In brief I am new to this site and have got a few issues that any help or advice would be appreciated.
I have been in a long 2.5 years contact hearing. my daughter is nearly 7 and her father applied for contact in early 2010.
I am now self representing due to change of circumstance, prior I was represented. Although I did self represent a couple of times before. Court had given an order of in direct contact by way of cards letters etc via solicitors only allowing this twice per month.
We never lived together and he wasn''t interested in D until she was nearly 4 when he found I got married? application to court was then made.
Since Cafcass fully involved and 2 orders of in- direct contact followed by two different Cafcass workers. One recommended in-direct due to D''s lack of understanding and vunerability. (will explain about consultant shortly) During this process I had oppossed all direct contact due to D''s condition (un diagnosed going through clinical procedure) and secondly she was distraught by this and as we had attended 7 contact sessions at the very begining which was supervised but father missed few and D wouldn''t settle.
No further direct contact took place. He has failed to take advantage of the in direct contact and had sent, one b''day card last year, a xmas card which arrived on the 15 jan 2012, nothing for easter last year or this year and no gifts have ever arrived nor letters.
He has missed 4 hearings out of 6 in the last 14 months and been late 3 times.
The Gaurdian decided direct contact should be applied (starting in Feb 2012 via contact center) regardless off the previous recommendations and disregarded D''s problems. Since Last September I eventually was able to seek proper help for D as she was not functioning normally. After the Schools input and her Doctors referred to a Paediatrician at the Hospital. A report was filled by school which highlighted serious behaviour and learning difficulties. This was given to Cafcass and filled to court. Cafcass response was tuff contact to still go ahead and I said no and wouldn''t support the order. Since then we have been to hospital and have a detailed report from Paedatrician highlighting the serverity of her needs. She has issued disabled major buggy - speech and language consultant - education psychologist - genentic blood testing - and possible child or clinical psychologist once in receipt of the other assessements. Her father has made no attempt to find out anything about this but all info as been provided to him - he has not ruing the school to see how she is doing and has not enforced the order either. I have heard nothing from CAFCASS since Jan 2012 when the school report was sent and when they did ask me to make contact it some 7 weeks later. D has a lot to contend with and does not do well to change, she herself told cafcass how she didn''t want to see her father and got distressed - to date all has been disregarded, and my own solicitor said they all view me as a liar and hostile, but this is not the case and this will now hopefully prove that I am not and I was not lying.
I am in court 25th April self rep and have no idea what to expect or what to ask for or what to do??? The Paediatrics report has now been filled to all parties as well. Will the court now listen to me and view different or am Is till going to have to keep fighting???? enough is enough, we have enough to contend with,, and we live 200 miles apart.
Can any one help or advise I am so depressed with it all, all I have ever done is try to protect because of the way D is.
Oh dear, I do feel for you and your child. It looks like you have had a pretty rough ride, with no support from your daughter''s father. I think you''re doing an incredible job, and clearly have her best interests at heart.
However, no matter how you feel, it is usually considered best that a child has a meaningful relationship with their other parent, unless the child is at risk from significant harm. Therefore, any Judge is going to have to weigh up all the evidence to ensure that the best outcome for your daughter is reached. It is very difficult to predict what that outcome will be, as you have so much evidence to submit to the Court. I certainly don''t think a decision will be reached soon because there is so much to consider.
As regards your hearing on 25th April, just go along, with your evidence and play it by ear. This certainly isn''t a cut and dried case, but do bear in mind that the Courts rely on CAFCASS to report to them, and usually take on board CAFCASS recommendations, although not always. I think it''s a case of going with the flow for now bearing in mind there is so much that the Courts will need to take into consideration.
It''s sad that the father hasn''t taken advantage of the direct contact already offered to him, and that his indirect contact with your daughter is minimal. It makes me wonder if he really does want contact at all? Contact does rely on committment from both parents to make it work, and in your daughter''s case, if direct Contact is awarded then it will have to be small steps and I would imagine supervised to begin with.
