Having received so much support on here for both myself and my fiance I wanted to share with you the good news that he had a very successful hearing yesterday.
1.Firstly, the judge has sussed the ex out.
2.The judge was very keen to consent to Fri-Mon contact on alternate weekends but was stopped in his tracks because the ex decided she wanted to allege "welfare concerns". These concerns aren''t even worth writing about and the judge even said to the ex "what has this got to do with anything?" lol
3. The ex still clearly can''t move on. The judge asked my fiance if he still wanted to go ahead with the Shared Residence Order - my fiance said yes and the judge said he''d order the Section 7 from CAFCASS.
4. In the interim he has ordered Fri-Sun.
5. The judge also politely reminded the ex what Parental Responsibilty meant!
6. The ex can''t come out and say it but she still has a problem with me. She apparently can''t understand why my fiance can''t have his contact weekend on his own - I wouldn''t be surprised if really expected to me to pack my bags and move out of my home every fortnight all because she can''t control her jealously. My fiance explained to the judge that it shouldn''t be any different if the ex was to get into a serious relationship with someone else and the judge agreed.
7. The judge is going to be adding a penal notice (I believe) into the new order to remind both parties that they will be in contempt of court should the order breakdown.
8. The judge is keen to get a final order in place after the CAFCASS report.
So on the whole it very much went in my fiance''s favour and the ex achieved zero.
My fiance''s concern is that the ex basically admitted at the hearing that she questions the children and is clearly putting words into their mouths. He is worried that she''ll escalate this for when the children get interviewd by CAFCASS.
What can we do to protect the children?
Will the interviews take place at the homes? My fiance doesn''t want a telephone interview as he is keen for CAFCASS to see our house and the girls bedroom so they can get a better idea of the children''s environment when they stay overnight.
Any other advice on the Section 7 report would be greatly appreciated.
You usually don''t get to choose whether you have a telephone interview or not, though the officer did give me the choice. She made the appointment in my contact time so she could observe contact, but it was done at Cafcass'' offices not at home.
IT''s actually difficult to put words in the mouth of children without it being obvious by their language and mannerisms. Your partner needs to avoid reacting to anything negative the children say the mother has said about him or you and reassure the children he still loves them.
These days CAFCASS interviews are usually at their office or school or over the phone. There is no set format for s7 reports. They contain bits and pieces but not always the same bits and pieces.
Usually the officer will carry out a CRB check and contact the children''s school and anyone else who is involved with the family (eg social services or health visitors) to ask for their comments about the children''s health and development. The reporter documents what parent''s tells them about the background, but CAFCASS shouldn''t assume that what has been said is true or not. Also documented are the wishes and feelings of the children. Conclusions are drawn and recommendations made as to the way forward.
I can only give you our experience of CAFCASS and it may be different depending on the age of the children.
My child was given a paper and crayons - child was 13!!!!!!!!Then a series of questions were asked :
Does Mum say any kind things about Dad
Does Mum say any not-so-kind things about Dad
What do you like about Dad
What do you dislike about Dad
What do you like about Mum
What do you dislike about Mum
What fun things do you do with Dad
What fun things do you do with Mum
What makes you happy about contact
What makes you unhappy about contact
What concerns do you have about contact
Would you like more contact
Would you like less contact
If you could wave a magic wand what would you most like to happen
There were more questions but I wasnt in the room (my house) so child told me.
I only give you our experience so you have an idea of what goes on - please dont try to ''train'' your little ones on how to answer them as CAFCASS will know - children arent good at sounding natural if they have a script!
We both met in our own homes with child and once at the CAFCASS Office - it depends were you feel the child will be most comfortable I think.
CAFCASS are not interested in what rooms you have for children - or what the house is like (unless unsafe for children!) so try not to ''put on a show'' - just be natural and take the lead from the children and CAFCASS.
If the children want you to stay with them whilst talking to CAFCASS I think you have a right to stay - but think it is led by the childrens wishes.
I''m sure I read somewhere on wiki about CRB checks on partners - is that the case?
Will I need to be involved in anyway?
Carer - we have no intentions on questioning the children or trying to manipulate their answers in anyway as we know that we have nothing to worry about and that the children love staying with us. It''s the ex manipulating them between now and the CAFCASS report that is worrying my fiance somewhat but like you say, CAFCASS will likely see this if it does happen during the interview. Thanks again