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Forum: Your Court Results/Outcomes
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school issues
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Finally - A Good Outcome
Forum: Your Stories, Advice to Recently Separated Dads
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Nothing left.
Forum: Your Stories, Advice to Recently Separated Dads
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Nursery and funding
Forum: Contact & Residence Issues, Problems with Child Arrangements
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11-16-2020, 01:31 PM
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Universal Credit
Forum: Child Maintenance, Finances etc
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11-15-2020, 01:12 PM
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  Respondents Notice (Of Appeal - N162)
Posted by: littleangel - Yesterday, 11:05 PM - Forum: Your Court Results/Outcomes - Replies (2)

Evening all.

I hope you are all keeping sane and well in these uncertain times.

Could really do with a bit of advice.

At the beginning of July 2020, I was a litigant in person in a remotely heard final contested hearing during which the district judge ruled that my 7 year old son should live with me and spend 2 nights a week with his mum. Holidays and special days to be equally shared etc

In my opinion the trial was a fair and just and although some might say the female district judge who heard the case was either a little harsh or refreshingly unbiased with regards to the amount of contact ordered for mother in addition to going against the usual grain and granting custody to a man instead of defaulting to the woman, I thought the judgement was sound and correct and relevant to the circumstances based on the arguments raised and evidence heard.

Since the hearing life for me and my son has been as good as it gets considering the limitations of lockdown. I've devoted myself to being the dad my son deserves and he is visibly thriving. Contact between him and mum has been going well and I am doing what I can to premote equality as parents mainly for his benefit. I have agreed for him to spend a 3rd night each week with mum as well as additional nights on an ad hoc basis at her request so more or less a 50:50 sharing of our sons time.

Just when I thought it was safe to begin moving on with our lives and settling into a new routine and some form of stability, last friday I received an email from my ex's solicitor saying that permission has been granted for her client to appeal the original decision and a half day appeal hearing date has been set for Feb. Boom I'm instantly thrown straight back into the darkness and anxiety.

Aware that time scales are quite tight with regards to appeals or at least I thought they were before receiving this bombshell several months after the initial final hearing although I do appreciate covid had caused massive issues and delays for the family court. However I believe I potentially still only have 14 days (or less now) to respond now that I've been served notification of my ex's permission to appeal.

So my question is this. I know I don't have to but should I respond by filing a respondents notice (n162) and potentially paying a barrister an arm and a leg to represent me at the half day appeal hearing just in order to ask the court to uphold the original decision of the lower court....(mainly for reasons the original judge gave rather than different reasons or additional to those given by the lower court) and also to potentially request my costs are covered by the other party

My ex's legal aid barrister has given 4 grounds on which their is appeal is based which largely evolve around fairly petty legal arguments and the weight the judge gave to various pieces of evidence. It does all come across fairly trivial but I assume the grounds of appeal must have their merits otherwise permission to appeal would not have been granted.

I've been served with a transcript of the judgement and reading it back I would say some of the grounds raised are somewhat relevant but I wouldn't say the judge was wrong or breached process or the law and hence wouldn't justify over turning the judgement itself.

Im struggling with the concept of how much time and money I should now throw at defending the appeal so to speak especially considering the appeal is more directed at the judges original decision and their perception and application of the law itself rather than me trying to argue my case for custody again. However I've also read that I might be able to claim my legal costs associated with the appeal back from the other party anyway.

Will I be at a disadvantage if I don't file my respondents notice and do not have representation at the appeal hearing.

Or am I panicking unnessesarily? I am still in quite a bit of debt from from my previous legal costs from the original proceedings not to mention the previous and really cannot afford to waste any more money lining barristers and solicitors pockets when it's money that should be spent on my son. Even if I can make a claim for my legal costs be covered by the other side if the appeal be unsuccessful, Mother is on legal aid (the usual bullship claims of domestic abuse which were completely false) so I doubt how much I would realistically get.

That said I would hate to fall at the last hurdle so to speak even though I know it is sadly likely my ex will file a fresh application to vary the order as soon as it is applicable unless I can find a way of stopping her seemingly unlimited entitlement to legal aid that is.

Our son has been happily living with me now for in excess of a year. If exs appeal was successful it was see my son going back to spending only minimal time with me which after so long living together, I feel simply unrealistic and no longer a reflection of reality.

Last thing I want is to get complacent now and lose everything which I've fought so hard for over the last 5 years but on the other hand i don't want to panic and unnessesarily spend another ton of money which I simply cannot afford especially if it doesn't actually increase my chances blocking the appeal.

Do I even have to file a respondents notice if I just want the court to uphold the original decision for their original reasons as I'm not appealing against anything?

Do I have to argue against the grounds of appeal as raised in ex's appellants notice or just leave it to the circuit judge / appeal court to decide and ultimately just sit back and suck it and see....potentially saving my legal fees for next proceedings my ex will inevitably bring against me to vary the existing order once the dust from these proceedings have settled.

