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Going to court, CAFCASS involved, please help I'm petrified.

(41 Posts)
Pleasehelp11 Tue 14-Feb-17 16:13:56

I don't want to put too much info on here as I'm scared. I hve 2 DC in ks2. Divorced from their father about 6/7 years ago. He had them EOW at his parents. For a about 2 years and then moved into his own place. Eldest used to hate going, would scream and beg me no. He was obviously very young at that point and everyone kept telling me he had to have a relationship with his father.

However. Their father was abusive to me through out the marriage. I found out 2 years ago he had been abusive toward DC but mainly eldest. He stopped contact just over 3 years (gave a v silly reason) I tried to make him sort himself out. After about a year he decided he wanted to see them and I said had to be gradual (I didn't know of the abuse at that point) he saw them for couple of times near to home. They both stayed at his one night and was ok but then the last night he had them was bad.

hevkept threatening Court and threatening to stop maintenance etc but never did. I said they didn't want to see him and I'd support that. THEN I found out how he had treated them and refused point blank. He's send the odd message (like he's put a reminder to his phone) and I would repeat they didn't want to see him.

Fast forward to now, we're going abroad and Iv had to ask his permission as I don't have a residency order, he's refusing to give permission unless he gets to see them which Iv said no. So he's got arsey and I said I would have to go to court about specific issue order. He's saying how the judge would hear all about my 'slandering'. Saw a solicitor and Iv applied for specific consent order for the holiday and a residency order but Iv had to fill out a c1a I think it's called about the DA. Had the date for court today and it says cafcass will be notified. Iv heard only bad things about cafcass on here.... I have a family member witness to one particular violent hing he did to me. Another family member and recording of fee years back petrified eldest screaming and begging not to go. A sort of family member witness to couple things he did to them. What will happen? I'm petrified. He will get the papers today aswell.... I'm so scared of his response. I won't reply but I'm sitting don't know yet but they will have to.... how quick will it take for cafcass to get involved? Will the judge say they have to go to contact centre to start with? I know they won't go. I don't want them to go. He a manipulative narcissist. Vile vile person.

Please share any experiences?sad

Pleasehelp11 Tue 14-Feb-17 16:58:07

Sorry that was long. One of my biggest concerns is my eldest has ASD and severe anxiety and is under Camhs... I'm worried this will tip him over

Pleasehelp11 Tue 14-Feb-17 19:49:21

Hopeful bump

MrsBertBibby Tue 14-Feb-17 19:51:22

Don't be scared of CAFCASS. They aren't perfect, but on the whole they are trying to help. Just stick to your guns, keep it truthful, keep it child centered and be cooperative.

Cafcass will call you in the next few weeks so they can do their background checks and find out what you're saying. They will talk to him too. Their main task is to advise the court on whether there should be reports etc.

The children won't be spoken to until after the first hearing, (unless you're somewhere like central london..)

Ilovecaindingle Tue 14-Feb-17 19:53:56

Do not be afraid to challenge the cafcass report. . I won my case when the legal guardian they had appointed to my dc admitted he had based his entire report on apparent 'facts' he received from exh!! Get a good solicitor and be vigilant. . Good luck.

Pleasehelp11 Tue 14-Feb-17 19:58:17

Iv applied for legal aid but they are dragging their heels. I qualify on paper but they've requested so much!! My tenancy agreement, 3 months bank statements, proof of all benefits etc etc I chased today and supposedly will be called tomorrow but I bet they say no. I can't afford a solicitor. If I don't get legal aid I will have to pay on my credit card. The solicitor I saw last week was a junior solicitor £175 plus vat an hour and the other one was £250 per hour plus vat!!! How on earth do you know you're 'getting a good one'?!?! Solicitor said I would pay solicitor fees and barrister will be about £700 each time they attend court and I will probably attend up to 6 times!!!?

Iamdazedandconfused Tue 14-Feb-17 19:58:20

Don't be frightened of CAFCASS, they're there to help your children.

They're essentially independent social workers who analyse the situation and give their view on what is the best thing for the children. They'll meet the children at some point and take into account their views, which will have more weight depending on their age.

CAFCASS seem to get a bad rap on here but certainly in my area they're all very good and sensible!

Best wishes.

Pleasehelp11 Tue 14-Feb-17 20:00:06

I'm not scared of cafcass themselves, I'm scared of exh and I know he will slaughter me in court. I'm scared of the judge saying DC have to have contact with ex even though they don't want to and I don't want them to.

Pleasehelp11 Tue 14-Feb-17 21:36:19


MrsBertBibby Wed 15-Feb-17 07:26:52

OP, there will be no "slaughtering in court". You will explain what he's done to you and to the children, as per your C1A, and the children's views will be sought. They are old enough to say what they want, and what he did.

