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Cafcass - Do they split up siblings?

(51 Posts)
noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 10:09:03

Hi,
would really value some opinions please.
I have two children one is 13 the other 3.
Exp is trying to get custody of 3 year old. He would like 7.30am to 7.30pm Thursday through to Monday every week.
My children are very close even with the age gap. This proposal would mean that the 13 year old would never get to see his sibling. I would also not get to see my child very often and would be left with always getting her up and putting her to bed and none of the fun stuff that comes with being a mummy.
Is this something that CAFCASS would consider doing? It seems to me that it will split my children up and ruin their close relationship?

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 10:12:20

Well, assuming you have been primary carer and he has een out during the day etc then I would say it is unlikely, possibly he may get alternate weekends etc.

WHy are you going through Cafcass? In a standard split a court would expect you to work out contact yourselves wherever possible, through mediation if you cannot speak alone.

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 10:19:13

We can not work out contact ourselves as i am too scared to talk with him. He has moved out of the family home as instructed by the court at an expat (i think it is called that?)hearing.
He says that he was the primary carer as i work and he doesnt or rather refused to. We have a mortgage in excess of £1000 per month and when he got made redundant he refused to go back to work and said that he would be happy to be reposessed by the mortgage company thus backing me in to a corner to go and get a full time job.
He never looked after either child properly and would nearly every night of the week be in the pub. I did all the school/nursery runs, the cleaning, ironing, washing, cooking aswell as a full time job.

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 10:22:59

I still don't see the need for Cafcass at this stage? Family courts like you to work things out yourselves, after all you will have to work together for the next 15 years to raise your daughter.

Get your solicitor to write to him and suggest mediation, the mediators ar great in tense situations and Cafcass will expect that to happen in any case.

I doubt very much he will get what he wants though, possibly alternate weekends.

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 10:23:18

Sorry, is your older dd his too?

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 10:31:49

No, the older child is not his and he doesnt want any access to him any way.

The problem is that i have offered 3 hours two mornings a week and 5 hours once a week meaning a total of 11 hours per week. He says it is not good enough and will not compromise at all. We are stuck. Solicitor has said that cafcass will be there to mediate at our next court hearing and i just dont know what to think?

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 10:32:50

He has taken me up on my offer of the 11 hours per week and this has been going on for six weeks now but he has said that it just isnt enough.

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 10:40:55

Ok, well, he has to be reasonable and Cafcass will insist on that - and so do you, work out what you are happy with and what is the "maximum" you are prepared to go to (ie your ideal position and your last stand position).

Work out how you are going to manage work and childcare etc, they may want to know why he can't have dd if he is not at work, rather than paying for childcare IYSWIM - although that will cahnge when dd starts school in any case.

droitwichmum Fri 24-Jul-09 10:45:38

I deal with contact cases from time to time. Obviously I can't say what will happen in your case but I can say what normally happens.
CAFCASS will talk to you, your exp, definitely your 13yo and will see the 3yo and write a report that will tell the court what the situation really is and what the children want as well as you and him. It is not likely that they would recommend splitting any siblings up

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 10:46:16

Yes, dd goes to a nursery 2.5 days per week. She had no interaction with other children her own age so felt this would be good for her. She loves going and has really come on with her speach, understanding and also now shares toys properly. I do not feel that it would be beneficial to her to stop the nursery not now that she has made friends?

What would cafcass view as being reasonable? I ideally would like every other weekend but not over night. Is that reasonable?

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 10:47:27

Would they want to talk with the 13 year old even though exp doesnt want any thing to do with him?

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 10:51:49

Why would you not want overnight? I would expect (in the normal run of things) for contact to be something like every other weekend with at least one night (possibly friday and saturday depending on logistics) and one day during the week after work/school depending on work/bedtimes etc.

I doubt they would want you to take her out of nursery, it is generally accepted top be a good thing for children of this age. What happens the other 2.5 days?

Obviously this is all hypothetical and is what happens in some fairly standard cases so may not apply to yours. Cafcass do seem to find this kind of arrangement reasonable though.

They may want to talk to your other daughter if you are claiming bad behaviour on his part that may affect his contact with hi dd.

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 10:52:27

Sorry you older son, getting confused! blush

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 10:59:04

The reason for not wanting over night is because dd is an asthmatic. Exp is living with mum and brother and a rather large dog. dd has alergy to dog hair and also exp and exp brother both smoke in the house around dd. There is also a drinking issue with exp and exp brother as well as exp brother being on anti depresents and has threatend suicide in the past. Exp mother is there but she says its their house and will smoke and drink in it if they want.

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 11:01:06

Exp and Exp mother have spoken about taking dd and not returning her but i feel these comments are to hurt me rather than the truth. I dont think they will do anything to upset their case for residency so just idle threats to me i hope?

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 11:05:31

Well, the suicide thing is not related (from a cafcass POV) the drinking, well, exp can just say he won't drink when dd is there, smoking in the house with a babe is not currently against the law so I doubt you will get far with that... the dog and allergies, well I am not to sure about that one, can her reaction be controlled with anti-hystamines?

Sorry, I have just read that back and it sounds kind of hostile, I am not trying to be, I am trying to give you the information about what cafcass will find important, un-important and unrelated IYSWIM. It is a horrible thing to be going through and keeping a realisic idea of what they will accept will serve you best when you go to court.

THings that matter to you may have no bearing when it comes to cafcass so think carefully about how each thing really affects your dd and ways that he could argue around it, realisitic fore-thought and fore-planning will help you get the result you are happy with and will be best for dd.

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 11:05:57

I have off 2 days in the week and grandparents take dd and ds out half a day once a week for a treat.

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 11:07:37

Well, tell cafcass about the threats anyway, they may be ale to buildin some kind of clause relating to the non-return of dd. If you feel they really will do that then you can ask for a primary residency order (or whatever it is called now) to ensure that you can get her back if they do try to keep her there. I don't know your ex so I cannot say if itis idle threats or not - obviously these things usually are but I cannot say for sure.

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 11:08:39

Please dont worry, you dont sound hostile. You are being really helpful.

The thing with the smoking is that it brings on her asthma and she can have an attack. Same with the dog allergy. The only thing that controls them is to not have her those environments at all or for a short a time as possible.

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 11:09:50

Right, well I would suggest you offer to allow him to collect dd from nursery one day a week and keep her until just before bedtime when she comes to you so you can put her to bed.

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 11:10:08

I have already been given a prohibited steps order to prevent him from taking dd out of my care but have been told that this is up for discussion when next back in court.

KingCanuteIAm Fri 24-Jul-09 11:12:34

Right, make sure they are aware of it, let them know if you are still worried about it, especially if he has said anything like that again since the order was made.

ilovemydogandmrobama Fri 24-Jul-09 11:13:34

CAFCASS criteria

Here are the specific points the CAFCASS Officer will be looking at which is based on the Children Act, so perhaps it would be useful for you to be somewhat familiar with how an assessment is made.

Hulababy Fri 24-Jul-09 11:16:36

Document everything. Any threats, regardless of if you feel they are genuine, need to be written down with dates, time and location.

I would also get a doctor's letter regarding her allergies and asthma and the triggers.

noraledger Fri 24-Jul-09 11:27:16

I understand what cafcass are meant to do and the framework that they cover but just seems that it could be very easy for exp to say that he will not smoke and will not drink but will go ahead and do it any way. Cafcass cant monitor it so my dd could be put at risk of having an asthma attack or subject to a drunken boys afternoon.

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