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What happens once contact is ordered?

(20 Posts)
Joze Mon 07-Sep-09 12:01:20

Hi

Can anyone help? It looks like my LO's 'dad' will get supervised access to my 3 year old when we go to a contested hearing soon. Can anyone tell me once the magistrate orders the contact whether i will have a say in how long and where and when it will be? I'm confused and my solicitor isn't much help as i can't seem to get hold of her much and I need some reassurance that my views will be heard and that i will have a say as to what happens? I've been made to feel the worst mother in the world by the courts when i have done nothing wrong except have someone desert me when pregnant and then pop up out of the blue with lies and wanting contact! Thanks

cestlavielife Mon 07-Sep-09 13:08:12

change your solciitor - find one in tune with you...

you can put forward your proposals and reasons why.

if you ened to state the location then that can be presentd to - give your reasons why.

GypsyMoth Mon 07-Sep-09 13:11:15

your child will need to build a relationship somehow. where would you suggest?

try this www.wikivorce.com

the child residency/access section is very good in the forum. search the archives.

NicknameTaken Mon 07-Sep-09 13:12:20

You can argue for the contact to take place in a contact centre. The timing will depend on when the centre is open - the two centres closest to me are only open for a few hours on a Saturday. This obviously might be different based on where you live. Google "contact centre" + your town and it should be easy enough to find out.

hayes Mon 07-Sep-09 13:15:12

Your views will be heard as well as the fathers views. The court will be interested in what is best for the child, not what is best for the parents. As far as I know the court will decide where, when and how long the contact will be (have been through this process) Try to go with the flow and not be against contact, you have your thoughts as to why he shouldn't get any. The more resistant you are the harder it will be for everyone concerned. I'm not attacking you but if he is as bad as you think, he will shoot himself in the foot eventually. If not, then fantastic your child will have healthy relationships with both his parents.

If you think that your solicitor is not being helpful I agree that you should find another one asap.

Hope it all works out for you all.

mumblechum Mon 07-Sep-09 13:18:55

Well, first of all, he's her dad without the speech marks, and she's his little girl too, not just yours!

The court will decide on how long the visits should last, whether they should be supervised, etc.

Agree that your own solicitor should be giving you all this info. Is it too late to change solicitors? If so, then speak to her supervising partner and say that you want her to explain things in much more detail or you'll consider lodging a complaint.

Joze Mon 07-Sep-09 13:24:36

Thank you for all your help. My solicitor advised me to oppose contact (due to various things that happened in the past) in order for me to obtain reports from CAFCASS as all i knew about this man turned out to be lies and i have no idea as to his background or anything that may have happened in the 4 years since i last saw him. This I did as i felt i needed some reassurance taht he was acting in the best interests of my son(which i know he isn't but was trying to be objective!) and that my son would be safe.

CAFCASS turned up late, had forgotten the case file and didn't take my concerns seriously and believed his lies and recommended immediate supervised contact!! The magistrates went along with them and my solicitor said i didn't have to agree as they weren't listening to me so i didn't and it's now gone to a contested hearing but i got slated without being able to defend myself! I was trying to do what was best for my son and protect him but i had no alternative to go to a contested hearing to at least get my concerns heard!

I am scared stiff of the hearing as i know the judges are biased against me already and this man is a very convincing liar which is why i have accepted that he will get contact (although i wasn't opposed to indirect contact initially but cafcass ignored this and didn't state it in court!) I just want to know what my options are for my son so that i will be able to at least make it as easy on him as possible as he doesn't take well to people and hates being separated from me and he has no idea of the concept of having a father let alone being in contact with one!

I really do appreciate all your help, i feel completely alone and isolated right now and totally helpless

2rebecca Mon 07-Sep-09 13:25:27

I think if dad wants a relationship with his child that's generally a good thing for the child and I would go with what the court recommends. If he has a history of violence then there may be reasons for suggesting a contact centre but if you're just upset that he left you and now wants to see his child but isn't interested in you that's not a reason to be obstructive. Hopefully they will start with small visits and build it up as dad and child get to know one another.

Joze Mon 07-Sep-09 13:32:20

Ps thank you mumblechum but he doesn't deserve to be called 'dad' yet, he deserted my son before he was born and used intimidation and threats in order to keep me and the baby away from him since i found out he was living with someone and 2 kids and he didn't want his partner finding out about the baby. I had to report him to the police for it all. Since then he has done nothing to contact me or my son until i had a court hearing letter drop on my doorstep out the blue. All he did was provide sperm, this does not make him 'dad'.

I will try and contact my solicitor again but i think it's gone too far now to change and CAFCASS were beyond useless

hayes Mon 07-Sep-09 13:35:46

I do sympathise with you as you have brought your ds up alone, but if this works out with his dad it will enhance his life, and yours too.

Do you think you could perhaps talk to your ds about his dad, show him pictures etc so that he does have knowledge of his dad?

NicknameTaken Mon 07-Sep-09 13:37:58

I think it's worth taking the initiative - research the opening hours of the contact centre and then propose what works best for you, eg. Saturday afternoons or whatever. You're demonstrating that you are willing to be cooperative.

Joze Mon 07-Sep-09 13:44:16

thank you hayes, i hope you're right and that it doesn't cause him any damage emotionally or psychologically. I've seen this man in action and it's not pleasant.

I don't have any pictures, i've tried talking to my ds about his 'dad' but he just doesn't want to know or understand, he's too little yet but i've tried.

thanks too nicknametaken, i will have a look and see what's around. I hate that i have to go to this hearing and defend myself when i've done nothing wrong and that he will stand there and lie through his teeth. If this was about my son it wouldn't be so bad but with him it's just control.

