CAFCASS CALL(16 Posts)
My ex is taking me back to court to get the current order amended. It's something I have been wanting to do myself for a long time because the order doesn't work, but not in the way my ex believes it doesn't work.
My ex is incredibly manipulative, he's an accomplished liar and lied last time we were in court. So well that the magistrates deemed him an honest and caring father and me over protective. It was horrific and I was very badly represented.
So I now have another call with Cafcass, but I am scared that he will manipulate again and succeed. I know I need to be child focused and talk about my daughter (aged 4), but I also feel I need to explain my fear of this man (something I have been getting support to deal with from a domestic abuse charity). There is also a strong case of parent alienation going on, which I will make Cafcass aware of, but I feel it goes hand in hand with the lies and manipulation. Is it ok to talk about my exes conduct towards me? Or will that make me look bad?
Also, it's a phone interview and I have a lot of notes. Is it ok to say I am nervous so reading from notes?
Any tips would be greatly appreciated as I am so scared of this man and his talent for lying.
Hi....I have similar experiences (and a similar ex)although my children are older.
For what it's worth here are my thoughts...
If it is possible see if you can arrange a face to face meeting, it is easier for the officer to gauge your state of mind. In my case the first telephone conversation was a "safety" conversation and they were very willing to meet later on. It helps if you are able to go to their offices. If your child is going to be interviewed (and I would expect it as age 4 is old enough) you will probably be going there any way.
Cafcass officers vary enormously BUT they have loads of training re safety and well being of children, your state of mind is important for your parenting so it is definitely important that you tell them of your feeling re intimidation/manipulation and so on. If you have any evidence this should be submitted in your bundle to court, the officer will read this.
My own approach has been to lay it out as clearly as possible and to tell them everything (reasonably succinctly)...you can't tell them what to do with the information but you can give it to them. At least then you have done everything you can
Last week the family court judges were given new guidelines looking at the presumption of contact in domestic abuse. The more evidence you have of the abuse the better.
Once cafcass have written the report you can correct any factual errors but not the interpretation however in court you can if necessary dispute the report's findings, obviously this is not ideal but is an option.
Remember your ex will not change, try not to worry about him (impossible as it seems) try to be your best self, offer solutions that you think are reasonable if you can think of any, be your child's advocate. Keep looking for help and support and accept any you find helpful.
In my own case my children were 11,10,8 and 6 when they first spoke to cafcass. Now they are 16,14,12 and nearly 11. The oldest 2 have stopped seeing their dad...they worked out who he was, we are back in court as the younger 2 want to take control....
We cannot always provide the best outcome for our children BUTwe can do the best we can with what we have. Your daughter has you, stay strong, support her and love her whatever he does and you will give her the tools to cope.
PS it's only my opinion but I would stay clear of talking about "parental alienation" if possible and talk about his behaviour and how your daughter behaves when she has been with him. Keep it factual as PA is a poorly researched term that means slightly different things to different people
PPS you know even though he is taking you to court it could still work out in your favour.
Blimey, thank you so much for taking the time to reply in such detail that all really helps.
He's reported me to social services in the past for child abuse (all fabricated), accused me of drugging my child etc, so I'm sure he will have something up his sleeve.
I've just read all my notes out to my partner, I'm happy with them, but I need to read from them because I'm so stressed my mind has gone blank.
I'm not sure how well it will go if they interview my daughter. She doesn't like being asked questions and will probably protect her dad. He's working hard at getting in her head.
I've got a list of positive strategies which I use to help support my daughter, including photos of her dad etc which I was going to talk through with the officer. Whereas he won't let her take anything from home to his house and just before they leave to come home he puts her back in the clothes she was sent in, which I think is very sad.
sorry it was rather a lot!!! I hope not too overwhelming.
I'm glad you have a partner to vent to.
Eventually these men usually overstretch themselves and get caught out in their lies.....the more he accuses and you are found not to be at fault the shakier his ground is. He is so stupid and not thinking about your lovely daughter at all. Don't you just wish a big hole would open up and swallow him up?
I wish you all the luck in the world...and plenty of peace.
I know you will always do your best for your daughter.
If they do speak with her it will be through play/drawing and very kind and child friendly...my youngest just thought she had been to play somewhere different first time round and was not at all worried.
I would consider telling them about the domestic abuse service you have been supported by and asking whether they would accept a phone call or letter from them as relevant information towards their recommendation to court
I had a telephone interview with CAFCASS... It was about 7 years ago ..
However I did initially ask for he to reschedule when DS was in school as I thought it was inappropriate for him to listen to what I had to say. This pleased her greatly.
The interview itself.. I gave my main concerns about contact. I told her about documented evidence that I had that he was a risk to my child. I also disputed things she said..He had a caution for assault..She said it wasn't relevant.. I asked why when DS was in my arms when it happened..So it became relevant. ..In the end she decided there would be no contact at all until there was a psychiatric report done.
Make sure you list your concerns about contact and although do mention the abuse and esp if your child was involved but from what I have read on this forum..It is often discounted on the basis the child won't remember. so I am very interested in the guidelines pp mentioned.
The call is now done and it went as well as it possible could. She did have a number of concerns, which she said she would raise with when she spoke to my Ex.
She called me first, so I don't know what concerns he's going to come up with. I just hope I presented myself as well as I possibly could. I managed to say 90% of what was in my notes so I cant do more than that...
Thanks for the advice everyone.
Hope the report reads as it should..
foolonthehill - Sorry to hijack the thread but what are the new guidelines?
About 8-9 months ago senior judges reacted to research and lobbying by Women's Aid which reflected the fact that 19 children have been killed by their parent (all fathers) in the last decade. These children had all come from homes where domestic abuse was known to have occurred and yet contact had been granted by judges either by contact order (now child arrangements) or as part of the process of application for non molestation orders etc.
The new guidelines soften the assumption that contact is nearly always in the child's best interest and pushes the judiciary to consider on a case by case basis the risks to children.
The changes are in practice direction 12j. I will try to find a link,
The Guardian is easier to read.
There is a Woman's hour podcast I think from the last couple of weeks/month
Thanks for the links, very interesting reading. About time domestic abuse is taken seriously.
Thank you for the article..
I agree ..My Ex only saw my DS to get at me.. He never had any interest in my child.. If I had said that though it would of come across I was a bitter ex who didn't want to share my child.
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