After a protracted court battle (which I won''t bore you with!) I find myself in the position of being the court-authorised and cafcass-checked supervisor for my partner''s alternate weekend contact with his children.
Last time we were in court hoping to get the supervision order lifted we were faced with yet another set of ridiculous and entirely false accusations by his ex, which led to an extension of 2 months on the supervision order and yet another CAFCASS needs and wishes report in order to establish whether unsupervised contact can be recommended.
Please take as read my protestations of his innocence in terms of her accusations past and present. They are no more true than the allegations she has levelled at me in court!!
The purpose of my post is actually to find out whether there are any guidelines on the role and responsibilities of a supervisor (of the friend or family variety). I seem to be expected to never leave the side of my partner and his children for 48 hours (which I don''t mind at all) but not to have any voice to confirm or deny his ex''s allegations about his behaviour during contact (which she claims the children report to her in detail after each visit. Yeah, right, have you ever tried to get anything more than a grunt out of a 13 year old boy? Let alone a volunteered blow by blow account of his fathers latest misdemeanours!)
I have asked to speak to the cafcass officer and been told that I can''t. I go to every court hearing in case they need me to clarify the truth of any claims she makes, but I am never asked to. No one independent (eg cafcass) has been to observe father/child interaction at contact nor asked for a report from myself or any of our previous supervisors.
It feels wholly ridiculous to me (but then this whole farcical process has merely shown me that the law is indeed an ass where the family courts are concerned). Can anyone tell me if there are any buttons I can press to get myself heard please? Are there supervision guidelines or rights that I could refer to? Should I just ignore my gag and write to cafcass and the court or will that just get me into trouble? I am contemplating a one woman protest outside the cafcass offices...there''s a nice bit of grass I could pitch my tent on! ( I could even tell them all about her inappropriate parenting...but apparently that''s off limits too!!)
I can''t really answer your questions but it seems that if carcass and the courts expect you to supervise contact, they don''t give the mums allegations much credence. If they did suspect there was any truth in them, I would think you''d be the last person they would want in a position of authority. The only thing I would suggest is that, as this is court approved, you keep detailed records of each visit in case you''re ever required to refute anything.
Not quite sure what you mean by supervision order which is the term used when a local authority supervises the care of children. I am assuming your partner has a contact order so you have agreed as a favour to supervise contact in order for contact to take place. Therefore a condition is attached to the order that you will supervise contact.
If this is correct you have no rights to be heard because you are not party to the court orders or legal sanctions, the primary players are the parents. Should your agreement be withdrawn you cannot be forced to supervise contact and it will break down.
A judge may allow evidence from third parties in court, although usually in the form of a written witness statement. However, evidence from friends and family isn''t considered independent and on it''s own doesn''t carry a great deal of weight.