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withdrawing from family court process- please help :(

(18 Posts)
allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 09:46:59

Hello - I really hope you can help me as my sol is in holiday and so I'm not able to get advice:/
My ex took me to court several months ago to change the contact arrangements. What he was asking for was pretty outrageous but on top of that, his application was really vile- full of lies about my failings as a mother and it was absolutely devastating to read. He wrote several letters to cafcass and ss trying to convince them of the same. Anyway were ordered to attend mediation ( something he refused over and over). The mediation process has been pretty horrible- he has lied repeatedly and I spent the whole time defending myself against him while the mediator took a back seat. Suddenly though, he has now decided he wants to pull out of the court process and have more mediation. He said he has realised that the family courts are useless and he thinks we can sort it ourselves.

Here's the thing though- I KNOW I should be elated. I would have given anything to hear this a few months ago because i was terrified of court, but I am not. I am furious that he has put me through this for nothing. The next hearing is days away and I think his reasons for pulling out are 1) financial and 2) he realised he would be cross examined over his lies and found to be nothing but malicious. He however, is painting himself to the mediator as the paragon of reason and is doing this for our child, when I know it's not.

My questions are: do I let him drop it? As he was the one who made the application do I even have a choice? Can I do anything to make all of this mean something ( ie demand a written apology for the allegations or negotiate a better deal for me in terms of contact?)

I am really raw today, and actually surprised at my own feelings about this. It's affected me more than when I first received the summons. In the last few months I have been on sleeping tablets, tranquilizers, beta blockers and been referred for CBT because if this man and the sheer fear of court. Now that he casually wants to walk away from it, I realise I will be living in fear that he'll do it again.

Sorry for my emotional outpouring. I'll prob post in relationships as well to get some help with that, but for now, I guess I need to know if there are any 'balls' in my court or is it completely down to him where we go from here?

TIA

AngelWreakinHavoc Wed 20-Feb-13 09:51:46

Hi, I am not sure if you have a court date set that he can just pull out hmm.

I'm sorry I cant help more but I'm sure someone else will be along soon with some proper information.

Good Luck x

allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 10:08:40

The mediator said the courts would be happy that we are mediating and would let him pull out?

Collaborate Wed 20-Feb-13 11:18:37

You don't stop the court proceedings but it is adjourned for mediation, and you have a further court date pencilled in for however long the judge thinks right.

I'd question though whether mediation is the right thing for you given how it has panned out in the past. Delay in resolving things isn't generally a good thing unless it is purposeful delay with a realistic chance of resolving the problems.

allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 13:25:16

He is now pressing me to let it drop and I feel it will get much uglier than it currently is ( and it is ugly). I obviously want an end to the proceedings but feel so sick about the fact that he has done all this for nothing- to teach me a lesson for disagreeing with him:/

purpleapples14 Wed 20-Feb-13 13:28:18

I agree with collaborate. Really.do question mediation. II say it's time to put his allegations to bed once and for all by a finding of fact hearing. It is a daunting process and quite charged, but it is well.worth.it for the results if he is lying. I encourage the court process on this occasion bc it sounds like as soon as he decides he doesn't like something in the mediation process / later down the line, he'll throw his toys out of the pram again and drag u / continue the court process again. Financially I do feel for anyone forking out the huge fees but he should have thought of that at mediation and played fair to the process for your child's best interest. Maybe a court order detailing contact will prove to be the best solution and in the child's interest bc it will put a stop to his nonsense and you can focus on your health and child. Remember with court and the process that they're all just ppl. Don't let.it.frighten you. You've come this far in the process. I hope you succeed with securing the best for ur child whichever way u go forward.

allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 14:59:49

Thanks for the replies - really helpful.

Cafcass are not interested in his salacious lies and have (diplomatically) said as much. Ex himself described it as a 'petty squabble in the eyes of the court. My own sol said the judge will have seen a million applications like his and when we get to court, would not actually pay any attention to what he wrote, focussing only on the contact schedule. The cafcass officers refused to write a report because there were no concerns on their part and so ex has lost interest. For that reason alone, there could never be a finding of fact hearing- could there?

My guess is that ex thought he could get me 'sorted out' by the courts and when he finally realised they were not the panacea he thought they'd be and so now wants to pull out. I am really struggling to accept that he could write that stuff about me and get away with it- and somehow I now have to forget about it. I can't see that pressing ahead with court will make him face up to any of the stuff he said if it wouldn't even be 'brought up?

