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From contact centre to court...

(11 Posts)
Debra1981 Thu 13-Sep-07 00:34:38

DD sees her dad most weeks at a contact centre, when he feels like turning up. sometimes, he's still an arse with me, intimidating yet making out that he wants me back (he had full control over me when we were together, i think its that that he misses). Before this, after i left him because of his drinking and violence towards me and others, i took her 3 times a week to see him, at his home, at his mum's, or in public, and every single time, he was either drunk on arrival, and/or consumed alcohol during the visit, supposedly my fault for leaving him, and/or was verbally abusive and threatening to me in front of DD, and on a couple of occasions, physically assaulted me. As far as I know he doesn't work, and before I left his social circle had dwindled to drunks and drug dealers only. He's going to court for more contact... my main fear is that, unsupervised, he will be as he was, a drunken, brawling wreck incapable of looking after himself, let alone an inquisitive little near-toddler, with his unsavoury 'mates' letting themselves in and having access to DD. i am also fundamentally physically scared of him, for myself and lo, if she accidentally upsets him. what's my chances of keeping them in the contact centre for visits, or am i really being unreasonable?

Freckle Thu 13-Sep-07 06:54:55

Have you (or the contact centre) kept a record of when he hasn't turned up? What notice he has given of his intention not to come?

Do you have a record or witnesses to the physical assaults?

You need to get a good solicitor and explain all this to them. The court will appoint a CAFCASS officer who will interview both of you and will no doubt pick up on his general lifestyle.

Are the contact visits supervised at the moment?

Debra1981 Thu 13-Sep-07 15:26:24

I write what happens in my diary every time the visits don't go smoothly or at all- when they don't happen usually his mum calls me about 2 hours before to let us know, sometimes he does it, at first I insisted on attending the contact centre anyway because I don't trust him and thought he might be trying to catch me out, but so far he hasn't. There's only been one occasion when he rung the contact centre directly to let them know he wouldn't be there, and that was 5 minutes before the visit, saying his mum's car had broken down and he wanted to wait with her for a repairman, even though it was no distance and he could've easily caught a passing bus. Yes visits are currently supervised. Re. the assaults, both reported to the police and he's had a police caution for one, no action on the other though as no witnesses. He's also had a caution in court for continually harassing me by 'phone, not directly relative to contact I know but shows his character. Thing is I don't know what he's doing any more, sort of wish he has turned himself around and can be trusted, but I'm too scared to go and check, and won't trust a CAFCASS report, as I know how deceitful and manipulative he can be. I have posted about this a while ago, but it (he) all went quiet for a while so I thought he couldn't be bothered to push for more contact (preferable) until I got letter from my solicitor yesterday saying he has applied to court now, and I will be served the papers directly forthwith.

Freckle Thu 13-Sep-07 16:43:49

Please try not to stress about it. You have ample evidence to show that he is feckless and violent. I would suspect that the court will see through any blandishments he may try (they are very experienced in these cases) and, viewing the evidence, will not place your precious dd in any danger.

Debra1981 Thu 13-Sep-07 23:26:11

Thanks Freckle. I'm sort of keeping myself busyish to stop myself worrying about it all day, but at the same time, gritting my teeth as expecting several years of this arsing about and uncertainty.

Alambil Fri 14-Sep-07 09:09:45

you definitely have enough evidence - things don't progress from a CC til there has been MAJOR change in the person (my ex refused point blank to go to a CC so fought for unsupervised - just don't give in ... it will get really hard, cafcass is stressful but hold strong - it is worth it in the end)

Ask the police if you can have reports of the assaults etc - you will need them for the court - without them, they will insist it is only alleged abuse (stupid, but true - well done for reporting it too, i chickened out)

Just hold firm - get a lawyer, legal aid if you qualify and don't let him get you down - it sounds like he hasn't changed much so the point of unsupervised is out of the question - he can't care for your dd if he is drunk or high; just tell the court that and they will probably, possibly start at supervised "with the intent of progressing when there has been sufficient evidence that he can care for dd" or something like that

Good luck with it

Debra1981 Mon 17-Sep-07 11:57:04

Thanks all. Received papers from court by hand this morning. I have to attend court next month, to see a CAFCASS officer and district judge. The application is for contact away from the contact centre, emphasis seemingly on DD seeing his family as she/they(?) are missing out on that (why don't they just apply to attend the contact centre with him??). In fact he is not the only member of his family I wouldn't trust with her- he spent most of our marriage telling me how his mum regularly beat him so badly he was kept out of school whilst his bruises healed (she definitely has a vicious side so I could believe it), and his revered uncle is also a violent drunk. Papers also state he wants to take DD to his property. I've already said my concerns about that. I've got an appointment with a solicitor next week (why are they always on holiday?), hopefully not one who thinks I ought to have gone for mediation like the last (someone who knows that perpetrators of dv are manipulative and very rarely stop). Looks like I'll need to get a supplementary info form to say that i believe DD will be at risk. Any pointers as to what to include?

Debra1981 Mon 17-Sep-07 12:05:29

One more thing, when I took DD to see him late last year, he told me that police had been called to his house as he had a scrap with one of his 'mates' whilst he was 'looking after' his cousin's children. I'm determined not to let him carry on like that around DD, so think that the police report on that incident would be very helpful, only I don't know exactly when it took place, and obviously I wasn't involved. Anyone know how I could get hold of it?

Tinkerbel5 Mon 17-Sep-07 16:26:09

I dont think you would be allowed that information, if anything you could write it on the form and maybe the courts will look into it themselves, everything you wrote on here write down for the courts to see, I personally would up sticks and move rather than let a family like that have access to my child, good luck with this

mosschops30 Mon 17-Sep-07 16:30:51

debra I dont mean to put a downer on you but I have to post as I have obviously experienced different things to people on here.
IMHO the court is not fair and does not deal with these matters appropriately. I lived with a violent man, who then chose not to see dd for 8 years, then he decided he wanted contact and applied to the court. We went to mediation and contact centre with me fighting every step of the way.
In the end he got contact (albeit supervised by a family member of his whom I trust greatly) despite the fact he was violent and has a criminal record.

The courts like to keep children in touch with both parents pretty much regardless of whats gone on in the past, if that parent is now willing to make the effort its seen as a good thing hmm

I just didnt want you to hear all the good stuff, because sometimes it sucks. I hope you dont hate me for posting this smile

Debra1981 Tue 18-Sep-07 15:32:16

Tinkerbel5... with regard to moving.. I am trying to get a place out of town, but my chances of getting anywhere at all are much greater in their town, I'm not going to accept a place near their homes, but I sort of think wherever I go, if the courts decide they must have access, I'm going to have to make that journey anyway (am I being pessimistic in thinking this may happen?) I certainly expect that re. his mother it will be my word against all his family's so not worth much in court, now she's clearly looking after him and from what I can tell, making him attend the contact centre- he's not made his own way there once yet. Mosschops, I'm not really chasing an end to all contact- although that would make life so much easier. I think it's a slippy slope once it starts getting less formal like that-I would expect him to gradually push the boundaries time-wise and attitude-wise etc. during contact- and I don't think anyone's going to stop him drinking- he used to carry bottles of vodka around in his inside jacket pocket, and hide them under the furniture. I don't think a relative of his would say anything if they saw him drinking while DD was there anyway, as he's been aggressive to them in the past too.

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