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contested contact hearing very anxious!

(32 Posts)
kittycat68 Fri 20-Apr-12 19:53:09

have to go for two day contested contact hearing in a few days and really anxious about it. EXH appied for extra contact two years ago and hearings coming up. TBH hes asked for more and more reports to be done as they recommended no contact and hes managed to get the new cafcass officer onside somehow. shes recommending contact even though children dont want it, it was an abusive marrage and am reaaly scared of him. hes going to be cross examining me as hes self litigant! i am besides my self also cafcass says no reason for no overnight contact! cant belive it ! kids aint seen him for two years any how then only once it was awful. will the judge complete ignore all the other reports in favour of this latest cafcass report ( previous cafcass said no contact!) taking womens aid with me! but last time i went to court i just sat there almost hysterical and crying am already reliving the nightmares feel sick.

kittycat68 Fri 20-Apr-12 20:19:08

bumping

Happylander Fri 20-Apr-12 21:49:51

I think the fact that it has taken two years shows he is not going to get overnight contact straight away.

how old are your children? was he ever abusive to your children?

I am sorry you are going through this. Try to come up with some form of solution that makes you look like you are not being obstructive e.g. a few hours in a contact centre for example. This will make you seem the better person and if he then refuses it then that makes him look a twat.

kittycat68 Fri 20-Apr-12 22:19:30

children 12 14 and 17 although at the last hearing the judge refused to enertain the 17 year old on the application any more so its just the younger ones. he was abusive to the children but have no direct proof of this even though the kids have said as much the cafcass lady seems to be dimissing it as in the past. when they last had contact the previous cafcass officer said contact then quickly took it back to court 6 weeks later to have the contact removed as child 14 took an overdose cos of it all .
i know this is about him controlling me through the courts etc but i really cant face being in a room with him let alone being asked questions by him.
i know generally its best for kids to have contact with both parents but this man hasnt changed, i keep giving chances but the kids have been so emotionally damaged by it all and they too have had enough, we just want to be left alone to move on with our lives. sometimes i think just hand the children over and he will go away which i know they dont want but im scared that i will just fall apart at court when faced by him, as in the past ive always given in to him before when i cant take it any more.

howmuchlonger Fri 20-Apr-12 22:51:53

At 12 & 14 he doesn't have much hope of getting an order that is enforceable! This is his last chance at having any control of you and he's hanging on by a thread. Dont give him any power over you. As long as you allow the children to have a relationship with him if they want one you can do no more. Be strong x

kittycat68 Fri 20-Apr-12 23:37:35

if the court does put an order in for contact the kids wont go and then ill be dragged backed to court again! dont think he will ever stop sad, he s apparantly taking a mackenzie friend to court with him for father for justice claiming pas. if the children wanted to go to see him thats fine that would be thier choice and i would respect that but how would a court expect me hand over children that point blank refuse?

howmuchlonger Sat 21-Apr-12 04:10:59

You sound in a very similar position to me. Pas is very difficult to prove even if it is true. Sadly you have to keep jumping through hoops but as long as you comply with the court order you can't be sanctioned by the court. A phrase involving horses and water comes to mind.
Your ex sounds like mine and I think it becomes like a hobby. My kids won't engage with their father at contact and it's very uncomfortable but we deal with it at the time and then put it in a box until the next. My ex has a go at me in front of the children and then complains to the court that i haven't encouraged the kids at contact sessions when he's actually left me a nervous wreck after giving me a good reminder of the reason I left and the kids won't go near him because they're scared of him.
I really don't think that with the ages of your children you have anything to worry about. Ask for a wishes and feelings report at 12 & 14 the court will want to hear what the children want. You can hold your head up high, you've done nothing wrong

howmuchlonger Sat 21-Apr-12 04:15:39

Sorry I'm guessing you've had a wishes and feelings report! You sound like me, reports coming out of your ears!

kittycat68 Sat 21-Apr-12 09:34:28

yes several of those when the kids have said they dont want any contact , hes then just asked for another report! its just this latest cafcass officer wont even talk to me although aparently has hours of meetings with ex.
she told me that i was abusing my children cos i didnt enforce contact?????
she has also put stuff in her report saying thing that i NEVER said, this women clearly has an agenda and thats for the children to go to contact.

kittycat68 Sat 21-Apr-12 09:36:30

i would also like to be clear that i have always told my children that if they want to see their father that they could and that would be fine and i would help in any way i can with it, but they are scared of him.

