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Represnting yourself in court over child access disagreement with ex boyfriend

(26 Posts)
poker81 Wed 15-Oct-08 15:31:57

Hi, i'm so desperate to find out advice about how i approach a court when representing myself for child access dispute. I'm not entitled to legal aid but my ex boyfriend is even though he's working and earns more than me? He's also a good con man and liar so he's wangled it somehow. Does anyone know of any free advice sites on how to prepare for this kind of thing? I'm 34 weeks pregnant and super stressed out!! Can anyone please help me???

mrsmortenharket Wed 15-Oct-08 16:33:58

hi sweetheart, ((((((((((()))))))))))

first of all take a deep breath - i know it may be easier said than done but you need a deep breath so you can calm down. if you have a local citizen's advice bureau, go and see them asap. you may well have an intial "assessment" of you rproblem - this is simply so that they can assess who, in their "employ" is best placed to help you. you may then be offered and appointment and see how things go from there.

you will be fine sweetheart. good luck xxx

GypsyMoth Wed 15-Oct-08 20:30:30

families need fathers website....they help mothers who are LIP too. and you can have a mckenzie friend too. google it.

mrsmortenharket Fri 17-Oct-08 09:39:42

hi poker, hows you today sweetheart? xxx

mabanana Fri 17-Oct-08 09:41:20

Is this about your unborn baby?

poker81 Fri 17-Oct-08 13:59:11

Hey guys, thanks for your replies!! I went to see a mediator today but as i'm not entitled to public funding it would cost me £176 for and hour and a half and there is no way i can afford this. My ex however is entitled to legal aid as he has said he is a carer for his mother when i know full well he is working on the side too. Anyway, as i have only now read your replies i shall give them a go. i've tried ringing CAB but never able to get through so think it would be best if i actually call into one of the offices to make an appointment. i'll have a look at the website suggested too, i'm so anxious, i'll try anything. This query is about my 11 and a half month old daughter and my unborn daughter. Does anyone know if there is a legally binding document regarding child access as i don't want to stop my ex his children, i want to stop him having a hold on my life as he uses my daughter to make things as difficult for me as he can. To spite me has has refused to have her overnight on the saturday we originally agreed even though i'm heavily pregnant with his 2nd daughter. He doesn't want me to move on and is scared i'm going to meet someone else which in time may happen but he using my daughter to try and keep me trapped

dittany Fri 17-Oct-08 14:06:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ANTagony Fri 17-Oct-08 14:19:26

Keep a record - whilst its painful him messing the children around (changing access, not collecting when arranged) will count against him.

You haven't mentioned what he's actually demanding.

Have recently been through a threat of court with my XH who suddenly decided he wanted loads of access even though previously hadn't and it hadn't been withheld. I think its a male ego flexing muscles thing - men like to feel powerful. They're not all like that though.

We ended up using a family member to mediate. We wrote lists of what we both wanted for the children then met up a week later and discussed them. We made minor changes to the access arrangements and have set a three month review again with a family member there to stop the conversation becoming a row.

There are significant boundaries of what he can and can't have influence over that is completely in your control... For example your life, meeting other people, where you live if its in the UK. It sounds as though he's on the fiddle so I'd guess he's not making good maintenance payments so he can't use those to manipulate.

Some free advice is available in the link below and Gingerbread have loads of free advice/ advisors for single parent families.

try this link

dittany Fri 17-Oct-08 14:23:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

poker81 Fri 17-Oct-08 14:29:13

I haven't had court papers or a date but I received a letter from his solicitor this morning stating that he doesn't want to go to court but if i don't let this go to court, he'll still be able to pick and chose when he wants to see our daughter. Will going to court put definate times and dates in place? i'm not restricting access until she is in school which i'd only want him to have her on a weekend basis from that time. I need him to be made to stick to an appropriate timetable for access to our daughter so that i can be able to plan my life around them without him being able to mess me about and cancel or not have her in order to spite me.

ilovemydog Fri 17-Oct-08 14:36:19

If he's entitled to legal aid, why can't mediation take place? He would qualify.

ANTagony Fri 17-Oct-08 14:39:34

I don't know how the solicitors worded it but you could respond with a letter of your own suggesting what you consider is reasonable access.

If it all goes to court it will show willing on your part and you never know he might go for it. Worst case is letters back and forwards stalls things a bit which it sounds like would be a good idea to give you space.

Even if a court rules times and dates if he's unreliable now, he can be unreliable then. The family court wont fine him or sentence him for messing you around. Thats just one of those frustrating things about an unreliable dad.

