Separated Dads
Contact issues - Printable Version

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Contact issues - goingcrazy - 09-12-2019


Back again for some advice - contact in the contact centre ceased - centre couldn't cope and said contact was suspended until court review. Said they were a neutral venue and were being put in an impossible situation. Her solicitor was ringing after every contact to see how it went. Son was not allowed to use a soother - was told child isn't allowed one during the day even though first contact he had one attached to his tee shirt. Last session ended when my son changed the child's nappy without asking her permission - even though she had asked him to bring along nappies and wipes she said this was for show. She took the child (now 1 year old) and ended the session early. My son had suffered 6 sessions of her being in the room and now that she was to stay out insisted on watching through the window. Which meant if child saw her he would get upset, that and teething didn't help though saying that it wasn't bad all the time - well not from our point of view. She thought the child was being tortured, said a few times don't worry it will be soon be over. Also referred to my son as 'him' not Daddy. She would not even let my other 2 sons see the child for 10 mins before they headed overseas. One has not seen the child at all and the other only when he was born. They said it was not in the child's best interest!!!!!

So we had a court review 4th September - our solicitor asked if we could enrol the child on a course like baby yoga or something similar, that my son could take him to. He had prepared a C2 due to the mothers implacable hostility. But she agreed to the course we had picked and the C2 was no longer relevant as she was now compliant (playing the game). However then she said she would only agree only if she was there to change a nappy. We tried to negotiate, would it suffice if I was there, no, she wanted her mum. Given her mum's past treatment of my son we declined and suggested both Granny's could be present. That was also declined. My son is quite capable of changing a nappy and while at the contact centre there was a protest from the child for a short bit, it was over and done in seconds. You would think the child has never kicked off when with her. The deputy judge was not impressed given the lack of progress and agreement but adjourned the case until the resident judge would be residing. Due back again next week 18th. Son not seen child for 4 weeks now.

Any advice for my son (dyslexic) and finds things difficult to understand and process. What should he have prepared to get the judge on his side and show how controlling and obstructive she is? A statement, a parenting plan?

Many thanks

RE: Contact issues - Charlie7000 - 09-13-2019

Hi. I couldn't quite follow all that! So you have a dyslexic son and a baby is that right?

RE: Contact issues - goingcrazy - 09-14-2019

Hi sorry if my post was rushed and garbled. Yes I have a dyslexic son. He has a baby (my Grandson) with his ex partner August last year. The relationship was controlling, her being an extreme covert narisstist. He left her shortly after baby was born and has been trying to have meaningful and unfettered contact since. We had contact at the beginning too but she stopped that when baby was 2 months old. A mutual agreement between my son and ex didn't work and contact centre hasn't worked due to her controlling nature. We have a court review next Wednesday to see where we go from here. At present he has a solicitor but my son struggles with processing information quickly hence my concern if he goes into court he will be overwhelmed. Contact centre agreement was signed without him having to go into courtroom. Just not sure what my son shoild have in preparation for next Wednesday as I have no doubt they'll be brought in. Yes he has a solicitor but what should he have prepared?
I hope this makes more sense. Thanks

RE: Contact issues - Astroman - 09-14-2019

Hi there, sorry for a short reply but my advice would be to give solicitor full lowdown and they should do all of the talking anyway, a good solicitor should sort this for your son and really he may only get asked the odd question but the more difficult stuff should be dealt with by solicitor. Might be best solicitor maybe informs judge of your sons concerns prior so he doesn’t feel rushed into making any rash decisions. Most judges are respectful of this but a good solicitor should be on the ball anyway.

RE: Contact issues - Charlie7000 - 09-14-2019

Is it just dyslexia? I wouldn't think that would affect changing a nappy and it's ridiculous she won't let him. Anyone can learn to change a nappy! Especially disposables. Try not to worry about the next hearing. The first thing is - do not say anything negative about the Mother in anything for court - it will count against him and he'll be labelled as "possibly aggressive". What the court wants to see is a child focused attitude. For every hearing you can do a position statement - which is a kind of note in double line spacing, updating the position (ie no contact for 4 weeks, Mother won't allow son to change a nappy) and then asking for what you want to happen.

So if this is a second hearing is it still a Directions Hearing? A court won't order overnight stays until a child is 2, unless the Mother agrees to it. So reaching agreements with her is something to try and achieve as much as possible. However it sounds like she doesn't want to agree to anything.

One of the best things your son could do is go on a course for childcare or something. Surestart might run one. So he can show he's a committed parent and has learned childcare skills (silly I know but it's brownie points). No time for that before the hearing but he can say he will start one.

I think you need to be asking for specifics at the next hearing in any position statement and pre-empting any issues she is rasing. Eg say son is quite capable of changing nappies and has had plenty of childcare tips from his own Mother. That he wishes one afternoon a week to take his baby out for a walk in pushchair eg. Leading to a full day a week within 3 months and progressing to 1 full day at week-ends and two tea times a week within 6 months.

