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Final hearing - collaborate, spiro, babybarrister?

(13 Posts)
nicknamegame Tue 07-May-13 10:55:36

Hope you don't mind me making a shout out for you like thisgrin

Our case has been listed for a final hearing now in 3 weeks and I'm beyond nervous. You might remember some details - Ex wants 3 weekends in 4 and to drop most of his mid week visits due to distance (14 miles). He is rejecting every other weekend and half holidays. He said the distance is my fault and I should relinquish some of the weekends ( he obviously puts it across more reasonably than this, but this is essentially what he thinks)

My solicitor is crazy busy and I'm struggling to get answers to some worries I have). We need to submit statements in 2 weeks time. What I need to know is how long do they need to be? He said something about it being 30 pages long but I struggle to see what I could say to fill 30 pages. Also, do ex and I see each others statements? What if he raises something in his that I need to respond to or provide evidence to counteract? Will I get the chance before the hearing?

Ex has been unpleasant in his original court app about my parenting of dd, and my sol said he wants to 'box all this off' with evidence about how well dd is actually doing, but is it not best to just let ex do his whining and stick to the facts? I don't want to be aggressive about him, just want dd's time with us to be equal.

(I'm terrified of being cross examined btw but I guess that's another issue)


showerhead Tue 07-May-13 12:33:50

you should see each others statements prior to court so you have a chance to prepare, each party is meant to file and serve documents by a certain date, so your solicitor should get his statement on the date the court specified. If statements are issued very late e.g on the day then your barrister can ask for an adjournment. Personally i'd say it is unlikely he will get what he wants as the courts are only interested in the best interests of the child and you having moved away doesn't really come into it now.

nicknamegame Tue 07-May-13 17:42:07

Thanks a lot. Does anyone know what the basis of my statement should be? Is it supposed to be really lengthy?

babyhammock Tue 07-May-13 23:01:26

If the statement is too long and waffley, the judge either won't read it all or will miss the point you are trying to make this could well happen anyway. Try and keep it short and to the point.

But you're right, stick to the facts and definitely include every thing you can to show how well DD is doing and how her needs are at the core of your thinking. Keep it totally focused on DD.

I think if he's brought the proceedings then he has to produce his first which means you get the last word so to speak.

Goodluck x

nicknamegame Wed 08-May-13 17:49:40

Thanks a lot. I'm dreading seeing his statement:/

Xenia Wed 08-May-13 18:55:03

In other sorts of cases they are exchanged at exactly the same time so neither sees that of the other before to make it fair. Not sure about child contact cases however. If your lawyer wants a full and detailed statement then that is probably very wise.

It really seems like a lot of cost and time just to argue over who sees a child when and weekends etc Can't you just both agree it like most parents manage to do with a bit of compromise on both sides?

NumTumDeDum Wed 08-May-13 19:10:28

Depends on the wording of the court order in family. Usually they are filed on the same date. Occasionally a judge will order one party to file first and the other party to respond. Your solicitor will draft the statement from your instructions, i.e. notes taken during your meetings. If he or she need more information they should contact you. You ought to see a draft in good time as you will be signing it and in doing so stating that the contents are true. You must therefore be happy with the content. Agree it needs to be child focused and succinct.

nicknamegame Wed 08-May-13 22:32:52

Ha ha Xenia, you make it sound likesi had any choice in the matter- I'm the respondent, but thanks for your wisdom.

Num- thanks for that, I haven't had an order yet regarding the statement, will chase my sol ( very hard to get hold of:/)

Xenia Thu 09-May-13 09:07:19

Well most applications settle without going to court so if you can meet him half way that is often the solution. I think just about every family lawyer supports mediation and avoidance of hearings if you can possibly avoid them. I am not saying though that they are never necessary.

nicknamegame Thu 09-May-13 11:03:44

Xenia, tried mediation, he tried to dictate and bully me in that so it failed.

He wants to change the way he sees dd to suit his own needs, and is using the courts to force that change, and in the meantime- forcing me to spend thousands defending myself. Money I need to raise our child as he won't support her. He is effectively stealing that money IMO.
By meeting him 'halfway' as you put it, I would need to agree to give up my dd every weekend and relegate myself to the parent who does the drudge and he gets to be Funtime Dad. No thanks.

I find your post a bit sanctimonious to be honest, if I could avoid proceedings I would, but I've been summonsed, so not exactly within my power to do anything about it.

babyhammock Thu 09-May-13 12:28:00

I'm dreading seeing his statement:/ I found this horrendous too. My ex defended the non molestation order against him aggressively and having to read what he kept writing was just awful.

Have you considered self representing? You come across as articulate and intelligent and you know your case better than anyone. I think you could do it...just need to stay strong x

nicknamegame Thu 09-May-13 22:53:35

Hi baby, my nerves are already shot to pieces over this whole process, couldn't imagine finding the nerve or the time to put together a case on my own. I have a really high pressured job and this just couldn't have come at a worse time to be honest ( is there ever a good time to be dragged to court?!wink)

As it stands I know very little about how I'd go about writing a statement, let alone represent myself. I'm afraid though that if he tries to take me to court again in the future, I would almost certainly have to do it because this has almost ruined me financially.

Actually- can you mention money in your statement? He has cut his maintenence to a total pittance since beginning proceedings, as well as burdening me with this litigation. Is this something that I could bring up or is that a no no?

babyhammock Fri 10-May-13 21:25:55

Hi nickname
In theory, contact and money are deemed to be completely separate. That's the official line. But IMHO, common sense says that if the NRP isn't paying (and there obviously aren't extenuating circs) it demonstrates a real lack of commitment and consideration towards the child and it certainly isn't rocket science to make that leap.

So I think you should mention it, but in a very child focused way.

As for writing a statement, yes its daunting to begin with, but just start with points that you want to make... then begin to string them together. Whenever you think of something write it down. Keep to the point and keep it centred around dd. x

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