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Letter from EX''s Solicitor came today

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08 Jun 12 #335744 by Fiona
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It''s worth remembering many separating couples successfully negotiate through solicitors and most don''t go anywhere near a court. Solicitors are usually just representing the views of their client.

Very often when you read the letter carefully it''s possible to recognise the language. I received a letter telling me my proposal was a cheek which I knew had come from my ex. When he eventually started to listen to his solicitor''s advice his solicitor told it was a fair proposal and he should bite my hand off.

There is a cliche that everyone lies in family cases. That might be an exaggeration, but the emotions are such that separating spouses can have difficulties determining the facts so there are two versions of the same "truth." It''s rather like two people discussing a film or book and interpreting them very differently.

When a solicitors letter arrives the best thing is not to react, set aside all the hot air and identify the practical issues to be resolved. Then think of all the possible solutions and weigh up the pros and cons of each solution to determine how to respond. If you can''t separate the emotions from the practicalities a counsellor may help.

As far as mediation is concerned now most parents are expected to attend a MIAM before the court will hear the case and the applicant needs to set up the meeting. The mediator then should complete Form FM1 which is required to be send to court along with the applications.

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08 Jun 12 #335745 by ffc1991
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I must add that my EX solicitor keeps referring to my daughter being X months old. She is in fact Y months old. Such stupid mistakes :/ 2 Month age gap being wrong.

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08 Jun 12 #335747 by ffc1991
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Thanks Fiona

I have attended a MIAM session and the relevant forms have also been sent to my Solicitor. As i am thinking about self representing how would i go about getting this form? as i currently don''t have it and would be sending off the court papers today.

The letter seems pretty basic to me in a sense that the''re just doing all the basics to allow my EX to get her public funding certificate. Also recommendations of contact centre shows that my EX is willing some contact which will of course look better than offering me absolutely none.

The letter doesen''t seem to offer much room for negotiation etc though. But would a letter seem like that? My EX want''s it to go to court and has outlined she doesn''t want me to be apart of my daughters life.

I was more than willing to attend mediation infact i waited a couple of weeks to try and persuade her to take part as i really wanted to try that route. This was before the contact was cancelled completely and she said i would have to go to court etc. I take on board what people are saying about looking unreasonable, but i did try mediation and it was rejected and can''t help but feel i''m just being drawn into the long winded system now. Mediation could take a couple of months and contact be 2 hours fortnightly in that time. Contact could then once again break down and i would have to do all the court process once again?

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08 Jun 12 #335749 by halfadad
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Its certainly happened in a couple of cases ive been involved in recently.

Any court date is realistically likely to be anything to 6 weeks away anyway, so maybe alternatively you could write a covering letter within your application, stating that you have previous offered mediation which your ex turned down, however she has now offered mediation, which you are keen to accept however you are aprehensive about the delay about getting it into court if mediation fails. In any event were mediation to be successful you would be looking to get any agreement turned into a contact order due to lack of trust between the parties and previous difficulties so would request a date in 3 months time allowing for mediation to take place.

This has also happened in a couple of cases I know of.

You could then write to the exs solicitor saying you accept the offer of contact, (or alternatively, if the allegations only relate to the difficulties between you and your ex rather than perceived difficulties with you care of the child, suggest the contact centre is used for handovers only and you can at least take your daughter out for a couple of hours rather than stay in the centre) and that you accept the offer of mediation, however you would request that your ex takes into account the distance for travelling and says agreed to mediate on the Friday afternoon before you have contact on the Saturday, thus allowing you to minimise your trips. Could they please inform you if your ex is unable to do this time as you wish to know in advance when she is proposing the mediation sessions take place. The finally for infomation you inform them that you are filing court papers, because you would like any mediation agreement to be legally binding. You have requested a court diretions hearing for the first avilable date after 1st August (or whichever date you have stated in court)

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08 Jun 12 #335755 by ffc1991
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Thanks halfadad

What you propose in a sense i''d be more than willing to propose to my EX. But if mediation failed etc, and we went to court the most likely event is that a CAFCASS report would be ordered and that''s then a further 3 months? at least before the next court date. So that could mean 5 months + of fortnightly contact for a couple of hours on 1 day. That''s a hell of along time especially as i have gone 6 weeks nearly now without contact with my daughter already. Especially as you said it''s unlikely that the courts would offer more contact at the first hearing.

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08 Jun 12 #335757 by Fiona
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You want to avoid getting the first hearing only to be referred to a mediator causing even more delay before the court will hear the case. What you could do is send off the C100 application and then send off FM1 when you obtain it from your solicitor.

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08 Jun 12 #335759 by halfadad
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I understand what you are saying, but the last thing you want is to rock up at court in 6 weeks time (which is end of July almost anyway) and then be referred to mediation, then have that fail and then have a CAFCASS report as that will all take much longer.

In theory if there are no welfare concerns being raised with your daughter (how old is she) then there shouldnt be a CAFCASS report, in which case the judge is more likely to urge you to do mediation anyway.

The advantage about doing mediation alongside the court is is does reduce the time even though it seems like a long time when you are not seeing your daughter.

If your ex is standing there saying but I offered mediation and he wont do it you look unreasonable. You can say well if offered it previously and she turned it down, and she says yes but im willing now, so what is your reason for not doing it now?

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