I''m due to attend Court for a Final Hearing on Friday 13th July 2012. I really need some advice regarding the possible outcome.
So far two contact orders have been issued allowing my ex to see his daughter for 2 hours in a contact centre a few hours from where ex lives.
My ex has now seen his daughter for a total of 8 hours since she was 2 years old, she is now 4 and a half. He has attended 4 visits out of a possible 15. My family and I have tried everything to help encourage the relationship but the only constant thing he has done is let our daughter down.
We submitted our final position statements last week and he states he wants contact with our daughter where he lives for one weekend Fri-Sun and to meet halfway.
It breaks my heart but I no longer believe contact is healthy or in our daughter''s best interest as she has starting showing signs that she feels neglected by her father. I do all I can to reassure her but he often misses phone calls and she has now been left at the contact centre on two occasions this year waiting for her Daddy who never arrives. No phone call to the contact centre and rarely and explanation to give his daughter.
Besides the above, I have no idea where he lives as he gives a false address, I have no idea if he has a room/bed/clothes/food or enough money to look after her.
My ex''s solicitor''s recently mentioned in Court that he could not afford to come up more than once a month as he has no job and is claiming benefits. He has not financially contributed towards his daughter since we separated or ever enquired about her life, nursery, friends, progress or happiness only requesting evidence if she was ill. No missed contact sessions have been rearranged at my ex''s request.
For whatever reason my ex takes the stance that I stop him seeing his child. He acts like he wants a relationship with his daughter, even attending Court but when it actually comes seeing or speaking to his daughter consistently, more often than not he will let her down.
Since receiving the position statement (a week late) from his solicitor''s I''ve been having nightmares. I have to represent myself while he has a solicitor. I know how important the relationship between a father and child is but feel so lost. I know I can''t make him be a father.
There is obviously a lot more background to this but I''m trying to stay relevant!
Has anyone been through this before and know''s the stance the Courts take to missing so many contact visits? What I want to know is - is he going to be given what he wants regardless of the affect it''s having on our daughter, the fact they don''t know each other and that have spent so little time together? He''s clearly in breach of both orders but will they give him more? Other worries come as he has threatened to abduct our daughter and kill me if I don''t let him see her so taking her to where he lives after missing so much here scares me in many ways. Please help.
I haven''t got to my final hearing as yet so no direct experience.
However the courts will do what is in the best interests of your daughter, not what he wants, or you for that matter.
From what you say you have plenty of evidence that the current order is not working and is causing your daughter to become upset.
You will need all of this evidence if this is a final hearing, just be sure to stay child focused.
I would say it is unlikely he''ll get the overnights he seeks given the apparent lack of effort he has made to see his daughter so far, it is a big jump from a few hours in a contact centre to overnights every other weekend, and you could justifiably question his commitment to it given the history.
Why are you unrepresented for your final hearing?
Keep documented evidence of any threats and a diary of failed visits etc, these will be important.
May I be so bold as to say you are already in a strong position given that you are the mother
I''m unrepresented because I work part time and can''t afford the costs of a solicitor. I feel confident but wondering about cross-examination. Do you or anyone know if I will be cross-examining my ex? It seems odd to me but if I know I have to do it, I can prepare relevant questions etc.
I''ve managed to keep records and notes of everything that''s happened so far since 2008. My diary is an interesting rant/read.
I''ve prepared a detailed statement, timeline of contact visits, phone calls and correspondence for the final hearing but not sure if I need to reference all the evidence I need to refer to or to just literally take my whole folder and refer as needed.
I have had some legal help along the way but unfortunately this finished and I can''t afford any more.
Do you or anyone know if this would be the time to call witnesses and what weight they hold? I can bring many but not sure if the evidence I already have is enough.
I don''t want a judge or Court to tell my ex he can''t come within 10 feet or ever see our daughter again but to leave her to be a happy and loved child until he is able, willing and capable of being a full and proper part of her life. A real father and dad.
It''s funny being the Mother, I feel completely helpless watching my daughter be continually hurt by the man who helped create her and I''m powerless to stop it. I have to go to Court for a Judge to decide the fate of their relationship. How sad that I can''t reply on the man to just take responsibility for the best thing he has ever done in this world.
Yes, you will most likely have to cross examine your ex, his barrister will cross examine you, if you are confident that''s a good start, have all your points/questions ready.
Only advice I can give is to stay calm and be truthful under examination, remember it''s not personal, although it may feel like it, his barrister is just doing the job he''s paid to do, answer the questions but don''t volunteer any extra information, save that for when you cross examine your ex.
I don''t think you will need to call witnesses unless the court says so.
I''d get your evidence indexed or something so you can easily and quickly find anything you need during the hearing.
Did your ex''s solicitor prepare the court bundle?
I''ll make sure to index all the relevant evidence.
Yes, his solicitors prepare the bundle.
I know no one can tell me what the Judge will do but any ideas on what the outcome may be?
As I see it the court orders were the bare minimum and he didn''t do that. Is the Judge likely to give him the same two hours access or more or none? It was only once a month you see. It''s just for my daughter this has been going on since 2008 - four years now with Court getting involved in 2010.