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Any input would be greatly appreciated
#1
Any input would be greatly appreciated:
 
This is a long story to which I will attempt to give the short version.
 
Intro: My 35 year old son is at his wits end as he is trying to get access to see his three children (my grandchildren) and as we live over 600 miles away (and I can not just hop on a train to go and support him) and although we are very close and he calls me all the time, I feel I am his emotional pillar going through this. Hence me writing this here
 
Over and above his ongoing battle to see his children I am very worried that he is being pushed beyond that which he can bear. I am sure any parent will understand my concerns.
 
So yes, I am writing this regarding my 35 year old son. I am really looking for any input or advice as he has taken an emotional battering over the last year; since his ex decided he is no longer allowed to see or have communication with their three children (she has two older children to a previous marriage). She has also stopped me having any contact with my grandchildren.
 
In the middle of last year he contacted CafCass and the matter first went to the Brighton family court and has been a fiasco since. The matter was referred to a High Court in London and last Monday the circus continued there and has now been refereed back to Brighton family court and a date set for April for the next instalment.
In the meantime my son has had no contact with his three children.
 
My son is self employed and due to his financial situation has been living at his office the past two years as his business was impacted from all the emotional stress etc etc.
 
I have suggested to him that he really needs legal council on this matter as the whole matter seems that it is being bounced around from one agency to another with nothing actually being achieved / concluded. I looked at the first CafCass report and the whole document was a mess to the point that they even got the dates of births for the three children wrong. My son sent me a recording of a meeting with the CafCass officer and I was horrified, it sounded like he (my son) was being interrogated.
 
I am no lawyer but to me there is a clear cut breach of Human Rights here on the basis of freedom of religion and right to a fair trail. My son is an Islam convert and was being asked to defend her (his ex’s ‘allegations’). When I called CafCass re the matter they shut me out but also admitted to not having any training pertaining to Human Rights.
 
I advised my son to go to the Citizens Advice Bureau which he did and they told him they can not help with family law.
 
His ex – is not a British Citizen, passport holder or an EU passport holder, in fact she is currently stateless as her South African passport has expired. An ongoing saga over the last five years.
 
She has been found guilty of claiming child benefit and currently repaying that back and she stays in a council house (no idea how she pulled that off) and is in arrears for the rent. I state these facts not to slate her but to indicate her lack of responsibility as a mother to the children.
 
My son has been in touch with several family law solicitors and they all want £300 upwards an hour. He simply can not afford this and yet he is being bullied by a system that seems to have zero regard for the father let alone Human Rights.
 
Can anyone offer some advice input please?
 
Many thanks
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#2
Hi,

Some details of what applications were actually made and what orders are currently in place would be helpful to give an opinion on that case.

- The hearing in London was that an appeal?
- Has the High Court reverted the case back to Brighton because they have erred in their judgement?
- What does your son want the court to do?
- Is there only CAFCASS involved or other agencies also?
- What are mums reason for not allowing contact?
- Has at any stage interim contact been discussed or considered by any of the courts?
- Has he been self ligitating or was he represented at any stage?
- Why do you think his religion disadvantaged him or affect his human rights?
- Was Cafcass aware he recorded the meeting with them?
- How old are the children?

All that information would be needed to draw a piece together about what is/was going on and then to give a suggestion how to move forward.

F.
Reply
#3
Hi Frisbos,
 
I will answer your questions as follows:
 
Q:        The hearing in London was that an appeal?
A:        No – the case was referred there for reasons not given (very little prior warning of change of court) but it seems that that his                ex has attempted to say that my son is a religious fanatic. She is also an Islam convert and after their break-up I have visited               their home and she is as devoted to their religion as he is.
 
Q:        Has the High Court reverted the case back to Brighton because they have erred in their judgement?
A:        Referred back to family Central Court in Brighton as apparently the religious fanaticism was the motivation for High Court, this              has been dealt with and found not to be the case by the High Court as alleged by his ex.
  
Q:        What does your son want the court to do?
A:        He wants to be allowed to see his children

Q:        Is there only CAFCASS involved or other agencies also?

A:        The matter was heard at a family court and referred to an investigation by CAFCASS. The High Court has ordered that a                     guardian (solicitor) be assigned to the children

Q:        What are mums reason for not allowing contact?

