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Attending Family Court

(13 Posts)
MrsPotts17 Wed 29-Nov-17 11:53:50

Hi everyone, I would like to hear from anyone who has experienced family court / non compliance of court orders.

My husband has been divorced from his ex for almost 8 years now. We met three years after he got divorced when his son was three years old. During the divorce my husband applied for a child contact order. This was granted by the court and it ordered his ex to make their son available for contact at mutually convenient dates and times. She complied with it for about 6 months at most but she made pick ups and drop offs very difficult and she stopped all contact as soon as she found out that he had met someone else (me). She made it clear to him that she did not want him to ever meet anyone else and told him he was not allowed to be happy with anyone except her and to punish him she was going to kill their son and burn the house down. She has not met anyone else in the past 8 years and not had any more children.

He has tried desperately to speak to her but she ignores his calls, doesn't reply to messages, emails, letters sent recorded delivery etc.

To cut a long story short, we eventually got married, bought a house and had a baby. My husband and I have attended every single parents evening since he started school, hubby is in regular contact with the school about his welfare and progress etc.
The last parents evening was a few weeks ago. He is not doing well in school, has emotional issues, and cannot speak to male teachers easily.

Husband applied to the court for a new contact order and the first hearing is due to take place in a few weeks time. She has not responded to the court to confirm her attendance.

My husband bumped into her a few weeks after she was served her court papers but she blanked him and ran off in the opposite direction. Her way of dealing with everything is to bury her head in the sand and ignore it all.

My concern is that she won't turn up in court and if the judge makes a ruling in her absence then she still won't abide by it and won't speak to him about arranging child contact.

His son has never met his only half sibling and I would love for them to meet and get to know each other and have a great relationship. I even went to her house to explain that i have no ill feeling towards her, i respect her as the mother of my daughter's brother and would like to get along for their sake. But she ran back in the house and slammed the door.

We are all professionals, none of us have a criminal record and there is no history of any form of domestic violence at all from my husband.

If anyone could share their experiences or give us some helpful tips then I would be ever so grateful.

BubblesBuddy Wed 29-Nov-17 13:45:37

See childlawadvice.co.uk for info on non attendance. I understand the court can still sit and make a decision. However she could ask for the hearing to be adjourned. I would ask your representative, solicitor or barrister, about how compliance can be ensured.

MrsPotts17 Wed 29-Nov-17 15:04:26

Thanks :-)

It isn't financially viable for us to seek legal advice or have legal representation in court sadly.

I don't think his ex would ask for the hearing to be adjourned, based on previous experience of her, she just likes to bury her head in the sand and pretend it my husband will go away if she ignores all of his attempts to see his son.
I have nothing against her and I wouldn't want to see her fined by the courts. My husband just wants to see his son and I want my daughter to know her brother.

prh47bridge Wed 29-Nov-17 17:53:55

It sounds like your husband has not had any contact with his son for 5 years. If that is the case any contact is likely to be very limited to start with. He may only get indirect contact initially.

Given her history I suspect she will not comply with any court order regarding contact. The order will include a warning notice setting out the penalties and enforcement measures that could be used if she fails to comply. Assuming she ignores any orders your husband will have to apply for enforcement. Be warned that this is likely to be a long process with multiple hearings. She may be given quite a few chances to comply before the courts do anything to force the issue.

MrsPotts17 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:11:17

Thanks for your reply. He has not seen his son in 3.5 years roughly. We have evidence to prove that he has contacted her several times a month every month since he last saw his son. I can understand why a judge would suggest indirect contact initially to make it easier for his son, but as my husband has never done anything wrong for her to stop contact then I do hope it would not be for long.

The current order does have an enforcement notice attached to it but sadly we are dealing with someone who believes she is above the law. In the same way that she had refused to comply with any part of the order made in the divorce to remove my husband from her mortgage and all associated bills. It was an attempt to prevent him from being able to buy another home if he was tied to hers. Her own mother let that one slip a few years ago.

I think we are in for several court appearances at this rate.

Tinselistacky Wed 29-Nov-17 19:17:19

A conversation I had with my barrister informed me that dms who continually refuse to cooperate with a court order run the real risk of losing their dc to the petitioner.
Show the court your dh is in a real position to offer full time care if it was offered.

MrsPotts17 Wed 29-Nov-17 19:38:27

My husband works full time doing shifts and I work 2 days a week. It is as close to being a stay at home mum as possible but still being able to contribute towards the mortgage and bills. When I am at work, my husband is on his days off so he has our daughter. We don't need external child care as we do it between us and still see a lot of each other too. I am more than happy to look after his son in whatever capacity I need to when my husband is at work, and my husband would love to have his son live with us but he is a firm believer that at such a young age it would be wrong to take him from his mother. Our home is quite literally twice the size of hers and the bedroom he would have here is more than double the size of the one he has at his mum's. I don't mean to come accross as arrogant but we really do have a lovely home for him to visit and call his own. I just wish she could just put her emotions and hatred for my husband aside and for the sake of the children and what is best for them.

BubblesBuddy Fri 01-Dec-17 20:13:40

If you have a lovely home why on earth can you not raise some money to get a barrister to represent you? It is very short sighted not to and frankly foolish. If your DH is serious about trying to get this sorted he will stand less chance if he goes to court as a litigant in person. It’s amazing what people will not pay for when their child is concerned!

MrsPotts17 Wed 06-Dec-17 10:43:27

It would be wonderful to afford a barrister but with me being a stay at home mum for a while it is not financially viable on one wage. We were quoted in excess of £15000 when we made the enquiries but my husband is not in the wrong here. His ex has alienated him without good reason.

Tinselistacky Wed 06-Dec-17 10:56:28

My barrister (@£500 an hour) told me contact only works when the dm is cooperative.
But back again to my previous reply - if she won't make it happen there can be serious repercussions. Push for those .....

BubblesBuddy Wed 06-Dec-17 14:57:32

If you ask for a very junior barrister it won’t be £15,000. They are more like £500 a day in court. Obviously there is prep work but not ££££ worth. You solicitor should have knowledge of Chambers who have younger barristers.

BubblesBuddy Wed 06-Dec-17 15:01:18

It’s not a case of who is in the wrong regarding paying for advocacy in court. What you want is a judgement in your favour that hopefully will be adhered to. Most cases like this don’t go on for days so you don’t rack up a huge bill.

MrsPotts17 Wed 06-Dec-17 21:31:53

The frustrating thing is that there is a valid court order in place and she just will not abide by it. I think we will just have to wait and see what happens on the day and if she breaches any new order then put her back before the court each and every time and let them deal with her as they see fit. We have both tried to be nice to her and talk things through but she won't give him the time of day.

The school have already expressed their concerns about the little one's behaviour and difficulty to control his emotions at school.

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