2rebecca Mon 07-Sep-09 13:55:23

It might not be control, he might genuinely want to get to know his son. It seems odd that you portray him as unfit to be a father and yet he left you, you didn't leave him because you thought he was a poor father. Was he very young when he left you and has now matured a bit? I would go for contact hoping it will be a positive thing for your son. At 3 he will soon know what fathers are when he mixes more with other children and will start asking about his. It is good that he has the opportunity to get to know his father before he starts feeling the lack of a father. He may turn out not to be a great dad but I think you should let him try. Lots of women aren't great mums but they usually get to see their kids.

Joze Mon 07-Sep-09 14:03:46

We were only together a couple of months when i got pregnant and that was when i found out he had a partner and children, from that point i told him i didn't want to see him but wanted to keep in contact with him because of the baby. He kept harrassing me to carry on seeing him and used threats of taking the baby, reporting me to social services etc (the list is endless) but when he realised i wouldn't carry on seeing him he upped the ante and told me in no uncertain terms what would happen if i dared contact him again and he wanted nothing to do with the baby, ever!!! I was terrified of him in the end. I hope it's a positive thing for my son, i really do but i'm aware of how nasty this man can be. I know that doesn't necessarily make him a bad father but it concerns me deeply and i need to be sure my ds will be safe and that this is all about my son and nothing more

Mamazon Mon 07-Sep-09 14:05:22

You will of course have the chance to be heard and your opinions will be taken into account. but no, you don't get a say into what happens really.

It is extremely unlikely that you will be offered supervised contact for more than 6 motnhs. it is only used in caes where there is a possible risk to the child.

you need to get over what he did to you. its not about you its about him wanting a relationship with your child. whether you believe that to be the case or not he needs to be given the benefit of the doubt and the chance to prove you wrong.

2rebecca Mon 07-Sep-09 14:20:43

He does sound an unpleasant character. From your first post when you talked about him deserting you when you were pregnant I presumed he left you and then went to live with someone else who already had kids.
What sort of father is he to his other kids? If he has a good relationship with them he still may be a good father although you sound well rid of him as a boyfriend.

GypsyMoth Mon 07-Sep-09 14:28:59

ifn he gets the contact centre de either a)sticks to it,turns up and provesn himself......or.....b)messes everyone about and isn't consistant.then you can proceed from there. cafcass like to see consistency and commitment.

give him that chance. or rather,give your ds that chance.

Joze Mon 07-Sep-09 14:35:25

I have no idea as to how he is as a father hence why i requested reports to be done by CAFCASS. I know how he was towards me and experienced first hand how bad he can actually be but I can't say about him as a father so I was totally blindsided when CAFCASS didn't advise any to be done (my solicitor was also shocked under the circumstances!) so I literally have no idea as to his parenting skills or whether he's a risk to my son or not! He may as well just be some stranger pulled off the street! All I want to do is ensure my son is well cared for, happy and safe but i am now in a position where that has been taken out of my hands and all i can do is hope and pray he'll be ok

oldraver Mon 07-Sep-09 14:39:10

You really do have to put aside your hurt feelings on this. It sounds from your posts as though you have made this all about YOU and this is about a son establishing contact with his father. All the things you have said do make him sound like a prized wanker, lying to you and then not supporting you, but you need to be careful that your only objections dont come across as a bitter ex

If he has intimidated you in the past you have the right to have that recognized by the court and some safeguards put in place. Telling the court 'he lied to me and was horrible doesnt wash. I realise there may be more to it (you said the police were involved) but you have to sort out what really is relevant to your son and put aside the stuff that isnt

I know its a pisser when a bloke waltzes back in after a few years demanding his 'rights' when you have been the primary carer. Make sure any objections or concerns put forward are valid ones not just hert feelings. Ie your son doesnt know his father so therefore gentle supervised introduction is needed etc

NanaNina Tue 08-Sep-09 21:32:51

Joze - SO sorry you aregoing through this. I am an indept. sw. dealing with child care cases and I sometimes get involved with contact cases after CAFCASS have been involved. This can only happen though if one or other parent can afford to pay for an ind a/ment. I too have been largely unimpressed with some CAFCASS workers. I think thr problem is that they have to go by the law which gives parents equal rights to their children and unless there are serious risks to the child, they will recommend contact between children and absent fathers.

Judges get annoyed if they think mothers are unreasonably disagreeing to contact even though there is in my view often very good reason as in your case. The only advice I can give you (as others have said) is to make sure that you let the court know that you are acting in the child's best interests and NOT holding grudges against your ex. You may well be doing so with good reason but if the court suspects that this is the case it will not look good for you. The bottom line is that children have a right to contact with their absent fathers, not really the other way round if you see what I mean. Stress that you just want to be assured that your child's father is prepared to get to know the child and his routines, likes/dislikes etc so that contact is a pleasant experience for the child. I don't think a court will see this as unreasonable.

I think solicitors are often ill equipped to deal with childcare cases and this also causes problems as in your case. There is a lits of solicitors who are on a Childrens Panel (find them on google) and will have slightly more experience in these matters, but probably toolate for that now.

Finally if contact is granted domake every endeavour to be "matter of fact" with your child so as not to raise his anxietes, and try to communicate with your x about the child and his routines etc (always so much better than trying to sort things out in court) It isn't too late to talk to your ex as once the court case is over it will be so much better if the 2 of you can communicate about your child.

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