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Child arrangements hearing - contact vs no contact(11 Posts)
It's been a very long time since I used mumsnet, please forgive me if I've posed in the wrong category. It's also a very long post 🙈
I've been going through (dragged through) the court process for a child arrangements order (spend time with) for the last 8 months. My two DC have not seen or spent time with Their father in over a year. To keep it as brief as possible the relationship was continuously violent and abusive. The children maintained a relationship after we split 2 years prior to contact stopping. The abuse and violence was witnessed by the children (and after an interview with cafcass we discovered this was inflicted on them too while in his care after the split I wasn't aware of this at the time)
My ds12 and dd7 expressed not wanting to see him anymore and so I stopped contact. 6 months after contact stopped I received a court order. Exp requests every other weekend with dc. I expressed my concerns regarding the dc witnessing dv towards me and filled out an allegations of harm form (10 pages worth).
Ff to cafcass Interview both children are interviewed privately, both ds and dd broke down recalling incidents both witnessed and personal to them. Using police evidence (a number of arrests and 2 dv convictions - one on me, 6 non molestation orders- cafcass recommended no direct or indirect contact and suggest he is assessed for a dvip.
Court date arrives exp comes with a letter suggesting my children are "liars" and "rude" and "brainwashed" but agrees to be assessed for dvipp even though he claims no violence took
Place. (By this point I had produced the court with evidence bundles pics, emails etc as well as the court being in receipt of a letter from my ds)
Dvipp receives referral 2 days later and responds that due to the non recognition of violence they could never recommend either suitability for the course or safe direct or indirect contact.
Ff to next hearing where exp is still denying all abuse and suggests a fact finding hearing. I point out that previous convictions of dv as well as non mol and breach of non mol are statement of fact and the judges agree. An urgent hearing is scheduled in a month requesting cafcass be present as exp disagrees with everything so far.
I think we are just about to jump over the last hurdle. Without the recognition of needed help to become a non violent person the court will have no choice (I think) but to make a no contact order as the violence towards myself was life threatening and the children's versions of accounts are so servere.
Today I received a call from my sons school to say the exp has asked for ds report, attendance and any other intervention (I made the court aware that safeguarding officers at the school were aware of the situation as ds had broken down at school and was scared to walk home on his own)
Now, he has joint pr as he is on birth certificate so he has some rights, however I argued that the likelihood of conclusively no contact and the recommendation twice of no direct or indirect contact (due to it nobeing being safe) is evidence enough to seek advice from the court before giving any information. It's a grey area for me. I've self represented the whole way through. I understand that if an indirect contact order is finalised he will be able to access some things , will a no contact order prohibit this? (Thank you if you have read this far)
God you've all been through hell. I don't know much about court for childcare arrangements but wanted to send you strength for what's hopefully the end of this awful process and you and your children get a chance for a happier more settled life. They're lucky children to have you fighting to protect them.
Thank you Annelovesgilbert reading back through all of that I sound a bit nonchalant really. Honestly they give me strength , I have an incredible amount of guilt for not pulling them out of this sooner. I'll
Be fully qualified in family law soon Lol it's just a shame there are so many restrictions on legal aid and advice now.
The court will not remove his pr so he is entitled and always will be entitled to this information.
I can't believe the court referred him to dvpp when he denies everything. What a waste of time.
The court will order indirect contact if that's what cafcass are saying.
I would ask for this to be moved to legal..I am sorry I have no idea, but want to say it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job for your children.
Racmactac thanks . cafcass have recommended no direct or indirect contact. They think neither are safe. I read somewhere that if the disclosure of information could put the child at risk the court may be able to put something in place. I had to move dd school because of threat of abduction (so he doesn't know where hers is to ask for it) court we're happy to keep that private) ds is in secondary and exp knew which school which is why he approached. I guess what I'm wondering is what next. If the court order no contact (either way) what rights will he have to dcs upbringing (not that he's ever bothered before now mind you)
Starlight2345 thanks I've posted there too. 🙈 It's been a long time since I've used this. Defo before a smart phone! Lol
You can ask for his pr to be restricted which I highly recommend you do.
No never Married but he is on both birth certificates. Thanks. I've been reading up on restrictions. It's very non specific I think as these can range in a number of things. I mean in fairness having access to the school reports makes no real difference really, I'm just puzzled about what input he could possibly have (education) if he's not even deemed safe enough for contact. I feel like it could be alternative means of control.
Not a legal expert and I may be completely off track here, but unmarried fathers don't automatically have parental rights and responsibilities before a certain date. I think it's December 1st 2003 in England. Just thought I'd mention it as you said DS was in secondary school.
I think getting PRR restricted as suggested above might be a good idea but no idea how easy that is.
I know you want to do things above board here but are the school aware and sympathetic? Do you think he would pursue it with the school if they "lost" his request or didn't respond? There's no actual timescale for them to respond in. I know someone still waiting for DSCs school report and school finished 3 weeks ago. It has been quite difficult to get info for a non-resident parent with full PRR and no safe-guarding concerns.
Good luck. Sounds like you're doing a great job, especially self-representing.
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