whats the minimum legal obligation for contact?

(9 Posts)
farmersmarket Mon 02-Dec-13 12:30:12

Help! In custody process with my 11 year old DS as his father applied after 8 years absence and history of DV and hes refused contact since 2011... I have agreed to indirect contact (Email, letters etc) but CAFCASS are now reviewing (Section 7 report) and if a direct contact order is made, whats my obligation? I had legal advice that its to "make him available" for contact but what does that mean? Anyone know or experienced this please? For example am I obliged to let him come to our home, made calls to our home number, take our son to meet him etc? ... feeling pretty sick about the thought of this (PS wil post in legal too)

doodles0807 Tue 03-Dec-13 05:23:12

The make him available bit means that your son has to be available for contact at some point and not be 'busy' all the time. Good luck. X

fuzzywuzzy Tue 03-Dec-13 05:29:50

He's 11, Cafcass should take his wishes & feelings into account. Does he want to see his father?

Make available for contact would be to do just that, but if he doesn't want to go you can't be expected to force him.

Would it not be in a supervised or supported setting first? I'd go through a contact centre to begin with if it changes from indirect to direct contact.

LineRunner Tue 03-Dec-13 06:11:02

No you don't have to let your Ex come to your home or be able to ring your landline.

Email is fine. If he gets abusive you can stop that as well.

I agree that Cafcass should be doing a 'wishes and feelings' report.

farmersmarket Tue 03-Dec-13 07:48:36

Thanks everyone. Cafcass have ordered wishes and feelings and this has happened because ds started refusing to see his father and I did not insist (in past I have). He sends emails which ds deletes.
I am worried ds will be bullied by cafcass or I will be expected to force him to go (which I would not do to my ds even if there is an order) or some other really distressing thing for my ds. Of course then ex will drag me through courts again.

fuzzywuzzy Tue 03-Dec-13 21:44:41

I made it crystal clear in court I could not force my girls to go to contact against their wishes for much longer as the eldest was at that point nearly my height.
How would I compel a child my body weight to do something they didn't want to? I couldn't physically pick her up and hand her over for contact. The court agreed with me.

CAFCAS should speak to you and your DS seperately, tell them why you're worried about direct contact and the effect of indirect contact on your DS.

Good luck I hope things work out for you and your DS.

farmersmarket Wed 04-Dec-13 06:09:20

Thanks fuzzy. I will make this point too.

chris3591 Tue 24-Dec-13 02:33:14

If direct contact is likely to be ordered why not find out now where there are contact centres near you so you can talk to cafcass about look managing handover off your own door step and that initially perhaps, there is supervised contact.
Handover should be kept as short as possible to avoid any time for you and your ex to get into disagreement. Also try and not fuss your DS when handing over

anon764 Sat 01-Feb-14 10:31:03

Why don't you want your child to see his father? I am assuming the dv was between you and him so shouldn't make a difference to contact.

If cafcass are recommending direct then they think it's in the child's best interests and there will be consequences set out on the order if you don't make him available for the contact ordered by the court.

The 'make available' part doesn't necessarily mean you have to physically make him available yourself, it just means that whatever the court order, you comply with so that could mean your ex comes to collect your son from your home or school or you meet somewhere for handovers. If he has been absent for as long as you say then I would imagine cafcass would recommend a very gradual build up maybe initially in a contact centre. It's important for your son that you support contact though as making a child 'choose' and giving them decisions make them feel torn and confused and contact with his biological father will likely be something he will enjoy and benefit from.

Look up 'intractable contact disputes' not a nice place to end up for anyone involved.

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