While I appreciate my questions are quite specific, any thoughts, guidance or comments would be very much appreciated.

Kind Regards

A. Dad

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  Enforcement - what happens now.
Posted by: TheDetective - 11-21-2020, 06:27 PM - Forum: Contact & Residence Issues, Problems with Child Arrangements - Replies (2)

Hi,

I've posted quite a few times over the last 3 years about my other half and his daughter. His daughter is almost 4, and he has been back to court multiple times.

The years have not gotten easier. She remains as combative as ever. He has a court order for EOW, a weekly contact for dinner (with the stipulation that this will become an overnight when child ready) and half of all school holidays. This latest order was made at the end of February. By early March she was trying to argue what 50% of school holidays actually were. It took the barrister to speak with the judge and have it clarified that she wasn't allowed to just give notice she was taking the child away now (as was in the previous order - 28 days notice of holidays for either party). Then whilst he was still trying to negotiate actually having half of the Easter hols, covid hit.

As expected, she stopped all contact. DP, after many discussions agreed to stop contact - he felt that the court would feel she was reasonable and he was the unreasonable one. He didn't willingly consent to the contact stopping, but forced agreement if you will.

It took until 18th July for her to agree to re-start contact. It was the summer hols by then, so he should have been having 50% of them. But obviously due to the prolonged time he suggested shorter but more frequent contacts, building up to perhaps the last week of the holidays with him. She all but refused to come to any agreement, so it ended up with him having 2 days in the first weekend, then no contact for 2 weeks as the 2nd week she said was was her week. Then 3 days in the 3rd week. Again the 4th week she said was her week, then the 5th week she said he could have 4 days. So that was it. Holidays over. Back to term time arrangement. He then had every other weekend, until half term. She had the extra day in half term as she said she was taking the child away. So he had her for 4 days.

Then.... the allegations began (again). On 3rd Nov DP had a phone call from social services saying that she alleges the child disclosed that one of my children had put something in her bottom. Luckily for me and DP, we knew that nothing could have happened as I won't have the children left alone together at all - for this exact reason - I have always been very concerned she would target my children in her campaign to get contact either to an absolute minimum (or stopped which I'm quite sure is her preference).

Unfortunately the child went on to repeat this allegation to the social worker - but named my other child. Which in itself should ring alarm bells. The child went through a physical examination which concluded no concerns at all.

Whilst it was investigated, DP was told he could still have contact, but at his house, not mine. The mother was told the same too. They had no concerns for DP's care of her, and no safeguarding concerns. They informed the mother of this too. She still refused contact.

Unfortunately at the time all of this started, DP got bloody covid. So it delayed things somewhat. Last Thursday, whilst DP was still in isolation, she presented their child to a&e claiming that she had pain vaginally and anally. This triggered yet another physical forensic examination. This time she made accusations to the social worker that DP tells her not to tell mummy things. She also claims that DP tells her not to hug her grandparents. The social worker by this time had already mentioned parental alienation and talked about how the a&e presentation was suspicious.

The social worker advised that it was now going to a strategy meeting. We weren't sure what exactly was happening at this point, but the conversations with the social workers had reassured us both that they seemed to have the measure of the mother.

After the strategy meeting DP was called and told that they would be working with the mother to address her anxiety and control issues and putting pressure on her to re-instate contact. Basically, they were aware the allegations were malicious in nature, and the issues lay with the mother, not the father. They said they would support my partner in court and strongly advised him to seek enforcement.

He has done the enforcement form. But what now? This should have been DP's first Christmas with his daughter. We both strongly feel that the timing of these allegations was done in such a way so that she would get Christmas day again. This was the first order where he would have any part of Christmas (having 2pm Christmas eve - 2pm Christmas day). She knows it won't get to court before Christmas. So she will get her way.

This whole situation is exhausting. My children have now become collateral damage in her wish to exert control. I'm pretty fucked off with it all now. So if anyone can offer any wisdom, positive thoughts, whatever... please do!

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  CMS, Covid and shielding parents
Posted by: mickeyp - 11-19-2020, 04:59 PM - Forum: Child Maintenance, Finances etc - Replies (2)

Hi all,

I've got a court order specifying a set amount I have to pay in maintenance until either my son turns 18 or someone goes to the CMS for a recalculation. Nothing unusual here I hear you say. 

During the first lockdown (3 months) I couldn't have my son due to the fact I was still living with my elderly shielding parents which was very hard for everyone.

So my ex has now decided that its time to do that CMS recalculation taking into account that I didn't have him in those lockdown months through no fault of my own. From the CMS calculator this obviously knocks me into a lower nights sleepover category and potentially pushes my payments up considerably.

Prior to the pandemic I've consistently been in the 104-155 per year category but would drop out of this band if CMS calculated it now. I am reading that once CMS make an assessment then it takes a 25% swing for them to alter it. This would mean I'd be tied into a higher payment for the next 6 years purely because of 3 months Covid lockdown! Surely this wouldn't be fair?