If he has a solicitor and she does two, the two solicitors may be able to thrash out an agreement at the next hearing. If she won't agree to reasonable regular time, then ask for an interim order and go to a final hearing where you can ask for a progressing court order.

When he applied to court did you/he put info on the C100 under the disabilities section? He is entitled to a fair hearing under the human rights act I believe. The court should be made aware he is dyslexic and how that affects him with paperwork. Having a good solicitor sounds the way to go. Some are rubbish. Shop around!

RE: Contact issues - goingcrazy - 09-15-2019

Hi Thanks Astroman and Charlie7000

Yes just dyslexia - he's quite capable of changing nappies and got a crash course from a couple of friends with their babies. He was capable of changing the child's nappy when first born and still living with her and no issues but it's now all about her control and revenge in that he left her. We actually found out after receiving information from the child's doctor that this mother who won't trust my son to change a nappy - had contacted and attended an out of house doctor some months previous as she had turned her back for a moment and he rolled of the bed. I know accidents can happen to anyone and I am not saying she is a bad mother - just controlling and narcissistic. Given that she won't let him be on his own with his son at all at present an overnight is not even being considered, that and the fact that she is still breastfeeding. On one hand she stated at 10 months she was still exclusively breastfeeding on another she stated she had started a baby led weaning programmed at 6 months. I am hoping she trips up big style and the court will see her for what she is but we are trying to take things slowly albeit so hard and heart breaking. 

My son has been on a 6 week course for separated Dads but there is no childcare courses as such at all that I could find and I rang everyone I could think of. While Surestart could come to our house to offer help - its getting the child to our house and away from Mum is the issue. Surestart don't have a facility that he could bring the child to them unfortunately. I am hoping that if he can get on to the 10 week sing and sign course that being with other helpful mums will boost his confidence and in a more relaxed atmosphere the child will settle and both will enjoy their time together. That would be an hour on a Friday and he was going to ask for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon - but we will request that this should be extended in 3 months as you have suggested. Given that this will bring us to Christmas should he be asking for time now? Due to the child being 'unwell' last Christmas he only saw his son for a very short time, no time at all for the paternal side. 

Our son has a solicitor, who seems quite good - has commented a few times that in his 15 years he has never met anyone so obstructive. 4th September was the first review after the court ordered contact in a contact centre so I am assuming this is still a directions hearing. Not sure if in Northern Ireland it's different. Not sure about my son understanding everything I find it hard to know what is what too. Not sure if his dyslexia was mentioned but the solicitor is aware of it so we will ask the court also be made aware of this.

Good advice though from you both and reassuring that the solicitor will do most of the talking - my fear was my son would be questioned and get tongue tied. We will sit down and talk about this. At least you have given us some idea of what to ask for and how to put it. Many thanks - I'll let you know how Wednesday goes.

RE: Contact issues - goingcrazy - 09-16-2019

another question - what information should be in a position statement? We haven't been asked for one but should we have one prepared?


RE: Contact issues - goingcrazy - 09-18-2019

We agreed to limited contact with the ex before the class begins so she could be there to 'supervise' my son change a nappy - felt we had to, to get contact back up and running as a CCO is to be appointed and that could take a further couple of weeks. We left court believing it all signed and agreed, not quite what we wanted but at least contact would begin again. Only to be called back to court as agreement broke down before the ink had even dried. Ex wanted to add that she could go into the class if she felt the child was upset. We said no - it had already been agreed if the child didn't settle and was distressed my son, if he couldn't get him settled he would bring him to her anyway. So it went before the judge and she ruled that handover would take place before the class and back again once class was over - no fussing about changing nappies or her being able to enter the class at will. The class is in an enclosed space so she can't see in - hoping my son can relax in a more friendly atmosphere which will help the child also relax. Review again in a few weeks. Now we just have to preempt what she will do to scupper the contact. Our solicitor has warned if she so much as pokes her head in the door a C2 will be before the court the next day.

RE: Contact issues - Charlie7000 - 09-18-2019

Good the solicitor is on the ball. You can do a position statement for every hearing. It's just a typed thing of maybe a page and a half double line spaced with numbered paragraphs - updates the "position" eg what's happened since last hearing - and an opporunity to point out anything, give further info or ask for something. As he has a solicitor it may be that the solicitor will do this or feel it isn't necessary. I know when I had a solicitor they didn't think it was necessary, but Barristers usually do one. And if acting for yourself if's a good idea to do one.

RE: Contact issues - goingcrazy - 09-19-2019

Thank you - I may get my son just to keep a diary of events so that if a position statement is required at some point we can pull one together quite easily.