EmilyPollifaxInnocentTourist Sat 21-Apr-12 09:42:53

Your CAFCASS officer is a jerk.

I am so sorry that your Ex is dragging you back through this. sad Is he coming with someone from Fathers4Justice or Families Need Fathers? The first are awful but I've heard mixed reviews of the second. I'm increasingly horrified by the actions of the second.

I have no practical advice but much sympathy.

kittycat68 Sat 21-Apr-12 10:01:17

never had a problem with cfcass before had four previous ones!! but this women is very dominante and shouts atme. she very unprofessional even smokes in front of my kids. she reported me to ss for abuse saying i am emotionally abusing them WTF!! ss came said they had no concerns says all this in their lateest report.

but i am really nervous about the actual hearing cos of him being there and questioning me rather than the actual reports has any one hear had any experience with this fathers for justice lot ( ex is a v.good liar and rather persausive which is why i think they are helping him)

STIDW Sat 21-Apr-12 10:33:53

Do you have a solicitor? If there are errors of fact or law in the CAFCASS report it can be challenged in court.

The courts are well used to allegations and counter-allegations of DV and parental alienation. Without independent evidence from professionals a judge is going to have difficulty choosing between two versions of the "truth." When there is evidence of DV a finding of fact hearing should establish whether the children's resistance to contact is based upon real events having witnessed DV or outburst of temper.

Otherwise, unless children have come to a mature judgement based upon experiences they are able to describe, their opposition to contact can be overcome on the resumption of contact. Even if a parent's behaviour leaves something to be desired by most people's standards it is thought to be damaging to children in the long term to cut out completely their relationship with a biological parent.

As for cross examination one tip is to look at the judge and address you answers to them.

STIDW Sat 21-Apr-12 10:35:09

your

Collaborate Sat 21-Apr-12 10:40:27

Sounds like you have a lot to go on. You MUST question the cafcass officer and be openly critical of her report. Only by you challenging her in the witness box can the Judge decide that her recommendation is not one he will follow. He has to give reasons for not following cafcass' recommendation.

Concentrate on firstly the deficiencies in the way she went about things:
1. Not seeking your views as much as the father's.
2. Reporting you for abuse, when SS seem to think otherwise.
3. The things you say you never said.

Is she inexperienced? Try and find that out.

Challenge her findings against what is in the other reports by the other cafcass officers. Are they more experienced than this one is?

Then attack the substance of her report. How on earth are you going to get a 14 year old to go to contact against their will? How has she dealt with the OD? What about the damage to your relationship with the children when you force them to go against their will? It's not as if they aren't giving valid reasons for not wanting to see dad. Also, it's all about controlling how you exercise your parental responsibility. It is well known that your hold over your own children diminishes the closer thy get to adulthood.

kittycat68 Sat 21-Apr-12 10:46:04

stidw can i ask; opposition to contact can be overcome on resumption of contact: if they put in a contact order and the children 12 and 14 wont go how do i stand they are adamdant they want nothing to do with him, i have always stuck to court orders before but i am worried will they take the children off me if they wont go or send me to prision. BTW my 14 year old is 6ft 2" !!

kittycat68 Sat 21-Apr-12 10:55:15

i dont know about her experiance how would i find this out? she is an older women prob about 50 so i am asuming she should know her stuff but she was anti me from the start.

STIDW Sat 21-Apr-12 12:11:59

Of course a 14 year old cannot be forced, but when appropriate a professional working with the children or family can help those involved understand that contact difficulties are a result of unresolved disputes between parents and the need to evaluate the child/parent relationship initially by observing supervised contact. Once a few visits have taken place anxieties about contact can often be overcome. Although not impossible, ordering a change of residence is rare and it is debatable whether changing residence is a successful way to manage parental alienation.

