I have just literally joined this forum. I wish I had known about it months ago, it has a huge amount of useful information that could have helped.
I don’t know how to begin this post. I will do my best in breaking down and keeping things simple and brief as possible. My marriage ended about 1 and a half years ago. I had my suspicions about her being unfaithful but never had proof. When I caught her pretty much red handed she confessed to everything. Me being an idiot I forgave her, for the sake of our child, who was only 2 at the time. Long story short, a few months later I found out that she was still in a relationship with this other man. So I could not take the lies and deceit anymore and walked away from the marriage.
As far as seeing my child this has never been a problem. My ex allowed me to see my daughter whenever I wanted. She stayed overnight every weekend. Early 2019, without my knowledge my ex had applied for child maintenance. The CSA informed me of my contributions to child care and I started to pay without missing one single payment. My ex rang me shouting and swearing saying that the amount the CSA had awarded her was not enough. She basically told me to pay 5 times the amount that the CSA had said. I told her that if she disagreed with the amount she would need to take it up with the CSA. She told me point blank that if I did not pay I could no longer see my daughter.
I have not seen my daughter for almost a year now. I applied to family court believing naively that my troubles would be over, simple. However, she first accused me of domestic abuse, but she had no proof of this. So then she accused me of taking drugs. The ironic thing is she did exactly the same thing before with her first husband, so it’s almost like she’s got the same text book out and is going through it page by page, only this time with me. To make this brief, the family court under the guidance of CAFCAS has requested I have a hair strand test done for drug use. I have no problem with this at all. I agreed with CAFCAS that I was happy to pay for half of the cost if my ex paid the other half. I initially said I would happily pay the full amount, until I found out how much it was. The cost is £1200! So with no evidence from my ex of drugs use I have to have a drugs test done.
Unfortunately, during the first hearing, my ex stated to the judge that she had zero savings. I know this to be a lie; since she was £20,000 in a saving account which was she received as a divorce settlement. I unfortunately decided to be honest and said I had only £2000 in savings. So without requesting any bank statements or proof of our finances the judge ordered that I pay the full amount of £1200 for the test! I was declared bankrupt last year and it has taken me a whole year to save £2000 and now the court expect me to waste £1200 on a test that will show me as a non drug user but will leave me with savings of just £800, whilst she has £20,000 but because the judge simply believed her she has to pay zero.
I am waiting for the court order to arrive in the post. I have been advised to write to the court to explain that I simply cannot afford to fund such a test. I would also write to them to explain that my ex has misled the court in regards to her finances and in fact she has substantial more saving that I do. I am at a point now where I have lost faith in the courts. I was under the belief a person cannot simply be accused of something with no evidence. This does not seem to be the case with family court, your ex can accuse you of anything with no proof and the courts will take it seriously. If the courts refuse to accept my letter and still decide that I have to pay, then my only other option is to flat out refuse to be tested. Hand the matter back to CAFCAS and let them put forward another report with what their recommendations would now be in regards to access. They have admitted that my daughter needs her father in her life. So with a drug test or without they will have to come to some form of arrangement to allow me to see my daughter. I am sick of being seen as the enemy, the way I was treated by the judge was disgusting, even with no evidence he and the four other women on the panel had already made their minds up that I was not a good dad. My approach was that my ex was happily letting me see my daughter ever since our separation so why all of a sudden am I now a danger to our child because of my alleged drug use, she claims I was using drugs throughout our marriage, so if this is true, why was it not a problem before when you let our child stay overnight with me every weekend. I had proof of this, she is denying my child ever spent time with me and has never had overnight stays.
Again the court decided that they did not want to see my evidence of this nor did they ask my ex as to why she had let out daughter stay the night knowing I was allegedly a danger and a drug user. They simply did not care about my side of the story, it was all about the mum.
I am now at a loss as what to do; I am looking for any advice. The stress that I am under is unbearable, I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
I apologise for the long post, I just hope someone can help. Thank you.
Sorry to hear you have been having a tough time in court. My court adventures have cost at least £5000 so far.
What is your work situation like? Unfortunately court makes a lot of dads jump through hoops like this, and we have to go along with it if we want a decent arrangement with the kids. Is it possible for you to contact Cafcass and ask that you will struggle to pay and are other options available?
Hello Whizo, great commiserations for your situation, many of us on here feel your pain.
I am not best placed to give you advice, I have not been through the court process, but others better placed will for sure respond.
I just want to say that you are by no means alone with regard facing false allegations of DV. It is an epidemic and seems the first resort of many resident parents when they wish to gain, usually financially. There have been so many on here posting that their exes have made these unsubstantiated allegations.
They come from nowhere and are very powerful, both in in legal dealings and personally. When I return to my village, where I and my children were born and have many friends, there is a group of people that literally turn their backs on me because my ex has made these DV statements to her friends.
Stay strong - hopefully others on here can offer more practical advice.
This sounds tough. Have CAFCASS been involved at all as of yet? It is worth discussing with them the amicable arrangement you had before hand before she started demanding more money from you. You have nothing to worry about that, as long as you are paying the amount the CSA have calculated, there is nothing they can do to you about that.
I understand the drug test is frustrating, especially if it is made up. I don't know if you can suggest that you are happy to take one to show she is lying, and when the test comes back negative, she should pay you back for the inconvenience. Some women claim DV to get legal aid, that is what mine did, and I spent a lot of money myself when it should not have been needed to go to court anyway.
