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Contact (again)(5 Posts)
I posted a thread last year about my daughters father surfacing periodically to demand contact after inconsistent contact. A contact order was made at a final hearing in 2011 in which my daughters father was granted weekly access for 1 day with a view to overnight. This was unreliable i.e. late returns, not turning up, turning up unannounced. There was nothing for months and then a letter in 2014 saying I had breached the order. Solicitor advised varying the contact order but I could not afford the legal fees and everything went quiet again. He turned up twice at school demanding to take my daughter as he had the paperwork to show he could. This was after 3 years of no contact. The school said he appeared under the influence of something. There was nothing again until 3 days ago when I received papers saying I was to appear in court on 2nd September for a resolution dispute hearing. He is representing himself and is again saying I have breached the contact order and is asking for a disclosure of my address as I failed to tell him I had moved. To make things clear, it does not state anywhere he has to know my address as he has a history of DV and turning up at my house. Secondly, the contact order involved a third party handing over my daughter due to the DV and harassment I have suffered (injunctions included). Thirdly, he had the phone number of the third party to discuss contact, my parents address and my daughters school. On one occasion he took a bag of presents into the school for her so they are willing to help. Fourth, which worries me more than anything, my daughter disclosed after not seeing him for 2 years, a number of incidents that took place during contact. 1 involved the police attending his then girlfriends address due to an argument and him being escorted off the premises with my daughter. At the time this happened she told me and I contacted my solicitor who was of little help due to it being an "isolated" incident. Since then my daughter has said he grabbed the steering wheel of the car his girlfriend was driving and swerved it when my daughter was in the car!! He has promised her a trip to Disneyland if she went to live with him, he has had a physical fight with his girlfriend in her presence and refused to take her home when she requested. Having had 5 years previous of court hearings, I have little faith in the system; I feel all my concerns were ignored and I have always had to defend myself as to why I do or feel a certain way about contact when he has been able to mess about with contact and been repeatedly given chance after chance by the court. I cannot prove he broke the contact order so it is his word against mine, I cannot afford extensive legal representation, the thought of court hearings again makes me feel physically sick and I am terribly worried about my daughters well being. I have had a discussion about CAFCASS with her and to tell them how she feels. She said she would like to see him but not on her own and varies to saying for 10 minutes to a few hours. I am worried about this conversation as I know that things you say could be seen as directing the child's opinion and do not want to lie but do not want to be seen as influencing her opinion. I feel that ultimately he will probably be granted supervised access but it is very worrying and yet again, I feel on trial. I have been married for 4 years to a wonderful husband, he has no legal rights over my daughter yet we live as a family unit. I have made a will granting guardianship to him but worry this will make no difference should something happen to me . We have discussed him applying for PR but was advised my daughters father could make this difficult. I am terrified about the future. My daughter is 10. Thank you and sorry for the ramble
As much as u can't prove he didn't see her he can't prove he did! He won't have photos, tickets, receipts, evidence he has has any sort of contact /relationship with her at all!! Make notes of all the discrepancies u can think of regarding all of the info u have given here. Ask the school for copies of school reports and school work which could have tell tale signs of the settled life she has now. (maybe pics /stories that reinforce the stability she has now). U are entitled to pick holes in any court reports - that's how I won after 4 years!
When gathering evidence in a similar situation I found it very useful to arrange information in tables with columns for date, time, incident, source of evidence, notes. I did something similar regarding missed contact. This made it succinct and clearly accessible to others. Accurate chronological dates are key.
I'm extremely worried. I have a solicitors appointment to discuss situation but doubt I'll be able to afford on going legal fees. If I had representation at the hearing and he didn't, would they be more sympathetic to him? The thought of representing myself is a very frightening one but I think it's heading that way and I've no clue as to what I would have to do.
If I had representation at the hearing and he didn't, would they be more sympathetic to him
No. The courts are aware that some people cannot afford representation and do their best to help.
I've no clue as to what I would have to do
Use Google to search for "representing self in court" and you will find plenty of advice including a guide produced by the Bar Council.
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