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Contact after two years absence.

(17 Posts)
NotDoingTheHousework Sat 18-Oct-08 13:10:13

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NotDoingTheHousework Sat 18-Oct-08 13:48:52

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mumoverseas Sat 18-Oct-08 14:23:39

if he wanted to re-establish contact (formerly called access) his first course of action should be to try to agree it with you. One thing you should know is that unfortunately contact and maintenance are treated completely separate by the Courts so you could not use this as an excuse for him not to see them although obviously you could use this to illustrate that he is not a candidate for father of the year award! In my opinion, it would not be appropriate for direct contact (ie face to face) to recommence automatically, you should have a period of time to introduce the idea to the children and perhaps have indirect contact (ie him sending them letters and cards) or perhaps telephone contact first. It may well be that you are then happy to try direct contact.
If not, then his only course of action will be an application to the County Court for a Contact Order. Once he has made his application, you will both receive notification of a Court date which could be anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks later depending on the listing at the Court. At that first meeting, you would both have a short meeting with the CAFCASS officer (formerly called the court welfare officer) a government appointed official who will initially attempt to assist you in resolving matters amicably. If this is not possible, you will go before the District Judge who will hear brief arguments(statements) from both of your (or your legal representatives). The CAFCASS officer will then be ordered to prepare a report which will involve meeting with both you and your ex separately. Given the ages of your DC, it is unlikley that they will be talked to. The report will usually take up to 12 weeks although in certain parts of the country it can take longer. In the interim, depending on the circumstances, the DJ (judge) may order some form of contact although it may well be supervised, either by a family member or at a contact centre. Once the CAFCASS report has been filed (sent to court and you and your ex) you will then get the opportunity to make statements in which you will set out your case. There will then be a further hearing (or several) when the DJ may then make a further order. As you can see, it is a very long process and therefore this may well put off your ex who may not want to persue an application once he realises the time (and costs!) involved. Good luck

NotDoingTheHousework Sat 18-Oct-08 14:27:56

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mumoverseas Sat 18-Oct-08 14:39:30

good luck to you and DP with your future plans.
hopefully your ex will be put off when he realises its not as simple as he thinks!

sadbarratthomeowner Sat 18-Oct-08 17:27:03

We have just been through this court process. There was no meeting with a CAFCASS person in our case as my ex was on holiday at the time we should have met her. So we just went straight to the court only about 6 weeks after his application. The judge asked various questions, then contact was agreed and this began the very next weekend! So it can actually be put in place quite quickly which I think is what the courts seem to want - feeling that it is in the children's best interests most of the time for there to be some access, supervised if thought necessary. If I had been more anti the access, I guess CAFCASS reports would have been made which would have delayed things.

mumoverseas Sat 18-Oct-08 19:46:46

of course it is easier if contact is agreed. But, if at the end of the day contact is agreed, there is no need to go to Court. If the matter is disputed, then CAFCASS would be involved.

sadbarratthomeowner Sun 19-Oct-08 10:01:13

In our case there was a need to go to court due to past history of domestic violence and child neglect from my ex, who has a criminal record. I wanted it to go through the courts so that it was officially agreed that they thought him suitable to have access to the children. Contact was set as supervised.

So this wasn't a completely straightforward case but was still resolved quite quickly (less than 2 months start to finish).

mumoverseas Sun 19-Oct-08 12:03:07

glad it got resolved quickly in your case sad... unfortunately, it does sometimes take months if not years so its good to hear positive stories.

NotDoingTheHousework Sun 19-Oct-08 12:33:51

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sadbarratthomeowner Sun 19-Oct-08 13:24:09

Sorry - but I'm sure they look at all cases individually. Maybe I was just too soft - but at the end of the day, dd1 really wanted to see her Dad, and everyone was encouraging me to move on.... And I got supervised contact, with ex having to take hair strand tests to prove not drinking etc.

I hope your worries just stay hypothetical but, even if they don't, if he messes up with contact in the future after going through the courts, he's not likely to be treated very favourably after that I guess...

mumoverseas Sun 19-Oct-08 14:31:28

Notdoingthehousework, if you do not agree to contact then CAFCASS will have to become involved and will hear your reasoning behind your refusal of contact. They will look into all the circumstances and obviously if you are at all concerned about his criminal convinctions and feel that they are relevant (may well be if he is still doing drugs and is still violent) Unlikely that direct contact would be ordered in the first instance, perhaps indirect, ie letters/phone calls and then depending on how that went, perhaps supervised contact (ie at a contact centre). Please try not to worry.

Freckle Sun 19-Oct-08 14:35:06

If your dp wants to adopt the children when you marry, you will need to get the consent of your ex. Do you think he will agree to this? Or, if you approach him with regard to this, do you think he will then try to re-establish contact?

mumoverseas Sun 19-Oct-08 15:00:08

Freckle has a good point. He may well do this just to be difficult. If he does however, you could ask if he is going to re-establish maintenance!

NewspiritsFromOldghosts Sun 19-Oct-08 15:27:53

dd's father was refused access through the courts however this was after he was given supervied access for a short period, he had not seen dd for around 16 months when we first went to court.
He was given a no contact order eventually as he had harmed dd at a contact visit and was still threatening me, breaking in etc.

He did have a very long well documented history of DV, drug abuse, alchohol abuse and mental health problems though. My barrister at the time told me that generally, if there has been violence towards the mother but not the child then supervised contact is normally given as it is seen as a positive to promote some kind of contact as long as the child is not at risk of any harm.

In your case you could insist on letterbox contact first, if that was regular and beneficial you could move on to short contact sessions at a contact centre, then move onto the contact centre allowing say an hour unsupervised to go to a local park then if that had all gone well you could move on to unsupervised access.
This would be a process over a couple of years.

Re adoption, your ex husband will have pr for the kids as you were married, he would have to give permission for their adoption.

NotDoingTheHousework Sun 19-Oct-08 18:28:04

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GypsyMoth Mon 20-Oct-08 20:09:33

and also get in touch with the csa.......he may well happily let them be adopted if it gets him out of shelling out every month for kids he doesn't seem too bothered about.

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