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Does anyone work in family law please?

(12 Posts)
yodaonthebars Thu 15-Sep-16 20:32:13

Scenario

Mum has been trying to get through to Rights for women for weeks with no success. Mum has two children with ex partner. The children are almost 14 and adult.
The ex partner has a history of severe and long term mental illness including threats to kill self and suicide attempts.
While with the ex partner Mum was subject to emotional abuse but left without reporting due to fear. Unbeknown to them the children had witnessed the ex partner punching a window and smashing it in temper among other things. This was found out when one of the children disclosed this to a primary school teacher after the parents had separated. No action was taken as Mum was able to confirm to the head teacher that Dad no longer lived with them and was not in contact.

The ex partner saw the children initially supervised by family members but lost interest in the children and did not contact in person or otherwise for some years. The ex partner is now back on the scene suddenly and interested in seeing the children. Both children do not have much memory of him, none of it is positive and have no wish to see him.

Mum is not concerned about the grown up child due to age as is old enough to refuse however is desperately trying to find out what the chances of the youngest child being made to attend contact with the Dad.

What are the chances that the youngest child will be made to see their father by in person contact?

If the father seeks court action how long is it likely to take to get to court?

What happens if the child refuses to go?

Collaborate Thu 15-Sep-16 21:25:03

A child nearly 14 (presumably actually 14 when the court hearing comes round) will almost certainly be allowed to make up their own mind.

Google "Gillick competent" and that will explain much.

Familylawsolicitor Fri 16-Sep-16 06:13:23

What Colloborate said
If a court application was made by the ex then the child's views would be sought but assuming average intelligence and maturity for age, views would almost certainly be determinative. By the time the case gets to court at least a few months will have passed and several months if a final decision has to be made after a dispute
An average 14 yr old would never be made to attend contact against their will
The mum might be contacted by a mediator if he is thinking about court as it's a requirement to consider mediation before issuing an application. She can just say no thanks or meet the mediator alone no need to meet with him face to face. She would not be criticised for refusing to mediate in the circumstances

palanca Fri 16-Sep-16 07:37:32

I agree too [regular lawyer who has namechanged!]

yodaonthebars Fri 16-Sep-16 09:29:37

Thank you. Very helpful.

yodaonthebars Fri 16-Sep-16 12:25:38

Sorry me again.

Just a couple of questions.

Presumably as no court order is in place currently the child is ok to refuse contact requests currently without any comeback as not breaking any order?

What happens if I judge rules no contact on Childs wishes? Will the Dad be able to write or email the child still? He has already told the child he is very disappointed in them following the child saying no to a previous ridiculous request.

Familylawsolicitor Fri 16-Sep-16 16:54:02

If it came to it, the judge would rule on both direct and indirect contact (letters etc). It's rare for there to be no indirect contact but if the child had very strong views on no contact the judge might probably limit it so dad couldn't bombard with emails etc
Sometimes we see just Xmas and birthday indirect contact by way of a card and present and nothing in between

yodaonthebars Fri 16-Sep-16 17:02:06

Thank you. Mum would have no issue with indirect contact. Child doesn't want to know at all and they haven't previously bother sending gifts but I would expect pre monitored emails wouldn't be a problem. Would cafcass likely be asked to form a report on the child that age?

MrsBertBibby Fri 16-Sep-16 17:12:59

I know birthday and Christmas cards are common as indirect contact where there's no face to face, but I do wonder how fair that is on the child, who has to have every birthday and every Christmas invaded in this way.

I think the practice whereby cards have to be sent at more neutral times is sometimes far more appropriate, if the child is upset by thoughts of the parent, as is often the case.

Rubberduck2 Fri 16-Sep-16 17:17:56

Sorry to wade in feet first - can I ask if you took the above scenario but the child was 10 and hadn't seen her father in over 5 years as he moved abroad (but with the same issues as above) would the court take the view the child was too young to make such a decision.

OP - many apologies for jumping on this - I could have written this thread and just very interested to know how 4 years could influence the decision!

Collaborate Fri 16-Sep-16 18:00:28

Age 10 would be too young for the child's views to be determinative. They are taken in to account though.

traviata Fri 16-Sep-16 20:13:42

To answer OP's other question, yes normally CAFCASS would do a report because that is the usual way for the child's views to be reported to the judge. Children don't usually come to court, although there are proposals to make it happen more often.

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