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Family law help .

(10 Posts)
Fifi782005 Sat 02-Jun-12 08:43:12

Hi there ,

I am a reader of posts normally but find myself in a difficult situation and wonder if anyone can offer advice . I will try to keep this brief and not start rambling but forgive me if I start to go on !!

Myself and my partner have receive a court order today from DP mother taking us to court for weekly unsupervised access to our nearly two year old son ?! We had no relationship with his family for a number of years (over 10 years ) but when we had our son offered the olive branch . It became apparent very quickly that we had made a mistake and when our son was 10 weeks old we stopped all contact and haven't seen them since (nov 2010) as I said we now are being taken to court and we are so worried that as parents we could be forced into letting our son see someone whom we have no and want no relationship with ! DP had a poor childhood and we really want to protect or son from this woman . We will have to represent ourselves in court and she has legal aid sad surely if both parents are saying no the courts can't force us ??
Any advice would be gratefully received along with people's experiences of representing yourself in court and the likelihood of her actually being given access against our wishes ?!
Thanks for reading
A very worried mum x

mumblechum1 Sat 02-Jun-12 11:03:08

Grandparents' applications for orders under the Children Act are a two stage process, they can't just apply, they first have to apply for permission to lodge an application, so they have to get over that hurdle first.

The courts are only likely to make an order where the GPs had an existing relationship with the children before contact stopped - the usual situation is where GPs have a normal relaltionship with the child then the parents split up, the mum keeps the child, dad loses contact and so do GPs on the dad's side.

In your situation, the GPs arguably have no relationship as the child was so little when contact was stopped.

The court will have to weigh up whether it's in your child's best interests to have a normal, regular contact with loving grandparents. It's therefore up to you to persuade the court that it would be in some way harmful.

Ido hear what you say about the GPs poor relationship with your DP, but it would be different to let a child have contact with GPs for a couple of hours once a fortnight to living with them full time, so the court may consider that the benefits of having a relationship outweighs what may appear to be a very small risk. Obviously I don't know the ins and outs of your DP's history, though, so maybe there's something more sinister that I'm not aware of.

mumblechum1 Sat 02-Jun-12 11:03:53

btw, don't worry about representing yourselves, the courts bend over backwards to be fair to parents acting in person.

Fifi782005 Sat 02-Jun-12 12:00:35

thank you for taking the time to reply , i dont think im too worried about the representing ourselves part its more if we loose sad yes our little on had no relationship due to his age but really as parents who are still together can WE be forced into letting her have contact ,most cases ive seen are where the parents have separated ?!

she has been granted right to apply and the court date is in a couple of weeks and we only had paperwork through yesterday !!!we are so scared we just feel like moving away, we have even had to put our next round of ivf on hold (son was conceived on 10th attempt)which we were due to start next month as we fear if she discovered a possible sibling that we would have another court case ? shock

mumblechum1 Sat 02-Jun-12 12:08:17

Why are you so reluctant to the grandmother having a little contact? Was she physically abusive or neglectful to your DP during his childhood?

Dee03 Sat 02-Jun-12 12:15:17

Sound awful....no advice im afraid but be strong and good luck smile

Fifi782005 Sat 02-Jun-12 12:29:39

yes that's exactly it mumblechum1 and the few times she did see him in the 1st 10 weeks were filled with confrontation arguments and critical comments it became quite clear very quickly that things hadnt changed and DH had done the wrong thing involving her back in our lives !so he chose to end contact .it was very much her way or face the wrath !! she did a similar thing with dh nephew ! Dh also had a 17 year old daughter but she hasnt requested contact with her ?!

mumblechum1 Mon 04-Jun-12 09:41:20

The hearing in 2 weeks is just an initial directions hearing. No evidence will be given by either of you and the court won't make a decision. All the judge will do is ask both sides to talk to a cafcass officer in the court building on the day to see whether anything can be agreed. If not, then you will both be ordered to file statements, and then the cafcass officer will file a report after meeting both sides, and any other relevant agencies or third parties.

Once the report is made, and Cafcass have made a recommendation, you go back to court for another brief meeting and you can decide whether to adjourn for a final hearing (if cafcass is recommending something you're unhappy with) or settlel it there and then. It may be that Cafcass supports your husband and recommends either no contact or only indirect contact (bifrthday and christmas cards, photos etc), in which case you and yur husband may be ok with that. Soz for typos, arthritic thumb.

sneezecakesmum Mon 04-Jun-12 20:55:26

mumble.. Just out of interest as I am clueless. Do grandparents have legal rights to demand access? Last bit I read on this is that it had run out of time in parliament and been abandoned. Is this correct?

Obviously the courts and a solicitor are involved for the GPs so they must have some rights. Is it a case of the court taking into account the GPs wishes and doing the family court thing where they make a judgement with the childs best interest, but without a law saying the MUST consider the GPs wishes.

You can answer yes/no in deference to the arthritic thumb! grin

STIDW Tue 05-Jun-12 14:04:38

sneezecakesmum, grandparents first need permission from the court to apply for contact.

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