A:        She is saying that due to the fact that he (my son) took the children to see his mum, their grandparent without her prior                        consent she can not trust what he does with the children. But she has also stated that my son is mentally unstable (a complete            allegation, this is in the CAFCASS report) and also a kidnapping risk of my son taking the children away. This is due to him                   leaving her during one of their separations.
 
Q:        Has at any stage interim contact been discussed or considered by any of the courts?
A:        As far as I am aware there was talk regarding controlled access as a suggestion but never happened.
 
Q:        Has he been self ligitating or was he represented at any stage?
A:        No representation at any stage.
 
Q:        Why do you think his religion disadvantaged him or affect his human rights?
A:        He was asked what his opinion is with regards to what his children thought with regards to his religious beliefs by the                             CAFCASS officer during their meeting, the one that was recorded. The way that this was emphasised by CAFCASS as it being             a matter that would determine my son seeing his children. Having to justify to an agency or any other appointed                                   represenatative of this process his religious belief/s is in breach of Article 9: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
 
Q:        Was Cafcass aware he recorded the meeting with them?
A:        Yes, this is clearly audible in the recording as is the attitude of the CAFCASS officer.

Q:        How old are the children?
 A:        Girl aged 9, girl aged 6 and boy aged 5
 
My reference to human rights are also  -
Article 6: Right to a fair trial.
There must be access to a court or tribunal that is independent and impartial. A hearing must be within a reasonable time and there must be a sense of "fair balance" between the parties, with each party being afforded a reasonable opportunity to present their case. There must be disclosure of documents to ensure that all parties have all the information available. Every party must have the opportunity to have knowledge of and to comment upon the evidence adduced by the other parties.
 
There is the right to a public hearing, although at present children's cases are heard in private. There should be a reasoned decision given by the court for decisions reached.

________________________________________________________
 
Hope that helps clarify your questions and many thanks.
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#4
Hi,

Ok.

Did your son made an application for a child arrangement order or did just his ex partner file an application?

I will assume that we are dealing just with his own child although he could also have a case for contact to the other 2 children if he so wanted and applied for.

I believe the the court in Brighton referred the case to the High Court in London since there was allegations of religious fanaticism.

The High Court has dealt with that and has cleared the allegation. This aspect is dealt with and we would not need to consider it any longer. It is now unlawful for your sons ex partner to still allege he is a religious fanatic.

The High Court has further ordered that a guardian ad litem is appointed to his children in order to represent and protect their interests in court. His role is somewhat similar to Cafcass and he will try to work with your son and his ex to come to some sort of an agreement.

I take that as a positive.

The court in Brighton must now deal with mum's reasons for not allowing contact which are:

1. Father took children to paternal grandparents without consent
2. Father is mentally unstable
3. Risk of kidnapping.

Count 1
The children have a right to a meaningful relationship with their extended family. The same way the grandparents have a right to have a meaningful contact with their grandchildren.

Question is if he needed consent to take them to the grandparents?

Mum has a case if he took his non-biological children also as I assume he has no Parental Responsibility for them. But if the children were entrusted to him before than this will go in his favour. With regards to his own child I can't see any problem here.
Worst case there was some miscommunication between the parents and I am sure if mum would have asked for the children to be returned your son would have done so.

So, this whole argument will not stay in the way of the court to settle contact.

Count 2
This is the nasty one but again, your son's ex partner has the burden of proof this allegation.

Does she has any medical evidence which would suggest something like it? If so, is this doctor/therapist qualified to make a judgement about mental stability?

I would say that the court would want to see supporting evidence in order to consider such a allegation.

Count 3
To get this allegation neutralised I suggest your son offers to the judge to sign a undertaking at the next hearing that he will not remove the child from mothers care until proceedings are settled.

An undertaking is a promise to the court and this way count 3 is also dealt with.

Your son must ask at the next hearing for an interim contact order to be made.

As explained above there are now no real reasons to deny him the contact to his child any further. In fact I can not even see a reason for a supervison of contact.

I would not go down the route of human rights violation and I would not recommend to attack Cafcass.

Your son I believe after the High Court cleared him has high chances of contact of some sort to be awarded to him.

The Focus is the contact, human right would distract the courts. Not really worth it as your son seems nearly there already.

