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Experience of CAFCASS?

(24 Posts)
sockmonsters Mon 09-Nov-09 14:55:14

I have recently split with my partner and he has taken me to court to get access (not that I was denying it in any way). They have said CAFCASS have to do a report. I have heard lots of things about CAFCASS, mainly bad things, and I have to say I am terrified with the decision they could come up with. My DS and DD currently live with me though see my ex regularly. My DD is too young to express a preference as to who she wants to live with but my DS (age 9) says very firmly that he wants to stay with me. However I am afraid of what CAFCASS will ask and how they will word it. My ex is very very good at being manipulative and convincing whoever of whatever he wants. He has already made up blatant lies about me and I am scared of what he will come up with.

Please could anyone tell me of any experience they have had with CAFCASS, good or bad, what happens, what questions they might ask the kids? Any advice very gratefully received. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
cestlavielife Mon 09-Nov-09 16:22:30

cafcass will make a recommednation not a decision. the judge will take the recommendation into account.

your solicitor can say why you dont agree with the recommendation - if that is the case.

just be straightforward and clear - "i think it is best for the children if they xxxx"

"it is in the childrens best interest that xxxxx"

"the childrens needs are best met by xxxxx"

"the children need xxxxx"

dont slag off your ex - but do give any evidence, emails, text messages etc you have recorded that indicate good/bad.

my only complaint with cafcass is they slow!!

and yes - they may get manipulated by ex - but jsut be sure to be calm and clear - state facts, not opinions. i wrote several letters to them setting out in bullet points my views based on the FACTS - and this seemed to get taken into account...

they will play with children while asking them about things - and not pressure them.

mmrred Mon 09-Nov-09 18:40:47

If your ex has applied for contact, then the question of who is the Resident Parent doesn't arise - the fact that he is applying for contact in a sense confirms that you are the RP.

However, it seems odd that you have got to the Cafcass stage if he sees them regularly and you aren't stopping the contact. As cestlavielife says, they are very slow - because they are absolutely snowed under!

Cafcass is like anything else - much of it is down to the officer you get. Most will try to sort out a deal that both parents will find acceptable. Unfortunately it is very difficult to complain about them if they are wrong.

Be prepared for the report which will give both sides of the argument without much comment (as some people think this means the CO has been 'duped' by the ex) and then a series of recommendations at the end.

I would echo the suggestion of staying child-centred (eg not making it about your needs etc) but just be cautious about telling the CO what is in the children's best interests - that is what he/she is there to decide.

GypsyMoth Tue 10-Nov-09 11:57:39

i have nothing but praise for my own cafcass officer.

but why are you with cafcass? a section 7 report is it? so what are the issues with your ex,what does he want?

my officer has for first time in her career recommended NO contact at all for my ex. nothing. his behaviour has been extreme though. but she was first person to witness it first hand in the system. at first hearing they should give time estimate for reports to be done. my judge said thank god we aren't in kent,as at that time they had largest backlog in the country,ours was relatively quick

mrsjammi Tue 10-Nov-09 12:03:56

Message withdrawn

mrsmhaAARRrrket Wed 11-Nov-09 12:57:10

i am in similar situation sad and have now to wait for court date from his sol

notsohotchic Fri 20-Nov-09 17:02:23

Hi - Hoping to resurrect this thread... Am also wanting to hear of peoples experiences of CAFCASS. I have been seperated from ex for 3 years in April. Children 9,6 and 4 see him 2 nights one weekend and 1 night next then teatime Weds. Have tried to gain more weekend access as now youngest at school will hardly see them. Also want to make time for grandparents as he has fallen out with them all and doesn't arrange to see them. This will have to go to court because he won't listen to my requests.He has been manipulative, violent, lied and harassed (by txt) me and his mother. However, he tries to maintain a facade that he's a great Dad to them, while subtly undermining me. eg (ridiculous amounts of ott cuddly kissing) and 'only one night I'm afraid'. Has bought them rabbits for his place. All the tricks he could try.
So I am worried what CAFCASS would say. He is a bad, messed up person who still wants to punish me for ending relationship.Has hit me in front of youngest and wished myself and his mother dead several times in texts. But on the surface there's not much that they can criticise about his parenting. Except he doesn't give baths and feeds them crap. Eldest has become v. protective of him. He's been subtly working on all of them.
Not sure I will even get legal aid as although 'the norm' of alternate w/e and 1 weeknight is all I ask for, shared care is also sometimes suggested, which he is saying he wants!! NNOOOO! (He was totally uninterested in them when we were together I did everything! and now seems they are a way to get revenge.)