I should mention that since the first lockdown he's now back staying with me on the previous (normal) basis as I finally managed to move out of my parents house (hooray!).

Any thoughts?

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  Finally - A Good Outcome
Posted by: invisibleintellectual - 11-17-2020, 03:04 PM - Forum: Your Stories, Advice to Recently Separated Dads - Replies (5)

As all you know, I have been through the Court Process once, and I got kinda what I wanted, but I also let the mother get more of what  she wanted - and in the end I felt I got screwed over badly.

I decided during the first tranche of Lockdown that I wanted to see Stampy more, she is growing and she needs her dad more in her life - even if I  am so far away, so I filed for a second round of court in July of this year.

We started doing a lot of talking, including conference calls which we both recorded and we started thrashing out more details.

Today we finally reached an agreement, and it will be lodged with the Court tomorrow.

I get unsupervised
I get more days
I get special times (Christmas/New Year/Easter/Etc)
I get alternate birthdays
I get Holidays
I get overnights in time
I get extra days
I also get extra days which I didn't ask for

Its been nearly 4 years since I started all this process -  this would be my second court appearance, but we have managed to get there - and you guys can too.

Ironically during this process myself and my ex have finally managed to bury the hatchet and we are frenemies - I  doubt we would ever be friends, but theres a level of understanding and we don't hate each other as much as we did.

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  Court Costs
Posted by: K79 - 11-15-2020, 10:05 PM - Forum: Fathers’ Rights, Legal Info, Court Orders - Replies (5)

I'm about to apply for a court order which will cost me £215 (or there and there abouts) and just wondered if anyone who's started the court process can just give me an idea of typical costs
E. G.
Application to court (C100) - £215
Initial hearing - £
Appeal - £

Etc (I know every case is different and some go much further but just an idea of court.... And maybe solicitor costs)

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  Universal Credit
Posted by: mickeyp - 11-15-2020, 12:54 AM - Forum: Child Maintenance, Finances etc - Replies (3)

Hi all,

For a CMS calculation is someones Universal Credit status taken from time of application or the previous tax year (as income is)?

Thanks

Mickey

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  hello all dads
Posted by: avadad - 11-14-2020, 07:22 PM - Forum: Fathers’ Rights, Legal Info, Court Orders - Replies (3)

question can you disagree????? with local authority,social worker on report to courts?

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  Nursery and funding
Posted by: SeanS - 11-13-2020, 11:51 PM - Forum: Contact & Residence Issues, Problems with Child Arrangements - Replies (4)

Hello Dads, I have a children arrangements order which I'm looking to vary to include half the holidays, add another night, and move midweek (wednesday) to alternate monday and thursday. My 2 children are still in nursery aged 3 years 5 months, so not at school just yet. 

So far mother has agreed for only 2 weeks of summer holidays ! and claims that her funding will be affected if children miss nursery for more than 2 weeks in the whole year ! And she has also not agreed to change to alternate monday-thursday claiming that would a) that would disrupt children routine b) and nursery is not very accommodating towards alternate weekend schedule.

All of the her above claims seems vague at best, dubious at worse ! Does anyone encountered funding / nursery issues like above ? And what would be the potential view of the court on these matters ? as I would have compromised on holidays until children aren't in school BUT alternate monday-thursday is a deal breaker for me because I go not seeing the children for the whole week and I know children miss me ( she claims children don't miss me !)

Thanks in advance

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  I'm back!
Posted by: jc22_uk - 11-09-2020, 11:53 AM - Forum: Your Stories, Advice to Recently Separated Dads - No Replies

Hi Guys,
Was last on the forum Summer 2018 when she petitioned me for divorce - we reconciled, was delighted, all went well for a while and Oct 27th 2020 she has petitioned me again!


She is in the house with my 2 sons - (3 bed - the boys share a room and she has a "make up room"!), I am at my folks.  Pleads poverty.  She is a beautician and gets lots of cash in hand work (have photos of her diary showing what she takes if it comes to it).

Does anyone know what I am officially entitled to pay for?  I have come off the council tax.
We have the mortgage in joint names.  We have a loan in joint names - she says she can't afford to contribute to either but earns over £2k per month.

Need to get a proper schedule in place re the kids.  Tricky being here though as we share a bedroom and bed and obviously with them at school, want them to have a proper night's kip.

I almost have a deposit for my own place (to mortgage) but should I go for this at this stage as don't want her being entitled to any of it?

Spent thousands on solicitors last time and wanted to avoid that this time if possible.

What would you recommend re next steps as in complete limbo and don't know what to do.
Thanks,
James

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  Nursery Fees
Posted by: K79 - 11-08-2020, 06:51 PM - Forum: Child Maintenance, Finances etc - Replies (5)

I pay weekly child maintenance through the CMS to the mum. I have the children overnight on a Thursday and weekends. Mum is saying that as I have them Thursday/Friday then I must pay their nursery fees for the Friday but I've said that the maintenance I pay covers all costs and it's her responsibility to pay.

Who's right?

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