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Legal aid for family law/domestic violence

(20 Posts)
JoJo2106 Sun 03-Jun-18 12:35:15

Hi,

Does anyone know if I would qualify for legal aid?

My ex is taking me to court over contact with our 9 month old son. We split when he was 2 weeks old and had regular contact since, although there has still been issues from him about contact as in constantly pushing for more as in overnight stays when ds was weeks old. My ex has never had any involvement with children whatsoever so needless to say I was against overnight stays. I have tried to tell him it would all come in time as ds got older & he learns to cater to his needs more which he cannot do as he doesn't know how but he has made my life hell with his bullying and constant demands. It was a volatile relationship from the start. He does not get into my house cos of his abuse so we don't have the kind of relationship for me to show him what to do.

When ds was 7 months old he was returning him from contact and he tried to bully me yet again into changing the arrangements. I said no and he tried to run off with ds and said he wouldn't be returning him. I naturally ran after him to get ds back and he assaulted me while he was holding ds resulting in marks to my chest and a had a cut bleeding hand. I managed to get ds off him an run into house. I called police and he was arrested at his home later that night. He was released on bail an wasn't allowed to contact me, enter my street etc. There was some cctv footage of the whole incident from a camera on my neighbours house but unfortunately the angle of the camera wasn't at a good enough position to see the impact so there is no further action taken.

What i would like to know is, is the fact he was arrested and I have a letter from the police with crime number etc enough for me to qualify for legal aid for someone to represent me when he takes me to court. Or does he need to have been cautioned or convicted etc. I am in receipt of the passporting benefit to qualify it's just this issue I am unsure on.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 03-Jun-18 12:37:29

I think it may be. You would be best contacting a solicitor and asking them, if they do an initial visit for free.
Or your local women's aid may know.

Are you in England?

I'm sorry you've been through this. You come across as such a warrior for your little one.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 03-Jun-18 12:38:41

www.gov.uk/legal-aid/domestic-abuse-or-violence
If you do go to your local women's aid for support, they may be able to give additional evidence, as they would say they had supported you.

JoJo2106 Sun 03-Jun-18 13:13:18

Hi,

Yes I'm in England. I have been to a solicitor and they are going to put in an application for it but just a bit worried now as I was reading online and it sounds like there needs to be an arrest but still be some kind of on going investigation. But with my case there was no further action as it would have been too difficult to prove in court. So a bit panicky now that he will be armed with a solicitor and I might have to represent myself if I can't supply the right evidence to legal aid. Will have to ring the legal aid helpline tomorrow.

Thank you I will do everything to protect myself and ds. Its such a stressful time, the whole 9 months has he has never let either of us breathe or get into routines it's all me me me with him. That's a good idea about contacting women's aid I may do that.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 03-Jun-18 14:01:38

Did the police notice the marks on your hand and chest?

Try and fit some time into your day for things that cheer you up. I don't in any way mean to sound condescending. This process is stressful and you need every scrap of energy and resilience. It will be over at some point though. If you keep doing the best for your child that will come across.

Even with a fancy solicitor my ex did things like complain I had accessed support for the children through women's aid (making them wonder why he wasn't remotely ashamed of how abusive he was) and complaining that I had friends over to my house for a book group after DCs bedtime (making him sound really controlling).

There's a thing called the three Planets model of how mothers who have survived domestic abuse are perceived. Looking at that might explain a bit of how to approach court proceedings. The calmer and more focused on your child you are the better but it's very difficult.

JoJo2106 Sun 03-Jun-18 18:24:50

@Super yes the police seen it and I had took photos when I came back into the house so they have them. Ds somehow ended up with a little mark above his eyebrow too. How he got that I don't know.

Yes I know i should try to make time for something I enjoy but finding it very hard to do at the moment as I am so stressed and worried about things.

Sounds like my ex. Do you knpw he actually accused me in a solicitors letter of me causing the marks to my own body and the mark above ds's eye. He really is unbelievable. He has made my life a living hell these last few months with his demands.

There are also drug and alcohol concerns as he has used cannabis for 25 years. Onky stopped recently as I told him he would be getting drug tested. And he drinks every single night and one of the main reasons I ended the relationship so soon was he drove a car with ds in it when he was days old early hours of the morning after drinking all night. I was in bed trying to get some sleep and he was meant to be looking after him and he done that.

Yes it is going to be very hard and I am.not looking forward to going to court. The decision is taken completely out of your hands and left to a judge who is a stranger to your child.

Thanks I will have a look at that. Do you have a link?

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 03-Jun-18 18:36:16

www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2009/6703.html

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 03-Jun-18 18:38:07

I think if you keep on doing your best and he keeps behaving lIke that you will be fine in the end.
I know when you're in that situation you feel like you might be an awful mum and that the court might believe your ex is perfect but in my experience they saw through him.

clueless83 Sun 03-Jun-18 19:04:10

Hi, sorry to hear you are in this horrible situation. I understand completely how it feels as I have been (and am still am to a lesser extent) in this situation. If you look on the government website (which someone has linked above) there are sample letters which councillors, domestic abuse support workers etc can fill out which you can use as supporting evidence of domestic abuse. I'm not saying you will 100% get it with the letter but it's worth a try. My ex is in prison for robbery and false imprisonment (involving me and dd) but it's not something I can use to qualify for legal aid, however I am about to start counselling for PTSD with regards to the incident and our relationship and I'm hoping I can use a letter as supporting evidence to get legal aid to pay for a family court solicitor. Good luck and I hope you get the outcome to all this that
You want x

