CAFCASS/contact issues help???(11 Posts)
Just curious if anybody has any advice on how to deal with CAFCASS workers, and the whole solictiors/legal route of contact issues?
Long story short; my ex ended our relationship when I was barely pregnant. Before this, he had been doing drugs, bringing ppl back to our home to take drugs (before and during pregnancy), lived off of my paycheque as he wouldn't get a job, drink/drug driving, etc. Had told him to sort out his behaviour, which resulted in him going on a drug binge for a week and then ending relationship, wanting to scrub me and the baby out. When we were together, I suffered emotional abuse from him, aswell as him, family and friends (his) pressurizing me into a termination.
After break-up, I was homeless and penniless, so moved back to parents (who were supporting me whatever). Had his mother on the phone in hysterics about where her son was and "termination" (knowing we werent together) and that actually it was his last chance with family as his behaviour had been just as erractic before (ending in hospital). During this, he continued his drug-taking, in our old property, other peoples homes and in his car, and tried to harass me at work (luckily, i wasn't there). His mother said that he was dead to her and that I was better off without him and without baby.
However, I decided to keep baby. He proceed to follow me to my 12wk scan, showing up hungover and unwashed, were I asked him to leave. He later bragged on FB that he waited to ambush me for an hour until staff asked him to leave. He then followed me into the town, sat opposite me in a cafe, not saying a word, with new gf in tow. This was our last contact to this day.
I did not have much contact with his mother as although she had calmed down, she was still rather unsettling, and as I had decided to keep baby, there wasn't much she could do. She then started more contact with her son, and announced that he was getting better and had bought a car seat (alarm bells ringing as his FB was covered in photos of him doing drugs and his previous drug driving).
I had a terrible labour with ds, wasnt ready for visitors at all, and with everything that had happened to me hitting me at once, she could not understand that I did not want to see her and wasn't ready. She said she wouldn't hound, but persisted ring, texting myself and mother. It wasn't until ex posted a pic of scan onto FB that we replied stating that I was not impressed, extremely hurt and upset. She replied that her son had done nothing wrong, and was upset himself and whitewashed all of his behaviour.
I then received a solicitors letter stating that wanted ds every Sat or Sun, for them to take him in car to their home for 4 hours and bring home. Ds wasn't even 8 weeks old, impossible as completely Breastfed and unbelievable considering their behaviour - disregarding me as a mother and ds' needs (apparently "contact should be at his pace due to his age", not really what an 8wk needs!) I said no, due to drugs, concerned about saftey/welfare issues with ex and his mother covering up for his lies, I was comfortable. This followed by mediation letter, where I again said no (I would also have to travel 1h30 to centre!) for same reasons - both said fine and would pass these on to ex/mother.
No legal side, but for months had constant harassment from his mother to myself and mum - phones, texts, messages saying there was emergencies. only when a HV advised did I call the police who told them to stop and if they wanted to do something it should be legally, not harassment.
Now i've had to attened a hearing for contact/responsibility. I spoke briefly to CAFCASS officer who knew only a small amount from ex's side. very colloquial, saying "so he's never clapped eyes on him", but did not want to hear my explanations as to why. When I mentioned drug abuse, he had no idea and seemed concerned how much it may cost my ex for drugtesting! At the hearing, a new CAFCASS officer again knew nothing (info hadn't been passed on from phone call). He again was very flippant, kept cutting me short, no compassion for the fact that I'd had this done to me and very upset by the whole thing. Again seemed annoyed by drug-testing and when contact-centre/supervision were mention, he quickly remarked that it needed progress to be in their house, maybe with my family supervising.
From 7wks pregnant, I've been a mum on my own and my ds is only 11mnths old. Nobody seems to be taken seriously that I have serious concerns about ex being involved with ds as I do not trust him. He has dated ppl/friends with ppl who have had children taken by Social Services, and friends that have young children and take drugs around them. I'm really concerned about the safety/welfare of my ds as his behaviour has not changed at all (easily witnessed on FB by himself) and that his mum covers up for him! Not once during the past 17 months, have I had any contact from HIM saying he wanted anything to do with the baby, and has not contributed a penny towards his upbringing. I do not want to start a relationship with someone who is dangerous and erratic and feel like I'm setting my ds up for a fall.
I don't know what to do as I already feel like I'm not being taken seriously, even though I have evidence of all of his behaviour? Any help welcome, seriously upset
I'm so sorry your in such a horrible horrible situation. Your ex sounds like a knob. I dont really know what to advise as im in sort of a simalar situation so i will be following this post very closley x
is his name on the birth cert ? because if it isnt i dont think he has any rights. he can go to court and ask for a dna test but still CANNOT get one without your consent as far as i know.
If he isn't on the birth certificate he doesn't have PR.
If you refuse to put him on can apply to the court for PR and the birth certificate to be changed. If you try to prevent that by insisting that he isn't the father the court can order a DNA test to resolve the matter.
