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Court appointed person to gain children's wishes

(25 Posts)
pauline987 Thu 08-Aug-19 20:43:08

Hi

Has anyone been through this that can help me?

DH and his ex currently in court re contact arrangements for their 2 DD's

There has been someone appointed by the court to speak to kids to gain their thoughts and wishes on the situation, and what they want to happen.

It was supposed to be happening today. DH got a phone call tho to say it's now been pushed back to next Friday

The original letter said it would only be his eldest that would be interviewed, she is 12, and that the person from the court would be non biased towards him or his ex, and that his daughter would be spoken to both here and at her mums.

He then got a letter last Friday saying that when they went to their mums today, they would now be speaking to both girls, instead of just the eldest

This morning, he got a phone call to say that the interviews had been pushed back to next Friday, and instead of them being spoken to both here and at their mums, they would now o my be spoken to at their mums

We are really struggling to get them to come for contact just now, and DH is really upset my it all. We both feel his youngest is too young to be put through this. She is only 8

Is this all normal?

Why would they suddenly push the interview back and decide to just do it at mums instead of at both houses?

What normally happens at these interviews?

Does anyone know what kind of questions they will be asked?

Sorry for all the questions, but I have a great relationship with my daughters dad and my sons dad has sadly passed away, so I have absolutely no experience of any of this and neither has DH.

He is worried sick about it all and just wants it over

OP’s posts: |
pauline987 Thu 08-Aug-19 21:03:01

" they would now o my be spoken to at their mums"

This should say "they would now only be spoken to at their mums"

OP’s posts: |
SandyY2K Thu 08-Aug-19 21:11:23

No experience of this, but can you find out why there have been changes ... like speaking to both girls and speaking at mum's house?

I wonder if the girls have expressed being more comfortable at mum's house. They might feel under pressure at dad's house.

pauline987 Thu 08-Aug-19 21:41:23

@SandyY2K thanks

DH has left a few messages for the court appointed person since he got the letter on Friday, but had no reply until the guy called him this morning to advise him that the interview had been pushed back to next Friday.

The 2 main changes were that they were now going to be speaking to both girls instead of just the eldest, and that it would now only be happening once, at their mums house. Then this morning the date was changed

When DH asked about this on the phone this morning, the guy couldn't tell him why, he said he had just been told that's what was happening

Lawyer is on holiday, but messages have been left for her too and an email sent Incase someone picks it up in her absence and can contact court or something for answers

I really feel his youngest is too young, she only just turned 8 in July

OP’s posts: |
SandyY2K Thu 08-Aug-19 23:52:25

It sounds like a difficult situation for your DH.

I think it was you who said their mum has left the arranging of contact to the 12 yo? That's not good enough really. Although it sounded like she was making them go and they didn't want to.

I think some kids struggle with going back and forth between mum and dad. We all say kids are resilient, but they aren't all the same and some really struggle with it.

I hope you get some answers.

HappyStep1 Sat 10-Aug-19 13:50:17

The problem is kids will often (understandably) say what they think the parent they are with wants them to. They don't want to be disloyal to either parent and this ends with the kids saying what they think the parent wants, not them at all!
I would suggest your DP push to find out about why the changes have been made, if the authority involved is Caffcass they should come back to you, although, IME, I've yet to meet someone from there that isn't biased one way or the other.

pauline987 Sat 10-Aug-19 15:44:27

@HappyStep1

Thanks. To be honest I'm not sure what authority is involved. I will ask DH when he comes home.

It was never mentioned that the kids would be spoke. To the whole way through this. Then at the last court hearing (mid July) it was just said that they would be sending someone to speak to his eldest (thrown in as if it had already been discussed - it hadn't) then it moved very quickly from there

His youngest came and stayed over last night (totally unpromoted) his eldest text at lunchtime yesterday asking if he coming to pick them up. He said he would love to see them and would definitely come and get them if they wanted to come. Only youngest came in the end, but we hadn't seen her for weeks so it was lovely

She was happy and chatty, telling us all about her new school supplies and what she's been doing all Summer. This is what I really don't understand about the whole thing. When they are here, they seem so happy! It's just actually getting them here that's the problem

Do u have any idea the kind of questions this person will ask them to try an get to the bottom of all this?

OP’s posts: |
pauline987 Sat 10-Aug-19 15:48:36

@SandyY2K

Thanks! Yes that was me.

I'm hoping to get something sorted out soon. Even if it's just to be seeing them regularly again.

