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Orders in Child Arrangement Orders(5 Posts)
Hi all- Im in the process of rejigging a CAO order- the father took every opportunity to interpret the wording of the previous order to his own benefit. Ive stood firm on a couple points but find myself back in court. Im hoping something positive can come out of this.
I was wondering if anyone had any parts of their Order which they found useful? I seem to remember reading somewhere that someone had something like 'if the child wants to go' put in. My LO has expressed a couple times they dont want to go and would rather spend time me with me, but my LO isn't legally old enough to have this taken into consideration.
Issues thus far are focused around him being late at drop off, not putting her needs ahead of her much older step-sister and new step-son and not allowing her to attend events she wants to attend which span pick up times.
Any help or suggestions gratefully received. Thank you all
I would check all this out with your solicitor/barrister. If a child has an opinion it will be taken into account, so your DD should be asked. Younger children may not have the experience to know what is best for them, but she should be listened to regarding what she would like to happen regarding contact. I would see if you can get wording along the lines of making sure special events are attended if they are held during the contact period. If this cannot be accommodated, then there should be space in agreement to alter the contact for the event by negotiation.
We had this situation with my husbands ex wife. We had 3 children he lived with (mine) and 4 of his with a CAO for contact EOW. His children's mother was very difficult about contact over a decade of hearings . Mostly down to issues such as the ones you mention. - Younger child not wanting to go with dad and wishing to stay with mum.
One child having an 'event' on contact day and mum insisting it be attended despite it being where she lived and would require the whole family disrupting their weekend plans for and hour mid morning to accommodate one child.
The judge ruled against for the following reasons. - on the issue of the child not wishing to attend he found that the mother was not encouraging contact and feeding the child's wish to remain with the mother. When the child was with father she was happy and had a good time. The CAFCAS report found the child conflicted - and wanted to make mum happy and thought the way to do this was to stay with her. She also didn't want mum to be lonely whilst she was at dads. (This was a big issue) The older children were not as susceptible to guilt but the littlest -6 at the time- was very distressed.
On the issue of events the Judge was very clear. The mother had 10days out of 14 to arrange events. The time the children were with their father was his time to plan time with his family as he saw fit. He was unimpressed that the mother had signed the youngest up for a weekly sports club knowing that it was highly probable that the father would have regular fortnightly contact. He said he believed this had been done with the intention to 'frustrate' contact and refused the application to vary the order.
Over all the hearings over a ten year period every judge was consistent that the children see their father EOW and that this time was his to enjoy with his family. We were (all older now) a family of 7 children and stepchildren so needed those few days together to gel as a family. DH and I would arrange activities we could all enjoy so not appropriate to put everyone's life on hold while they were small for the benefit of one. He was clear that 6pm Friday-6pm Sunday was their time with their father and not to be compromised by arrangements the mother had made.
The very very long outcome of all these hearings was that the judge awarded residency of the older two to us as soon as they were old enough to make that decision. It wasn't a quick process and mum was given so many chances to encourage and facilitate contact - but she just thought the children were 'hers' not 'his' and that he had no right to them after he left her.
Mine in only an experience of a lot of family court hearings. I have no family law training.
There are some fantastic knowledgeable and experienced family lawyers on here - MrsBertBibby. ph47bridge, and Collaborate spring to mind as well as BabyBarrister hopefully one will be along to give you the legal opinion in a minute.
My overwhelming piece of advice is that you need to be- and seen to be encouraging and supportive of your child having a good relationship with their father as long as there is no welfare concern that the court agrees would make that in advisable.
Caffcass should talk to your child and write a report before court. They should take what the child says in consideration.
I'm having similar issues but my child is only 19 months old. Long old road ahead.
Very best of luck
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