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how many times can she do this before the judge gets wise?

(25 Posts)
STIDW Tue 12-Nov-13 13:13:42

That should read the average high street family solicitor.

STIDW Tue 12-Nov-13 13:08:30

Of course a more senior solicitor or a partner will earn more but if you check out recruitment pages you will find the average high street solicitor job is advertised at £27k - £40k.

What most people don't realise is the overheads of legal firms are higher than any other businesses, typically around 85 %.. Insurance alone accounts for about a third and then there is accommodation, staff, IT, training etc etc. So the fees don't reflect what a solicitor earns.

queenbitchapparently Tue 12-Nov-13 12:11:37

no problem floating, will say be careful representing yourself if you ex has a lawyer.
we did this for our first hearing and my OH was basically ignored by the judge.
he openly gave preference to his exs barrister.
who had also submitted a statement without leave to do so which was 5 pages long.
I agree about solicitors being there to tell you what is necessary. ours has been brilliant and helping us stick to the facts and not go in to details that are not relevant.
his exs solicitor is either not as good at this or the ex is insisting on what is being put in letters.
we are currently pushing a new contact proposal our solicitor doesn't think this should go to another court date and this should be sorted now.
we have assessments from OTs and case workers and social services that refute and nullify his exs concerns. so they see no reason why this can't be dealt with in the next couple of weeks.
I am not so confident that it will be that simple.
but their optimism is encouraging, I can also guarantee that our solicitor earn significantly more than stated here.
I do endeavor to be the voice of reason and when a situation arises I try to deal with it as impartially as possible.
this is obviously not easy when someone you love is being hurt by the behaviour of someone else, in this case it is not only my OH that is being hurt but all of the children and it is financially draining as we were not eligible for legal aid.
everytime we think we have turned a corner and this is over or nearly over something else is thrown at is.
it is hard work, the hearing is being re listed for the beginning of December, but hopefully it wont be necessary and will not only save our sanity but about 2 grand.

FloatingFree Tue 12-Nov-13 10:55:41

The way you talk about family lawyers also isn't my experience, lostdad. I don't pay my lawyer to tell me what I want to hear - what would be the point of that? I pay him to tell me whether he thinks I'm being reasonable and to tell me how something I decide to do or not do may be interpreted by the courts if we get that far. I have also found the lawyers I've spoken to to be very child-oriented.

I spoke to a McKenzie Friend a couple of weeks ago because I have decided to represent myself in the children matter to try to reduce costs. The main thing that put me off her was that she couldn't stop criticising lawyers and their fees, despite me saying that I would still be using my lawyer for financial and divorce matters - I wasn't courting that opinion. So unprofessional, and she's meant to be one of the best. She also tried to charge me £100 for two hours work to fill in my C100 form for the court and again slagging off lawyers and saying they'd charge me much more. In the end my lawyer and I filled it in between us and it probably took him 15 minutes of his time to look over it and give his approval. So not quite the bargain the MF had made herself out to be... hmm

Sorry for derailing OP.

lostdad Tue 12-Nov-13 08:54:00

"There are far more lucrative areas of law to work"...yeah but everyone knows that Wills and Probate makes far more cash but it's dull as ditchwater, STIDW. wink

OK...fair point STIDW - I would agree with what you say in your post. There are good and bad everywhere. As a McKenzie Friend I have found myself thinking `Ah...that's why that solicitor said that in that case years back. And of course a solicitor is bound to believe that a client is telling them the truth and is acting in the best interests of the child.

I spend a lot of time telling my clients that the nasty letter that has them hopping up and down are the words of their ex and not the solicitor and this often calms them down a great deal.

It's all a bloody great mess and there's no easy answer. People bring it on themselves but the law doesn't help itself. The Children Act is a good piece of law that Butler-Sloss neutered virtually on day one. It doesn't need changing it just needs to be interpreted in the spirit it was written.

When that happens a lot of solicitors...and McKenzie Friends will be out of work.

Berzingaa Tue 12-Nov-13 08:52:52

*It must be remembered that a court order is made as it has been decided by doing so it is in the best interests of the child.