I think ur right about the going back and forth between 2 houses. The youngest especially seems to be affected by being away from her mum. I don't think it's anything her mum is doing. DH says she has been like this since birth. There was a stage when she was a toddler where the only 2 people she could be left with without her screaming the place down was her mum or her Auntie. She wouldn't stay with anyone else

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moobar Sat 10-Aug-19 15:51:17

Are you in Scotland op

aweedropofsancerre Sat 10-Aug-19 15:52:21

Can I ask why the courts are involved? Is there an issue around contact coming from his ex or your DH? It’s very unusual to go to court unless there are hostile dynamics at play. I did go through court process and we had a court appointed person come to my house. My DS was only 4 and she sat with him chatting and playing and using play to discuss feelings around family etc. My Ex got NC but there were other things going on too. The courts do what’s best for the child at that’s it. They will want to understand the view of the DC involved and will be ensuring that they are not being coerced into refusing contact by an angry ex. I should add that my DS was not seen at his fathers house during this process.

HappyStep1 Sat 10-Aug-19 16:05:24

It is difficult for the DSC moving between parents, youngest is very sensitive to change and often asks for clarity on arrangement times and venues.

Unfortunately, again IME, problems with contact are about parents, not what the kids want, when they are young, say under 12-13, it is easier for them if arrangements are set and they know what is going on.

pauline987 Sat 10-Aug-19 16:33:04

@moobar yes I am

OP’s posts: |
pauline987 Sat 10-Aug-19 16:49:26

@aweedropofsancerre

I was trying to find a way to link my previous thread, as all the info is there, but I can't do it

Basically, his ex used to deal with all the contact arrangements with him via text. No real set schedule, just as and when each week. Then as soon as his eldest DD got a mobile of her own his ex handed all the responsibility of arranging contact over to her (she was 11 at the time, now 12). His ex then completely stopped communicating with him.

The girls stopped coming as often and things were chopping and changing. DH tried to speak to his ex, but she literally ignores everything. Complete radio silence, never even opens messages never mind reply.

He eventually went to a lawyer to try and get a proper contact schedule set up, 1) so that we were at least seeing them regularly again and 2) to take the responsibility of arranging things away from his daughter

His ex went nuts. Refused to cooperate, tried mediation but it was never going to work as they are so hostile towards each other (there is fault on both sides there, my DH is just as bad), and the girls stopped coming at all. We had the youngest last night, but that's the first we have seen her in almost 8 weeks

So basically that's why it's now in court 😔

Final hearing is in September

OP’s posts: |
aweedropofsancerre Sat 10-Aug-19 17:56:53

pauline987 now I understand. I feel for the 12yr old being given responsibility to facilitate and organise contact for her and her sister. That’s too much for a young girl. My 12 yr old doesn’t even look at messages on the phone or respond to them and if given a chance would happily sit in his room all day on his Xbox. So I think them going to court is the right thing to do . At least the responsibility is taken away from the 12yr old and contact can be consistent and pre arranged. Good luck with it all

moobar Sat 10-Aug-19 21:42:42

@pauline987 ok.

So I, a family lawyer in Scotland. Perhaps a PM may be more appropriate for specifics.

For clarity, I will give broad answers to your OP.

We do not have cafcass in Scotland. We have a system in certain cases where an independent person, usually a solicitor is appointed. This can take three roles,
A Safeguarder, to safeguard children. More commonly within children's hearing proceedings, but occasionally in the family court,
A curator, to act on behalf of the children, in very high conflict cases where the parents are unable to do so.
A reporting officer, to carry out a specific task. I see you were going to check with your husband but it sounds like that's what's been appointed. If so, the sheriff will have completed a form and passed it to the solicitors representing the parents stating exactly what they want.

Eg, to meet with the parties and report on home circumstances. To obtain the views of the children. To meet with the parties and report on what level of contact is in the children's best interests.

Now, if it was me appointed, I would want to see the children with each of you, and in an independent environment. I do a huge amount of report work and one visit is, in my view, not sufficient. Unless the court interlocutor is specific in its terms of asking me to speak to only one child, then yes, I would speak to both.

Talk to the solicitor you have, ask for a copy of the interlocutor, find out what the sheriff is looking for. Don't worry about dates being changed, but do push for the children or child to be seen with you as well.

You mention a final hearing in September. Is that a proof? Or just a further child welfare hearing? If a child welfare hearing you will find it is not final and you still have some way to go.

Happy to offer observations if you want answers to something more specific by PM.

pauline987 Sun 11-Aug-19 12:10:18

@moobar thank you so much.

