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Court order nightmare(9 Posts)
So here I am again,
Last Friday my ex was awarded contact on a fortnightly basis.
I was too unwell to be in the court room and he had been excused.
My barrister told me the broad outcome of the hearing which was fortnightly supervised Contact and that he was no to contact me unless through solicitors or in an absolute emergency. I’m not happy Antoi the contact but I accept that there is a process I have to follow to appeal this and am doing so via a stay of arrangements and new evidence I didn’t get to present on the day. However that’s a different story and I am trying to do this within the confines of the system.
The issues I have is that despite a week of the detailed wording of the ones that order and the obligations not to contact / harass me incumbent upon my ex p, by Friday lunchtime we still didn’t have this or the outstanding note of attendance by my barrister. It transpired that it was not the others sides solicitor writing the order under but the judge. We had Solent every day that week leaving messages for this solicitor.
Anyway, as we had not seen any wording of the order or had the note and I genuinely didn’t know what the details were, my solicitors wrote to say the contact could not take place this weekend. Bearing in mind that it was fortnightly anyway from the 20th we were careful to say we weren’t complying with the order, merely that without the Order to protect me as their client or full knowledge of its terms we couldn’t go ahead.
Anyway he’s gone nuts, because he is telling ,e the contact was ordered for this weekend and I knew. I didn’t. It turns out his mother is very ill and she is the one supposed to be supervising this contact and starts medics, treatment all week next week. I feel very bad about this but it’s not my fault that this has happened.
As an aside, he claims to have seen the wording - how when the judge is the one writing it is beyond me - but he has harassed me over every platform possible since Monday this week. Surely this is a definite breach of the order even if mine might be.
I’m so worried about this as my barrister really didn’t tell me dates. He also didn’t tell me, who was to supervise ie he said he thought it would be stated it had to be both his parents. I as,ed for conditions including area and precise address drop off times etc but again I don’t know.
He has broken all previous contact orders hence the revocation of contact methods and internet chat with his children.
He is saying he will apply for an enforcement order. I replied I hadn’t said I wouldn’t comply with the order just that my side haven’t seen it or had them agreement corroborated by his barrister snd thst as technics.ly within a fortnight Contact next weekend was within the order once we’d seen it this was not a breach.
What I would like to know is
- have I done anything wrong, even though we’ve not read the order so can’t agree and my. Arrested isn’t making the note available?
-what are the implications for contact? Ie if he committed a proven breach multiple times then surely thst calls into question his greater disrespect for the Court Order in terms of its effective from date.
He dropped this illness thing on me through a snide email on Wednesday not through his Solicitor. To save money and try to keep bullying me I suspect, but as we were still trying to get hold of the order and I don’t want to engage with him I didn’t reply. I am trying to keep things at arms length but he just won’t and it is very difficult.
I hate to say this but it seems to me that for all I know in the absence of a worded order to state otherwise, that once again he is re writing contact arrangement and cherry picking aspects of obligations to suit him and his family. I didn’t think that was how a court order worked but perhaps it’s just me.
Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated
Sorry for the long post
And sorry for typos, I hope they are self explanatory.
I have no legal knowledge but surely he’s playing into your hands by making contact directly with you? So if he knows what the order says, why is he still doing it? He’s broken it already the idiot.
Don’t engage with him, wait for the order.
The order is effective from the time it is made, not from the time you receive the paperwork. Your solicitor or barrister should be providing you with what you are supposed to do. They should also be able to advise you on next steps if you believe your ex has breached the order.
Yes I know the Order is effective from the date it is made. I am not disputing that.
The issue is we don’t know the wording of the contact order.
Because the barrister had not sent his note of attendance and we don’t know the date the contact started or the time, whether it was both his parents, confined to local area and I know there were some discussions around possible penalties.
I also don’t know what the conditions incumbent upon him were but I do know that my barrister said the Skype and emails were going to be put a stop too.
My problem is nobody has talked me through it because they haven’t seen it and as it was the judge actually drawing it up neither sets of solicitors have seen it via barristers note of attendance or otherwise.
The Police are investigating criminal complaints I have made about him. They told me that they were going to visit him today to inform him of interview times he must report for . They said to try and assist they would ask him to produce a court order, given that none of our legal representatives are available.
The fact remains though that the barristers clerk confirmed he was awaiting my counsel’s attendance note to send through to my solicitors.
He can see the children next weekend so has had fortnightly contact since the date of the order.
I don’t see how I can hand my children over without knowing exactly what the wording of the contact covers.
We are both surely vulnerable?
In terms of enforcement of an order, the court has to be satisfied that you knew what the order said. If neither of you were physically in the room, the barrister hasn't told you, and the judge hasn't actually drafted the order (which suggests once again that it's a rushed fudge and the lawyers don't actually know because the judge didn't articulate it) a court should not use its powers of enforcement because it cannot be said beyond reasonable doubt that you were failing to comply.
That said, your representative should be standing up to the judge more, and insisting on him either waiting until you can come back in, or adjoining if you can't. And insisting that the arrangements are spelled out there and then, not shunted off to "I'll stick something together after the event when the parties can't tell me important things like I will be in hospital in active labour just then so no, it's a dumbarse time to be ordering contact"
It is hard to stand up to an irritable, overbearing, impatient judge, and to remind him or her of how things ought to be done, but we are paid quite a bit to do it.
Thanks very much that’s reassuring.
And my legal team just aren’t fighting my corner properly.
Sounds very good advice to me above. Also you were too ill to attend the hearing. In future if you cannot attend it might be worth sending someone else along just to take notes. As soon as judges start speaking in court with their order everyone starts scribbling away as fast as they can to keep up and have that immediate record of what was ordered even if a draft is then sent between lawyers later to check it is correct or whatever. Don't see why your barrister who was in court could not just send a 2 second email with the rough gist of the order the same day as the hearing! Surely most lawyers do that.
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