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first off youneed to go to court in person to get your views across whether in person or with your solicitor. second if you dont then decisions could be made without you in your ex's favour third if you dont attend you might find you told to attend with threat of a penal notice ie jail if you dont !! so dont even think about not attending court.... make sure you do go and either in person to rpesent your views clearly adn calmly or pay solicitor
if he is going to be contacted for his views then it may depend if he is going to contest or not - if is totally straightforward and he does not object then you might not need to go in person - ask solicitor...but if he puts in an objection or contests it then you would be wise to attend in person....
why do you need an order for passports?? - you can just name father and leave his apssport number or address blank. you dont need his permission to get a passport.
and if he is not contesting or around then why do you need a residency order?
the no order principle applies - if everythig is fine and he isnt contesting anything maybe you dont need such an order ?
Will your Ex be at court or have representation? Is he likely to be objecting to your applications? My scenario is very different in that I have a contact order in place because of violence from Ex but he is constantly challenging it and is self representing. I take guidance from my solicitor - on a couple of 'big' hearings e.g fact finding for DV etc, I did attend but I used a room provided by Womens Aid and I've never actually been in the court. My solicitor feeds back what is being said and then takes my instructions if required. I've also had about 5 or 6 occasions when Ex has taken his application for contact back into court and I haven't attended because basically SS will not allow any increases at present so my views are irrelevant. I do know that for a lot of childrens issues, most of the negotiation is done in the corridors outside the court, between solicitors. Not sure if that helps or not but if you already have a date for court, your solicitor should be able to let you know if you need to be there. Good luck