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With-holding contact

10 replies

gillybean2 · 28/07/2008 07:50

What can the court do if ex refuses to allow contact.

My neighbours children are staying with her currently. Her Ex has a residency order in his favour. She isn't taking them back as she's entitled to half the hols and he is being difficult as usual.

He is sending her texts saying she will never see the kids again if she doesn't bring them back immediately. She is therefore reluctant to return them given that he has in the past made contact difficult, not stuck to the order, and has made false alligations of abuse against her which meant contact ceased while it was investigated. She fears he will do teh same or worse this time.

She is seeing her sol very soon but he always tells her to wait and see if ex will stick to the agreement, and when children are old enough they can make up their own mind where to live etc (but the age he says changes all the time!)

She really wants to get the order enforced so she see's the children when she is meant to and to stop him cancelling and making excuses as to why they can't come all the time. There's been talk of a penal notice etc but this has never been done by the sol. I told her it's highly unlikely the penal notice would be enforced anyhow.

What can she insist her sol do at this point so she knows she will see the children again when she should after they go back?

OP posts:
zookeeper · 28/07/2008 07:59

is there a contact order in place? In this situation it sounds as though the terms of contact need to be clearly defined

gillybean2 · 28/07/2008 08:09

Yes there is. She is meant to have them every 3rd weekend and half teh holidays and he is meant to do all the travelling.

He cancels contact saying he can't afford to bring them or car is unavailable etc. He has also told the children that she isn't coming because she doesn't want to see them when he's actually cancelled and the like.

She agreed to change the contact to every 4 weeks to help with the cost issue (she had no car and is on IS and it's some 5 hours drive each way). In order to see the children she often has to get her dad to drive her or borrow her boyfriend's car when he's not using it for work. The situation has been ongoing for 5 years now. She just wants it sorted so that the children know that when they are meant to come and for it to actually happen. Has been pretty traumatic all round and lots more to the situation of course which I don't want to give details about here.

She wants the contact to go back to every 3 weeks as per the order and to be enforced. What can she insist her sol do for her.

OP posts:
Freckle · 28/07/2008 08:14

If her solicitor is reluctant to do what she wants, but doesn't give any good reason why, then she should change solicitor.

Has she kept a diary of when her ex has unilaterally changed contact, what he has said, what excuses he has used? She'll need to do this to show a pattern of failing to comply with the order. How old are the children?

gillybean2 · 28/07/2008 08:24

She says she has called the sol every time something happens so has a diary via them. She has also kept the texts saying he won't let her see them again and i've said not to delete them and to write out on paper what they say, date, phone number sent from etc too.

This is her 3rd sol (legal aid). She doesn't feel very strong and forgets what she should ask and isn't well up on how things should or can be so when the sol suggests she waits a bit longer or that they'll apply for a date for the penal notice she goes along with what they say.

I've told her she needs to actually instruct the sol and tell him exactly what she wants and if he's vague about what can be done to pin him down. But she's no idea what she can ask for or what to do to get the order enforced.

This is why I wasnt some advice so I can tell her exactly what to ask for and not to be put off by sol suggesting she wait again etc. Her partner can't go along with her this time either which again worries her as she forgets what to ask and isn't very strong in such situations. She's been through a terrible time over the past 5 years, having her children ripped away from her, being accused of assaulting her daughter to get contact stopped, being told by the ex's new partner that 'she's their mother now' etc, mobile phone she got for the children being smashed etc. All completely unbelievable that a court would allow and continue to allow this imo mental abuse of the children and all just to spite her.

So what (if anything) can she do to ensure the order is enforced?

OP posts:
alice30 · 28/07/2008 10:24

Not an expert but surely she needs a lawyer used to dealing with situations like this (a rottweiler!) Women's Aid may be able to recommend someone. I'm sure there's a way the order can be enforced even if it means she has to go back to court. Keeping text messages, diry etc always a good idea. Can she take someone else with her to the lawyer who can stress exactly what she wants if she's finding it difficult? She should't have to keep waiting

gillybean2 · 28/07/2008 11:03

There's noone else who can go with her this time. Her sister is looking after the younger two children and she's taking the older one with her and her boyfriend has to be at work.

I really want to be able to give her a list of things to say and for her not to leave until each issue has been sorted and not just washed over. She gets all in a fluster and forgets things and seems to think the sol knows what they're talking about so goes along with his advice.

Can anyone give any pointers as to what she can do to get it enforced? A penal notice is all well and good but we all know it's unlikely to be enforced and he'll just carry on laughing and doing as he pleases regardless. Does anyone have any experience of what you can do to get a court order enforced and what the court can and will do to get it enforced please?

OP posts:
gillybean2 · 28/07/2008 12:06

So I guess there's not a lot she can do about it then...

OP posts:
Freckle · 28/07/2008 12:13

I suggest you put this thread in Legal. You are more likely to get a response from a family lawyer there.

gillybean2 · 28/07/2008 12:59

Thanks, will try that

OP posts:
lurkingdad · 29/07/2008 19:47

My brother had a similar issue and has gone through a number of solicitors, now he is on legal aid as well and has what I think are a very good firm working for him who really fight his corner and don't believe in taking a wait and see approach.
They are in London and we are in Hampshire but he deals with them on the phone and they found a local barrister to represent him. One thing we can see now is that having the specialists is very worthwhile

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