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Initial hearing

  • dougieriley
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01 May 09 #112559 by dougieriley
Topic started by dougieriley
Hi as I am rather stumbling my way through a very difficult time, is there any template/format for preparing /approaching a 1st hearing in a residency application?
I feel as though I am on the back foot as stbx has legal aid & is using allegations of abuse/harassment to discredit me - I only want to see our children.

  • mumtoboys
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01 May 09 #112696 by mumtoboys
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Dougie,
not sure how helpful I can be as I don't understand the terminology enough. I recently had a first hearing assume it was that, or initial hearing - first one anyway!) based on fact I had applied for residency and stbx has also cross-applied for residency (sols had same idea at same time lol!). At this appointment judge asked a few questions to us directly and then a few to the sols. Nothing major - who had cared for children prior to split, the whens, whys and wherefores...what had happened since split in terms of care, what the problems were as we saw them, what the problems were from a legal perspective....

We then had to both see a CAFCASS officer (we did this separately becuase there is no point of contact between us at all although I understand it is usual to do both parents together) with a view to seeing if there was anything we could do there and then to sort things out. This wasn't going to happen for us, but would probably work for many.....CAFCASS officer went and had word with judge - took ages, actually. We all then went back in and judge said he was ordering full reports and the status quo of care was to be maintained in the meantime....

I would think you need to strongly refute any accusations of abuse, violence etc and put forward anything you may have that discredits her version of events. You might (or might not - I don't know) want to run this past her sols as well as I had had a report prepared by my son's school which I produced in court - judge not amused as my stbx hadn't seen it. I guess it was a bit underhand....probably depends on the judge.

Hope that helps in some way. would be worth a word with divorce lawyer in her legal surgery as I may have misunderstood things - I personally find these things very daunting and I was very, very upset for a number of reasons. I can appreciate you just want to see your children.

  • ClimbMountains
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12 May 09 #115532 by ClimbMountains
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Don't expect much at the initial hearing. Judge can only order anything agreed by both of you. Work out what you are actually asking for and why. Are you actually asking for residency or just an appropriate amount of contact? Who is the primary carer now? How involved have you been in care? What are the present arrangements?

If you throw allegations around it can count against you. Just focus on the kids.

don't involve third parties. like mumtoboys says getting some third party letter/report... can be a serious no. If the court want a report they will order it, if you feel that you need some third party info/report/document then ask the court for leave to get it or for them to order it, if cafcass want some third party comment (such as schools) they will do it themselves.

deny all of the allegations. you don't go into detail but they have to be relevant to the care of the child and if they are seen as one parent simply trying to cause problems can backfire. How you respond to them (or don't) can be as influential as the allegations themselve. Its therefore a difficult balance.

Don't expect much from the judge. Max a few questions and comments are the norm. Think about what you need to get the case resolved (do you need documents, do you need to file a statement to explain your care of the kids and deny allegations...). If you can think about this you can get as short a timetable as possible to get everything done. In terms of cafcass they are likely to ask much more but just focus on kids, their relationship with you and don't throw mud unless its really important

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