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3rd Hearing, now CAFCASS :(

  • staffydog
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27 Sep 12 #358192 by staffydog
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Hello,

I''ve just had my 3rd hearing, where, due to there being no agreement made the DJ has ordered a S7 report for my 6yr old daughter.

I am LIP, although I do use a MK on occasion, the ex uses an expensive city barrister.

I made it clear to the DJ that I was not happy that my D was now going to become directly involved and have to deal with Social workers, I had always maintained that she should not be in this position. After I stated this to the DJ, the Ex''s barrister chirped up that her client too was of the same mind as myself, despite in her position statement stating that she was open to the court to decide if a CAFCASS report was necessary...go figure. There are, and never have been any welfare issues.

Bit of history, we split when my D was one and a half, up until then I had worked from home for the most part and care was generally split. After this I saw my D every weekend and a day during the week, at least twice a week, every week, this was the the FMH, as things were OK between the two of us. Things then went downhill between us so once I was in a position where I could cater for overnights (I couldn''t before as was staying with friends/family), I discussed it with my ex, she would only agree to EO weekend, FRI pm to Sunday PM, with a midweek after school, I asked for this midweek to be overnight, was refused-Reason-would be too much back and forth.


I applied to the court as I don''t believe this arrangement serves the best needs of my daughter. EG, the midweek I have I pick her up in the morning and drop to school, then pick up from school, I have arranged swimming lessons for her and she is making excellent progress. This leaves us with enough time for a drink and snack before the lessons start and 1 hour after we get back from the lessons for me to do her some dinner, discuss any schoolwork, play, and give her a bath, the reality is we only have enough time for me to cook dinner, us to eat it, then the bath (she loves her bath as, for the last 4 or 5 years we have played games together and generally messed about/got wet, as a bonus she gets clean and her hair washed too).

I have asked the court for 2 midweek overnights and for the EO weekend to be extended to Monday morning, this was coerced out of my ex at the first hearing and we were sent away to attend the PIP and PIP+. Come the review some 3 months later nothing had changed and we were sent for mediation (I had asked my ex, via her Sol to come to mediation before I applied to the court, she refused so I went on my own and the the FM1).

We had 1 mediation session in which the mediator suggested we trial 1 midweek overnight, my ex wouldn''t make a decision and would get back to me with it within 3 weeks, she duly did, with a no-Reason-Too unsettling.

That was the end of mediation, so we were back to court for hearing number 3. Still no agreement to try midweek, Reason this time, disruptive, our daughter is doing well at school and a midweek overnight with her father would jeopardise this.

In summary, I drop our daughter to school 3 days in 10 and pick her up 3 days in 10, she stays 3 nights EO weekend and comes 1 day midweek every week, half of all school holidays. I live 5 mins away from the FMH and our daughters school.

I get a fair bit of ''contact'' but I believe it could be made better for our daughter.

The sticking point now is the midweek overnights, in my application I also asked for an SRO, my ex has countered this with a request for sole residence in her favour, which made me smile, I ask for shared, she says no, I want it for myself!.

So we''re now in the hands of CAFCASS, i''m not particularly happy about it, but will just have to wait and see, the way I see it now is that it''s a lottery, not an ideal way to plan the future of our daughter. :unsure:

  • u6c00
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27 Sep 12 #358196 by u6c00
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I hope you make some progress.

I have been told by a solicitor that a resident parent cannot normally apply for a residence order because the ''no order principle'' applies - there''s no reason to make an order when that''s what''s happening anyway. When the NRP applies for residence (shared or sole) it allows the RP to make an application and forces the court to make a decision on it.

In reality, if there are contested residence applications and there is no agreement then the court has no choice but to order a S7 report.

It is frustrating - CAFCASS are often a bone of contention but it is their job to form an opinion on what is best for your daughter, something which you and your ex cannot agree on fundamentally.

Expect to wait around 3 months before a CAFCASS officer is assigned to your case. As there are no welfare concerns the report should be fairly simple. Just make sure you keep child-focused in every conversation you have with them.

Perhaps make the following suggestion to CAFCASS and let them deliberate on it:

Week 1 Thursday after school - Friday evening.
Week 2 Thursday after school - Monday morning.

That is a pattern of shared residence that it would be difficult to argue is unsettling. Your daughter would spend the same week nights with you every week and alternate weekends. Additionally there would only be one handover per fortnight (on a Friday evening) as all the others would be pick ups/drop offs to school. This would reduce conflict if handovers are a problem at the moment.

It gives you 5 nights out of 14 which is closer to shared residence and most importantly lets you each spend plenty of quality time with your daughter. It also lets you have weekly contact with your child, something that I think people should be much more happy to encourage.

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27 Sep 12 #358197 by staffydog
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Thanks u6, some great suggestions there, that is one of the issues, before my daughter would only go 3 days without seeing me, now it''s 7 every other week.

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30 Sep 12 #358680 by CaringParent
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Yes and that''s not good
I wd recommennd:

Week 1 : You pick up on Wednesday and drop her on Friday
Week 2 : You pick up on Wednesday and drop her on Monday to school.

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