Fleecyslippers Wed 20-Feb-13 15:24:33

Don't pull out. The courts have been amazing in my case - they and my solicitor are the only people who are able to stand up to my bully of an Ex. Stay strong and get things formalised now.
You do have to get your head around the fact that he won't apologise for the allegations he has made. Try to focus on the fact that you know, and the professionals involved know, that he has lied and has been backed into a corner.

cestlavielife Wed 20-Feb-13 15:34:13

sounds like my ex - I agree, keep the court date and let it become formal.

as was said, court will just focus on when and where of contact - the rest will be ignored unless serious welfare concerns on either side which cafcass have made recomendations on .

"mediation" which consists of you defending yourself is awful - been there done that.

with a formalised contact order you know where you are...

allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 15:57:10

Thanks all.

Fundamentally I am against the idea of a stranger making decisions about where my child should live, so I never wanted to go to court. If I thought that we could work it out without future risk of it all happening again - I would. The issue I have now, is that the contact schedule that he is now proposing is much more reasonable and in principle I could agree to it. If it goes to court I run the risk of him reverting again to his first proposal which asked for a lot lot more. The first two mediation seasons we had were ok- I really felt like they could work, but the recent ones were truly awful and I felt like I'd been kicked by a horse when I got out and I didn't recover for days and days. This whole legal process has surprised me by how much It affected my health. I've taken so much crap from him over the years but this has been the worst so far. The temptation to be able to walk away now Is very strong :/
If all we are going to be able to address in court is the contact ( and I risk coming off a lot worse on that front) and not his allegations, is it not better therefore to agree to his proposals and have the matter done with? At the moment him and his wife are ruining my life and my finances. hmm

Collaborate Wed 20-Feb-13 16:00:27

You can agree it and get a consent order, and it can include recitals that he has retracted his allegations. Orders of that nature are quite common.

allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 16:13:07

I didn't know that I could get a retraction written into a consent order- that's actually made me feel quite hopeful. I an doubtful that he would actually apologise but I got the impression from the recent sessions that he is now very inpatient to end the process and forget about it. This may be the motivation for him to offer a written retraction do you think?

Also- I know this may sound disjointed etc but one of the things he bullied me into was 50% holidays despite the fact that he has to use childcare to cover them and I am free all holidays. He even slashed his maintenence to pay for this childcare so yet again- I am paying for the choices he makes. Is there any merit in me renegotiating the holidays to say 40% or so? ( not even sure what that would look like) If he is so desperate to quit the court process, he might go for it. I guess I want to get something for the trauma he has put me through:/

allfornothing Wed 20-Feb-13 16:13:48

Ps Collaborate ( and thanks so much for helping me) - is a consent order legally binding?

purpleapples14 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:52:07

A consent order is legally binding! smile

kittycat68 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:14:05

although consent order binding, if he dont turn up to collect your child or doesnt go along with it you have to pay to take it back to court op. Even then judges just give them a telling off and say behave! the order rarely changes unless its what the non resident parent wants. You will have to stick to the letter or the order but unfortuantely he may not. I would let him drop the case then he cant try to take it back with anymore further lies saying you have breeched the order by not turning up when you have etc a court would take his word over this over yours unless you have hard proof etc. If you drop the case you can then stipulate to him what contact you think is fair and he cant do anything about it. Unless he takes it back to court again , self rep is the cheaper option if you have the strength solicitors cost tooo much, try a googling a mckenzie friend they can go with you.

NicknameTaken Fri 22-Feb-13 14:37:28

My experience with a consent order is that I'm glad to have it, esp. when ex hasn't returned DD as planned, but it doesn't necessarily put everything to bed, so to speak. When ex feels like getting at me, he goes to court and makes allegations that I've breached the court order. He never produces any evidence - well he couldn't, because what he says just isn't true - but I still face the trouble and expense of court.

In your shoes, I'd negotiate the best arrangement possible with him and then get it put into a consent order. It's not going to be the solution to all your problems, but hopefully it will produce something of a respite to the ongoing battles.

allfornothing Fri 22-Feb-13 15:18:05

Nickname-how do people get away with summonsing someone to court with zero evidence? I am just staggered that its even allowed past the application stage. I mean doesn't the judge or the clerk or someone flip out over this kind of shit?

NicknameTaken Fri 22-Feb-13 15:37:58

I don't know. He's been self-representing most of the time, so he seems to get huge amounts of leeway from the court. He went through a stage of submitting loads of documents to the court complaining about me, without sending copies to me or my solicitor. My solicitor had to chase court officials to get copies. More expense for me, not even a rapped knuckle for him.

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