Document submission for first hearing
Hello, I hope you are all well.
I am representing myself at my first online child access hearing in the coming weeks.
I have prepared 2 documents for the day :
- Position Statement
- Child Arrangements Proposal
I have spoken to Cafcass and I have been advised that my ex has accused me of abuse towards her, so I have prepared a third document.
The document contains a summary of 3 communications between my ex and myself around the time of our breakup and I think it may demonstrate that my ex has created these allegations because she does not want me to have shared care of our daughter.
I have run the documents by my solictor and he has confirmed they are suitable but I forgot to ask him what to do with them now.
My questions are :
1. Should I send just the Position Statement and Child Arrangements Proposal to the court?
2 Is it likely the court will want to review my document regarding abuse allegations at the first hearing?
- All Cafcass checks have come back fine, the allegations havent been officially made yet so I am not entirely sure what they are but they are very likely to be her word against mine.
- I will request a fact finding hearing if the allegations are going to effect the outcome for my daughter.
3. Should I send any of these documents to Cafcass?
4. Should I send any of these documents to my ex?
Thank you for your time.
All the best
i think it all depends on what allegations the ex throws at you. in my first hearing i was accused of alcohism, abuse, you name it she accused me. so what happened they threw me in a contact centre, and after that i had to go through a fact finding. all very costly.
issue is if there is allegations of abuse the judge wont take the risk of giving you access incase they are true. do you know what shes accusing you of? and how serious they are. you probably need to prepare in your first statement things to counteract anything of abuse, maybe that will help you with the judge being more gentle with you.
did your previous solicitor give you any advice about the fact finding? this will likely prolong your time in court by possible 3-4 months. It is all based on probability, so judge may decide her allegations are true even if you know it's nonsense, and this could mean your contact with your chid is restricted. I was relieved they were not going to do fact finding in my case, but a section 7 report instead. I would suggest not to push for a fact finding, as it could backfire on you.
It is common practice to submit your position statement to court for each hearing. I put my child arrangement proposals in the position statement. I also sent my position statement to cafcass while they were doing a section 7 report. I think you should send the documents to cafcass if they will be doing a section 7 report. I also recommend that you complete their parenting plan, and give it to them: https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/parenting-together/parenting-plan/
that will show that your being child-focused and you are serious about co-parenting and wanting child arrangements to run smoothly.
I have discussed the fact finding meeting with a few professionals including my solicitor. Thank you for your advice on this I will take this in to consideration.
Below are more details, this is a little lengthy, for anyone that takes the time to read this, you are very kind and I thank you very much in advance.
I completed the SPIP course voluntarily around two weeks ago and I now feel my documents/intentions are purely child focussed, I found the course very useful, particularly discussions with other parents and I would recommend it to any one who would like to feel more prepared for what is to come.
My position statement is a 2 page document and includes a brief of my proposal, along with other child focussed information detailing my current position, also acknoledgement of my own responsiblities for my behaviour on one previous visit, though it wasnt just me, I have not included anything pointing at my ex (more detail to follow **).
My proposal is 9 pages, largely due to clear formatting and goes in to many details and ideas for my daughter some of which are things that I heard from other parents on the SPIP that had worked for them, briefly these include where my daughter will live, my work schedule (I am a self employed programmer and I intend to devote my time to my daughter when ever I have responsiblity), term / holiday living arrangements, extra curricula social activities, handovers, communications about my daughter, documentation about my daughter, special occasions (family birhtdays, mothers/fathers day, medical history, how my daughter will connect with the other parent via video/audio calls when she asks to, clothes/belongings and freedom to take them between homes with out parent prejudice, future partners, passport.
The reason for the detail is that I would like an order that is very speicific as my ex is attempting to control everything.
I reviewed the parenting plan while I was creating my proposal and I have also worked through the Cafcass handbook from the SPIP course but I will take another look over that, thank you.
The document that I have prepared in defence of abuse contains 5 pages and the contents is described in my first post.
A brief timeline to put you in the picture :
1st June 2021 - Email sent from my ex containing what may be viewed as emotional manipulation intended to get me to come back to her, importantly this email contains the words "there is no abuse in the relationship" and that my step daughter "was so lucky to have you in her life growing up".
3rd June 2021 - Initial letter sent from myself to my ex requesting to arrange co parenting plan and advice that I would be happy to go to mediation and that I would prefer not to take the matter to court. The letter sent was based on an online template.
5th June 2021
- Meeting arranged by ex, she would not allow any third party/mediator to attend the meeting it was in the back garden of our jointly owned property, I had offered by email for her sister, two of her friends or all three of them to listen in.
