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TOPIC: Help and advice with hearing

Help and advice with hearing 3 days 12 hours ago #98304

Hello all

It’s been almost three years and tomorrow may be my last hearing.

The judge said last time that this matter must be bought to conclusion soon. The cafcass officer/guardian involved states that this should be the last one. There is nothing more cafcass can do

Well where I am now - I’ve lost count of the hearings that have taken place, but it’s over 20.

I picked up a report today from the cafcass/guardians solicitor and I’ve read through it.
I only have one out of three children who can put his thought forward, he’s 12 and states that he does not want to see me. I have written him a letter with some photographs via a support worker organised through cafcass. The cafcass officer said that she feels positive that he will come forward on his own in time ( he asked to take the photos and became emotional)
The other two children - one has autism and is non verbal. The other is three

Anyway - out of the recommendations
Obviously with my eldest they can’t reccom contact if he’s stating he does not want contact. The recommendation is indirect contact twice per year via a letter, card etc. However if he instigated contact that would be ok, he had done half way through this process but seemed to change his mind (along with his mother)

The same recommendation is for my youngest who’s 3 - indirect twice a year.

My middle son is in residential care due to his disability- it will be down to the social services where contact is concerned.

I also have a prohibitive steps order in with my application as my ex changed the children’s names

Now what happenes tomorrow?

I have no legal representation anymore as I could no longer afford it.

What happens if I don’t agree with the recommendations?
The one that gets me is my youngest - it was recommended previously that indirect contact take place via a contact centre by a psychologist in a report last year, however that seems to have changed.

If I just sit there and accept it tomorrow- thats it?
If I say I don’t agree - will there be a contested hearing- or will the judge make his own decision. Or- will the judge just listen to to recommendations made by the cafcass worker?

My fear is - if I only have indirect contact it will be down to my ex to pass on the letters etc to my children - and I know that she won’t, not a chance.

As anyone got any advice?

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Help and advice with hearing 3 days 9 hours ago #98311

  • Mojo
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Hi there

It’s been a long, arduous journey for you, I really feel for you.

If you disagree with the recommendations, I think you should speak up about how you feel and offer an alternative solution, what’s the worse that can happen?

Judges often go with the recommendations, but not always... if you can give a strong argument for more time, perhaps suggest a progressed schedule, the starting point being the recommendations, but then moving it forward from that over a period of time.

I think your strongest position would be with your youngest child, I would push for a much shorter period of indirect contact, that progresses to supervised contact at a contact centre. He is too young to have strong wishes and there’s time to form a bond with him, if contact is handled thoughtfully. You could ask for there to be a review hearing after a set period, to look at progressing the contact with your youngest.

You could ask about the possibility of a Family Assistance Order, so that during the period of indirect contact, the children will be assisted and encouraged to respond to your contact. If you feel the mother wouldn’t encourage indirect contact, this may be a way to make sure the children receive the letters and are helped to read them.

I’m not sure about the contested hearing.

All the best for tomorrow and please do drop by and let us know how you get on.
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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!

Help and advice with hearing 3 days 7 hours ago #98313

Thanks for your advice Mojo

I feel a lot better - and as you say what’s the worst that can happen for asking?
I’ve got nothing to loose in that sense- I just don’t think the recommendation especially in regards to my youngest makes any sense, especially after backtracking previously.

The thing is with the indirect contact recommendation- there was no time mentioned? Just twice a year by the way off letters/cards etc. That does not seem like a path to progression whatsoever. My ex would not be interested in facilitating or encouraging anything at all.

I will have a think about how I will go about this tomorrow morning and just hope that something comes of it

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Help and advice with hearing 2 days 20 hours ago #98317

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I agree, your youngest is too young to express wishes and to be honest, there are contradictions in the report, if they give the reason for indirect contact with your oldest as him not wanting contact, not because they thought it unsafe for him to do so. They state that it would be ok if he picks up contact in the future, so they have no safeguarding concerns... I would certainly make a point of using this to argue your position in regard to your youngest.

In my opinion, there should be a defined length of time that indirect contact is in place, there has to be some progression from that, especially for your youngest... as I said before use that as a starting point but ask that after 6 months that should move to supervised contact in a contact centre, so that you and your child’s interaction can be reported on and if it is going well then contact should be ordered in the community.

If your eldest sees that his sibling has a good relationship with you, wouldn’t that be something that is positive for him and might encourage him to change his mind? I hope you’re able to make all these points today and can get an order that will work for you... it may be a long process but it should be progressive. Good luck for today.

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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!

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