If CAFCASS think contact should be tried, they'll come up with suggestions, ultimately the judge will decide.

A number of cases has set the pendulum swinging back against contact with abusers, so you should get a proper hearing.

Pleasehelp11 Wed 15-Feb-17 08:10:27

I mean he is so manipulative, smarmy, will charm everyone and they will all think he's wonderful. He says the right things to the right people. He will have the expensive solicitor and barrister and I will be on my own and probably get flustered and upset and say the wrong thing.

When you mean a 'proper' hearing what do you mean? The first court date they are calling a hearing and say it will last approx 30 mins...... so what will happen? I believe it will be in judges chambers.... Iv been there for something else last year and know what the building is like, very small very narrow corridors. I don't know how I will be able to keep away from him? Iv asked for desperate waiting area on the form.....

Pleasehelp11 Wed 15-Feb-17 18:30:42


dunfightin Wed 15-Feb-17 19:36:01

Try and talk to WA and see if they can help set your mind at rest. As with all things it depends on Cafcass officer and also on judge so you can't guess how it is going to play out on the day.
It is scary going to court but set out clear timeline and notes of any professional involvement also of when things were witnessed and by whom - with note that you have evidence, statements can be made if necessary.
And everyone there will be trying hard to be child-centred - this is where abusers tend to trip up as they view the situation through themselves rather than through what's best for the children.
Work now on getting legal aid sorted and then hopefully you'll have some legal support to rely on.
Try not to panic and concentrate on being methodical and getting all your paperwork in order - it also helps you feel more in control so dampens the panic too

Pleasehelp11 Wed 15-Feb-17 19:38:18

Legal aid keep messing me about. Still looking through all my papers! I'm not going to have time engaging a solicitor before the end of Monday. The hearing it says this one is half an hour.... the solicitor I saw free said it will be for me to go there to state why I'm there... but they know why I'm there as I filled in the papers!

MrsBertBibby Wed 15-Feb-17 19:43:45

I've spent 20 years being told by abused clients how charming and clever their ex is and how the judge will love them. Never seen it. Never seen a judge see it.

Your first hearing is a short directions hearing. Not an opportunity for any legal fireworks. Calm down and practice sticking to your main points: he's violent, he's abusive, you and the kids are scared of him.

But mostly, calm down!

Pleasehelp11 Wed 15-Feb-17 19:45:49

Thanks I really am struggling with it. I haven't told the DC yet, will worry them ESP my eldest so I'm waiting until cafcass contact me before telling them.

I don't know how much information i need to have Tuesday or what I will be asked and how much detail I need to give etc? I know to try to be calm, not retaliate and keep it focused on the kids etc

Crazycatlady83 Wed 15-Feb-17 19:54:13

If you qualify "on paper", your Solicitor can use their "delegated" powers granted to them by the Legal Aid Agency in emergency situations (such as when the Court hearing is less than 4 weeks away) to grant emergency cover for that hearing only - you will have legal representation for that hearing only but this will give you the legal advice you need and also time before any subsequent hearing to get the legal aid. Don't let your lawyer "fob" you off that they can't do that as its a bit of extra paperwork for them and some can't be bothered!

You will get to speak to Cafcass before the first hearing (either they will call you or they will talk to you at court before you go see the Judge) Be honest with them and tell them everything that has happened. If you get to speak to the Cafcass Officer on the phone before court they will file a letter advising the Judge on what they think should happen (after they have spoken to both yourself and exh and also having done standard social services and Police checks) You get to see this letter before going in to see the Judge so nothing will be said by Cafcass that is a surprise.

It might be that Cafcass speak to your children and complete a "wishes and feelings report" or a full report before the Judge feels able to order any contact - do you think your Dc would be able to speak openly about this?

Don't forget, as the Judge only has half an hour with you at this first hearing, he cannot grant anything without you both agreeing. Therefore if you don't agree to contact taking place, the Judge can't order it until they have heard evidence at a Trial.

Starlight2345 Wed 15-Feb-17 19:54:38

My Abusive ex took me to court for contact..He never made it to court I suspect he thought I would back down before court but when it became obvious I had no intentions of doing so he withdrew.

I had a preliminary CAFCASS report done prior to that.

My report was very favourable. My advise is remember this is someone you want on your side. So always be co operative. Mine was supposed to phone back at a certain time so my DS could here conversation( she was pleased didn't want to drag my DS into it) She didn't and system was it was no problem. I dealt with facts. Anything I had documented I mentioned. I queried things she said. Like she said he had a caution for Assault and said it wasn't relevant but when I pointed out it was and assault on me while DS was in my arms it became more relevant. Always make it about your children and not about your relationship. Do you have professionals who can give evidence.. My Ex had ticked all the boxes, no drugs , no alcohol issues , no safety issues.She said as he had already had supervised contact she knew this wasn't true. There were some issues but she said she would be recommending no contact until a psychiatric/psychological report were done.

