what has been happening in your hearings so far, fact finding, section 7 report??
can you check your court papers and see what its asking you to do or prepare. mine was the usual of taking position statement and trying to agree on all the things we disagreed on at last hearing. cafcass woman told us that its better to agree on things before seeing the judge, as judge could order something that both parents may not be happy with. my case was standard, none of the drama of fact finding or being cross-examined. just s7 report. you will get your chance to speak.
FHDRA ex’s solicitor proposed I halve the time I get with my two children so that was a no. Solicitor then told court to arrange full hearing, full day.
Court wanted statements so they have been sent in last week. No cafcass issues, ex has agreed to half the holidays and bringing weekends I have my two into line with when my partner has her boys.
Only thing left is term-time. I’ve gone for the status quo that has been in place for 12 months, so that’s 3 nights a week. Ex is trying to get me down to 5 nights in 14 but has made no justification from the children’s perspective but has. mentioned in the same breath child maintenance which is obviously more on 5/14 than 3/7
Just want to make sure i get to cover everything in court. Trying to write my opening statement and cross examination questions at the moment
oh ok. all you should do is write/speak why its in child best interests to spend more time with you/both parents. like you want more time to meet their educational needs, studies/homework.
use child welfare checklist and write around that:
The overriding consideration in family proceedings is the question of “what is in the best interests of the child/children?” In answering this question, the court and other professionals are guided by a criteria known as the Welfare Checklist.
The Welfare Checklist Criteria
1. The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding);
The court are required to take the wishes and feelings of the child into consideration. It is not defined in law at which age the court will begin to listen to the child, but the court will tend to place more weight on a child’s wishes and feelings from the age of 11 or 12 onwards. However, it does depend on the individual circumstances of the child in question; The court will assess their maturity and understanding of the situation.
Ordinarily it will be the role of CAFCASS to speak to the child and ascertain their wishes and feelings. In exceptional circumstances the Judge may speak to the child themselves. It is important for the court to be satisfied that these are indeed the true wishes and feelings of the child and they are not mirroring the views of a parent. It is important to be aware that the wishes and feelings of the child are viewed in conjunction with other factors and will not wholly dictate the outcome.
2. his physical, emotional and educational needs;
The court are required to consider the child’s short term and long term physical, emotional and educational needs. They will consider which parent is best placed to provide these to the child and this will usually be based on evidence that has been submitted to the court. Physical needs tend to be straightforward whereas emotional needs may require more investigation. A child’s needs will change as they become older and therefore the court must be satisfied that the parents can manage these changes and provide stability for the child at the same time.
3. the likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances;
The court are required to consider the potential impact of any change in circumstances on the child. The court will often take a decision that will cause the least disruption to a child’s life. An example of this may be where the non-resident parent applies for residence of the child. The court will need to consider the potential impact that the change in residence would cause, i.e. change of school, change of social environment.
4. his age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
The court are required to consider the child’s age, cultural and religious background and other characteristics which are specific to the child and the wider family.
5. any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
The court will examine harm that the child has suffered and harm that the child is at risk of suffering in the future. Harm is defined as ‘‘ill treatment or the impairment of health or development”. The court will weigh up the potential risk to the child and issue an order which is reflective of this. The order could feasibly contain protective measures which are aimed at safeguarding the child. This particular criterion will require the court to examine allegations of domestic abuse.
6. how capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs;
The court will want to ensure that both parents are putting the child first and are able to meet all the child’s needs. This criterion will therefore require the court to consider the respective accommodation that both parents are able to provide and the extent to which both parents can meet the child’s needs. This will be case specific and therefore it will depend on the specific needs of the child and the abilities of the parent. There is no assumption that a mother is better placed to meet a child’s needs compared to the father.
7. the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in question.
The court will consider every option and can make a wide range of orders, even if they have not been applied for. For example, there may be a case determining contact but it emerges that the resident parent intends to go abroad on a permanent basis with the child without seeking the consent of the other parent with Parental Responsibility. The court may therefore think it is appropriate to grant a prohibited steps order preventing the moving parent from leaving the jurisdiction.
Your final hearing is merely to arrange how often you have children. How old are your children currently? Do you already have a court order in place?
What contact was you getting before all this happened? Are you seeing children at moment? Once I know all this I will be able to tell you what you are likely to get.
Its not a find a fact hearing , its likely that you wont have to respond to hardly any allegations . not factual and not true will be best answer to most of them. Be a hearing negotiating contact going back and forth all day , if you don't agree its cross examination if judge decides to. you aren't far apart it seems you and your ex what final outcome is likely to be
What you will be definitely getting is half the holidays , every other weekend
They are 5 and 7, have been staying with me overnight for 6 nights in 14 for the last 18 months and ex has confirmed this isn’t a problem on 4 occasions (text and emails). Only when I went to court as she refused mediation to sort holidays did she say that I should have them less and that she would no longer pick them up from school on my nights (she works 10-2) but that’s not a problem as I’d rather pick them up from school anyway and my partner works part time so can help me out.
Her statement is 20 paragraphs criticising me and making out I’m nasty to her etc etc. My statement was factual all backed up my texts and emails.
Her statement makes no justification from the children’s perspective especially given that under her proposal they would go 6 nights without seeing me against the current 3 nights. They will be devastated.
I’m tempted to prove several key points of her statement are false and leave the judge to conclude for himself that the rest has no credibility.
Ok when are your overnights taking place at moment. could you write down your current schedule then I can see where this is going. I am particularly curious what weekday contact you are having at moment overnight wise as that could be crucial in a judges decision.
You really needn't worry about what her statement is saying, its to derail you. the key issue is sorting out contact arrangements. its a final hearing which will be sorting contact out and a cross examination if neither or 1 party not happy.
I have the following which is 6 nights over 2 weeks
Fri, sat, sun, wed, thurs, mon
Ex wants me to only have every weds and every other weekend. This means the children won’t see me for 6 nights in a row whereas it’s currently 3. I’m asking to maintain the status quo. Only spanner ex is throwing in is that she wants me to pick up from school on my nights which I can do so isn’t a problem to me. For the last 18 months she has done the pick ups as she finishes work at 2pm.
This pattern is of her own making and she even confirmed to me by email after she was aware of the court action that the above pattern was not in dispute.
She has in her statement agreed to half the holidays so the above pattern is the term time part of the arrangements
I misread and thought you suggested you couldn't do pick up from school.
You are going to have a battle on your hands here. firstly she wants to halve your time to 6 nights a month. you got 12 nights a month but you are unhappy that the weekends aren't in sync, also you want half the holidays as well.
So this hearing is going to be solely about wether you can agree on things and if you don't its cross examination.
Generally a hearing will result in child lives with mum spends time with dad .
I can see you getting fri pick up from school and dropping off to school Monday morning. I can see you keeping your Wednesday as well every week overnight stay which you should also ask for pick up from school and drop off to school Thursday. so we are on 10 nights . you will then have a fight about this Monday which u will only get every other week wether to drop it or get it every other week potentially after cross examination.
Ex will say she has changed weekends and done everything she can to applease you and given you half the holidays at hearing. so your final hearing will be either 10 nights or 12. to get 12 will probably be cross examination which you may lose.
I personally have 10 nights which I am happy with and I want . I have every other weekend , half the holidays and every Tuesday overnight .
You could accept 10 nights from ex but say you want child arrangements order to say lives with both parents rather than lives with mum and spends time with father.
The allegations and your ex saying things Is to put a fight up, she is offering contact hence it will be a whole day of negotiating .
if it was me I would pick 10 nights and lives with both parents and have that in back of my mind or 12 nights and lives with mum as an option..14 wont happen