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Has anyone represented themselves in family court - variation of CAO ?

(23 Posts)
TheOrigFV45 Fri 27-Jul-18 13:47:26

I am the applicant for a variation in a CAO for a hearing on the 3rd Aug.

If anyone has any advice I would be very grateful.

For the original CAO hearing I also represented myself, although I had had some advice from my solicitor who had dealt with my divorce.
The respondent (my ex husband and the father of the child) had a Barrister for the original hearing, but as far as I know is also representing himself for this Variation.

Will I need to speak to him?

Collaborate Fri 27-Jul-18 13:51:53

This is an excellent resource, created by Clive Baker, a family law barrister in Liverpool.

Click on the tab for self-represented parties.

TheOrigFV45 Fri 27-Jul-18 13:54:05

Thank you. It's over 5 years old; have there been changes since then?

This is my Friday evening sorted out!

Collaborate Fri 27-Jul-18 14:17:53

* It's over 5 years old; have there been changes since then?*

Not to any material degree.

TheOrigFV45 Mon 30-Jul-18 13:11:41

Cafcass still haven't called me. I have called them 3 times to find out why.


The call centre person said if they don't contact me I just have the court assigned cafcass officer of that day, 1/2hr before my hearing.

That makes me feel of very little value and my son of very little concern.

Collaborate Mon 30-Jul-18 14:55:46

They usually do it a day or two before the hearing in my experience.

TheOrigFV45 Mon 30-Jul-18 15:39:29

My court paper states "The Court Orders Cafcass must send a safeguarding letter to the Court by no later than 3 working days before the hearing.

That's tomorrow and they haven't even spoken to me.

missbehaving1000 Mon 30-Jul-18 15:58:14

Cafcass failed to conduct their pre-hearing safeguarding assessment when I submitted an application to vary a CAO.

I was self representing. Ex had a Barrister. Hearing still went ahead, judge made an interim order then it was adjourned for 4-5 weeks so that cafcass could do their bit before we returned to court to get the order rubber stamped.

TheOrigFV45 Mon 30-Jul-18 16:59:57

That's good to hear.

They have actually called now.
Case worker wanted to talk to ex (Respondent) before me, but hasn't been able to contact ex (could have told them that!).

There won't be a cafcass rep at court on Friday after all, so it'll all be a bit awful with neither of us having representation.

I can't write a position statement until I know how ex is responding to the allegations.

MrsBertBibby Mon 30-Jul-18 17:55:38

If he won't talk to CAFCASS just say exactly that in your PS.

TheOrigFV45 Mon 30-Jul-18 19:40:14

Case worker said he would give ex until Wed to reply and then write his report regardless, sending me email copy Thursday morning. Doesn't give me much time, but out of my hands.

MrsBertBibby Mon 30-Jul-18 20:08:53

Don't worry, the court doesn't expect something polished from a LIP. Generally they're over the moon if you can articulate what you think they should do. Reasoned argument to support that is a bonus! From some of the professional advocates, tbh.

TheOrigFV45 Mon 30-Jul-18 21:47:45

Thanks Bert.
I am articulate and can speak confidently.

It's a bit intimidating to be talked down to from the magistrates (literally...with them being higher up) and using terms lay people are not familiar with but I've done it twice now.

MrsBertBibby Mon 30-Jul-18 23:01:15

You'll be fine. If you don't understand what is going on, say so, and eyeball the legal adviser. S/he won't want to leave that unresolved on tape. Just don't be scared to say it : there are no prizes for looking like a lawyer! Keep it child focussed and you won't go far wrong.

TheOrigFV45 Tue 31-Jul-18 09:04:21

Thanks again.

For a long time I've had a virtual Post-It note in my head saying "Put [DS2] first", which has really helped when emotions run high.

TheOrigFV45 Wed 01-Aug-18 09:22:23

Q. Last time I took a friend with me and she was allowed into the Court room. I am not sure if this was meant to be the case as the magistrate was quite rude about it, but I had phoned the Court and asked and they'd said it was OK, so I told them that.

When I spoke to Cafcass the other day he said my friend would not be able to come into the court room with me.

I'm not sure what's right now. She is just a good friend of mine - does this count as a McKenzie friend? We understand what she can and can't do. I just want her to hold my hand actually. I'm getting really scared.

Familylawsolicitor Wed 01-Aug-18 09:32:05

Email the court and request a mckenzie friend. This can be anyone without an interest in the case (not someone who might be likely you would call to give evidence) and they are there for quiet moral support and note taking - not to speak on your behalf.
See paragraph 6 of the guidance below - email the court to request.

TheOrigFV45 Wed 01-Aug-18 10:06:52

Thank you. She is not neutral at all. She is a close friend of mine and I would absolutely ask her to give evidence if it came to it.
She has been a rock to me through years of emotional abuse.

Fucksakewhatatwat Wed 01-Aug-18 17:51:47

They dont have to be neutral but would she be a witness of fact?

I mean someone who has witnessed someone an incident that has relevance to the proceedings.
You’re unlikely to need characer references. If you think you’re likely to ask the. court for permission for friend be a witness then you can’t use her as a McKenzie friend, use someone else.

TheOrigFV45 Fri 03-Aug-18 17:10:13

It's good. IT'S GOOD!

- cafcass were able to contact ex.
- I got safeguarding email yesterday so was able to write my position statement.
- Judge was really nice. It was awful, I just couldn't tell which way it was going to go. Judge was going to order further investigations, another hearing etc, and to Order supervised contact, but ex jumped in and said he didn't want that.
- Outcome. Existing Order dismissed, no new Order made.
- If ex wants to see DS he will need to take me to Court.

It's like ex knew that deeper investigations would reveal the truth and he's given up.

I have no desire to stop DS seeing his Father and will tell DS that he will be seeing him with supervision (I think he's too young to feel he has the power/responsibility to make that decision himself) and discuss with him how and when, but for now the immediate pressure is off.

I was not expecting this at all. Reading ex's response to my allegations was really, really horrible. I am glad I was able to do that yesterday rather then be presented it in Court.

And now I am shaking.

nb My friend was allowed in Court.

MrsBertBibby Fri 03-Aug-18 18:27:43

Well done OP.

TheOrigFV45 Mon 06-Aug-18 11:32:52

Thank you and a very big thank you for all the advice.

CaptainM Sat 11-Aug-18 09:36:49

Wow, well done! I have just filled out the C100 form requesting a variation. Ex has refused mediation although it wouldn't have helped. I'm also LIP and now have an exempt form.

You've given me some hope!

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