Have you had no contact at all for a year, not even phone calls or anything? That is really harsh.
I want to start by thanking everyone for their support and advice.
To answer some of the questions asked above. CAFCAS has been involved since the start of me taking this matter to court. The CAFCAS officer was also shocked and surprised when the judge ordered me to pay the full costs of the drugs test. He said that normally the judge would ask for bank statements to provide some detail of each person’s financial situation. If the judge had done this he would have seen that my ex had clearly lied to the court when she said she had zero savings and played the part of the struggling single parent. The reality being that she has approximately £20,000 in her account.
I have talked to CAFCAS and all they could recommend was to wait for the court order to arrive and then email the court. He suggested that I state that I believe the order from the judge for me to pay the full amount was unfair. He said I should also mention that it would be wise for the court to obtain bank statements. Lastly, as mentioned above, I could ask the judge to have my ex reimburse me either in full or for half the money if the test comes back negative.
From my experience with the family court I doubt very much if the judge will agree to any of this. The whole hearing was extremely one sided. I now know first hand how blatantly unfair the family courts are to men. They really do not care. They seem to have the attitude that being men we will somehow manage. But the poor, fragile, defenceless woman needs all the help she can get. The judge was an old man who seemed to be out of touch with the real world. The kind of man who still thinks all unmarried women are virgins, never swear, fart or burp. As far as he was concerned my ex was an angel and sided with her from the get go.
All I can do is take the advice above and from CAFCAS and write to the court once the order arrives. I may also get some legal advice on what if I can’t afford to take the test, then what. It’s not like I am refusing to be tested but simply I cannot fund the cost. I am sure the court will have to come up with an alternative. One thing I have learnt from this is that if you are a push over you will get stepped on big time. Don’t assume that justice is blind, it’s not, and I learnt that at my first hearing. My ex has lied blatantly to the judge and is not worried or frightened at the repercussions. Maybe she knows that being a woman she will always get away with it!
I think you need to instruct a solicitor to act for you and get help from this forum as well to get contact with your kids
I think you need to instruct a solicitor to act for you and get help from this forum as well to get contact with your kids
Man I had this, i self repped about 7 years ago and I knew my ex would make me do a drugs test, I took a hair strand test costing £300 and shown the negative test at the first hearing when the ex brought it up then the buggers said we want another negative result at the next hearing.
I ended up spending £1200 on negative tests in 13 months ffs. On top of that I had to do a 3 month parenting course 1 day a week on a Wednesday my boss had a heart attack when I told him. All this whilst it was my ex who was the drug taking alcoholic child abusing psychopath. Going into my 8th year through family court I can safely say nothing has changed. Once again top can do no wrong but as always you jump through all the hoops tick all the boxes and you will get there with the right advice and support.
Thank you Mr Slim, I really appreciate your reply and all the others.
Reading about your situation makes mine look like nothing compared to yours. I guess I am angry that my ex seems to be able to get away with lie after lie with zero repercussions. Yet the advice on this forum to dads is always to be honest and transparent. I have done this throughout and all it has got me is nowhere. To me in family court even if the man is 110% honest with everything we still get crucified. Yet the women are let off. I cannot get my head around that.
I was angry that my ex had £20,000 in savings and I was just recovering from bankruptcy and yet the judge disregarded all of that and ordered me to pay for the test in full, where is the justice in that?
I have learnt the hard way that the family courts are biased. Men have to literally bend over, lube up and take it regardless. I’m sick of this system, this is not justice!
I am in no way refusing to take any type of test. I simply do not have the money. I can show this with bank statements. But the judge wasn’t interested. So what do I do now, borrow money again, get myself into debt again? I thought justice was free, again I was so naive and stupid to believe this.
I guess I don’t have a choice, I have to find the money, get tested, and then if I’m luck I will be able to see my little girl. But even then I am not holding my breath, because I know something else will be brought up and I will have more hoops to jump through. The whole system is a farce and I for one have lost all faith in it.
It seems extremely unfair that you have been ordered to pay for everything without the provision of bank statements & agree with the advice you've had from Cafcass about writing to the court.
Have you got magistrates or a District Judge?
Many solicitors offer a free 30 min appointment so it might be worth taking that route.
You could always try calling the Child Law Advice line too;
Thank you for the advice Yoda. I have no idea if I had magistrates or District Judges. At the start of the virtual video trial, there were numerous technical issues. So I think the introductions got missed out. There was one male judge and 4 other women, one of whom was a court legal advisor.
The whole thing was extremely rushed, and the legal advisor kept reminding the judges that they had another virtual trial scheduled after mine. So they were constantly being rushed. The whole thing was just a joke.
I will be emailing the court once the order arrives in the post. I will keep everyone updated.
Okay so you had magistrates in Tier 1, not a judge which is Tier 2.
Magistrates are very hit and miss and in my experience often side with the mother particularly in situations like yours. Occasionally you get a decent one, but you're also at the mercy of whether the legal advisor is any good.
Please try not to think this is the way the family courts are usually run, I can assure you, they are not.
You could give serious consideration to writing to the court as previously suggested and politely ask the court to give consideration to raising the matter to Tier 2 before a District Judge given the serious nature of the allegations and your belief that the decisions made by the magistrates are unfair. There's no guarantee but if you don't ask you don't get.
You could speak to Child Law Advice on their advice line for further clarification.
Best of luck