He thinks it is a reporting officer. The issue is to find out what level of contact they want and why they have become so reluctant to come over

There aren't any welfare concerns. Their mum and her family are really good to them and there are no worries at all about welfare

DH would just like to know a bit about what they will be asked when this person comes, as it feels at the moment like everything is geared against him. He is barely given any information and when he asks for it it's like it's very reluctantly passed over. The girls themselves seem to know more about what's going on than DH does as their mum is obviously kept up to date with absolutely everything and she tells them

OP’s posts: |
SandyY2K Sun 11-Aug-19 18:26:58

Their relationship must have ended very badly to result in such bad communication between them.

The ignoring of his messages and leaving contact arrangements to a 12 year old, seems like she just can't bear to speak to him.

Rapidmama Sun 11-Aug-19 18:32:14

I would be happy for my 8 year old to be spoken to re contact. I think as long as there isn’t coercion involved and it’s a genuine finding of what they want then an 8 year old should be able to express that.

TheChain Sun 11-Aug-19 19:32:24

@SandyY2K

Their relationship must have ended very badly to result in such bad communication between them

The ignoring of his messages and leaving contact arrangements to a 12 year old, seems like she just can't bear to speak to him

You’d think logically that would be the case but it’s not always that way. My DP’s Ex cheated on him and broke up their family.
She is vile to him and is really curt and rude to him for no apparent reason.

Although she’s outwardly quite hostile and rude to anyone she appears to has no use for.

pauline987 Mon 12-Aug-19 17:52:15

@SandyY2K she was cheating on him with her now boyfriend for over 6 months. The now boyfriend was a work colleague of my DH at the time.

When they were caught out, she left DH and took the kids with her, and he left his wife (no kids involved in his split thankfully). His ex and kids moved straight into the boyfriends house when she left him, just found the corner from their family home. They are still together now and have a little boy. They now live 20 minutes away in his ex's home town

DH can be an adult with her over text, but they are very hostile towards each other (as I said, there is fault on both sides there) when they have to speak, or be in the same room

The only reason she ever texts him now is to moan about things, and even that is once in a blue moon

OP’s posts: |
pauline987 Mon 12-Aug-19 17:54:51

@Rapidmama thanks

We were just a bit concerned as she has literally only just turned 8 in July. She is a very young 8 compared to what I remember her sister and my own DD being like at that age.

Also didnt understand why originally she wasn't to be interviewed, but then all of a sudden she was. There were no discussions with DH about it. It was just out in a letter as what was happening as if he already knew about it

OP’s posts: |
pauline987 Mon 12-Aug-19 17:57:31

@TheChain

Basically the same situation here. She cheated too.

Then when DHs eldest got a phone, his ex text him and said she was "washing her hands of the situation" and that he had to contact his daughter only.

Only difference is that over text she isn't vile or nasty (they seem to save that for each other when they are face to face 🙄) she just doesn't reply

OP’s posts: |
spongedog Mon 12-Aug-19 18:06:40

I think it is best if the youngest is spoken to as well as her older sister. She may have different views and be able to describe them quite sensibly. My DC (only one) is still very angry and bitter that they were not given any say in the contact arrangements and school. They were slightly older than 8 at the time but my ex significantly played up SEN. I think if children are allowed to voice an opinion and really listened to, even if the final outcome isnt exactly what they want, they know they were part of the process.

I am also absolutely unable to be in the same room as my ex. His behaviour towards me was vile throughout the divorce. Unfortunately for me his behaviour was fueled and magnified by his partner (who was the OW). So I would ask you very much to try to play down as much as you can the emotion - that will also help the DC.

pauline987 Mon 12-Aug-19 19:13:34

@spongedog oh I don't get involved between them. I do tell my DH when I think he's being ridiculous and used to regularly tell him to wait till he was calm before he replied to her.

Thanks. I really helps to speak to someone who has been through this xx

OP’s posts: |
pauline987 Thu 29-Aug-19 16:56:40

We got the report today.

Basically his DDs find it boring at our house. They feel they should be taken on days out or treated each time they visit. It was actually written in the report that his eldest has a better quality games console at her mums than here (ps3 here, PS4 at mums)

They feel like my DD is given more freedom around our house than they are. They all have a bedroom each, they all have access to TVs etc, they all take snacks etc from the fridge when they want it. I don't know what that means, but it's obviously affecting them and I need to fix it. Not sure how to tho.

They both said they love my DS

The report also said that the kids don't want contact to change. He also said there is no evidence of their mum manipulating them in any way (which I didn't think was happening anyway) and that the kids spoke in age appropriate language.

DH has raised concerns about their unmonitored access to social media etc but none of that was in it.

Court person has recommended that contact stays as it is and that DH and his ex try mediation again to re-establish some form of communication and take the responsibility away from his daughter

OP’s posts: |

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