Please keep posting, as your case is complicated and there are many here who can help and advise you. Just be assured that you''re doing a fab job in a tough situation
I think your right, her father has made no real attempt to adhere to anything but yet the court take his side every time ? and yet I am the bad one? it shocks me that that the court alow this it has to date cost £35000,00 in public funding alone. All they care about is which side is winning the most. Well what about the poor children involved. My D was in a terrible state and begged me not to take her. The really did believe I was making up all the issues I had with her, butt hey will see now that she was born with what ever condition they eventually diagnose her with. I have so much to contend with, this is not helping, it feel like this will never get resolved. My D will not let anyone touch her, sit next to her or anything, only me, so I do not know how they think that D will even be able to anyway, she needs a lot of careful handling, even her step dad and siblings cant tickle her or anything she goes nuts. Her Doctor said she has the mental and learning age of 3 year old and that''s the good part. Now I have issues with child support. He has only ever paid 5 week and now he is self employed and earning a grand a week min, he has only declared to the self assessment tax £37.00 week???? and still I get 5 pound? disgraceful, the CSA told me all of this. We have now asked inland revenue to inspect hims earnings, but have no idea what this entails or what can or cannot be done. I may post a separate question about that... thanks again x
I know it''s hard not to think it, but the Courts don''t tend to side with either parent, they are there to act in the best interests of the child, and generally it is considered that a child should have a meaningful relationship with both parents.
I think the best thing is to try not to worry too much about it (easier said than done I know), because to be honest, from what you''ve said, dad is unlikely to step up to the mark anyway. Because of your daughter''s difficulties, he may find it hard to bond with her anyway. I''m not saying that''s right because I don''t think it is, I think he should have been involved right from the start and should have been supporting you through trying to find a diagnosis for her, but it would appear that she only trusts very few people and therefore, because of her difficulties, it may be hard for a bond to form between her and her father. I think experts would need to voice their opinions on this.
I have read your post and can relate to EVERYTHING you are going through, in fact, its uncanny.
Have the Specialists indicated what they think the problem is? My son, who is nearly 4 yrs old, is currently going through the exact same process with all the Specialists, although it seems we are a little ahead of you. The behavioral problems you mention, are exactly the same as my son.
I was concerned in the beginning that it was connected to lack of contact with his Dad. Dad has not seen the children for 1 year now. However, it was a huge relief when the Clinical Physiologist said that it was not down to Life Change ( i.e Dad Leaving ) but a condition he was born with.
My ex also, does not choose to keep up indirect contact ( see my other posts ). Ex has not shown any sign of wanting contact, but no doubt this will happen at some point in the future.
I would think that Cafcass ought to take on board what the Specialists recommendations on contact are. After all, the Specialists know the child and the child''s condition. Would Cafcass go against a Specialist report? I would certainly hope not.
However, I have never dealt with Cafcass so really cant give too much advice on that side of things.
If my ex ever decided that he wanted contact, I know i would be heavily reliant on my Clinical Physiologist to make the recommendation she felt was right for my son. His needs are very demanding, and something which I am learning to deal with on a daily basis. He has the social skills of a 1 year old, and even going to the supermarket, is not something which he can deal with.
The Paediatrician has not given a Diagnosis yet as she has to see further specialists, even though she has many Autistic traits, she is not actually Autisitc. We cannot go shopping or anything like that and as a result the hospital issued us with a Major (disabled buggy) which has been a god send. She wont have anyone strange sit next to her,and will not let anyone help her either. Regarding Cafcass they cannot go against the reports but the reports do not deal with contact and therefore unless the court order the Paediatricians opinion I''m not sure how that will work, but they certainly cannot dispute the report. It''s awful to be judged in such a horrible way, when your only human and doing what any other parent would do in these circumstances. I am hoping to get a diagnosis in the next 6 months. Genetic testing will be done and more Psychologist referals. I am sick of being dragged through the courts it never seems to end. How may hearings does he have to miss before the courts dismisses his case?? it is ridiculous.
He has shown no interest since she was referred last year, even though the court gave him school details etc for him to follow her school progress, he has never pursued this nor kept up with his in direct contact.
I think it would be worth asking the Specialists opinions on how Contact would be best managed, given your daughters disability.
My ex does not want any contact, but I did ask the Clinical Physiologist''s opinion on how I should deal with it, if I ever needed to.
My ex is the same as yours. He was advised by my solicitor that my son is having problems and is under the Mental Health Specialists, but he has never contacted them to see what the problem is. He has never contacted school or nursery, has never asked for School Reports, or attended a Parents Evening. My GP said they would tell me if he requested medical Records, but nothing. He just doesn''t care.
I know that if I was told that my child was under Mental Health Specialists, I would be straight on the phone booking an appointment to see what was going on. I would also be an active part in their Education, attending Parents Evenings and receiving School Reports. My ex has Parental Responsibility yet chooses not to use it.
I would imagine in your case, Cafcass would want to be satisfied that your ex has commitment to your child. Other than asking for contact, he appears to have shown no other interest or commitment to being part of the child''s life.
It sounds as if your daughter has huge problems in Social Skills and Social Interaction and this will need to be addressed. I would ask the Specialists advice on how to progress contact, as it will have to be well managed and monitored.