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CAFCASS officer seems to have changed his mind!

(13 Posts)
strongandfocused Fri 16-Mar-12 10:01:37

Im at the end of a 5 month custody battle with my ex. He wants joint custody and extra time in the week. He already gets every other weekend, half school hols and half terms.I have my reasons not to agree with any more contact
we have all had our cafcass interviews. My ds plainly said he did not want contact to increase he liked it the way it was but if pushed he would bear one extra day in week "but definitely not two" He is 9 and very intelligent and articulate.
The cafcass officer told me immediately after he had interviewed my ds what he said and said he agreed with his views and that things should stay the same and that shared residency would not work in this case,\
I have now just read his report and he the matter of shared residancy is as he told me but he now appears to have changed his mind about contact. He has completely ignored my sons wishes and feelings and has decided that every other week one extra day wold be best increasing up to two....
Im totally shocked that he seems to be putting my xs wishes and feelings above my sons.
Im about to file my last and final witness statement for the final hearing (2 days early part of next week)
Does this mean the judge will go along with all his recommendations. One extra day would have been more bearable for my son but two...!!!!
would really appreciate anyones views on my situation as I feel very depressed about my sons wishes not having been taken on board.

kittycat68 Fri 16-Mar-12 10:47:36

same old story you hear time and time again! CAFCASS dont listen to the children despite what u may think they are there to give the non resident paRENT THERE CONTACT WISHES to get it out of the clogged up courts and judges usully agree with them.
cafcass are absolutely usless and a waste of time. the whole system should be condemmed.
all you acn do is say how u feel at courtn and hope u get a decent judge im affraid although i wouldnt get my hope up.

olgaga Fri 16-Mar-12 11:14:01

I'm sure you will anyway but make sure that in your witness statement you emphasise what your son has said, and the fact the Cafcass officer appeared to accept what your son said but now seems to have changed his mind without putting forward any justification. If your son is 9 this will be very disruptive to his school week - and next year he will be doing SATs.

Is your ex actually able to collect him from school and take him there the next morning himself? If he isn't, you could argue that the actual amount of contact time does not make the disruption worthwhile.

It is the child's right to have a meaningful relationship with his father, but this is perfectly possible to maintain every other weekend and half the holiday time.

Good luck.

cestlavielife Fri 16-Mar-12 11:50:54

shared residencey coul still be in theorder - as it doesnt mean equal contact time - but it gives very equal rights to both parents.
you need to be clear on terminlogy here.

residency and contact.
(not custody)

in terms of contact on face of it it doesnt seem illogical to have more days with dad unless there are very good reasons not to - ie school disruption or other specific reasons.

what is the reasonsing behind Ds views? why doesnt he want more time with dad? regardless of what cafcass report says, judge will need strong reasons why DS should not be spending more time at dad's house (past abuse? or what???) and that maybe needs to be practicalities not just "dont want to"

cestlavielife Fri 16-Mar-12 12:30:29

ps not asking you to say on here if you dont want to but you will need to come up with strong reasons in the hearing . enough to convince a judge.

jamesonthesofa Fri 16-Mar-12 16:50:53

ditto what cestlavie said. You need to have strong and compelling reasons for why you do not want your son to have more contact with his father. Shared residency does not mean equal time.
CAFCASS know full well that children want to please their parents, and most likely they want to please resident parent most as they have more to lose from upsetting them. If your child senses you are unhappy with this he may well be saying to you no to 2 days to please you. Then again he may not.

strongandfocused Fri 16-Mar-12 21:35:28

Thanks for all your advice. Ive been advised to just agree to one day but not 2 and meet him half way. I've just put that in my final witness statement.
His final witness statement also includes lots more terrible things that I supposedly have done wrong...including incidents when he's tried to bully me in public but twisted it round and said I was shouting at him! I cant believe how pathetic and what low lengths he is stooping to, are the judges any good at seeing through all this? Ive lodged evidence of his behaviour towards me in numerous police reports...
I feel that CAFCASS has just gone along with everything he's alleged against me as if it was true...
Im just so stressed and exhausted tonight I can hardly move... sad