Typically a father doing this will also be applying for contact.
He isn't on the birth certificate, as I didn't want him to have PR and as far as I was aware, neither me or ds existed to him, so why would I?!
He is also applying for PR, as I know most solicitors like to do it all at the same time, but I'm just finding it so ridiculous, that someone as irresponsible and as reckless as him wants responsibility of a small baby!! after all this, he now wants a say in things I do with my child. I think him and his mum are doing it as a bit of a control thing as they really didn't like that I didn't listen to them to have a termination and after everything its about how "they feel" and "what we've done to them". He's even done weird things like get ds's name tattooed on him spelt wrong,
I just feel that, if anything, my ds is being used as something that my ex can get attention from. but its not just that he was to go around showing ds off to everyone, but that he's genuinely dangerous and I would never know what would be going on if he had him.
MySonIsMyWorld, look forward to your post as good to know people are in similar situs! x
mummyt2504 - courts are generally likely to grant a PR application, although if he is not making any effort to be involved in your ds' life it is somewhat less likely.
If he gets PR doesn't automatically mean contact will take place, but like PR there is a presumption that it should unless it is not safe to do so.
You say he `wants a say' - I would guess he doesn't know what the implications of PR are so it is likely about power, control and sending a message to you.
You say he wanted you to have a termination - but it is possible for fathers to come round, take responsibility and want to play a role in the life of the child they have played a part in creating. If he is sincere and willing to act responsibility it is the best outcome. If he is determined to play a part and you are determined that he isn't you may well find yourself in court for many years to come.
If you have concerns court is the place to address them but understand courts always try to look forward rather than back.
I am in a similar position - what was the outcome of each hearing? what directions were given?
My ex is on ds birth certificate and he has PR, i wish i hadn't put him on it now to be honest because ever since ds was 4weeks old ex has been in and out of our lives. Its 6 weeks on Thursday since ex went he has messaged me twice on facebook in that time and not once has he asked about ds, if he starts trying to see ds and gives a shit il arrange contact supervised at a contact centre. I just dont know if he is going to get a solicitor or not and if he does ibet he does it once legal aid is finsihed the basatrd.....
It is getting ridiculous. My solicitor has advised me to get a residency application as a formality - but its upsetting to think I have to legally apply for my baby to live with me.
At least MySonIsMyWorld's ex can say he's contacted you. Not once in 17 months have I had any direct or in-direct contact with my ex. As far as I was aware, he was quite happy pretending me and baby didn't exist the entire time I was pregnant and 10 months after birth.
The hearing just stated that he would have to remove any photos from the internet and that we would BOTH have to attend SPIP programmes (ridiculous I think as I'm actually a lone parent and come from a seperated family so have no illusions on how to handle it).
Just finding it all really stressful, especially when people like CAFCASS aren't actually listening to what I'm saying or taking me seriously. No one seems to question my ex as to what he's been doing to prove he can be a responsible parent for the last 10 months or what he's done to prove he's trustworthy.
Just seems that it was absolutely fine for me to be pregnant and be a mum on my own, and when he wants to see ds as and when he pleases, that's fine too.
Now we are having to prepare statements for the second hearing, which is quite a while away. At least I know my ds is safe with me until then, but finding it all rather sad and disheartening that I moved away and left these people for a reason (that I didn't trust any of them, the drugs issues and I didn't want to raise my child that way) but now I'm having to compromise on everything, be a stressed out parent and consciously allow my ds to start a relationship with someone who is dangerous and untrustworthy.
Can I recommend 3 things to you firstly keep a record of all interactions with him or his mum.
Second, if you see pics or admissions of drink/ drug driving on face book take a screen shot so that you have evidence.
Thirdly call womens aid for some very experienced real life help and support.
I'm sorry that you don't feel the cafcass lot are listening properly they are probably dealing with a bigger case load than they should be. It might help if you compile a dispassionate report on your reasons for being concerned for your sons welfare with evidence wherever possible, have as many copies as possible and give to each officer you see.
I'm sorry your going through this, welcome to knobhead fuckers anon ( what were we thinking!)
If Father is not on the birth certificate and he is the natural father then any baby born after December 2002 then Father has automatic PR. You have legal custody of your baby and don,t have to apply for the baby to legaly live with you. As for cafcass and less stress for youself as this process can go on and on and drain you. Say to them that you would allow for supervised contact at a centre.
It,s shit the way your ex has behaved and is behaving as he sounds a right proper knob. But courts and cafcass are only intrested in a father having a relationship with the child. He could be a full time murderer,drug taker,abuser and still they will let him have certain access to the child. From my own experience with cafcass just grin and bear what they say ( I know its hard) but in the long run slinging mud and him telling them she won,t let me see my kid is not going to do you any favors.
Don,t let your ex or his mum dictate anything to you. you only go through solicitors and cafcass in the intrests of your baby.
Prepare only fact in the court statements and don,t get drawn into his mud slinging shit.
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