Pleasehelp11 Wed 15-Feb-17 20:57:15

I can't see how I will see cafcass before Tuesday? My letter didn't mention cafcass just that they will be sent copies of my forms.

I'm worried about them speaking to DC, my eldest esp hates strangers and often won't talk to them, when it's to do with his father he closes up and won't speak as it upsets him.... I don't want them going into school to speak to them, will I get any say in that?

I can't see him not going to court.... he has the money to fight.... I wish he wouldn't. I wish he would give up once and for all.. he's threatened court loads over the last 2 years but never done it.

That's the trouble, I think they will say a lot of what I have to say is irrelevant. For example the abuse on me.... eldest witnessed one incident and he remembers it but he was only 2... I threw him out when eldest was 3, after that the abuse was mainly over the phone also kids didn't witness it, the threats of court and just generally being vile to me, catcass won't care but I think it paints the picture. He also got in trouble with police regarding his other ex but was cautioned... they'll prob say they don't care about that either as DC weren't there? I never contacted the police as I was too scared but I have to live with that mistake now.

I don't have a solicitor, I saw one in town who saw me for free but she is a junior solicitor ... so cheaper... she doesn't offer legal aid. There aren't any local to me that do, over half hours drive. I don't know what to do about that.::

Pleasehelp11 Wed 15-Feb-17 20:58:12

starlight a report done on whom? Eldest is under Camhs already and wouldn't want him subjected to more assessments..:

Starlight2345 Wed 15-Feb-17 21:25:42

The report was done by CAFCASS.. It was over the phone..However there were issues before case started .This was over contact though.

I think it depends on your childrens age whether they speak to them..My DS was 4 so she felt no need to speak to him. I also said my DS would say yea however I had concerns about risk...CAFCASS agreed with my concerns.

Did you speak to anyone at the time GP . HV these all count. Is Cahms relevant to Ex. They can write about that.

I am assuming that at this point in time you are asking for holiday. Ex will have no reason so should be granted...The residency order My solicitor told me much harder to get. I would assume he would still need to take you to court for access so would be a different case. It is possible he may not turn up and judge will just stamp it.

Also be aware it is the biggest threat I will take you to court but don't want it out in the public how they have behaved.

Pleasehelp11 Wed 15-Feb-17 21:36:59

Sorry please could you explain your last paragraph for me starlight?

I disclosed it all to gp when I found out about how he had treated gp and disclosed it to school and to Camhs. He turned up at the house about 18 months ago despite me saying no, had a dramatic affect on eldest schooling and he wouldn't go to school so school said even though he hasn't disclosed anything they would be happy to confirm all of that.

It was the solicitor who said it would be better for me to apply for the residence order to stop him preventing holidays in the future ..

dunfightin Thu 16-Feb-17 00:00:51

Cafcass will either be in the court and will speak to you alone before you go in to see the judge. Try to turn up a bit earlier than stated so that you don't feel rushed. Judge will be running several cases at the same time so you get slotted in.
In half an hour best you will get is a decision about the holiday - i.e. judge will ask where, when. Will probably try to persuade your ex to allow holiday and write a letter giving permission to take them abroad. If not order will be issued. That's about as far as you'll get.
Cafcass will ask questions to find out if there needs to be a hearing about the contact and if evidence needs to be gathered so in essence you will have time to get legal aid. They will then set a date for these to be gathered and if the DCs need to be spoken to.
If ex is represented and you are not, then explain that you are in the process of applying for legal aid and waiting on the paperwork. Both sides need to be able to present their case equally so if he has a barrister and you don't then judge will explain things to you and ensure the barrister doesn't go in heavy on you with legal jargon.
Judges are there to listen, get a feel of the situation and try to find a solution that in the light of the evidence is the right thing for the DCs.
Going on holiday is a benefit to the DCs. Present reasons why you will be back i.e. no risk of staying out of the country permanently i.e. work, school i.e. stuff that makes the ex's objections look daft - your granny's 80th birthday, DCs birthday party. Ex's only grounds for saying no to holiday is if he fears you will move abroad.
Photocopy travel details and bring them to court.

Pleasehelp11 Thu 16-Feb-17 06:32:55

I have printed off details of the flights to show return flights. I'm going with a couple of family members also. He said no to giving consent because I won't let him see them before the holiday (I won't at all) that's his reason to not give it, nothing else, he hasn't even pretended to give reasons like non return.

Pleasehelp11 Thu 16-Feb-17 17:07:31

Can anyone else share any experiences please? Still not been told about the legal aid .... it's a nightmare

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