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CAFCASS statement of child's wishes

(5 Posts)
helplessharriet Mon 15-Aug-11 13:14:46

Hi, namechange to protect friend.

Long story: 9 years ago she gave birth to her premie DD, didn't live with partner. Due to feeding problems and friend's mh (due to previous stillbirth) partner and his mother looked after DD in day. This arrangement continued even after she and partner split up. When DD aged 5 ex refused to bring DD back, and friend went to court, eventually getting contact 12-4 every weekend, alternate Sat and Sun instead of becoming parent with care as she wanted.

Ex remained very unaccomodating, not letting DD go even 5 min early, refusing to allow any extra contact, etc. Friend went back to court and after CAFCASS evaluation got contact extended to 10-6 plus same on school holiday Thursdays. Court even expressed surprise that more informal contact had not been arranged. Friend continued to politely request more time for particular family events, to no avail.

Last spring ex suddenly stopped contact, accusing friend's now partner (who stays over at weekends) of exposing himself to DD (friend thinks she may have accidentally seen him naked and mentioned something). Friend got emergency court hearing. Friend could only have supervised contact twice a week for a couple of hours, pending next court hearing Sept.

DD now 9 at first said she did not want to see friend and pushed her away, but this stopped after the first couple of times and she returned to normal attitude to her mum. I saw her at her half-bro's party the other week and she seemed perfectly Ok.

CAFCASS again involved, now they say they have DD's statement of wishes and she does not want to see her mother. There are also a number of letters purportedly written by DD which say the same. But we think this is due to pressure from her father sad

It seems to me that friend has no option but to accept what DD has said, even if she thinks these are not her true wishes. At least there would be honesty in one part of her parental relationships. But what can friend do to ensure that DD has some way of making her feelings felt if she realizes this is not what she wants after all?

It is a nightmare and we feel so helpless. Friend has always been compliant with contact, plus made sure she attended school meetings and dr's appointments, often in the face of ex making things difficult.

MOSP Mon 15-Aug-11 13:24:41

Is friend able to write to her dd? I agree that the dd is just saying what she think her dad wants her to say. That's often what kids do, especially if they feel under pressure.

If I were in your friend's shoes, I'd keep trying. Not let it drop. Write her fun, chatty letters, take it back to court at regular intervals etc. etc. so that the dd will hopefully grow older and know that her mum always wanted her and never abandoned her (despite what lies she may be being fed).

I'm really sorry for your friend. Horrible situation sad

helplessharriet Mon 15-Aug-11 13:29:46

Am pretty sure ex would intercept letters. He has thrown presents and cards in the bin according to DD so anything she gets at her mum's stays at her mum's. He wouldn't even let DD give her mum a Mother's Day card.

Could she write c/o the school?

MOSP Mon 15-Aug-11 13:34:11

Any clue what his problem is with the mum? Does he worry she's unstable mentally? Or is he just plain mean?
I think she should take it back to court and say that the dd has been put in a pressured situation to say she doesn't want to see her mum. I'm sure at 9 years old, they can't only take the child's wishes into account because they are too young to really know what is best for them, and are easily persuaded in one direction or the other.
Could a professional speak to the dd privately to ascertain her 'reasons' for not wanting to see her mum? Maybe she could ask her lawyer that?

helplessharriet Mon 15-Aug-11 13:55:58

I am afraid he is just plain mean. He has tried to bring her mh into it, she has managed to bring up DS22 who has just graduated and DS12 who has SN, despite her being an emotional sort of person and being understandably devasted by all that's been going on.

She is on LA, so I don't know about the expert. And wouldn't they just say CAFCASS is enough? (Sorry to seem negative)

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