So anyone (including a parent) who breaks the order is therefore not acting in the best interests of the child.*

That is not true supervise contact was ordered for my LO he spent the hour hysterical whimpering in fear and crying so hard he was sick and only I could calm him because his 'dad' couldn't be bothered to see him for 13 months in total it took the courts 5 court cases, me showing numerous reports of his behaviour changing before and after visits and his 'dad' then refusing to pay before they finally realised this wasn't in my LO's best interest and THEY apologised for being wrong!

I took him to those sessions knowing thet were not in the best interest of my child! The problem is the courts don't know your child only you do

STIDW Tue 12-Nov-13 05:49:54

"Professionals don't care - it's a business."

That's not my experience. The average high street family solicitor earns between £27k-£40k which isn't a lot for someone who has completed a degree and years of training on the job to say nothing of further training year in year out. There are far more lucrative areas of law to work in and many family solicitors are motivated by the will to help people, in particular children. By means of contrast fathers' groups (and for that matter women's groups) main focus is the interest of parents.

There are two main factors associated with conflicted family breakdowns. There is a tendency for people to rewrite the history of the relationship so the relationship is reconstructed negatively then overtime that view hardens.

The second has been described as "tribal warfare" because third parties (family, friends, new partners, members of fathers/women groups, lawyers or mental health professionals) after hearing only one side of the dispute in distorted detail rally to the side of one spouse take on the dispute as their own. So the best support a new partner can give is a shoulder to lean on and encouragement to see things from a different perspective rather than taking sides.

OP, When you say your OH has heard the mother is unavailable for the court hearing do you mean she has put in a formal request through the courts that the hearing is postponed?

lostdad Mon 11-Nov-13 13:01:43

It must be remembered that a court order is made as it has been decided by doing so it is in the best interests of the child.

So anyone (including a parent) who breaks the order is therefore not acting in the best interests of the child.

queenbitchapparently Mon 11-Nov-13 11:33:58

the one "course" he needed to complete was training in how to administer oxygen.
this would have been done as standard had contact been in place.
his ex insisted it be done and proof in place before contact was reintstated.
this was done 2 weeks after the court hearing. that was 8 months ago, the court has had the proof of that court and the ex wife has known about it since then, she is still refusing contact.
all the other courses he has done were suggested by the nurse and off his own back.

queenbitchapparently Mon 11-Nov-13 11:29:05

lioness, my OH was awarded contact in the court order.
the courses were not mandatory they were agreed between my partner and his ex that he would do them for her piece of mind.
she is not adhering to the court ordered contact.
I understand that on MN ex wives behaviour is above reproach, they can do no wrong.
however in the real world they do wrong.
I have no been vague on anything. you are choosing to read between the lines of my posts and you are getting it wrong.
I think it is interesting that you are accusing someone else of generalisations.
in one post, you have described the ex wife as a poor women, me as a lying new woman and my other half as a feckless father.
good old generalisations good for all circumstances.

Lionessnurturingcubs Wed 06-Nov-13 23:17:41

Lostdad - you are making some very strong generalisations about women and I don't think tarring everyone with the same brush is a very helpful position for a Mckenzie friend. Athough the OP has been deliberately vague it seems that:
A. Her OH did not get contact with the DS in the interim order
B. He had to complete several courses before being allowed access.

Question - what kind of a parent has to be ORDERED to complete the necessary health courses to be able to look after their own child? Answer - One that has previously not bothered/cared enough to do so.

Additionally this is obviously quite a sick child, judging from the courses he has been ordered to do. For one woman to say that another woman "revels in her ds's illness" when clearly the mother has taken far more care of the child than the father ever has is beyond the pale.

And for that reason, I'm out with Kittycat on this one.

jonicomelately Tue 05-Nov-13 09:16:18

What a ridiculous thing to say kittycat68

lostdad Tue 05-Nov-13 09:12:54

Professionals don't care - it's a business.

The courts may work in the best interests of the child but legal professionals work in the best interests of their client (and the assumption that they are working in the best interests of the child). They will tell you what you want to hear and if it doesn't work there will be nothing they can do.

For the record my partner is in the same situation as you. She has been attacked by people repeatedly for doing what you've done. She's been accused of swallowing the lies of an abusive ex (namely, me), trying to steal another woman's child, trying to replace my DS' mum, lost friends because of this, etc. She now helps dads in your OH's situation and works in the court as a McKenzie Friend. She's seen it, done it and got the court order and she knows exactly how you feel.

