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Problems with Court Ordered Indirect Contact
Hey Charlie. You can't beat yourself up about that. the financial cost can be very high for expert witnesses. I think I know which psychologist you are referring to, there are two that are leading authorities of alienation/manipulation.

Since LASPO and the removal of legal aid for most private family law cases one of the knock on effects has been to make instruction of expert witnesses prohibitively out of reach for most.

Also courts have progressively been more strict in the criteria required to approve instructing an expert witness.

But whilst experts can help immensely, they are not essential. In Re:L for instance there was no psychologist nor a high flyer legal team. Just solid evidence, with good counsel, and a judge who was prepared to act boldly and promptly. Something that was upheld at the appeal.

A guardian for the child can often be very beneficial in proceedings. I am not certain if a guardian can recommend an expert witness and whether there is scope for this to be funded by public purse. I know there is guidance and limits on how much it can cost per expert, per hour etc. It would never cover the top names in any event. But the important thing to remember is they are not essential.

What court a case is heard in is decided by gatekeepers at each court. High court is reserved for complex cases, involving complex law for example abduction and international law etc Here is an explanation:

To use Re:L as an example again a case with serious issues and allegations, the judge was a circuit judge (HHJ). They hear the bulk of the serious cases. If a case has a particular complex element then the circuit judge may direct that the case is moved to the High Court.

My reference to higher courts making more generous orders, was more specifically on appeal. According to the new routes of appeal, appeals on orders made by Magistrates or a district judge are heard by a circuit judge or it can even be a High Court judge. Appeals on orders made by a circuit judge are heard by a High Court judge. And if you are actually appealing an order made at an appeal your case is heard at the Court of Appeal.
Thanks for all your valuable advice!

So I sent an email on Tuesday evening reminding her of the order and that I expect contact to resume the following day. Next day still no contact, but I receive an email at 1pm yesterday saying that as there was no end date specified in the indirect, she understood it ends as soon as face to face resumes. She then goes on to say that it has been disastrous and our daughter doesn't enjoy it and she is forcing her to skype with me.

This is simply not true, we had only skyped for 16 days in total with 10 missed contacts with no explanation from the mum.

However, I spoke with Family Law Advice and had a free consultation with a solicitor I found on the Family Law Panel, and they gave me some really good points for addressing this issue.

I sent an email at 8pm reiterating what the court order says, and regardless of whether my daughter wants to talk, mum is obligated to connect that call. Failing to do so is a breach. I also referred to the court order that we have to agree in writing if the time and schedule of indirect contact changes, failing that it must still take place every day at 10

I have proposed to changes to the schedule on the basis that if our daughter is struggling to do it daily (which I do not believe to be true). Then we move it to the early evening, after her last meal, and do it every other day (That way we may actually get the full 30 minutes and will have more to talk about). If we have any further instances of breach with no explanation, I will go to the court for urgent listing.

The other proposal was that, as the mum has unilaterally stopped the contact without consulting me, and is unwilling to allow it go ahead, she lets me see my daughter every saturday until the next hearing. Failing any agreement, then by default with revert back to daily and resume immediately. If she does not respond or allow contact, I have no other option to ask the court to urgently intervene.

So I will try to connect at 10am today. I at the very least expect to receive an email before 6pm today. If not I will also try to connect at 6pm. If I hear nothing then tomorrow I will write to the court, FAO for the Judge with a schedule of the breaches, my email communication trying to resolve the matter and copying the ex into this communication.

The case studies are very interesting, because the judge at one point in the hearing, after the mum said she had diabetes and had not left the house with our daughter for 3.5 months, said that this is not in our daughters best interest and perhaps I should become the resident parent. This is something I will continue to research!
Well done Bazeydog. Yes keep everything in writing. And keep to biff emails (brief,informative, friendly,formal - as if writing to a business colleague - a tip I learned on here!). Not only are they good evidence but she can't accuse you of harrassment. Although my ex still says my emails are bullying and controlling even when they are polite, if firm about the court order.

That is very interesting about what the Judge said and may be helpful to my situation! Someone on here recently had a hearing and as part of that order there was provision for a week on week off with each parent in the case of lockdown.

JamW cheers - it does sound not a possibility to get a case with the high court.
You should continue to read the case studies Bazeydog, they are a mine of useful information!
Hi All,

so we have an urgent listing for directions as a telephone hearing end of this week. Very surprised that I got a date in August! Is it necessary to send a witness statement in advance?

I believe you can send in a witness statement, but that can be done upto the day before the hearing (if they havent asked for one)
The opinions here are not that of Separated Dads, but merely a loving father who has been through the process and has come out the other side.
(08-24-2020, 02:36 PM)invisibleintellectual Wrote: I believe you can send in a witness statement, but that can  be done upto the day before the hearing (if they  havent asked for one)

Thanks, they haven't asked for one in the hearing notice but I only gave limited information about the nature of the breach in my request for the urgent listing.
You can send a position statement. No more than 2 pages of A4 double spaced (or maybe 3). It’s less formal than a witness statement and a witness statement has evidence attached.

Normally you don’t do a witness statement unless the court papers order it. It depends what the application was for as to whether you can send evidence. If it’s a C79 enforcement you can attach evidence to the application. If it’s a C100 you can’t attach evidence before first hearing (unless it’s specific issues eg).

A position statement is a good thing to do. You can email it to court the day before the hearing and take 2 or 3 copies with you and give a copy to the other side on the day of the hearing (or email it). It just sets out what the situation is - gives the opportunity to say how things have gone, what you have tried and come across as the sound reasonable one plus put the odd argument about why it’s important and at the end what you would like the court to do. Any further info as well eg what your daughter likes to do when there, any concerns about her missing her home with you and about joy being able to help her with schoolwork etc.

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