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Position Statement

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10 Sep 12 #355063 by u6c00
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Hi guys. I''m preparing a position statement for court tomorrow to help focus my attention and to provide to the court if they want it. Can anyone tell me if this is appropriate?

Position

It is my belief that the Prohibited Steps Order has been breached. I believe the Respondent’s property in [locality] has been vacated as part of a deliberate plan to move house without my knowledge or the consent of myself or the court.

The Respondent has refused to disclose the address of her new property to me despite being questioned directly on the matter in oral evidence. She suggested to counsel immediately after that hearing that it was her intention to move regardless of the PSO.

I believe that the Respondent has reduced, rearranged or cancelled contact over the last month in order to obfuscate her movements in moving house. I also believe that I was instructed to wait at the end of the driveway of the property in order to keep me from noticing that the house was being vacated. The curtains have been drawn at every handover for the last month.

The Respondent has not, to my knowledge, registered [child] in nursery education in [locality]. A recording was made on [date 1] that neither party would register [child] in nursery education pending the outcome of the contested hearing. This recording was dismissed/voided in the order of [date 2] to allow [child] to attend nursery. The judgement made on [date 2] by Magistrates clearly states “We believe he will be able to attend a nursery in [locality].”

I therefore submit that it was the intention of the Magistrates that [child] be registered in education which he is entitled to and would clearly benefit from.

I am seeking the immediate return of [child] to [locality], either in the care of the Respondent Mother or for Residence to be transferred in the interim. Should Residence of [child] remain with the Respondent Mother I would seek independent (i.e. police) evidence that the house where [child] is living is suitable and habitable, as I believe it has been vacated.

I also seek direction that [child] be registered in a nursery in [locality]. Issues relating to [child''s] speech and development have been raised by me in Statement, as well as by CAFCASS in their report. I believe that [child''s] continued isolation from other children does not benefit him and keeping him away from nursery education will prevent him accessing the help and assistance he requires in relation to his speech.

Should the court not feel it appropriate to make a further order in relation to the PSO, I ask that the court enforce the existing order for contact by way of penal notice and/or Suspended Residence Order.

Finally, should the court be satisfied that the existing PSO has not been breached I would seek an amendment to the PSO to remove any ambiguity. I would ask for the order to read “Until further order [mother] is prohibited from removing [child] from [locality] for a period of longer than 24 hours without prior notification.”


Note that in the last paragraph I''m not saying that she needs my consent to remove him, only that she informs me when she has to close the loophole in the current order.

Any comments?

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10 Sep 12 #355075 by zonked
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I think you have done an exceptionally good job with the wording, I doubt a solicitor could have done better.

1. I think you need a paragraph re-stating the need for the PSO. When the court made the PSO there must have been compelling child centered reasons, it''s worth re-stating these and to make clear that the PSO reflects the earnest wish of the court that your child should not be moved from the locality.

2. I think you need to paint a picture of your current concerns. You describe a child who is taken from their mum''s current home, to stand in an empty house waiting for you to collect him. That''s awful and it is this concern which motivates your application.

3. I think you need to separate the two issues; breach of pso and schooling. Perhaps use separate headings, as it stands I think some of the arguements around schooling lose their impact and seem an after thought. You need to make clear that you feel starting nursery is crucially important, especially given the developemental delays. The fact that CAFCASS seem supportive is a bonus.

4. In respect to breaches of contact you would need to state the dates when court ordered contact failed to occur.

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10 Sep 12 #355082 by u6c00
Reply from u6c00
zonked wrote:

I think you have done an exceptionally good job with the wording, I doubt a solicitor could have done better.

1. I think you need a paragraph re-stating the need for the PSO. When the court made the PSO there must have been compelling child centered reasons, it''s worth re-stating these and to make clear that the PSO reflects the earnest wish of the court that your child should not be moved from the locality.

2. I think you need to paint a picture of your current concerns. You describe a child who is taken from their mum''s current home, to stand in an empty house waiting for you to collect him. That''s awful and it is this concern which motivates your application.

3. I think you need to separate the two issues; breach of pso and schooling. Perhaps use separate headings, as it stands I think some of the arguements around schooling lose their impact and seem an after thought. You need to make clear that you feel starting nursery is crucially important, especially given the developemental delays. The fact that CAFCASS seem supportive is a bonus.

4. In respect to breaches of contact you would need to state the dates when court ordered contact failed to occur.


Thank you Zonked. That is extremely helpful. I have also got a background to the case with a summary of what''s happened more for my notes than anyone else. It reiterates the reasons for the PSO remaining in place. I have left it out of this post because it''s all fact-based and would reveal more information than is appropriate for the forum.

It also contains the information about the contact that failed to happen, which so far has only been one occasion. Basically I turned up this weekend to pick up my son and he wasn''t there and the house was empty so the PSO and contact issues go hand in hand. Do you think it is unreasonable to ask for enforcement of the contact order at this stage?

I will separate the school and PSO issues thanks, and I''ll also outline my concerns more: child having 3 homes is disruptive; attending his old (empty) home only for handovers is confusing; and if he has moved then I can''t be involved in his education at the moment.

The problem is that at this stage (as long as she continues to bring my son back for contact normally) the effect is more that she has no respect for court orders and that she is setting a new status quo which will prejudice the Residence application which won''t be heard for at least 2 months.

