hearing it's a directions hearing, they will hear your reasons for the application then her reasons for refusing contact etc... then they'll decide if they can make an order if you both agree or whether they then need to order CAFCASS to carry out a more detailed report on the allegations your ex dreams up.

You don't need to submit a position statement for a first hearing, but i personally would have one typed up with you on the day and when in court you could offer it to the judge if they wanted to see it. usually a position statement would be ordered by the courts for the next hearing where you both argue your case.
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Dad-i-d

i'm not legally trained....i'm just a Dad going through hell to see his child grow up and become a decent man and human being.....my goal is simple...to be the father to my child like my father is to me...my hero.

Started this battle 2010.....who knows when the fighting will stop!

Parental Alienation is real and is abuse!

First Hearing advice 7 months 1 week ago #97332

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That is sound advice regarding the position statement. Keep it to 2 pages in length and just give a brief oversight.

It's not unusual for solicitors to send paperwork the day before or give it to you at the hearing. If that happens, please do tell the court you haven't had time to seek legal advice regarding anything they submit.

Cafcass have said they have no role here so hopefully the court will try and get the mother to reach agreement on a way forward.

Best of luck with the hearing and do let us know how you get on.
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DAD.info Moderator

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.

First Hearing advice 7 months 1 day ago #97470

Quick update - waited all afternoon, had short hearing. Nothing decided so we go to a Dispute Resolution Hearing on 21st March.

The fact ex had ticked the abuse box wasn't mentioned by anyone so flip knows what that was about.

Cafcass tried to get us to agree but we couldn't.

She says I live too far away for overnights on weekdays or whole weekends as Daughter would have to travel too far. I live 17 miles away - it takes 30-45 minutes depending on traffic.

We need to do statements in two weeks - off to research what to do now - I may ask my lawyer.

Thanks everyone for the advice

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First Hearing advice 7 months 1 day ago #97476

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17 miles is nothing, some children do far more than that as per court order!

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for alternate full weekends, Does your child go to school?

The bog standard order is usually for alternate weekends and a weekly midweek visit, which can be an overnight. Although that’s not set in stone. Just be clear about what you would like and why you feel it’s in your child’s best interests.

I can link you to some further information about statements that might be useful.

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.

First Hearing advice 7 months 1 day ago #97477

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More links

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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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.

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First Hearing advice 7 months 8 hours ago #97484

Mojo wrote: Does your child go to school?


She's ten years old, in year six.

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First Hearing advice 7 months 8 hours ago #97485

I did a position statement (2 pages) before this hearing - I did hand it over since the lawyer for my ex had done one and brought it.

Hers was basically moaning about all sorts of stuff like not being granted an adjournment rather than saying anything much about our daughter - it seemed really odd to me. It also had spelling mistakes which made me smile since ex has no doubt paid plenty for that.

I think I may need to be represented at the next hearing though - they are starting to sound very technical about stuff and suggested there could be cross-examination next time. I don't mind being questioned by my ex's lawyers - I just don't think it will look good me challenging her on stuff.

Also not entirely sure what evidence we'd present - since she says the distance is too great and adds too much travel time and that's really her only major objection what evidence would we be talking over - the distance and travel times are a matter of fact and not contested.

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First Hearing advice 7 months 4 hours ago #97504

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I think it's a flimsy objection, as I say most courts will make an order for children to travel far further every fortnight. I'm not sure if there may be any case law about who pays for travel... worth looking into.

You have been ordered to file a statement, there's info/links in my previous post to help with that. As its a statement of case, you can give more detail and make it longer, attaching any evidence that you have.
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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.

First Hearing advice 6 months 4 weeks ago #97537

Thanks again. We have the order from the Court now and it's pretty technical language that I don't really understand - I think I am going to book an hour with my solicitor so she can explain it to me.

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First Hearing advice 6 months 4 weeks ago #97541

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I’m assuming that’s an interim order? Im sure your solicitor will be able to explain what it says and put it into plain English for you.

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.

First Hearing advice 6 months 3 weeks ago #97547

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How long have the court allocated for the DRA? If it's an hour or two, they're unlikely to make a final order at that hearing unless they can get you both to agree.

If they want to turn it in to a final hearing, it's up to you if you allow that to happen as you are entitled to a fair hearing if it's contested.

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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.
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