My case lasted 5 years and my other half was instrumental in it. My ex tried to suck my partner into it (leaving her dealing with CAFCASS officers, writing statements and negotiating with my ex's barrister in court), abused her, tried to ruin us financially and she has been a bone of contention in our relationship as she's sought to cause problems. Instead it has only brought us closer to together.

Stay strong. There are people out there who know exactly how it feels. Stepmothers are often the unsung heroes (heroines!) of this sort of situation and I take my hat off to them.

queenbitchapparently Mon 04-Nov-13 17:18:35

thanks kitty for that very useful piece of advice.
I should of course stay out of my DP's business.
silly me here was me thinking that when you enter in to a relationship you were supposed to support your partner.
damn right I am bitter.
my daughter hasn't seen her brother in 8 months. that is just under half her life.
this women has made our life hell, I say our life because it is our life it is effecting not just his.

thank you for the advice, we have a meeting wiyh our solicitor on friday to see what else we can do.
I have looked at fathers need familys but haven't gone so far as to get involved that is our next port of call.
we will plug away at it but I feel this is going to be a long hall.
I don't understand how any professional can think this is ok for children.

lostdad Mon 04-Nov-13 13:41:12

To answer the OP's question - the judge WILL get the message. But only slowly and if you handle the things the right way. A mother ignoring a court order is almost certainly not to be punished for it - her solicitor will inevitably argue that to do so would impact the children and as the Family Court work on the principle of the child's best interests being paramount nothing will happen.

Furthermore courts are very reluctant to make an order in the absence of both parties on the grounds that a consent order is more likely to work than an imposted one. Ex's like your OH's know this and play on it.

That said the ex in question is true to form. She is not doing or saying anything that I have not heard a thousand times before. Your only option is to keep plugging away. They WILL get the message eventually - and with the right assistance your case can be moved forward. Personally I would recommend that you ensure that for every hearing you submit a position statement with all relevant information and appropriate case law. You also need to make sure that you document ALL lost contact and make sure the court is aware.

That is not to say there is nothing you can do about this. You can. I would suggest you join Families Need Fathers first - because you will meet a lot of people who go through the same thing and know what works and doesn't work. There are a lot of dads, stepmums, grandparents, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, whatever all in the same boat. There is a thriving online forum with assistance from McKenzie Friends - legal assistants who help people who don't want to or can't afford a solicitor (something I do) and solicitors who give free advice. There are also branch meetings across the UK and also a telephone helpline.

Let me know if you need help. There IS a way forward here.

betterthanever Mon 04-Nov-13 11:28:20

David I am sorry you have been through all that. I think molding is spot on - no one seems to be happy with how it goes. Good dad's seem to miss out on seeing their children while the ones who are not so good seem to get chance after chance no matter what the effect on the DC.
I don't have the answer OP but if there is an order in place it can be enforced unless it is your OH who has not take up the contact. Are cafcass not involved? can he not ring them?

kittycat68 Mon 04-Nov-13 09:15:57

op tbh you need to stay out of his relashionship with his ex. You sound very bitter and are clearly not standing neutral ground.

queenbitchapparently Sun 03-Nov-13 14:03:03

I get it molding it just leaves you feeling so helpless

moldingsunbeams Sun 03-Nov-13 12:26:50

I think the family courts are a mess.

For families like mine where the father is useless and uses constant excuses to fuck up their children's lifes.

And for the fathers who do their best and the mother is a pita.

My exh does not pay any maintanance but is working cash in hand while claiming benefits, he walks in and out of their lifes when he can be arsed and has destroyed dd completely.
The court allows this in the same way it is wrong in allowing mothers to mess fathers around.

bitter

queenbitchapparently Sun 03-Nov-13 11:29:24

yes my OH ds has on going health concerns.
he has downs and there are various health issues that come in to play here.
we have always tried to be helpful to OH ex in regards to the children.
we have had them last minute and when she went on holiday.
she has however always stopped contact for whatever reason she sees fit.
one of the reasons is that OH sent one of his dd to their room.
it was me that told him that he needed to get courts involved after 3 weeks of contact refusal over carrot soup.
his ex is a controlling bully and EA, not only to my OH but her own children.
the latest of these is telling her eldest child that she is fat and also feeding them "anti anxiety meds" (rescue remedy)
she revels in her ds' s illness and has just put him up for for unnecessary tests and continues to tell everyone he is going to die including his sisters.
regardless of the facts the doctors are saying how well he is doing.

