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Advice please - How to explain breaching Court Order...(7 Posts)
Any advice greatly appreciated.
My ex has the kids alternate weekends and one mid week for tea once a fortnight. Weekends are collect from school Fri and return Mon, so all OK. But the midweek handover is in person and this is my issue.
My ex is abusive at handovers and shouts and swears/makes rude hand signals at me or my partner, the kids see and hear this. I cannot ask anyone else to do handover as due to her behaviour nobody is willing. She often arrives rather late and keeps the kids in the car for ages whilst I am stood there waiting. This upsets them as she cries and does a massive goodbye/farewell which distresses them.
This place is named on the Court Order as my ex suggested it and Judge said public place sounded perfect and didn't have time to hear my objections. We have a final hearing scheduled for two months time and Judge said we will discuss handover location then and to use it in the interim. My ex wanted this to be an overnight contact and the Judge disagreed, so she is trying to make it awful for me so I don't collect them and she gets her own way anyway.
Ex has (since this order was made) been arrested for being abusive outside my house and a court order was issued forbidding her to come near my home address. She has made repeated false allegations about me (none have even seen me questioned or arrested) but it is of course upsetting and worrying - she's lied in Court about DV in the past (which thankfully hasn't been believed) and it worries me greatly, big man and small woman.
The handover location is closed and all but deserted by the 7pm handover time. It's dark, off the main street behind bushes and has no CCTV at all. I feel extremely vulnerable not only to the verbal abuse but mainly false allegations. It feels like I'm setting myself up for yet more false allegations. I need these handovers to be on CCTV.
So I want to suggest another location for these twice monthly handovers, which means breaching the court order. I guess I need to write to her solicitor explaining why and offering a different location which is public and covered by CCTV and stating my reasons. Is that reasonable? I don't want to be criticized at the next Court hearing.
Can anyone advise/help with the wording of the letter. Do I mention the Non Molestation Order that has been granted recently and my reasons or just keep it brief?
Could you buy a dashboard camera as plenty of cars have these days and one of those head webcams cyclists wear to record abuse or have your phone on record sitting on the front seat to record what is said?
How old are the children? As soon as mine were old enough to get into their father's car he would ring the bell at my house and they would go out and into the car so we didn't actually see each other at all even for one second at a handover. That worked fine for about 10 years.
Thank you for replying. I coukd record the abuse but not sure it amounts to enough for criminal prosecution/Police and I doubt family court would entertain it. I'm more worried about having CCTV to cover myself from her false allegations which include assault, verbal abuse and harassment.
I don't drive so can't use the car dash cam. I have to get a train to handover location. She drives and it's near her home. Her lateness also means the kids are getting home late as we have to wait for the train . After the emotional drain of the handover and the big farewells and tears and getting home late the kids are always shattered the next day.
As long as you can come to an agreement with your ex concerning changing contact arrangements you will be fine. I would caveat this by saying you should get any agreement in writing to protect yourself and avoid later being accused of unilaterally changing arrangements (and therefore breaking the order).
So you are right - you should write to your ex's solicitor with your proposals. Ensure you say the children have been distressed by events at handovers and propose an appropriate alternative location. Keep it short, factual and unambiguous. Also ensure that any change keeps to the terms of the Non Mol (there is no point one being in place if you agree to say, handovers in a private location with your abuser). I would therefore suggest you mention the non molestation in your letter.
I would recommend you record handovers too. Many solicitors will say this is not appropriate and judges will sometimes say parents are not to do this. My experience (I am a McKenzie Friend, helping parents in situations such as this) is that recordings can be invaluable. If the worst came to the worst you would be unlikely to be able to produce any recording in court. Instead, transcripts of any incidents should be made and brought to a hearing with the recordings to produce if it becomes appropriate. I have known a few hearings that have been swung this way.
The law on recording is that as a private individual you are permitted to do this. You do not have an obligation to seek the consent of the other party, nor do you need to inform them. A lot of confusion comes about as a result of the laws set out to regulate organisations...which people confuse with those for private individuals.
If you need a few tips, please get in touch. I am a member of Families Need Fathers, as well as a McKenzie Friend, and this situation is very common.
I have breached a court order relating to handover location. Cafcass wanted the handover at the school pressed for by the paternal grandparents who wanted to interfere and cause issues at the school. It was pushed through but was disastrous.
As we had other children at the school, they used this opportunity for confrontation which caused huge distress to my grandson with the children screaming on being separated. The stress was horrible, I was so scared leading up to handover given his father's violent conduct. The school felt powerless and when they did not comply with the wishes of the paternal grandparents, they began to make allegations against the head.
I took my gs out slightly early on contact days and took him to a relatives home nearby where the handover could take place safely as the door could be firmly shut. It also was a whole lot calmer for my grandson.
I was taken back to court for enforcement. However the new Judge could see the level of stress placed upon the children and myself and formed an early view but they would still not give in and pressed for a full hearing. It was moved to another venue which has worked well for the past five years.
I really do not recommend breaching the order because I was in the wrong and the stress of wondering what my punishment would be was awful.
You have a hearing coming up. Please tell the Judge what you have told us here. Do focus on how upsetting it is for the children as the court will put their needs first. I truly despair at ill thought through and rushed orders which are so damaging to the children involved.
bike helmet cam. can you cycle from the station to handover point and then walk the children back to the station? you could borrow a bike from a friend. do you have someone who can go with you until the hearing?
Your contact arrangements are much like mines.
Mine is from nursery to nursery in alternate weekends and on weekdays too....only in holidays i need to handover my son to him.that i don't want to happen.
I think when she is delaying or abusive,call the police or call 101 to arrange a supervised handover by showing your experiences and fears.i was advised this earlier.
Best of luck
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