At this stage, I will honestly admit, that my concern is more for the effect this will have on the outcome of the proceedings long term rather than the short term effect on my son.

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10 Sep 12 #355084 by Forseti
Reply from Forseti
Further to Zonked''s comments on your excellent statement, I would just add that if you are presenting it to the court make sure it carries the appropriate headings and references, that is is double spaced and that the paragraphs are numbered.

Good luck for tomorrow.

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10 Sep 12 #355085 by rubytuesday
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I can''t add much more to what Forseti and Zonked have already said, other than to say your Statement is very child-focused, and hopefully will show others what should be included (and not included!) in a Position Statement.

I also wish you all the best for tomorrow, U6 - will be keeping my fingers crossed for you!

let us know how you on please?

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10 Sep 12 #355095 by u6c00
Reply from u6c00
Thanks for the kind words everyone. I''ve been told I write a mean letter! Here''s the updated one.

School Concerns

The Respondent has not, to my knowledge, registered [child] in nursery education in [locality 1]. A recording was made on [Date 1] that neither party would register [child] in nursery education pending the outcome of the contested hearing. This recording was dismissed/voided in the order of [date 2] to allow [child] to attend nursery. The judgement made on [date 2] by Magistrates clearly states “We believe he will be able to attend a nursery in [locality 1].”

I therefore submit that it was the intention of the Magistrates that [child] be registered in education which he is entitled to and would clearly benefit from.

I seek Direction that [child] be registered in a nursery in [locality 1]. Issues relating to [child''s] speech and development have been raised by me in Statement, as well as by CAFCASS in their report. I believe that [child''s] continued isolation from other children does not benefit him and keeping him away from nursery education will prevent him accessing the help and assistance he requires in relation to his speech.

Prohibited Steps Order Concerns

It is my belief that the Prohibited Steps Order has been breached. I believe the Respondent’s property in [locality 1] has been vacated as part of a deliberate plan to move house without my knowledge or the consent of myself or the court.

The Respondent has refused to disclose the address of her new property to me despite being questioned directly on the matter in oral evidence on [date 2]. She suggested to counsel immediately after that hearing that it was her intention to move regardless of the PSO.

I believe that the Respondent has reduced, rearranged or cancelled contact over the last month in order to obfuscate her movements in moving house. I also believe that I was instructed to wait at the end of the driveway of the property in order to keep me from noticing that the house was being vacated. The curtains have been drawn at every handover since [date 2].

I believe that if the Respondent has vacated the home in [locality 1] the situation is likely to be extremely confusing for [child] and eliminates the stability that he clearly needs. [child] will now have 3 ‘homes’, one of which he will only attend for brief periods at handovers and perhaps for a single night preceding the Friday handover. The house is, in my belief, largely empty and may lack necessary equipment for his needs. It also means a significant burden of travel on [child].

The events of this weekend show that [mother] is unable to appropriately maintain contact if she were to live in [locality 2]. The Respondent becoming ill prevented court ordered contact from taking place to the detriment of [child]. It is clearly therefore inappropriate for the Respondent to be living elsewhere and reaffirms the concerns of the Magistrates that the outcome of the proposed move would be detrimental.

I also believe that in disobeying the clear instructions of the court that the Respondent is setting a new status quo which will have a profound and long term effect on [child''s] upbringing, effectively minimising the role that I am able to play in [child''s] education, medical care and other aspects of his life. It will of course also have a significant effect on the outcome of the Residence applications presently before the court which have yet to receive deliberation.

I am seeking the immediate return of [child] to [locality 1], either in the care of the Respondent Mother or for Residence to be transferred in the interim. Should Residence of [child] remain with the Respondent Mother I would seek independent (i.e. police) evidence that the house where [child] is living is suitable and habitable, as I believe it has been vacated.

Should the court not feel it appropriate to make a further order in relation to the PSO, I ask that the court enforce the existing order for contact by way of penal notice and/or Suspended Residence Order.

Finally, should the court be satisfied that the existing PSO has not been breached I would seek an amendment to the PSO to remove any ambiguity. I would ask for the order to read “Until further order [mother] is prohibited from moving the home of [child] from an area of not more than 2 miles outside [locality 1] and from removing him from [locality 1] for a period of longer than 24 hours without prior notification.”


Also amended the wording of the proposed PSO because the first one effectively permitted her to move!

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10 Sep 12 #355103 by zonked
Reply from zonked
Again excellent stuff. Couple of points:

School concerns

I think you need to go to town a bit on the child welfare issues. I think you should mention:
- failure to meet milestones, reflected in speach and language delays.
- a heightened need to mix with other children and recieve the pastoral support nurseries can provide
- that this support needs to be provided without further delay.

I think the tone of this section needs to be more reflective. You are basically saying your son sadly needs help, that sadly the mother and yourself have been unable to agree, that you therefore ask the court to make a direction on this. You hope that by doing so both parents will see the benefits to their child.

PSO

First paragraph, perhaps reword ''delibarate plan'' to ''pattern of behaviour intended to...''. All plans are by their nature deliberate.

Sixth paragraph. I understand the point your making about establishing a new status qou. But perhaps rephrase to say that your child currently needs stability and routine, particulary given the forthcomming residence hearing and the resultant changes that may bring. It is important to reduce as far as possible the upheavils your son will face. You therefore strongly object to a change in his home at this time.

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