I''ve just got a letter through the post from Cafcass, telling me that a court order has been applied for in relation to my children.
Of course, I''m not hugely surprised, I was just hoping to do it first, but my ex has applied for this without notifying me.
However, what does surprise me is that it''s a letter from Cafcass through which I find this out.
I called the court, they told me that her solicitor should be sending me a letter telling me "what it''s all about", but in the mean time I just have to sit around without knowing.
I could call Cafcass, not sure they''d be able to tell me either, and I''m not sure how I can find out at all.
Does anyone have any ideas?
I''m also very confused about what application could have been made- the children have been living with me almost exclusively now for nearly 2 years in the family home. I was going to apply for a residence order because regardless of how I frame the idea of the children living with me to my ex, she still wants to disregard this as a good idea (which it is).
If she''s made any kind of residence order, the children live in a tiny room in someone else''s house when they live with her. Most of the time they''re not really comfortable to go there to sleep, and 2 or 3 nights seems to be the maximum amount of time per week that they actually feel ok about going. My 5 year old doesn''t want to go at all.
It sounds as though she has made an application for an order, (not an order itself, that can''t be done without you being informed)
The court issues that application and the documents are then sent to her solicitor, who has to serve copies on you (this may be via your solicitor if you have one)
However, the court directly notifies Cafcass as they have to do some standard safeguarding checks on both of you before the first court appointment, and this is why Cafcas will have written to you.
The delay is likely because it isn''t normally the court who sends you the papers, they are sent to her solicitor, who is responsible for sending them to you. If you know who her solicitor is, you can contact them and ask. If not, you can try calling the court again and asking if they can tell you (a) who her a solicitor is (b) whether the application is for a residence or a contact order and (c) the date of the first hearing.
I know that the first court hearing is on the 6th of June; being written down on the letter from Cafcass.
At the moment there aren''t any orders in relation to the children, but they''ve been living with me for 5 nights a week over the last 2 years almost exclusively and without her complaining to me about anything (except for recently).
I suppose I could contact her solicitors, since I know who they are... Thanks for that!!
Bagpuss hope you dont mind me asking - when my partner made his application it was sent to his ex directly from the court, hence my statement above, is that normal or is it because he was self representing?
I would guess it''s because he''s self repping, something I''ll have to do for the first couple of court hearings I think..
Am I right in thinking that a court will award a residence order to the person they think/ Cafcass think is the best person to be looking after the children on a "full time" basis regardless of who asked for what order?
I can only speak from our own experience - we are yet to see the report but our experience with the Cafcass worker has been ok unlike some others I have read about.
At the Directions hearing a timeline was set out, there have been two further directions hearings because of Cafcass delays, there had to be a full Cafcass report which on average takes about 16 weeks I think. Ours just took the mickey really.
It depends on whether Cafcass are asked to do a report although in your case possibly they will as I believe that there are a number of care issues?
The court favours the no order principle, so there may be no order if one isnt needed, or it could be shared residence, or an order for sole residence to either parent.
Cafcass concern themselves solely with the interests of the children. It sounds harsh but they probably wont care much what you or your ex want to happen, they will view it all from the childrens perspective.
Its so uncertain when the process first starts, but in our case, despite the care issues it does appear they are going to suggest shared residency with my partner getting alternate weekends and half the school holidays and will review this if mum doesnt pull her socks up with regards to the care issues. We have to put our faith in them that this is whats best for his daughter.
The court has a wide range of powers to issue different orders, its so hard to predict and they dont like upsetting the status quo.
I sincerely hope your case takes less time than ours.