- WhatsApp messages after meeting
- message explaining that ex did not like the outcome and would prefer we got back together instead of breaking up explaining more emotionally driven reasons for us to continue to work on the realtionship.
- message from me explaining that I thought the meeting was good and progress had been made and that we should take time to let the dust settle.
- Message from ex telling me she was reporting me to the police for coersive control, referencing a police officer she had spoke to, I can only assume is the husband of a friend at my step daughters gymnastics centre).
- Message from me saying please call them and not to threaten me
- Following this I immediately contacted a solicitor and did not respond further to WhatsApp messages
- I advised my ex that I would instruct a solicitor and would not be in further contact.
6th June 2021
- My ex emailed to say she was sorry for the arguments caused the day before and accepted fault and confirmed that the agreement we had was good and that she would like to go back to that agreement. I agreed and we agreed together to return to the agreement from meeting on 5th June 2021.
9th June 2021
- ** Visit with my daughter, I had not sent a text message before I arrived to say where I was taking my daughter, though it was known I was taking my daughter to my mothers, neither of us were child focussed, I explained where I was taking my daughter and sent a message before leaving in the car, my ex was very annoyed that I had not followed her rules, I have admitted that I was at fault in my position statement and that I should have been more child focussed.
- After returning my daughter at the correct time I was later informed that I could no longer see my daughter.
Between June 9th and 17th September 2021
- My ex ignored direct contact from my soclitor asking to open negotiations
- My ex did not respond to mediators and was given extra time to respond
- I did not see my daughter at all during this time and was told I was working, I was not past any information from my ex, fortunately I have an old neighbour/friend/my daughter baby sitter and she knows me well enough to feel I am not in the wrong, she has past me information about my daughter such as cough/colds and how she is generally getting on.
- I have been in touch with my daughters school/nursery and they send me learning journal copies and I have had two parent consultations.
- I attend councilling for my own wellbeing and my 19th session was this morning.
- I now excercise regularly and do my best to take care of my wellbeing.
17th September 2021
- Contact from my ex started and she allowed 1 over night per month for 24 hours and 1 visit, each on a Saturday.
- I took this offer up immediately and have done everything in my power to make sure all visits have gone smoothly since and in my view they have, all handovers have been done via a third party (friend of ex or neighbour mentioned previously) and have all been fine. (I have video evidence of myself at all collections as I have been advised to).
To conclude I do not know for sure what I am being accussed of, I can only assume coersive control because this is what was previously mentioned and the Cafcass officer I spoke to on the phone would not give me anything more than, no abuse directly toward children but officer said if I was angry towards my partner then I could be angry towards my child. Accusing me of anger makes sense because this was my ex's go to word for anything that she did not want to hear or when I did not do what she would like.
Again, both of us have no criminal records, social services checks are all fine.
I feel I have some good evidence to prove coersive control against my ex, in terms of isolating friends/family, controlling money, putting me down, threatening to hurt herself/hurting herself, harrasment, threats of police action that never materialised, in terms of my property/belongings I am still not allowed to return to collect it, I have been advised by the police they would escort me but I dont want to cause any distress for my children or ex with the police coming round.
I am child focussed and this isnt about me, I have learned invaluable life lessons from this relationship and I can fix myself, which is what I have been doing but now having spoken to Cafcass, I do not want my daughter or step daughter to suffer any control in their lifes, I have some concerns now.
I have not raised this concern with Cafcass and I have made no allegations towards my ex at this time, I am not fighting fire with fire.
Again thank you for your time if you made it this far.
i agree with Bill. avoid the fact finding at all costs if you can, its expensive and its a micky mouse show. if you get proven guilty of something it can stick and effect yr access. this isnt a criminal court, they just go by what sounds good. Not having a fact finding means you cleared it and have no findings against you.
even having a fact finding , you want to be cleared, so it serves no purpose to have one if you can avoid in first place. Your back will be against the wall, and she has nothing to loose and everything to gain by putting you through one.
@richdadpoordad so you have been having child 1 night per month for a while. so hopefully now court can help you by increasing the nights. standard would be fri-sun, every other weekend. if your works flexible and you can do school runs, then perhaps you can ask for more time with child. in my case I was accused with similar. coercive/financial control etc... was nonsense. I printed off a years worth of bank statements to disprove it. but they weren't needed as court/cafcass wasn't interested and dismissed those allegations.
it's great that your proposals are so detailed. you mentioned passport. would be good to cover holidays abroad with child, to help avoid future court visits if a dispute breaks out over it.