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Cool, calm, wise advice needed from someone who's been there

(9 Posts)
VeryConfusedFather Mon 15-Dec-14 16:03:20

Cool, calm, wise legal advice needed please. I have already spent over £20,000 on solicitors and have the spare time today to submit this post. This issue is eating away at me 24/7.

I am a Dad with residence of my daughter following divorce from mother in England. Following the breakdown of the marriage in summer 2011, a Social Worker contacted me in autumn 2011 urging I apply for residence, informing me that mother’s new partner put my child “at risk” and that he was an “unsavoury character”. I was aware that there was a new man in my wife’s life (I was working away from home) after I phoned the family home one evening while away, for a man to answer the phone, telling me to fuck off, that I wasn’t wanted and that he would kill me if I returned to the family home.
In November 2008, CAFCASS provided me with information on mother’s new partner, which included:
“Mr X is known to Police and has nine alias names. He has 19 convictions for 65 offences committed between XXXX and XXXX. His offences include:
1 offence against the person
1 offence against property
30 fraud and kindred offences
1 public disorder offence
10 offences relating to police / courts / prisons
2 drug offences
16 miscellaneous offences
1 non-recordable offence
“Offences include harbouring or assisting and escaped prisoner, possession of a Class B drug, concerned in the supply of a sentence deferred, controlled class a crack cocaine, actual bodily harm.
“There were four reports of domestic incidents from XXXX to XXXX involving Mr X and an ex-partner, who had three children in her care. Mr X was refused contact with the children. His ex-partner was concerned that Mr X knew where they lived and had contemplated moving out of the area.
The CAFCASS document also states:
“XXXX (date) Mr X drove past his ex-partner then got out of his car and punched her in the face causing a broken nose. His ex-partner refused to make a complaint.”
The same document also states:
“A parenting assessment was undertaken in respect of Mr X and the outcome of the assessment was that he presented significant defects in parenting capacity.”
I persuaded mother that I would have daughter for a week (daughter three at the time), ostensibly to have contact, but in fact I successfully applied for a prohibited steps order and was given residence in spring 2012.
I have always been keen to promote contact with mother and for a year or so, contact between mother and daughter was supervised, with mother’s new partner kept very much away.
However, in a bizarre twist, mother and new partner were given residence of a child (aged 2) of his from a previous relationship in early 2013. The mother apparently suffered from a serious drug problem. My ex was considered to be a stabilising influence on Mr X as she is an NHS professional and therefore a responsible individual.
My ex pushed that, now that she and her new partner had residence of another small child, there should be no reason why my child should not have unsupervised contact with Mr X. This was upheld by the courts, with the Judge ruling that MR X was a changed character, as had been borne out in psychological assessments of Mr X.
It was made clear to me in court earlier this year that if I did not agree to my daughter spending time with mother and Mr X (who now live around 400 miles away) then residence may be stripped from me and given to mother. So, I had no option other than to agree to unsupervised contact.
My daughter has now had three stays with mother. Following the most recent stay I was concerned with the way my daughter was when she returned home, as well as some of the things she said.
I really don’t want this to continue and I cannot abide this situation. My daughter is due to spend seven days over Christmas with mother and I cannot stomach it.
Seriously, what penalty would I get if I just said that I didn’t want any further unsupervised contact at mother’s house? I think the above information gives a pretty watertight argument as to just how inappropriate it appears for Mr X to be around my daughter.
Can someone who knows about this – really knows about and has been there – please advise me?
I cannot sleep at night.

PS. Also, I'm not sure how to monitor this thread to keep track of any replies, so any advice on how I can do that would also be a big help.

Thank you.

Twitterqueen Mon 15-Dec-14 16:07:15

I can't offer any advice as I have no legal knowledge at all. But you do have my sympathies.
Are you able to stay near mother for that 7 day period, and take daughter for days only?

bluebell345 Mon 15-Dec-14 16:14:26

sorry for your situation.
did you speak to your solicitor about this?

GoldfishSpy Mon 15-Dec-14 16:18:42

Gawd, that sounds awful. I can't help except for the 'keeping an eye on the thread' bit...

If you click on 'Threads I'm On' (near the top and bottom of the page) the thread will pop up with any new replies.

If you 'Watch this thread' you will get an e mail if someone posts.

VeryConfusedFather Mon 15-Dec-14 16:37:00

Thanks all for such prompt comments. I need to hear from someone who's been in the same / similar situation please.
Court Order is now in place stating that daughter must stay for seven nights over Xmas.
Solicitor well aware of this. I had to stop using a solicitor halfway through when my debts reached £20,000.
What I really want to know is this: What would happen to me if I just refused to allow my daughter to stay with them? I imagine I would need to take it back to court very quickly and appeal the Order? But in the meantime would I end up with a criminal record, etc?

LaurieFairyCake Mon 15-Dec-14 16:42:50

Be very sure that what actually happened when she stayed there is actually of concern and not just your prejudice.

By concerning I mean something you can take to Social Services not just them slagging you off to your daughter and you hating it.

The bottom line is that you can't breach your court order or you could lose your daughter - you are very unlikely to get a court date in the next 7 days to raise your concerns and ask for the order to be amended.

Unless you're really bloody sure she's at serious risk you should let her go and talk to social services - if they intervene to secure her safety it will be much better than you doing it.

VeryConfusedFather Mon 15-Dec-14 16:53:11

Thanks LaurieFairyCake.
I'm not sure where you got the notion that my ex and her new partner were slagging me off and "me hating it"? That's not the case.
Could you explain more please about how I could lose my daughter for breaching a Contact Order which is so difficult to believe is in place, given that Social Services contacted me less than two years previously urging that I pursue a Residence Order given that Mr X was a risk to my daughter?

LaurieFairyCake Mon 15-Dec-14 17:14:44

I haven't got that notion, it was just an example - the point is there has to be a real, present reason why contact should be stopped - not based on the past or how the partner previously was as the judge has already ruled on that.

If he is now a risk you need to contact SS and go back to court.

VeryConfusedFather Mon 15-Dec-14 22:23:09

Many thanks Laurie. I don't think he is currently seen as a risk, at least not by Social Services. How things have changed in the space of two years or so is beyond me.
So that leaves me hoping that nothing happens to my daughter and that this reformed character doesn't revert to type. Insane position to be in but at least I'm in some degree of control.
I've arranged with the school for a particular teacher to speak to my daughter each time she returns back from contact, so both I and the school are listening out.
God knows how this will pan out long term. This man is a nasty bastard - I've been on his receiving end - at least verbally.
No idea what will happen long term. My best hope is to somehow not too stir things up too much and hope that the relationship fizzles out. He has about eight different kids with several previous partners, apparently.

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