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He's only gone and issued a Child a Arrangement order! Help please!

(24 Posts)
Dudette29 Tue 31-Jan-17 19:33:07

Hi there,

Posting here for traffic - not sure how to also put in legal (sorry). I'm after some advice please from people who have found themselves in a similar situation to what I'm going through, or have some knowledge of the family court system.

My ex-partner has issued notice for a cild arrangement order. Ever since our split last year he's made it clear he's going to drag the process out for as long as he can, making it cost me as much money as possible.

In a bid to keep costs down, I'm considering representing myself in court. I'm fairly articulate and don't see myself as stupid, but I'm worried about being torn to shreds by his solicitor and not getting the outcome id like for my daughter.

Has anyone represented themselves as the respondent in such a case? If so how did it go and what was the outcome?

My other questions are what costs do I incur as a litigant in person? Also is there a risk I'd have to pay the other sides costs if the court were to grant an order in my ex-p favour? Thanks.

MrsBertBibby Tue 31-Jan-17 19:40:45

Costs orders are rarely made in Children proceedings, mainly where someone has behaved badly in relation to the proceedings.

Have you been in court before? Assuming not, I would strongly advise you to get representation, either from a solicitor or direct access counsel. Especially first time around.

Checkthisout Tue 31-Jan-17 19:44:18

You won't have to pay a penny if you represent yourself.
I've done a hell of a lot of research in anticipation of my ex doing the exact same thing to me when this baby comes along.

I will be representing myself & have found no costs involved my side IF he takes me to court.

Iwishicouldflyfarfaraway Tue 31-Jan-17 20:01:48

I represented myself , no costs to me, just the hassle of childcare ,switching work around to be in court.
It wasn't as bad as I thought , I spent a lot of time talking to his barrister to agree as much as possible before we saw the judge. One thing I wasn't expecting was three judges(?) in the court. pm if you have any questions I might be able to help you with.

MrsBertBibby Tue 31-Jan-17 20:06:52

Those would have been magistrates, not judges.

BonnyScotland Tue 31-Jan-17 20:17:10

well done ladies... it's nice to see you women taking control x

HackAttack Tue 31-Jan-17 20:21:20

You'd probably be better self representing, I work with solicitors/barristers regularly and am appalled by their inaccuracies and lack of effort much of the time.

There are exceptions but by and large I'm unimpressed by what you get for the cost.

dataandspot Tue 31-Jan-17 20:24:36

Self representing was dreadful for me. Everything was directed to my ex solicitor and I got to say nothing!

Kelsar Tue 31-Jan-17 20:29:19

I have recently attended a family court in relation to a child arrangement order.
I completed the forms myself, with guidance from enclosed leaflet and also the internet.
The courts were really nice and rang me and explained that there was a part on the form I needed to fill in again as I had missed it out.
I attended court on my own and had no solicitor representing me.
The 3 judges were really nice, let me take my time and explain my circumstances.
Couldn't have asked for me tbh.

Good luck, you'll be fine.

JMKid Tue 31-Jan-17 20:31:00

Save yourself the money and defo represent yourself. Try to agree prior to going in front of the Magistrates as they tend to give the men what they want. Make sure you stick to your points and be clear with your justifications. It's a very stressful and emotional time but remember why you doing it.

Dudette29 Tue 31-Jan-17 20:46:15

Thank you for your replies everyone. It's really good to hear from others who have been where I am now. Im also encouraged by the success stories too, and the process doesn't seem as daunting as it did an hour or so ago! For those that did self represent, did you get the outcome you wanted or did you find the courts went in favour of the father?

RandomMess Tue 31-Jan-17 20:49:58

What do you want, what does he want, how old are the DC - I think if he wants something that isn't workable when you've offered something suitable/fair etc. it can make a difference...

Have you tried mediation?

AyeAmarok Tue 31-Jan-17 20:54:01

Have you done mediation already OP?

AyeAmarok Tue 31-Jan-17 20:54:50

Sorry, x-posted with Random.

Dudette29 Tue 31-Jan-17 21:05:10

DD is 2. He's made it clear he's going for joint custody. To be honest I would rather my child have nothing more to do with him. He was physically abusive at the end of our relationship which resulted in the police being called and he was cautioned for harassment. I went to mediation once but didn't progress it due to his continued verbal abuse. I have a proposal in mind for contact which I'm guessing I will bring up at the first court hearing?