The question I am unclear about is what application he as actually made and what amount of contact he seeks and if that is with only his child or the other two children also.

F.
Reply
#5
Hi and thank again for your time, efforts & input, it is greatly appreciated. I will answer your questions as follows:

Q:        Did your son made an application for a child arrangement order or did just his ex partner file an application?

A:         My son made the application

Q:        I will assume that we are dealing just with his own child although he could also have a case for contact to the other 2 children if he so wanted and applied for.

A:         There are five children in total, the three youngest (9,6 & 5) my son is the father.

Q:        I believe the court in Brighton referred the case to the High Court in London since there was allegations of religious fanaticism. 

A:         Yes.

The High Court has dealt with that and has cleared the allegation. This aspect is dealt with and we would not need to consider it any longer. It is now unlawful for your sons ex partner to still allege he is a religious fanatic.

The High Court has further ordered that a guardian ad litem is appointed to your children in order to represent and protect their interests in court. His role is somewhat similar to Cafcass and he will try to work with your son and his ex to come to some sort of an agreement.  I take that as a positive.

 
Reply:        Well I can only hope so as up to now (from my spectator’s seat) it has been very slow moving and extremely inefficient and points towards an automatic siding with the mother based on ‘allegations’.
 
_________________________________________________________________
 
The court in Brighton must now deal with mum's reasons for not allowing contact which are:

1. Father took children to paternal grandparents without consent
2. Father is mentally unstable
3. Risk of kidnapping.

Count 1
The children have a right to a meaningful relationship with their extended family. The same way the grandparents have a right to have a meaningful contact with their grandchildren.

 
Q:        Did he need consent to taken them to the grandparents? 
A:         Not sure I understand your question but will try to reply as best I can. My son took his three (he is biological father) children to see his mother, she  also lives several hundred of miles away from my son and sometimes visits at short notice as in this case. The children told their mother (my son’s ex) on returning home that they had been to see their granny and my son’s ex threw a wobbly.
 
From my experience (with his ex) she is a very domineering controlling person and in cases such as this has not taken the children’s benefit into consideration.

Q:        Mum has a case if he took his non-biological children also as I assume he has no Parental Responsibility for them. But if the children were entrusted to him before than this will go in his favour. With regards to his own child I can't see any problem here. Worst case there was some miscommunication between the parents and I am sure if mum would have asked for the children to be returned your son would have done so.

 
A: No the three children he took to see his mum (their grand mother) are his biological children.

So, this whole argument will not stay in the way of the court to settle contact.

Count 2
This is nasty one but again, your son's ex partner has the burden of proof this allegation.

Q:        Does she has any medical evidence which would suggest something like it? If so, is this doctor/therapist qualified to make a judgement about mental stability?

 
A:         This is purely a nasty ‘allegation’ concocted by her and I am surprised that the court, CafCass etc have even considered it with asking the basic questioning of proof of such a serious allegation. My son’s job requires him to have a special licence from the council to deal with the public so the ramifications of the allegation run quite deep. So, the short answer is – no, it is purely her opinion.

I would say that the court would want to see supporting evidence in order to consider such an allegation.

 
Reply:      Yes, I am no legal beagle but this is very basic legal parameters and certain people would drag her and the legal bungling for making such allegation as deformation of character. I reiterate that his business would be at stake if this allegation became publicly questioned. As you are no doubt aware in such a scenario a case of  loss of earnings would be applicable.

Count 3
To get this allegation neutralised I suggest your son offers to the judge to sign a undertaking at the next hearing that he will not remove the child from mothers care until proceedings are settled. An undertaking is a promise to the court and this way count 3 is also dealt with.

Your son must ask at the next hearing for an interim contact order to be made. 


Reply:     Well that is the whole point of my son taking his case to court as he has not seen or even spoken to his children for nearly eight months. In fact his ex refused to accept Christmas presents that he hand delivered to their home as she said it could be confusing for the children. Right there reveals her character for me.

As explained above there are now no real reasons to deny him the contact to his child any further. In fact I can not even see a reason for a supervison of contact.

 
Reply:     Well it would seem (again from my spectator’s stance in all this) that the courts and CafCass have an automatic siding with the mother / female. In which case goes against what the law of the UK is not supposed to stand for – sexism!

I would not go down the route of human rights violation and I would not recommend to attack Cafcass.

