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CAFCASS

(10 Posts)
CustardCream1 Sat 27-Aug-16 11:12:41

Hi, I am a single mum with a 12 month old dd. I want to move 150 miles away to be near family and had secured a house to rent, but my ex disagrees with us moving away, and there is a prohibited steps order to stop us moving until a decision is made through the courts.

I have been told CAFCASS will carry out the basic safeguarding checks which I understand is checking to see if there are any records on us with the police and social services and also a telephone interview. They have been given a deadline of 13 Sept to complete these.

I am worried sick though because I spoke to the police a few weeks ago regarding my ex's behaviour towards me (emotional abuse and disturbing text messages). The police passed this information on to my health visitor and also to social services. So when CAFCASS ring social services, they will be informed of this and I am worried SICK that this will mean they will want to do the full section 7 checks which I have been warned could take up to 20 weeks.

It isn't so much the checks I am worried about as I don't think they will have any concerns about me. But if the full investigation is carried out, I will lose the house I have found to rent. I can't afford my rent any more where I live and would need to move somewhere cheaper and can only afford a bedsit (I live not too far from London and current rent is £950 per month).

I also hate the fact that CAFCASS would be investigating me as a parent, speaking to my family, friends, neighbours about me, checking through my medical notes. It is a massive invasion of privacy and a total waste of time. All I want to do is move house and why this should warrant a ridiculously lengthy, bureaucratic, obtrusive, invasive, investigation into my private life just seems beyond absurd.

What I am wondering is that, if CAFCASS insist on doing the full investigation, will I still be prevented from moving whilst the checks are taking place, or could I still move if the judge at the hearing allows?

The situation is just horrendous

Thank you.

Fourormore Sat 27-Aug-16 15:33:42

CAFCASS wouldn't be talking to your friends, family and neighbours or checking through your medical notes.

Several people have explained why this process is necessary already. It's got nothing to do with inconveniencing you and everything to do with the child's welfare. As you and the child's father can't agree a suitable way forward, the court are having to decide for you.

Yes, IF the judge decided a full s7 report was necessary, they could extend the prohibited steps order if they wanted to. IF the judge thinks the child should stay living close to both parents then it would be far too disruptive to allow the child to be moved and then order that the child was moved back to the original area.

yumyumlama Sat 27-Aug-16 19:44:24

I've been through s7 and as above its all about putting the child first. It may inconvenience you, but the moment the courts get involved, their focus is the child not you or your ex.

CustardCream1 Sat 27-Aug-16 20:49:49

Hello thank you for your replies. Inconveniencing me by delaying mine and my daughter's move to a lovely home up north means we will have no choice but to move to a bed sit which is all I can afford where I currently live. I cannot see how this is in the best interests of the child.

Fourormore Sat 27-Aug-16 21:48:26

Well no but you didn't have to give notice on the place you are living and probably shouldn't have done so until the matter of your child's contact with their father was resolved.

CustardCream1 Sat 27-Aug-16 21:53:18

I would have given notice anyway, no matter what, as I cannot afford to live here any more. Thank you for your 'Support'.

Sunflowersmiling Sun 28-Aug-16 01:28:29

Hi. Just wanted to acknowledge how frightening the court process is, and how strong the desire is to move away. It's understandable.

It sounds like a traumatic time for you, and while your desire to be close to family is only natural... the courts can be cold and unforgiving places.

Given you are stuck unable to afford your current home, maybe think about options to stay locally for another few months... leaving the area before court has made a judgement can look like you are trying to disrupt dads contact on purpose. I'm not saying this to be harsh or judgemental. I've been where you are now...its an unfair system you are in if you have suffered abuse.

It is reasonable you would want to be close to your family..of course! But if there's a prohibited steps order all ready in place, be careful not to look like you are fleeing.

Try and hold your ground for a little longer, is there a woman's charity you can seek help/advice from? Get a benefits check?

Two things a friend advised me...Every decision you make must be rational and with child's best interests at heart. If you can do this in court they will be more responsive to you.

So you need to make the case for moving and the benefits to the child. Write it all down, how will you ensure dad and child have good relationship if you moved? Where would child live and why? Skype/weekends/holidays. How do you see the time being shared? Who has majority care now? If you can demonstrate to the court you are thinking all these things, then you are child - focused.

Sadly the process will take as long as it needs to. That doesn't help you right now, I know. Just keep going and keep thinking of the long term goal.

I was in a cold dark 1 bed flat for 2 years with my DS while my ex swanned about in his big warm home. Sometimes you just have to struggle a little for the longer goal. I stayed...although I'm hundreds miles away from my family...I stayed and struggled on alone. It's not easy, you can do it though.

I hope you get the support and help you need to get you through this difficult time. Hugs x

yumyumlama Sun 28-Aug-16 09:09:49

Some great advice from sunflower. OP if you look at your original post it talks about I far more than the child ... That's what you should work on to get the outcome your family needs. Lose the I and make all the reasons you give on any discussion child focused. Or the court may react in the same way as mumsnet, calling you on not putting child first - you may well be doing so but you're not articulating that. It's a simple but very powerful change to the language you use.

CustardCream1 Sun 28-Aug-16 09:38:33

Thank you for your advice. Sunflower it sounds like you had a really tough time and I hope things are better now. I put all those things you mentioned in my statement to the court. I tried to make it as child focused as I possibly could. I am coming round to the fact we will probably be stuck here for months now if not years especially if there is a section 7. I have requested details on a mobile home and a some bed sits in the area I live as I can't afford my rent any more.

Sunflowersmiling Sun 28-Aug-16 14:24:59

Yum yum lama is right about the language. It's important. Sounds like you are doing everything you can xx

I don't really know much about section 7, but yes its taken me 2 years to get back on my feet. You will get there though, it feels impossible at times..but It's not impossible. It's a journey.

It's not easy to think about handing a child over to an abusive parent. It goes against every grain in your being. Reaching out for support for you is just as important as making the right child focused decisions for your child. You are important too.

PS order does feel like it's an attack on you because it probably is. There's wealth evidence out there that abusive partners are the ones to push through courts. It's an extension of the abuse, another way to control you.

Ultimately though you need to stay strong and keep it all about the child. It's the only way to get through it. You are where you are, and all you can do now is take it a day at a time and keep negotiating, thinking, presenting your case.

Imagine your best outcome and worst outcome in court. Note down pros and cons of each for your child.

Safe and happy contact with both parents is the aim you are working towards. If you have fears...think about what you would need in place to reassure you.

Bedsit or mobile home, you child will not really care. Love and nurturing is what they need. And nothing is forever...you have a long term goal to get home, and as your child grows your life will change again.
It's all just temporary really! I'm so pleased to hear you are sticking it out there...and relieved for you. Because it's the tough option, but the option that will give you the best chance in court. Brave mamma x

Please see if there's any help for you locally. We all need a little love and support sometimes. Good luck and stay strong x

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