we have been to medation with her and made agreements with her, none of which she has stood by.

being a single mother is hard work I know, I was a single mother.
do you know what makes it easier, working with your ex.
she refuses to do this and insists on doing what she can to make OH as miserable as possible.
so , no we can not "work with her"
you can only work with someone who actually makes the effort. she does not.
she is in breech of the court order and we can't seem to do anything about it.
everytime we ask for the contact in the order to be reinstated she comes up with another reason why not.
he needs to do a makaton course (done)
he needs to make sure he has his own room (impossible)
my children should not be in the house when he is there (wtf)
the last one was he needs a 5 point carseat. (????)
I also don't think she understands the impact her making a difference between dsd and dss is doing to the girls, if our house is as unsafe and bad for her children as she claims they why not stop all contact rather than just ds.
fabricated claims of child abuse are what started this process.
he does not visit his son because 1, she will not let him in the house and 2, if they spend anytime together it tends devolve in to her screaming and crying at him followed by the girls asking what daddy did to upset mummy.
he does not want his children to see things like that or have them emotionally manipulate.
as to my experience so far I would say yes the courts want what is best for the child. that is usually, to them the mother regardless of what the father, the children or professionals tell them.

Lionessnurturingcubs Sun 03-Nov-13 01:34:01

Judges do not change dates of hearings so If the judge has granted her leave to change the date, then she will have proved very good reason. It sounds like her DS must have serious health issues and presumably cannot just be left with anyone?
Unlike David's false assertions the courts are not on the mother's side they are on the child's side. If the child is ill then could your oh not work with his ex rather than battling through the courts?
Bringing up children alone is very hard, and with one sick child makes it even more stressful.

TreaterAnita Sun 03-Nov-13 00:31:43

I don't think David's correct, but the Judge can only read the papers in front of him, he's not a case worker. If she's taking the piss then you need to write to the Court (via solicitor if you have one, but directly is fine) pointing out that ex has known about this Court date since May and has had plenty of opportunity to make childcare arrangements. That hearing may still get adjourned, but if the same thing happens for the next one, you can refer to the letter on the Court file and eventually the judge will twig that's she's being deliberately obstructive.

Also, if he's supposed to see his son every other week by court order (not sure on that from your post) and she's been obstructing that, you need to make that point too, especially if your husband has completed the required training.

TheFabulousIdiot Sun 03-Nov-13 00:11:09

Why has he not sen his son since Feb? Can't he go to visit him?

DavidDecorator Sun 03-Nov-13 00:07:49

The Judge will not get wise. Unfortunately Fathers do not matter to the family courts. The very name is a lie.
Family court orders are never enforced or if they are it's rarer than a full eclipse. The courts presume that women make the better parents whatever the evidence that the Father produces.
Even clear evidence of repeated perjury is ignored.
My case has been going on for over five years and I've got twin sons.
Legal aid has also been abolished for the family courts now. I'm a decorator so I can't afford the ridiculously avaricious fees solicitors charge. I wouldn't dream of ripping off my clients like they do.
In short she can do exactly what she likes for as long as she likes. Your OH has no chance.

If it were otherwise organisations like Families Need Fathers, Fathers for Justice and Real Dads for Justice would not exist. Fatherhood as a concept is on the verge of extinction in this country. I know exactly how your husband feels it is soul destroying to have your children used as a weapon against you.
People who use their children as weapons against a parent are no better than those who pimp them out to peadophiles in my book. It is utterly sick and an insult to the blessing a child is.

queenbitchapparently Sat 02-Nov-13 11:27:54

My OH hasn't seen his son since February. There has been a interim court order in place since may. So, that court order states that he can have his 2 girls two evenings a week and every other weekend. He agreed to do some health training for his son (he is a poorly little boy) and some other courses.
His ex still refused full contact but agreed to one day every 2 weeks until final court date.
basically we all know the judge will put in place a full contact order for what we are doing now including his son.
The most recent news we have heard is that she is unavailable for court , on the date we have known about since may, because of child care issues.
She has told my 2 dsd that dss will not be spending Christmas with us this year (our turn)
She is doing this on purpose.
Any ideas how many times she can be unavailable before the court will proceed without her?

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