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Self representation-in child contact case.(13 Posts)
Will try to keep things short.
After informing ex that we would be moving @ 200 miles away with my dp, he made death threats, attacked dp in front of dc and acted aggresively towards dd when she refused to give him our new address.
Consequently dd1 (Aged 11) decided she does not wish to see her dad in the forseeable future. (I have another child, but dd1 is the only one involved with ex)
I initially had legal aid and so representation-this was at an initial hearing, where CAFCASS submittred a report recomending that no direct contact should be made, but ex should try to build relationships via letters and phone calls.
This was in August. The order was made that fortnightly letters and magazines could be sent via our solicitors as we are not willing for ex to know our address-or town for that matter and a weekly ten minute phonecall is to be made from ex to dd. This was agreed with both parties, with a review to be held nearer the town that we now live after a certin amount of time.
Fast forward to this week, a review hearing is being held on wed. I sent our change of circumstances to Legal Aid back in Aug, knowing I would not get it due to OH working but it takes many weeks for it to be reassessed.
However, it is only this afternoon that my solicitor has informed me that legal aid has been cancelled, therefore I will need to seek representation or represent myself. I can't see that I will find anyone by Wed so am going to do it myself. (It's worth pointing out here that this was my solicitor in my old town, who was going to arrange a different firm down here to represent me on her behalf so its not like I can just pay the one that I already had iyswim)
My questions are: Can someone please talk me through exactly what I need to do?
Here is the plan:
Submit a position statement saying:
1) I am happy for indirect contact to continue although I would prefer for dd not to be questioned on her school or area as this makes her uncomfortable
and she lies.
2) There has only been 2 packages with magazines in the 9 weeks since the last hearing and no letters where included- I believe that better bonds would be made if he wrote her a letter, even if it was short-and that it should be fortnightly as agreed, not monthly.
3) As I have no solicitor for the letters/mags to be sent to, I have provided an address for them to be sent to (a friend) who will then forward them to me.
4) DD is still refusing to have direct contact. I am not prepared to make her or pressurise her into it.
5) If the court feels that CAFCASS should be involved, I am happy to make myself, partner and dd1 available for this.
I was thinking of taking the position statement into the court on Wed morning so that the judge can have it prior to the hearing, is this the right thing to do?
If not, I was just going to state all of the above at the actual hearing.
Any advice gratefully taken on board.
I did law until a couple of years ago so might be out of date but that sounds fine - the court will want an update and you have your facts ready. The Cafcass report support you so I imagine that the liklihood is that the court will make an order giving your ex another , say, six months to see how indirect contact goes with a further review then.
A court would normally not want a statement unless it had been ordered and your ex has had a chance to see it before the hearing but given that you are acting in person and what you have to say isn't controversial the District Judge is likely to consider your statement. Just keep to the facts and keep it short - it sounds as though your ex will get bored in the long run and lose interest in any case.
Thank you for the reply Zookeeper, so shall I just turn up with the statement written down so I can put them forward to the judge?
At the last hearing, our solicitors spoke to each other and us and the agreement was more or less put in place before we got to the judge-who agreed with what was said...does this mean that his solicitor will approach me to try and do similar?
Alos, I read somewhere that when representing yourself in court, you need to wear something smart, like a suit..I've got a huge bump atm and would probably need to buy something if this is the case..what do you think?
Yes I would just turn up with some bullet points along the lines of your first post. Give a copy to his solicitor who may well try to talk to you to see if anything can be agreed and a copy to give to the usher to pass to the judge beforehand so the judge will know your position before you go in.
No need to wear a suit. I would look reasonably clean and tidy. Try to keep calm and not to interrupt - judges hate that - and take notes just in case your ex's solicitor launches into a long speech . IME Judges are very helpful to litigants in person (as you are now known )
Ok, thank you Zookeeper.
Will get there early just in case I need to fill out any forms etc, then hide in the loo! I know he is travelling down today with his gf ( a little trip out for them) and his gf will try to speak to me before we go in, which makes me feel really uncomfortable.
Am dreading it!
I know - it's not a nice experience for any parent.
Keep calm, and if you feel intimidated imagine the judge in his/her smalls
You have accidentally forgot to remove your ex's name in the last parapgraph.
I have reported it to MN HQ for you so that they an remove it (in case your daughter has his name and could be recognised).
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