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Different names given to different hearings?(3 Posts)
I know all cases are different and many complex but I am looking for advice from anyone with experience of complex cases. I will try and keep to main points:
Short background: the case involves my DS age 8 never had contact with father. Following DV I had to involve solicitors over 8 years ago but not police (I wish I had) he did not communicate back with them and not with me thankfully.
Ex instigated court proceedings against me (start of this year) after the CSA got a liability against him (although I did not know they had at the time) after years of him not corresponding with them and him refusing DNA testing when he told them initially he was not the father (which I had known about but it was years ago). He has legal aid, I have been paying for representation but trying to keep high costs as low as possible.
Question: the next hearing is a `contested interim hearing' and whilst I have heard of final contested ones not sure how an interim one would differ if anyone can help? - ex has applied for PR and `contact' but not specified what contact.
All that has happened so far is DNA tests by consent (even though he had previously refused them with the CSA years earlier) life story work which has not gone well as DS is getting very upset by it. This is the second lot of `life story work' directed by consent, as ex did not comply to the first ones as he did not provide the information for first one.
When the first work was directed we were to go back for a `review hearing' but this time it is a contested interim hearing... I am a bit confused as to why?
'interim' means that whatever is ordered is intended to be temporary, perhaps whilst waiting for a report to be prepared or for more evidence to be collected. In your circumstances, I imagine exP will have been advised to ask for some modest interim contact which will provide a gradual re-introduction to him for DS, and only to build up to more contact at a later stage.
It is 'contested' if you and he do not agree about what should be ordered, and the judge may be asked to decide and to make an order for the interim period, ie until some later hearing when a final order would be made.
At a review hearing, the judge (strictly speaking) would not make any orders about contact except by agreement, ie by consent, and would be limited to making directions for more evidence etc.
However, these labels for hearings are very limiting; not every court or every judge uses them; and in reality the whole process is so slow that judges will often make orders if they think it is the right thing to do. the alternative may be waiting 6 months for the next hearing.
I would not get too hung up on the description of the hearing, whether 'review' or 'directions'. Generally as a rule of thumb, the courts try to make progress at every hearing. Once there is an application for contact, at some stage the court will be considering whether to make an order for contact, and this may happen sooner or later or never depending on all the circumstances.
Thanks for that all makes sense. I guess where it is contested is that I do not feel DS is ready for any direct contact, he is getting very upset about lifestory work and will not discuss the matter with me or others at all. It would not be a re-introduction as DS does not know him. Report wise exp said they did not want a s7 report at the last hearing but I guess a judge could order one anyway? I don't have a problem with a s7. As you rightly say at the end all the circumstances need to be taken in account, it will be strangely the first time I put a statement in, all I have done before this is talk to cafcass who did a schedule 2 which is not favourable to exp.
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