CD2012 Sun 18-Mar-12 23:37:36

Hi
I feel for you I really do, I am just at the start of all this and this is my experience with cafcass so far -
My ex is taking me to court for a shared residence application even though he stopped contact himself months ago, he has made her have a dna test and now has the cheek to take me to court! His application is extremely bias and paints me as being uncooperative and he is just the poor dad trying to get contact back with his daughter. There is no mention of the dna tests or the fact he said he didnt want to see her as I won't facilitate all the transport arrangements.
Anyway, the CAFCASS person had already spoken to him before ringing me and it was clear that she agreed with my ex that contact should just go back to how it was. She made comments such as 'well I dont think offering him 3 hours per week is enough do you' (even though I have said given his behaviour I think any re-introduction should be gradual), 'would you describe him as a committed dad before this incident'. When I explained that I wanted any arrangements to be around her social activities especially as she gets older she remarked that contact with parents should always take precedence over any social activities. I was under the impression this is part of the welfare checklist to ensure her physical and social development!!
Needless to say I am now terrified of CAFCASS's involvement if they can be so biased before they have even been asked to make a report.
x

thejanuarys Mon 25-Mar-13 14:26:24

The judges may not see through this. I had one excellent judge, who knew exactly what women are faced with, but then two male judges who sided with my ex. Needless to say, Cafcass sided with ex, omitting my evidence of years of abuse, because he came arcoss as plausible, doting and concerned. How could a nice middle class man do all the things I had accused him off? And they didn't even take into account all the times I tried to leave him.

So, my advice is to be prepared re report. Question all areas of concern. Make them justify why they wrote what they wrote and then ask them why they didn't include, or give even weight, to your evidence.

You have nothing to lose. In my experience, if a judge knows about women's unequal position and has a thorough understanding of it in these situations, then they will do the fair thing, and if a judge doesn't, no matter what you do or say, he will 'win'.

thejanuarys Mon 25-Mar-13 14:48:01

The judges may not see through this. I had one excellent judge, who knew exactly what women are faced with, but then two male judges who sided with my ex. Needless to say, Cafcass sided with ex, omitting my evidence of years of abuse, because he came arcoss as plausible, doting and concerned. How could a nice middle class man do all the things I had accused him off? And they didn't even take into account all the times I tried to leave him.

So, my advice is to be prepared re report. Question all areas of concern. Make them justify why they wrote what they wrote and then ask them why they didn't include, or give even weight, to your evidence.

You have nothing to lose. In my experience, if a judge knows about women's unequal position and has a thorough understanding of it in these situations, then they will do the fair thing, and if a judge doesn't, no matter what you do or say, he will 'win'.

lostdad Mon 25-Mar-13 15:08:35

The court will usually go with the recommendations of the CAFCASS report although it can be challenged in a final hearing and those recommendations overturned. I have known it to happen.

At the age of 9 your son's wishes and feelings do count but they are not the only determining factor.

It it's any consolation I hear an awful lot of fathers saying the same thing about CAFCASS (I once had one tell me that by changing the night my son was permitted to see me was maintaining the routine, but keeping the same one he'd had since being a year old represented a change. I must be thick or something, because I couldn't see the logic there).

The whole contact being `every other weekend and teatime once a week' is from the `Henry Ford' school of thought - just because it's `normal contact' doesn't mean it's appropriate for every child.

McKenzie13 Mon 25-Mar-13 20:11:35

Hi strongandfocused,

Your child is 9 and so his wishes and feelings should be represented in the s7 report. I agree with lostdad in that it is not the determinative factor in a welfare report. It should, under the Welfare Checklist, be addressed.

CAFCASS recommendations can be overturned- usually with good questioning. Very often it's about questioning the argument.

I appreciate that you don't want your child to spend two nights with Dad in the week. I would be interested to learn his reasons for wanting extra contact, especially if he's in a stable routine. Courts favour a status quo and I would highlight these points in your statement.

balia Mon 25-Mar-13 20:19:27

If the original idea was an extra night every week, and the proposal is two nights every other week...then that isn't actually more nights, is it?

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