I have court next week because my ex wants to reduce the contact awarded 20mths ago. I did receive a letter from Cafcass advising that they will be making recommendations to the court and would contact me shortly. As yet I have not received a call from them and the court date is only 7days away. I have four questions...
If the Cafcass report is not completed on time is it likely that the case will be postponed?
Should I prepare a position statement in response to my ex application to reduce contact?
I will need to take a day off work and travel 700mls round trip to attend court, will they take that into consideration before postponing?
If they find my ex request unreasonable and unfounded, will I be able to claim expenses?
1. If this is the first appointment, Cafcass would not normally do a report at this stage,they would usually contact you in order to do basic risk assessments (get your details to do a police check and check with SOcial Services) There would then normally be a Duty Cafcass Officer at court who will speak to both of you there, and then make recommendations to the court about whether a formal Cafcass report is appropriate, and if so, what it should cover, whether it would be helpful for the two of you to be referred to mediation or to a SPIP etc.
2. Not unless one has been ordered. However, you can of course prepare ntes for yourself to remind you of the things you want to raise
3. Not specifically. The court can adjourn a hearing if the Judge feels it is sensible to do so.thy would normally then write to tell you so you would not have to travel. If they failed to tell you, and you trvalled to court, you could make a complaint and seek to recover your travel costs from the coutr service.
4. Probably not. Costs can be awarded in children act cses but it is unusual, an if this is the fisr time your ex has made an applciation, and s/he has not breached the order, it is unlikely you would be able to claim costs. If you ex behves unreasonably within the proceedings - e.g .fails to attend court, fails to make child available for meetings with Cafcass etc then there might be grounds for a costs order if the Judge is satisfied that you have been put to unecessary expense as a result of his/her behaviour.
Thank you so much for your response that is extremely helpful.
The court application has been made to reduce the contact on a current court order. I have missed contact on three weekends over 20 months, once for my daughters sickness, once for my sickness and once for a family funeral. My ex grounds for reducing the contact is my 10 year old daughter misses her friends.
Cafcass have written to me to say they will be telephoning me before the court date to have a chat so that they can put forward their recommendations, unfortunately no telephone call as yet and court date is Tuesday.