The approach above isn't appropriate when children are "estranged" from a parent because they have been found to have experienced abuse or neglect. In these circumstances there should be a substantial change in the parent's behaviour and the children may require psychological treatment before any unsupervised contact.

kittycat68 Sat 21-Apr-12 13:10:01

thanks for you reply, although the children have stated may times over the years about what there father has done to them and tbh most of it has been emotional abuse but even when they were covered in bruises he just denied it saying they had made it all up and ss took no further action, but obviously this was about four years ago. exh says its pas but its not it went on whilst we were still together before i took the children and left,

howmuchlonger Sat 21-Apr-12 14:12:46

I just can't believe how similar our situations are. I thought I was a long way through the process but it looks as though we have a long way to go. I too understand that it is generally best for children to have ongoing contact with the nrp but I'm just at a loss as to know what to do. My kids just won't engage with their father either and I worry about my relationship with them if I become the baddy and force them into something that scares them and makes them ill. But if I don't do that I get into trouble with the court. It's a horrible position to be in. How can I try and get the children to engage at contact when he is abusive to me in front of the children leaving me shaking and the kids even more scared.
What does your 17 year old think, could he she go along to contact for the sake of the younger two if it comes to it. I can't believe that a 6'2" boy can really be forced into this. He must tower over the cafcass officer.
Not altogether impressed by cafcass myself & I am utterly shocked that she smokes around your children. Is that not worthy of a complaint in itself?!

STIDW Sat 21-Apr-12 14:52:09

howmuchlonger, the children witnessing abuse at handovers needs to stop. Have you tried meeting for handovers somewhere neutral and public such as a supermarket car park or handing over through a third party such as a neighbour or school?

howmuchlonger Sat 21-Apr-12 17:58:49

Thanks stidw. I have to facilitate contact. All I want to do is sit out of the way and leave them to it. I'd hoped we could move forward so that contact didn't need me present and I could leave but it's not safe as the children run away if I'm not there. Obviously the abuse in front of them is not helping things to move on. He won't allow any of my family to be present as he blames everyone else for the children rejecting him.
Sorry op didn't mean to hijack your post.

kittycat68 Sat 21-Apr-12 18:28:27

is ok howmuchlonger just glad the reply help u too, as u say sounds very simular . i was told not to bother complaining about cafcass officer was no point would just get her back up even more apparantly.

we tried neutral hand overs at the begining and they children did not want to go had complete melt downs in front of him he would then walk off then say in court that they were not ptresent for hand over! he used to tell them that if they did not go for contact mummy would be sent to prison!

i am absolutely dreading this contested hearing though purely beacause i dont want to face him or be any where near him i know what hes like even though he puts on the poor me act with others. its the control they want.

howmuchlonger Sat 21-Apr-12 20:49:41

I worry that he will make stuff up too. He always twists everything but thankfully the court don't seem to take much notice of his whining as he has nothing to back it up with as it's not true.
It feels like he just wants to win a war and I don't want to be part of his fight. To me it's only about the children and what's best for them. It would be best for them to have a father that cared about them. The saddest thing I find is that he reads reports from independant professionals that say how distressed contact has made the children and all he does is say that I've made it up/coached them. Why does he not ask questions about how to make things better for them.
I too am sick of being threatened with prison, it is so distressing as a mother to be constantly told you'll go to prison unless you can sort out an impossible situation. I don't have a degree in child psychology!
I know what you mean about not wanting to be near him. I can't stand being near my ex, he just oozes spite and I find it draining.
When do you have the hearing? I was supposed to have a contested hearing last year and my ex turned up with a barrister and got it adjourned because cafcass recommended indirect contact.

kittycat68 Sat 21-Apr-12 21:04:25

tues and wednes, i second everything you said its spooky!! and ill bet yours dont pay csa either!

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