You need to get a good infrastructure around you of people you can rely on which is where things like Gingerbread come in for legal advice, moral support and meeting other local people in a similar circumstance that you can set up babysitting circles with and reciprocal childcare agreements. Tough to accept but my kids dads time with them is bonus time for me not something I can use to rely on. I have to use extended family and good friends for that.

poker81 Fri 17-Oct-08 14:56:01

I think that legal aid only provides payment for his position in mediation and that i'll have to pay for myself. So even if we end up coming to an agreement or are made to by the court, i'll still have no guarantee he'll stick to it? Well i'm prepared for the worst, i have my mother to help me out for now as i've only got 6 weeks of my pregnancy left. i'll just have to deal with it and whatever we agree to, i don't want any physical or verbal contact with him whatsoever so he can deal with me through my mother or someone else. i hate him for using our daughter to make my life difficult and i never want to see or speak to him again

poker81 Fri 17-Oct-08 15:22:38

Thanks to you all for your greatly appreciated help and information. Now i have more of an understanding of the situation, feeling more at ease on what to expect.

Many Thanks for taking the time to respond to my query!!!!xxxxxxxxx

hecAteTheirBrains Fri 17-Oct-08 15:25:50

Are you going to report him for working on the side? If you know where he is working, or what he is doing, you ought to.

If nothing else, it might make them withdraw his legal aid!

Liffey Fri 17-Oct-08 18:14:40

Poker81, what a nightmare, I can't believe he's putting you through this. It's rare for me to read about a man who is a bigger wanker than my ex! grin

The judge will have eyes and ears. He'll see a smarmy git who is allegedly unemployed who can afford to hire a lawyer and take the broke pregnant mother of his children to court.

MadameCastafiore Fri 17-Oct-08 18:19:38

You can draw up a statement of arrangements through a solicitor without going to court - although it is not legally binding but you won't get anything that is - he can just not turn up - you cannot enforce contact.

Being heavily pregnant will go in your favour in court - bit of holding tummy and leaning on things and having to have a break because you are becoming emotional and distressed will let the judge see what a cock your X is.

Mind you in court do not go after him as a person - just stick to the facts and be reasonable and don't slag him off.

Liffey Fri 17-Oct-08 18:31:24

Absolutely Madame Castafiore! I think she should go to court and shame the cock!!

ElenorRigby Fri 17-Oct-08 19:12:49

Please dont listen to dittany's advice about Families Need Fathers, alas she's seems to have nothing positive to say about any man as far as I can see from her postings here.

FNF would be able to help you.

What your ex has done would be looked very very negatively by the courts. Let him hang himself as it were, nothing good will come to him from acting so unreasonably.

Try to put this on the back burner in your mind, try not to worry about it and look after yourself atm. This crap can wait until another day.

hecAteTheirBrains Fri 17-Oct-08 19:34:07

ooh, elenor, that comment is going to get you throttled!!

yerblurt Fri 17-Oct-08 20:02:37

dittany is factually incorrect about FNF. As a gender neutral organisation and a national charity (having been going for more than 30 years) FNF actually find that up to 20% of their caseload is now involving enquiries and helping out mothers.

Could you report your ex to the legal services commission as he is defrauding public money. If you inform his solicitor that he is not entitled to legal aid they will be duty bound (or be party to fraud) to investigate, mind you if he is being paid cash in hand then it would difficult to prove.

Going LIP isn't difficult, at your advance stage of pregnancy though I would have reservations about doing so due to the inevitable stresses physically and emotionally...

are you sure you're not eligible for legal aid, you must be on maternity? Have you made an application just on YOUR own income (not a dual income if you have a partner).

from what I can see, you are being totally reasonable, you are trying to promote a meaningful parenting relationship between child and father.

it also does require dad to show some committment - dad can't just dip in and dip out of the child's life when it suits him, his solicitor (and certainly) the courts will tell him so. Consistent and frequent contact between young kids and parents is beneficial. Hopefully this is where a parenting plan and family mediation would really help out.

Is it possible for you and the ex to go halves on the cost of your mediation?

Pop along to your local branch of families need fathers (or look them up on the web and contact the local branch organiser), maybe there is a local family law firm who could offer some pro bono work?

feel free to email me if you want any advice;

(I'm a local FNF chair btw)

good luck

MadameCastafiore Sat 18-Oct-08 11:51:18

I wouldn't dream of turning up to court with anyone from FNF - after the stunts dressing up and disrupting british citizens going about their everyday life a judge may not have the best view of your representation.

ElenorRigby Sat 18-Oct-08 11:59:47

You are confusing FNF with Fathers for Justice...

Families Need Fathers website...
Fathers 4 Justice website...

Personally I have little regard for F4J but great respect for Families Need Fathers. A few posters here male and female are members including Gillybean I think.

MadameCastafiore Sat 18-Oct-08 12:04:21

Well as long as they don't have a leaning towards dressing up as super heroes you should be alright.

Although representing yourself would probably go in your favour as it would show that you don't have the money to hire a barrister whereas he does and that would look awful in court especially if he is getting legal aid.

ElenorRigby Sat 18-Oct-08 12:16:41

LIP's (litigants in person) are looked after well in court as the courts have duty of care to them as they are not legally trained.
The OP's ex would really shoot himself in the foot if he tried to take her to court given
A. She is heavily pregnant
B. She is already being reasonable and wanting her ex to having significant parenting time for the child/ren.
He would be seen as unreasonable and controlling.

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