 
Reply:       I don’t think I have ‘attacked’ CafCass, merely highlighted what I understand of law (mostly business law). On the other hand people need to stand up to others that think they are in a position of power they can abuse and I am quite sure that most people , if they heard the audio recording of the CafCass meeting with my son would absolutely agree that CafCass were conducting more of an interrogation rather than a meeting.

Your son I believe after the High Court cleared him has high chances of contact of some sort to be awarded to him. 

 
Reply:       Well one would hope that the justice system can operate swiftly and efficiently and see through ‘allegations’ versus factual ‘evidence.

The Focus is the contact, human right would distract the courts. Not really worth it as your son seems nearly there already.

 
Reply:      As I have said – it is my son that has opened the case in order for him to see his biological children. As a nation I think it is important not to forget that Human Rights were put into place so as to ‘protect’ people from such violations. I believe that the EU courts are very happy to deal with violations and correct institutions and organisations that are acting in their own opinions or allegations. This is not how law should be conducted nor is it the basis of any ‘legal’ proceeding. Factual ‘evidence’ is required.

Q:        The question I am unclear about is what application he as actually made and what amount of contact he seeks and if that is with only his child or the other two children also.

 
A:         He has applied to have a contractual agreement in place so as to remove her (his ex) bullying and manipulation of how and when she feels is what is right and wrong. My sons want to have a legal binding contract so that he and his children know when they are going to see each other.
 
Further:
The next saga that has been brought up is that his ex is not stating that my son was abusing her when they lived together (they have been apart / divorced for over four years now). Her (my son’s ex) has her personal friend that works in the police dept and my son say that some police report has been presented that is a fabrication – not as per the original police report (dated 2010) when she (his ex) phone the local police as she was trying to push him out of the house in a temper and she called the police to say that he (my son) was threatening her.
 
Apparently there is some new law recently introduced by Theresa May to protect women from abuse ? I believe that women in such cases are liable for legal aid ? Perhaps that is her (my sons ex) angle as she is not a UK Citizen and would therefore have to pay for legal representation ?
 
I am most interested to understand what the ‘rights’ are for the children to have contact with their extended family, in this case my son’s mother (the children’s grandmother) and myself, his father, the children’s grandfather.
 
Thank you so much for all your efforts, time and input into the matter. It is greatly appreciated.
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#6
Hi,

From the information you have provided I think this case is now more straightforward.

There are a lot of Dads here which are in the same boat as your son. I also have been accused of some pretty nasty things from my ex partner and had to go through the court system for more than 2 years until contact what somewhat regularly re-established.

All the way long my parents have also suffered the loss of their grandchildren and I can feel for you and your son.

As I say I believe what has been presented to the court will nowhere be near to further deny or delay some form of contact.

Count 1: I can't see any reason for being a problem here. The children were not at any time at risk.

Count 2: As the ex partner is making the allegation she would also need to proof that there is such a problem and that this affects your son's ability to deal with his children.

If the court considers this then there will be a fact finding (or at least your son should request one) where his ex partner needs to come up with evidence.

Count 3: Again, I suggest your son will suggest to sign a undertaking.

He must ask for an interim contact order on his next hearing and the court must then look into every opportunity to make such a contact possible.

Don't bother with the EU courts they are busy with Brexit. Ain't worth it.

Your sons profession and public reputation will help him in his case as this adds to his credibility. It is not worth to go after loss of earnings against his ex, especially if she has no funds herself.

Concentrate to get a result on the contact and let the other stuff go.

If his ex comes now with new stuff such as police reports from whenever date ask the court to not consider this as evidence since this was not part of the initial application.

The court should know by now that this person is making up stuff.

Even if the court allows her to file a police report from 2010 then your son asks why she has allowed contact to happen between 2011 and 2016 if that was such a big issue for her.

It is not creditable.

If there is domestic violence then the party has access to legal aid and indeed that is I believe a motivation for making allegations in this direction.

The law has made provisions for grandparents to also apply to the courts for a contact order.

My understanding is that you would also do this on a c100 application but since you have no PR for the children you would require permission from court upfront.

Since there are still proceedings ongoing it may be worth to check with a lawyer if it is possible for you or your wife to join the proceedings under a c2 application if you wish to do so.

Good luck.

F.
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