GypsyMoth Fri 20-Nov-09 17:05:17

so you want contact to remain as it is?

how about offering set time in school hols too?

notsohotchic Fri 20-Nov-09 17:13:43

Hi, no I want to claw back 1 weekend night a fortnight to give them alternate weekends. My sol sent him letter about this but his sol replied wanting shared care basically.
He has extra nights in hols half xmas and bdays already.

GypsyMoth Fri 20-Nov-09 17:19:12

you should have a whole weekend every other weekend each. quality time and all that.


good advice over there from those who have knowledge!!

notsohotchic Fri 20-Nov-09 17:27:28

Yes! thanks for link, will look on there. I am just very worried about him wanting shared care.

pithyslicker Sat 21-Nov-09 00:21:21

Do your children want to live with you or ex?

mmrred Sun 22-Nov-09 17:25:52

What about suggesting one full weekend each (eg Friday-Monday) per month and a couple of half weekends? (say Fri - Sat for one and Sat-Sun for another?)

I think you should think very carefully about going to court to try to change the status quo on the grounds that YOU want to see the children more, particularly if he is going to use the opportunity to ask for more time with them. I think you'd have a tough time convincing the Cafcass Officer that buying the children pets was manipulation.

The 'norm' (if there is such a thing) is for contact to be increased to alt weekends, not decreased to it when a contact pattern is working for the children.

EcoMouse Wed 25-Nov-09 12:01:29

hotchic, if there was domestic violence within your relationship, raise it with Crapcass and the courts.

There is a specific procedure they are obliged to follow if domestic violence is raised as an issue (a fact finding report of some kind, can't recall it's correct title but your solicitor should be able to adivse).

For this reason, I would deny your xp the contact he requests and allow him to take it to court if he so wishes, it is a matter they have to take into account.

Regarding his harassment of you, ask your solicitor about seeking an injunction. He can not behave like this towards you!

mmrred Wed 25-Nov-09 16:57:39

Obviously none of us are qualified sols (as far as I know - I know I'm not) but telling someone to deny contact - as a strategy - is really dodgey advice, TBH, EcoMouse.

Quite apart from the fact that the kids have seen their Daddy every week for 3 years and they have done nothing wrong, it would almost certainly spur the X into court action and IME the focus would be getting contact re-instated as a minimum. Thus X could easily argue the case for Shared Care/Joint Residence as a safeguard against future recurrence of contact being withheld.

EcoMouse Thu 26-Nov-09 01:10:19

Exactly mmred. With a history of DV, contact arrangements should go through court and should be subject to a fact finding report!

The OP can not take contact arrangements to court, her exP can.

Manipulation/violence/lies/harassment/violence in front of a child all constitute DV, the latter constitutes indirect abuse of the child involved.

I would question why this man is seeing his children at all, without sanctions in place to ensure their safety. A court, following the report mentioned (which it is obliged to carry out) could place any safeguards on contact.

Limiting contact or at least not bowing to his demands will end up with this matter in court, as hotchic says.

In some instances (particularly when DV is an issue, current or past) court involvement is not necessarily a bad thing.

EcoMouse Thu 26-Nov-09 01:18:24

mmred for the record, I did not advise hotchic to deny contact at any point, BTW!

