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TOPIC: Struggling to make headway and relationship suffering

Struggling to make headway and relationship suffering 3 weeks 2 days ago #97993

Hello everyone,

I was hoping I could get some opinions/advice on a situation; I will TRY to keep this as short as possible but apologies in advance for the barrage of text that follows!

I have been in and out of proceedings for the past 6 years for various contact and CAO issues/breaches by the mother. The latest application started with one for enforcement of the CAO as the mother failed to make our daughter available for contact (again) and, coached her into thinking the holiday we had booked some time ago to Dubai was dangerous and she wouldn't be going. This application is still running alongside another which was made a few months later to vary the current CAO; I am currently asking for a shared care arrangement to be made vs. the current every other weekend arrangement. In addition, I am not allowed to attend any doctors/consultant appointments or be part of any of my daughter's extra curricular activities; we are kept at arms length from everything.

Since then, we have been into court (and continue to do so) numerous times with the mother still seeing fit to breach and manipulate the order as she sees fit. My daughter has now had a guardian and representative appointed, and a report was carried out by CAFCASS advising that my daughter has not been given the 'emotional permission' to have proper contact with me and my family. This is very true together with the fact that the mother has been alienating and coaching my daughter from us for the past 6 years; the courts have allowed this to go on far too long, and it appears that they are looking at dragging it out for even longer.

Our current position 13 months on from the last enforcement and variation applications, is that CAFCASS and the court are looking to consider ordering for a psychological report on the 5 people involved; ex and her husband, me and my wife and my daughter. Their thinking behind this is that there is possibility that it may come to it that CAFCASS and the court would consider a change of residence, with my daughter coming to live with us.......POSSIBLY, or strengthen our request of shared care; although I believe my case is super solid and strong already with the evidence presented. However, with the extortionate cost of this report together with the amount of time it would take to compile (4-6months), we are left in limbo without knowing when and what contact we will have with my daughter, we can't make any plans for the summer holidays etc, and the biggest thing is there is no guarantee or reassurance that once this report is carried out, that the mother wont decide to take the law into her own hands again and go on as she has been.

We have the added complication that the mother has decided to sign our daughter up to a private school and has been clear to CAFCASS that when she runs out of money she will just put her into public school. We have been against private school as we have no way of funding it, from the very beginning this was mentioned however, we have been kept in the dark about the whole school process, open days, choices and applications etc.

We are due back in court next week to receive further information regarding the psychological report i.e. costings, length of time it would take etc. with a view to the court making an order that this report should be carried out. In the meantime, the mother has taken it upon herself (no suggestions made by CAFCASS) to have my daughter attend counselling because she believes that my daughter doesn't want to come and stay for so long with us in the summer holidays (half), doesn't want to stay with us half of Easter etc. it goes on. She says that she has a special bond with her 6mth old baby sister and wants to spend more time with her. In the background, I know that she is being manipulated by her mother because in a perfect world i'd say I don't want to be involved; just take your child maintenance and go and be a happy family.....that will never happen.

So my questions are:

- Regarding the psychological report, the cost, the time it would take to compile and the fact that there are no reassurances of further future breaches by the mother, is it really worth doing? Is it something I should be going along with? Or should I be arguing against the report for these reasons?

- Legally, can anyone give me a steer on what I could go for here? I'm not convinced on the report above; personally I think a drastic change in contact and order needs to be made; a much more watertight order to include a penal notice, should the mother think about breaching it again. I think some solid, stern action needs to be taken at the next hearing, especially given that now the mother has started to have my daughter have counselling sessions, without any agreement or mention of it previously. I'm worried that if it goes on any longer, our relationship with my daughter will grow weaker and weaker to the point where, she will be made to believe by her mother, 'you dont need your dad'. I think the mother is in the Guardian's bad books given her track record, and she has painted an accurate picture of herself over the last 13 months to them with schooling, counselling, further breaches etc.

Any further advice or suggestions would be very welcome if theres something I haven't mentioned. I appreciate the help.

Thank you.

