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What the Court expects from parents

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10 Jun 09 #123099 by D L
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What the Family Courts expect from Parents

The courts consider that these guidelines apply to all children and all parents. Please don’t think that your
case is an exception.


The court wants you to think about these things first:

As parents, you share responsibility for your children and
have a duty to talk to each other and make every effort to
agree about how you will bring them up;

Even when you separate this duty continues.

Try to agree the arrangements for your child. If talking to
each other is difficult, ask for help. Trained mediators can
help you talk to each other and find solutions, even when
things are hard. The court staff can give you details.

If you cannot agree you can ask the court to decide for you.
The law says that the court must always put the welfare of
your child first. What you want may not be the best thing for
your child. The court has to put your child first, however hard
that is for the adults.


Experience suggests that court-imposed orders work less
well than agreements made between you as parents.
The court therefore expects you to do what is best for
your child:

Encourage your child to have a good relationship with both
of you.

Try to have a good enough relationship with each other as
parents, even though you are no longer together as a couple.

Arrange for your child to spend time with each of you.
Remember, the court expects you to do what is best
for your child even when you find that difficult:

It is the law that a child has a right to regular personal
contact with both parents unless there is a very good reason
to the contrary. Denial of contact is very unusual and in most
cases contact will be frequent and substantial.

The court may deny contact if it is satisfied that your or
your child’s safety is at risk.

Sometimes a parent stops contact because she/he feels
that she/he is not getting enough money from the other
parent to look after the child. This is not a reason to stop
contact.

Your child needs to:
Understand what is happening to their family. It is your job
to explain.

Have a loving, open relationship with both parents. It is
your job to encourage this. You may be separating from each
other, but your child needs to know that he/she is not being
separated from either of you.

Show love, affection and respect for both parents.

Your child should not be made to:
Blame him/herself for the break up.

Hear you running down the other parent (or anyone else
involved).

Turn against the other parent because they think that is
what you want.

You can help your child:
Think about how he or she feels about the break up.

Listen to what your child has to say:
About how he/she is feeling

About what he/she thinks of any arrangements that have to
be made.

Try to agree arrangements for your child (including
contact) with the other parent.


Talk to the other parent openly, honestly and respectfully.

Explain your point of view to the other parent so that you
don’t misunderstand each other.

Draw up a plan as to how you will share responsibility for
your child.

When you have different ideas from the other parent, do
not talk about it when the children are with you.

If you want to change agreed arrangements (such as
where the child lives or goes to school):

Make sure the other parent agrees.

If you cannot agree, go to mediation.

If you still cannot agree, apply to the court.

If there is a court order in place:
You must do what the court order says, even if you don’t
agree with it. If you want to do something different you have
to apply to the court to have the court order varied or
discharged.

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10 Jun 09 #123104 by Budapest
Reply from Budapest
Thanks DL - this is very helpful and a good yardstick whereby parents can measure ourselves by.

Are you aware of anything similar for parents who are relative strangers, i.e. where there is no parenting history? and where the child is a toddler.

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10 Jun 09 #123107 by D L
Reply from D L
No need for thanks Budapest, I was mooching on the court website and "borrowed" it from there. In the circumstances you describe, the court would use the same yardstick, but obviously the parent who had not undertaken any practical parenting would obviously have to recognise a need for assistance from the parent with care.

In my exeperience with toddlers (both professional and personal) a well establised contact routine is essential, and something the child readily adapts to.

Amanda

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10 Jun 09 #123116 by Butnotnow
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Hi DL, useful information thanks.

I have my 1st Directions hearing in July and expect to have CAFCASS attempt mediation between Ex's Solicitor and myself and have actually advised CAFCASS person who rang up last week that I would prefer mediation over Court Order but have been left no choice and was actually advised by Ex's Sol to apply for a contact order if I was not happy with their proposal.

If no agreement is forthcoming and it goes to the Judge to be 'moved forward' so to speak and knowing that final hearings can take months to get a date and assuming that no investigation is ordered by the Judge can I ask for the start of overnight fortnightly contact to begin asap (intrim order?) or would this be seen badly?

Any advice offered is appreciated. Rgds, Jim

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10 Jun 09 #123125 by D L
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Hi Jim

Just so you are aware CAFCASS do not mediate between you and her sol, they mediate between you and her.

Sadly, an interim contact order can only be made with her consent, or upon the court hearing evidence, which there is no scope for the court to do at the first directions :(.

Amanda

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10 Jun 09 #123135 by Butnotnow
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Hi Amanda,

many thanks for explaining things. I did wonder how this is going to proceed after reading many posts on this site there seems to be some small differences in how certain courts work.

I was told to be aware that Ex's Sol may try and 'bully' me into agreeing something before going in to see the Judge but this is not a concern to me. I have now worked hard at removing all 'emotional' stuff from my comms with anyone related to this and feel hopeful that all the advice given on Wiki and in other areas has prepared me well for this with regard to focusing just on whats in my Daughters best interests.

Given that I had not put down any care warnings (despite my noted fears on wiki before) on my C100 and assuming Ex does not either how do you suggest I pitch things with respect to why I feel its in Daughters interest to spend perhaps more than usual time with her Father than the norm? Not that I would get this but I can provide three days a week full care everyweek with no problems and not requiring creche/nursery etc. In fact I am becoming more involved with the local Childrens Center anyway, attending several of their support programs since Jan and intend to get CRB checked to be able to assist in outings etc if and when I have the time regardless of if I have Daughter with me on those days. This is not for brownie points as some may think either, just something I feel strongly about and would have done so if Ex and I stayed together.

Just read your post on MF's and wondered if there was any point in me having on at the Directions hearing?

Thanks again, Jim

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10 Jun 09 #123138 by Budapest
Reply from Budapest
This was my partner's recent experience.

Mother's solicitor was asked by CAFCASS to wait outside as he was clearly unaware that he was surplus to requirements.

There are no serious issues however Mother does not want daughter to be around Father's female friends and so is alleging that daughter is at risk of harm and that safeguards need to be put in place i.e. she needs to be present at all times.

Judge refused to grant an interim contact order for the reasons DL states althought the Judge said that he believes daughter would be "completely safe with her father".

So the Judge has given an indication as to how he is reading this one however I believe the Judge, CAFCASS and Father are all hoping that mother will propose something sensible and that a Consent Order will be arranged between mother and father rather than the Court impose an order upon the parties.

If mother and father cannot move forward and a CAFCASS investigation is ordered then I would be surprised if an interim contact order is not granted as this would mean no contact for a substantial period of time.

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