A well respected, award winning social enterprise
Volunteer run - Government and charity funded
We help 50,000 people a year through divorce

01202 805020

Lines open: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
Call for FREE expert advice & service info

What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.

Do you need help going to court over a Financial Settlement?

Our consultant service offers expert advice and support for people who are going to court over a fair financial settlement, for less than a quarter of the cost of using a traditional high street solicitor.

Being forced to self rep....

  • Shi Tong
  • Shi Tong's Avatar Posted by
  • Platinum Member
  • Platinum Member
09 Apr 12 #322586 by Shi Tong
Topic started by Shi Tong
Hello All,

I''ve had a quick look at some of the advice given about how to behave in court and what should be done about certain things on the threads above, but wanted some more specific advice (if anyone can give it) about how this will work for me.

My case is ending up in court because we cannot agree on anything- mainly the children''s place of residence.

My kids are 7 and 5.

There have been instances of abuse to the kids and myself, all of which were witnessed by me and the kids and occasionally neighbours who have failed to "help" as yet (though they are on my "side" so to speak).

Basically, my ex has applied for residence and contact orders and accused me of abuse.

I''ve applied for residence and prohibited steps since she has threatened before taking the kids out of the country and I''m worried she''s going to try something to change the children''s routine without warning.

She has representation (and has constantly threatened me with it), and at the moment I do not because she''s dumped me with so much debt and money pressure that I''m stuck in a hole (I both have to find the money for the mortgage and all the bills and the credit cards she filled up).

So, how can I approach this in court?

My kids are young, but my eldest is very aware of the situation and has very clear ideas about where he stays and when, after I finally managed to get my ex to nail a routine down (due to her constantly changing plans, now she''s scared she''ll "lose" and therefore sticks to agreements which are usually two nights a week, sometimes 3 if the kids are comfortable to go).

I''ve felt that my ex was/is very abusive, and I''m very concerned about my kids- she''s also neglecting them and, though the kids don''t understand or see that side of it, I DO because they come home in the same underwear/ clothes and often are very dirty, tell me of meals they have had (like dinner of just pasta with cheese and water). My eldest is now questioning it too ("Why does mummy only bathe us in greasy water and not wash our hair properly? It''s annoying"/"you always cut my nails daddy, thank you")

I''m very worried because of their ages that I will simply be laughed out of court for my concerns.

A CAFCASS report is due, but they still haven''t really got back to me on our cross applications.

I''ve had periods where I had to stop contact because of verbal/ psychological/ physical abuse, and am also worried how that will stand in court.

Thanks for any help, sorry for post length!!

  • jonathancj
  • jonathancj's Avatar
  • Platinum Member
  • Platinum Member
10 Apr 12 #322749 by jonathancj
Reply from jonathancj
I assume that this is in the County Court. The CAFCASS report is very important. It is unusual for a judge to go against what a CAFCASS officer has recommended. There usually needs to be a very good reason for the court to order a major change to how the children are looked after as this is so disruptive. Unless the report says that you are struggling to look after the children adequately, the status quo or some variation of it is the most likely recommendation. A good tactic therefore is to agree with the report if at all possible and leave the other party the uphill struggle of trying to argue against it.

  • Shi Tong
  • Shi Tong's Avatar Posted by
  • Platinum Member
  • Platinum Member
10 Apr 12 #322944 by Shi Tong
Reply from Shi Tong
Hello Jonathancj,

Thanks very much for this advice.

I had a very good conversation with my eldest on Saturday night too.. and I do know it''s not "all up to him", but as 7 year olds go, he''s one of the brightest you''ll meet and I respect his feelings as a father and a human.

He told me, as I mentioned, that his days for contact are Monday and Tuesday, and then sometimes on a Sunday.

Personally I feel like the status quo has been so clearly that it''s all on MY plate (kids AND finances AND responsibilities) to deal with... and if the kids are staying with her 2 nights a week, doesn''t that make me primary carer?

Either way I''m hoping that CAFCASS will see this for what it is and report that the status quo should remain if my eldest is used to it and happy with it at 2 nights a week at mums and sometimes 3 "if he feels like it", which is hardly ever.

  • Emma8485
  • Emma8485's Avatar
  • Platinum Member
  • Platinum Member
10 Apr 12 #322957 by Emma8485
Reply from Emma8485
Shi Tong as a cautionary note, I do think your eldest although bright and clever is only seven years old and is possibly a bit young to be discussing these things.

I think it is a little bit too adult for a seven yr old to understand the concept of contact being on certain days and being able to comprehend the very adult nature of the situation - I also dont know what view Cafcass will take on that even if its done with the very best intention as my partners ex has been slated for not protecting their daughter from the adult realities of the situation.

Its just some thoughts tfrom me that may help you


  • Shi Tong
  • Shi Tong's Avatar Posted by
  • Platinum Member
  • Platinum Member
10 Apr 12 #322958 by Shi Tong
Reply from Shi Tong
Hello Emma,

Thanks, that''s very useful. :)

Luckily the vast majority of my eldest son''s wafflings about mummy tend to be without my asking him, and totally unprompted.

I''ve actually had him charge out of school before on a Wednesday at pick up time with a massive grin on his face shouting:

"yay, yay!! This is just what I like daddy, I like to see mummy on Monday and Tuesday, and I like to see you Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday", precisely like that, and certainly without me prompting him.

It was just something he said.

And he DOES know what it means.

I used to get that he wants all week with me, because he wants to stay at home. I''ve encouraged contact because I think it''s best, but what I think I''ve learned is that he''s comfortable at home.

Thanks again!!!!

Moderators: wikivorce teamrubytuesdaydukeyhadenoughnowTetsSheziLinda SheridanForsetiMitchumWhiteRoseLostboy67WYSPECIALBubblegum11