This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
help request - I don't know what he wants to go to court for!(19 Posts)
I have a six year old girl who lives with me full time, but goes to her dad's on alternate weekends (Including Friday and Sunday night) and for tea on Mondays and Thursdays. We split the week in two over the holidays and it has worked like this for 18 months. My family live away, so I have asked to swap weekends on occasion, which he normally won't do, including one time asking so that my daughter could go to a family wedding abroad for the weekend, (which he didn't allow).
He sent me a letter from a solicitor saying that he wanted me to sign a drafted letter that stated when he was going to have DD. I wasn't prepared to do that as I didn't want to sign any rights away and I couldn't afford a solicitor to look over it.
After a few weeks, I was sent another letter saying that I needed to attend mediation (which I couldn't afford and I don't qualify for legal aid) so I went through a few things over email with him and his mediator (who was provided by his solicitor and has solicitors qualifications) and told him that I was more than willing to talk normally, more than willing to attend mediation, but if he wanted professional mediation, he would have to pay. I also said that a mutual friend had offered to mediate for us, so that neither of us would have to pay.
I got a forceful email saying that If I wouldn't mediate, the mediator would write out a c100 form and state that I refused mediation.
I spoke to my ex very civilly on the phone and told him the unnecessary stress that he was putting and will put on this house and his daughter. We actually had a very nice chat and when we ended the conversation I felt that finally we had moved on. That was in October. He got married in November.
Yesterday, however, I received a court date stating that the arrangements had broken down. He crossed 'no' on every single concern question and has lied so that I will be forced into court to sign an arrangement order. I cant afford a solicitor and I feel bullied into this whole thing. Where do I go from here? He hasn't taken our daughter's feelings into consideration and is jeopardising her happiness. I've worked two and three jobs at a time to keep her well and have had little to no support as my family live away on the other side of the country. Everything I do, its for my daughter and with my daughter in mind.
I still can't afford legal advice and I still don't qualify for legal aid. What can I do to keep him from taking everything away from me?
Go and see citizens advice see if they can offer help
What is he asking for from the court? Have you been provided with a copy of his application?
Agree, you need to go to citizen's advice.
He claims a breakdown of arrangements, but that isn't true at all
If he wants to change the arrangements you currently have but are showing unwillingness then he does have a right to go to court to get a more formal child arrangement order.
Can you see a sol for free 1/2hr?
Has he written a Position Statement?
What is he asking for?
You can self represent in court, it's far more common now the bar for legal aid is so high.
You need to write down what terms of residency you want keeping the welfare of your child as the focus.
Have you phoned the mediator and explained you simply cannot afford it? Showing a willingness will go in your favour.
It could work in your favour ie having an Order stating that he has to enable the child to go to eg family weddings etc
I think this is pretty standard, it's helpful to have any parenting arrangements formalised by the court, it gives a point of reference if the parents relationship breaks down for any reason.
I know it's expensive to attend these things but court will cost much more and a judge won't look favourably on you refusing mediation.
In the long term it's the smart thing to do. As the primary parent he probably feels that you hold all the cards and is feeling vulnerable in terms of his contact time.
My advice is try to arrange the mediation rather than court and formalise your arrangements. There are no downsides to this.
What form was it that listed concerns that he ticked?
Please try not to worry too much, as the child's primary carer, there is alot of case law in place which supports the position of your daughter remaining with you and not being taken away.
You're matter has most likely been listed for a FDRA at the local Family Court.
As other helpful posters have suggested, you can seek advice from the Citizens Advice Burea. In any event, attend Court in person and take someone for emotional support if possible. You may wish to highlight the father has been unaccommodating with
You may want to consider making your position:
1. in respect to being open to mediation but without funds to proceed and also have a contact proposal to hand which you agree to.
2. Highlighting father being uncooperative in accommodating contact arrangements, one of which time has deprived your daughter in sharing a special wedding moment.
Maintain that your daughter is to continue residing with you at all costs even if you feel bullied to giving in - please try to tough.
Tbh I would think that any judge is going to be horrified at this taken to court. The dc is seeing both parents on a regular weekly pattern.
I would self represent.
State you can't afford either mediation or representations
State you have been offered a mutual friend to mediate
State all the occasions DC gasps been for her access, the formal pattern - five a list of dates, all the dates
State your DD was refused to be allowed to family wedding - you would like your DC to be able to attend family events and a minor amount of flexibility in arrangements in future
He is being vindictive by the sounds of your post and if this is the case he will be found out
Unfortunately it's not uncommon for such application to reach court and it the reason for the application perhaps maybe vindictive and if so, you may want to consider highlighting this.
Good luck and I hope you get it sorted
Sent from my iphone – forgive for any spelling errors
*Please note this and any posts by me are intended to be expressed as my opinion with a view of being helpful and not to be taken as legal advice.
Thank you for all your replies! The mediator knew that I could afford it and he knew the options that I offered to allow mediation (it's all on email), so for him (yes, he stated that he would issue the c100 form, which is ethically wrong as he is acting mediator for the ex's solicitor). All of the concern boxes on the C100 are crossed as 'no concern' and the summary gives an old version of the agreement (when I changed jobs, it was agreed that he would pick her up and deliver her at 6.30 instead of 7 on his evenings, so that she went to bed on time) and then states:
" The above agreement hasn't broken down due to the respondent changing the arrangement based on her own plans as a consequence the arrangements for the applicant to spend time with DD has been inconsistent" which is complete rubbish. Her school teacher has agreed to write a letter stating that she gets picked up on the Monday and Thursday by his side and on the Fridays that correspond to his weekend. I'm being unethically bullied here. If anything were to change in her schedule, it would be that she went once a week, because she's is tired in the mornings. I'm not sure I want to bring that up because I don't want to be part of the pettiness.
**agggh! Angry typing! Has broken down
Also, it was agreed that because my parents are a 4 hour drive away, we would allow for weekend swaps for family events if needed.
Just go to court eithe attitude that you think this should be sorted out between two parents wanting to parent together whilst living apart. With structure for your DC and some alloeNce for flexibility. State firmly it's your DC best interests that need to come first and a steady homelufe with you is paramount, along with constant visiting to see her other parent.
State you thought access was arranged and working well for your DC
Teachers letter is good idea, but remember you don't have to prove anything.
I don't feel the need to prove anything, I just want some solid "what the hell are you here for?" For the judge!
Does he say in the court order that he wants anything to change? At the first court hearing, the judge will not make any final decisions. If he has a solicitor then you and his solicitor will go through proposals. Hopefully that should be to formalise the current arrangement but to add that there should be flexibility by giving notice of 2 months for family events. If you agree this then the judge will sign it and it is over. If you don't agree, you will agree the next month or so until you go back to court for another hearing.
Be strong and stand your ground! The advice above is good. Keep a diary on a day to day basis and record everything the father says and does to antagonise you. In Court read from the dairy including date and location. I went through something similar and when my husband lied I could read the truthful details from my diary - that shut him up!
What are you actually scared of?
It sounds like he wants to formalise things and TBH, from your op it doesn't sound unreasonable.
My form simply said that ex did not attend mediation, no more details.
You have to show the court that mediation was attempted, or that you didn't go.
Your ex's sol will want to reach a Final Order.
Try and think about what you want. Unless his behaviour (past or current) is influencing what residency order you want then they won't be interested.
Please login first.