Hannabee123 Wed 13-Jun-18 09:53:32

I called women's aid and they referred me to a local DV service. They wrote a support letter and filled in the form and I got legal aid. Could you look into doing similar? Plus the organisation's are brilliant ones helping me with housing at the moment and with safeguarding and emotional help

JoJo2106 Wed 13-Jun-18 11:55:33

Hi,

Thank you that's good to know. Just has my court date through and it's for 2 weeks time so not sure how quick it would all cone through. I am panic stricken now sad

Hannabee123 Wed 13-Jun-18 12:33:36

I already had my first court date by the time my legal aid was sorted. You do need to get it done ASAP my solictors backdated it and started to get very close to me not getting it. Try the womens aid line now and get sorted with that so that you can see someone as a back up.

JoJo2106 Wed 13-Jun-18 12:53:01

I will try them thanks. Another problem is I was with a firm of solicitors which I was paying for but I literally can't afford it now and that firm don't do legal aid so j have gone to a new 1 but it's only a trainee solicitor I have seen and she has been useless in the time its taken to refer things. She has said she has done a referral to Marac but that was only done yesterday. She is useless at returning my calls aswell. I have only seen her once for about 45 mins an only gave her brief details so she doesn't know the ins and outs of the whole thing whereas my ex has had the same solicitor since January so he knows the case inside out. Feel completely out of my depth and alone in all this.

Do you mind me asking what the DV place wrote as a support for in your form. I was worried thar legal aid might be refused as it's at such a close date to the court date me getting referred and thought they had to be seen as supporting you for a certain length of time?

Rhibee1983 Wed 13-Jun-18 20:58:15

I’ve been through something like this and I had a restraining order put in place for a year.

As it is a DV case the police should of given you information for women’s aid and they will be able to provide you with a list of local solicitors that deal with legal aid. It is down to each individual case whether or not you qualify.

The police should of also given you the opportunity to place a restraining order on your ex as this was the first thing that they did for me. It was pretty much immediate.

Hannabee123 Wed 13-Jun-18 21:49:21

My child was kidnapped and it went through on an emergency order to get her back in my care so I called women's aid and they gave me the number for my local DV services, I went and i told them the situation. My court date came and there was issues with the letter so the DV service had to change it. I think it went to another hearing but I really pushed the timescale my solicitor was brilliant and had to backdate it. You can get these done by your GP but mine were arseholes.

Your solicitor should print off a form for you. You need to find another solicitors where abouts are you? If your localish to Sheffield I have a brilliant one to recommend.

I thought all solicitors adhered to the legal aid thing? Have a look at some other firms and call them ask for a family law solicitor. You need someone who's going to fight your corner

Hannabee123 Wed 13-Jun-18 21:50:26

DV services can also deal with MARAC/ other services to help you I would highly recommend you go down that route anyway the support is fantastic

Hannabee123 Wed 13-Jun-18 21:53:54

I had just under 2 weeks before seeing legal advice to it being in court so very little time. You do need to act quickly call women's aid and get in touch with a service, find a decent solicitor ASAP and get those legal aid forms printed then see what you can do in the time you've got. Whether you can get it signed and backed up by police / GP/ DV org.

JoJo2106 Wed 13-Jun-18 23:41:31

Oh god how awful. My ex had tried taking ds and that is how I was assaulted as I naturally ran after him to get ds back sad

No not all solicitors do legal aid. I am in Cumbria, where I am I think there are only maybe 2 or 3 that so legal aid and my ex is with one of those firms but he pays so it's annoying he is in one of them lol. I just don't know what to do, I have suffered with depression an anxiety all thru my life on and off so was thinking I could possibly go speak to someone in my local mental health team and they could possibly write a letter too. I am.not hopeful at all I will get legal aid it is seeming less and less likely especially with the court date been in 2 weeks.

Him and his solicitor are already portraying me to be a liar as I read the court application before and it is saying I have made false allegations regarding the assault. He also said in a solicitors letter that I most likely caused the injuries to my own body and harmed my child as somehow ds ended up with a little mark above his eye after the incident. Infuriating angry

Hannabee123 Thu 14-Jun-18 07:24:11

Don't go to a mental health team my ex has been an arse saying I'm mental and the court are doing disclosures and all sorts. Im not worried because I'm alright but this is something he may use against you.

Can you travel further for your solicitor? My solicitors is over an hour away most correspondence is sorted by phone or email or post i've rarely had to drive to sign paperwork

JoJo2106 Thu 14-Jun-18 10:09:04

I was seen over a period of a few years at the mental health team as I had depression and anxiety due to quite a few tragic things that's happened in my life, children's services have already contacted the mental health team with my permission and they have confirmed my mental health is stable and doesn't affect me looking after ds. My ex is the same and has threatened to use my mental health against me but have been assured he can't as I am non psychosis. It would have to be severe for it to affect anything. I just thought it may be worth a try if I went to speak to them about the domestic violence and they could hopefully write a support letter to the legal aid.

I can't travel as the car I had was in my exes name so it's has to go back to him. It's a bloody nightmare all this sad

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