"I would deny your xp the contact he requests and allow him to take it to court if he so wishes"

...meaning the extra contact, obviously.

cestlavielife Thu 26-Nov-09 10:50:24

"The OP can not take contact arrangements to court, her exP can."

the op can - by applying for residence order in her favour and pre-empting the exP.

for the record, I took the contact issue to court - on order to get stability and an official order - by applying for a residence order. by applying for a residence order this brought the issue of contact to the fore, led to section 7/cafcass reports being done etcetc.

if i hadnt taken it to court it would still be even more of a nitemare. he would have caused more problems...

mmrred Thu 26-Nov-09 17:59:06

It was my understanding of the situation that the OP was the one who wanted to change the contact - reducing it by a third - and that the X had responded by saying he wanted Shared Care (which he already has so I'm thinking there may be some confusion over the terms?) so I misunderstood your advice, Ecomouse, my apologies.

I had also assumed that the DV was in the past and so wasn't really relevant to changing contact arrangements that have been in place for 3 years.

The OP could apply for a Residence Order but as the children live with her anyway, wouldn't the no-order principle apply?

cestlavielife Fri 27-Nov-09 11:00:27

yes - it would have to be shown that making a residence order helped in some way -

Under the Act all possible efforts are made to resolve problems by voluntary means, court orders only being sought if they will be of positive benefit to the child. Section 8 of the Act details the following Orders (outlined very briefly here):

Residence Orders - settling where a child lives. They may be made either because there has been a dispute about the matter, or because there has been a question about the child's welfare which has needed an Order to settle the arrangements.

dnelson7 Thu 26-Mar-15 14:08:02

My X has died through alcohol and my son is 7
Since his death in October his parents who are over 80 want my X husbands contact at court gave them 5 hours after school
They feed him 1 small tin of spaghetti and after his tea his aunt collects him and has her time with my son.
When my X was alive he broke all court orders by drinking while with son and taking my son to visit my parents who I have not seen for 10yrs
My X wanted to hurt me any way he could
Now my parents want contact but my son doesn't like them
My son doesn't want to sleep away from me again
And now cafcass are doing a section 7 report but phoned today to say it's unlikely she will have the time to speak to me and my son as I cancelled this Mondays appointment as my son had a school play and other easter things going on plus contact with his grandparents and aunt
Why would his parents want him overnight when they don't even have him for the full 7 hrs
I have a medical problem that can be treated but I put off hospital as my X always said he would take my son off me. My daughter is 24 and helps me with my health and my son
I don't want to see my parents as I'm in a wheelchair and have tachycardia which is worse under stress
My mother will have lied to cafcass and now how do I get my son's wishes over to the judge
Thanks for reading x

cestlavielife Thu 26-Mar-15 14:13:34

dnelson7 you might want to start a new thread

jmummyk15 Fri 03-Apr-15 01:10:06

Depends i was lucky they dealt with me over the phone but it was them over social they seemed pretty decent dependa who you get though just be honest and dont slag ex off best thing to do is stay level headed even if hes saying lies

jedimaster Sat 30-Mar-19 01:39:03

The most important thing to remember is that both parents engagement in raising children is paramount to ensuring their emotional stability and development into functioning kind adults. Whether the father was involved and an active parent whilst in the marriage is irrelevant (bar cases that are justified as abuse, by a third professional party, not a matter of opinion). Fathers often bear the brunt of this, although in most family homes, fathers were the main/only breadwinner thus the arrangement. If the arrangement then did not work, you cannot beat the father for not being as active a parent within the marriage. Additionally, when the marriage breaks down, the father is required to change and step up as he will not be coming home to the kids every day, the things we take for granted now requires him to reconfigure how he is as a father. Often, people find solace after a failure in marriage to at least be better parents. So, at any point, it is a welcome change. If all mothers understood the impact of conflict on children, we would be the greatest advocates for more involved fathers after divorce. That means encouraging as much contact as we would wish for ourselves. Both boys and girls suffer greatly in adulthood if any one parent is uninvolved. Conversations on this topic needs a new direction that is supportive of all parents. People are flawed by nature, but not in the eyes of our children unless one parent or the other has subjected them to that burden.

There may be unique cases, but the vast majority of conflict is a result of the adults putting their own needs and opinions first. Actual scientific research on psychological, emotional, mental health impact on children of conflict always helps put things into focus.

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