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Struggling to make headway and relationship suffering 3 weeks 2 days ago #97995

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Hi there

Yours seems to be quite a complex case, with lots of applications in a seemingly short period of time. Have you spoken to the Guardian about the recent developments with the private school stuation? It seems irresponsible to me that a parent would place their child in a private school without the means to pay for it long term! It’s something that I would certainly make more of. Also the counselling, I’m not sure the court would be too happy about that either, I would talk to the guardian and the court about that too.

You’re right, psychological reports are very costly and time consuming. We have a member that has recently gone though this and the outcome wasn’t as positive
as he had hoped... that’s not to say that you would have the same result, but I’m just not in a position to advise one way or the other.

I think I would try and pare it back to the most important points and highlight the favourable reports and irresponsibility of the mother.

Best of luck
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DadTalk Moderator...

I'm not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

Struggling to make headway and relationship suffering 3 weeks 2 days ago #97997

Hi,

Thank you for your reply.

The Guardian is aware about the schooling issue and they take a dim view of how the mother has conducted herself on this; so much so, that they are now filing a Specific Issue Order as they are not happy for her to just say that she'll take my daughter out of private school if she can't afford it, and put her into state school. It just hasn't been considered properly and, we haven't had the chance to be involved. It's all been done behind closed doors!

The mother tried to make out that it was the guardian who had suggested counselling however, when I checked with them they confirmed that they know nothing about it and have not recommended counselling for my daughter at all. This is something the mother has arranged as she believes my daughter's voice and true 'wishes and feelings' are not being heard i.e. she doesn't want to spend time with us......I know my daughter and I know that this is all fed by her mother. Text messages I receive from my daughter with adult dictated language.....its just so obvious!

I'm just not convinced that given the above development since we were last in court a couple of weeks ago, how a psychological report would change anything. In my view, what needs to happen is the court and the Guardian need to seriously consider my proposal of a watertight shared care order, and include a penal notice so if I do need to go back to court for enforcement, something would actually be done rather than her being let off constantly.

The reason we are in the position we are is because the court has been too soft on her. I actually think that, Residence should now be a serious consideration; though this may be a conversation I can have with the Guardian i guess. We and my daughter cant go on like this; we are being manipulated like puppets by the mother. Its almost like she sees this as a game she has to win, a vendetta.....at the expense of my daughter's relationship with us, but she has not a care in the world.

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Struggling to make headway and relationship suffering 3 weeks 2 days ago #97998

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It can seem that when the courts are confronted by this type of extreme alienating behaviour, they are at somewhat of a loss as to how to deal with it... after leaving it for too long and letting the alienation bed in, they see the dilemma as being that the child, once alienated, would be further damaged by a change of residence... quite shocking really.

Sometimes a complex case can seem not to be dealing strongly enough with the issues, but then can do a u-turn at the last.

It’s impossible to predict what might happen, it seems to me you have a strong case and must push for the conditions that you feel will help the most, such as the shared care... perhaps suggest that transferral of residence be made but suspended, that it is made a condition, that if there is a breach, the transfer of residence will go ahead.

Best of luck
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DadTalk Moderator...

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I may not be legally trained... but I have plenty of experience and common sense!

Struggling to make headway and relationship suffering 3 weeks 2 days ago #97999

Hi Mojo,

Thank you for your reply.

I didn't think of putting it like that; I like the theory behind it though. Shared care as an initial order and if the order is breached, the condition should be that residence is invoked. Not sure how they'll view that but I will definitely run it past the guardian; thank you so much!

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Struggling to make headway and relationship suffering 3 weeks 17 hours ago #98029

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You’re welcome, transfer of residence suspended is one of the tools available to the court, it’s just a shame they don’t use the penalties they have to hand more often and sooner.

Shared care doesn’t automatically mean an equal amount of time with each parents, but it does equalise both parents position in that the child has two homes... it’s a common perception that the resident parent is somehow the more important parent, and the wording on an order, that a child lives with one parent and visits the other does nothing to dispel that notion in my opinion!

Best of luck

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Struggling to make headway and relationship suffering 2 weeks 1 day ago #98103

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It's a shame the courts don't threaten this earlier on in the proceedings, such as at the first breach being brought back to court, I'm sure it would save a lot of court time as well as heartache.

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