RandomMess Tue 31-Jan-17 21:18:13

If he has a solicitor I would write now stating why you don't think 50:50 is in your child's best interests and how his physical and verbal abuse is a huge factor in this. What contact does he have at the moment?

FeelTheNoise Tue 31-Jan-17 21:19:45

I'm watching with interest as my abusive XP keeps threatening to taking me to court

RandomMess Tue 31-Jan-17 21:21:27

I completely get WHY you don't want your DD to have a relationship with him but sadly that isn't an option for you at the moment.

Does he use any drugs at all (can ask for drugs testing), if there is zero relationship you ask for a contact centre to be used to be paid for by him...

happy2bhomely Tue 31-Jan-17 21:23:35

A family member represented themselves last month. It cost her nothing.

He asked for three, 4 hour visits a week, for a 4 month old baby who is EBF. 4pm until 8pm.

She said she would agree to three 2 hour visits, 4-6. She didn't have to say this in the court. She spoke to someone in a side room who was mediating between them.

They went before the magistrates and it was thrown out. He was told that what he was proposing was not in the child's best interests and that he needed to learn to communicate with the child's mother. If he wanted a mediator to help with that, then he could arrange one at his own expense.

It was a positive outcome for my family member.

But I have another family member who went to court for a non- molestation order, as advised by the police. A child arrangemnts order was applied for at the same time. Family member was ripped to shreds and massively let down by her legal rep. She has ended up £2000 in debt due to mistakes they made with legal aid applications and she has been ordered to let her dd's spend EOW with a man who has a driving ban, for drink driving with dd's in car with no car seats etc.

Good luck.

donners312 Tue 31-Jan-17 21:43:15

I represented myself although initially i did have a solicitor.

Before you go to court CAFCASS will interview you probably by phone and i think the courts very often follow their recommendations.

As your DD is only 2 they may say there should be some contact but could you request supervised contact due to the violence?

will he really do 50/50 or is this all to try and upset you and get out of CM?

Dudette29 Wed 01-Feb-17 08:28:56

Thanks all for your replies.

Ever since out split last year I've tried to do the right thing but just feel like I'm being dumped on again and again by him. I instigated contact at a contact centre and he's seen DD there a few times before Christmas. He's messed me around no end though and coupled with his continued bad behaviour I put a stop to this.
He is not a user of drugs, although does drink heavily at weekends. He has other children from a previous relationship who I do not feel would be a positive influence on my DD, and quite frankly his parenting skills leave a lot to be desired.
I've been let down by the (criminal) justice system in the past so am nervous about going through all this on my own. My family are of the opinion that if I just go in and speak the truth then I can't go wrong, however I know how manipulative he can be so am worried he'll make me out to be someone I'm not.
I've learnt a lot from reading on here and appreciate all of your comments, thank you.

Dudette29 Wed 01-Feb-17 08:32:47

And Donners: I do not believe he genuinely wants 50:50. I think he's doing it to get at me, he didn't really give a toss about DD when we lived together - I did 99% of all child are and he would only chip in when I asked him. Maintenance is an ongoing battle. I've filed a claim with CMS and the amount they came back with is pathetic, considering how much I know he earns (he's self employed).

BackToBasics1808 Wed 01-Feb-17 08:40:56

I've done both - 1st time in court I represented myself and 2nd time I took a solicitor both times for CAO. ExH did opposite to me
On my own I felt very pressured to offer ExH more than what was best due to the fact his solicitor spoke in a way I didn't understand (and I'm not exactly thick) maybe it was more nerves on my half but the 2nd time I went with my solicitor I let her take the lead and she stood her ground with his demands.
There was of course some negotiation required from both sides but I detailed what I thought would suit my DD best and tried not to deviate from it - he actually came off worse than the original order from the 1st time at his own request
What I'm trying to say is - if you are confident enough then yes you can do it on your own but if you find a good solicitor take them with you - they can advise you but please be prepared to compromise a bit as in court even if an agreement is not made in the 1st hearing the fact you are trying will go in your favour.

debbs77 Wed 01-Feb-17 18:31:56

Another option is a McKenzie Friend xx

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