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In desperate need of help!
#1
Hi, 
Never thought I'd be here asking for advice regarding my own son, probably like the rest of you!


So, 4 weeks ago yesterday me and my partner split after an argument started on our valentines night out. 
For some reason, she has decided that this is the end for us (before sitting down and talking etc) and is trying to prove a point I think, she has accused me of domestic violence and taken out a non-molestation order out against me, of which I have already gone to court over and due to me being unable to financially justify contesting the order under the advice of a mckenzie friend, went with the order staying in place under No admissions being made. I have also attended a police interview regarding the same thing. So that's that, before the hearing her solicitor communicated with me and I told her that I wanted to make arrangements for our now 10 month old son, of which the ex stated she wants me to have contact, i said I'd start maintainence payments. 
During the hearing, the judge asked the ex about arrangements for our child to which she replied she wanted it through a CONTACT CENTER! I was lead to believe something was going to be sorted for direct contact. 
So now it's a month that I've not seen my son, I have paid her maintenance, and even though reluctantly contacting a contact center they are telling me application and registration could take 8+weeks (from now as I've only just received the papers) 
Is there anything I can do to get to see my son before? 
My mckenzie friend is suggesting a child arrangements order, although I'm reading a lot of this sort of stuff is still biased to the mothers side. 
I believe the non mol order is a smokescreen for the ex to basically make it hard for me and make it so she holds all the cards that I must play to, which at the moment there doesn't seem any other way, I'm being advised to attend parenting classes and anger management courses to apparently prove myself!
I've been advised not to contact her family as this may stir the pot and to go through her solicitor if I need to ask anything, that I have tried to call regarding making arrangements but still got no reply.  

I feel like Im supposed to just keep my mouth shut and put up with it, so I can eventually have an hour with my son in a Center somewhere 
Is there anything I can do? It's blatantly obvious me and the ex are done, I just want to see my boy, it is rapidly destroying me not seeing him, I'm having regular anxiety attacks, I can't eat/sleep and the closest I've got to seeing my son is a couple of pictures that friends have shown me on social media. 
I need some direction and good solid advice, surely this can't be it, her dictating everything! 
I am named on the birth certificate btw. 
Thanks, I hope someone out there can help.
Reply
#2
Hi,

I am sorry to read about your situation and the way it took it's course over Valetines Day.

Sometimes beak-up's like yours happen with a velocity hard to control and things quickly turn nasty and get out of control. In a situation like that it's more likely that fathers have to fight for their children's rights for contact to both parents through the court system.

The system is (I feel) somewhat working but extremely slow and expensive and it can be frustrating from time to time and it can wear you out emotionally very quickly.

There are unbelievable stories on this forum here but they are also stories about passionate and devoted dads testament to their commitment to fight this through the system. So, welcome to the club and I hope you find some inspiration from all the other dads here.

You really have 2 areas to focus on at the moment.

1. Emotionally
The relationship with your ex partner is over - being a parent is not.

Try to give yourself a break from your bad situation and focus on yourself. You need to stay mentally and physically healthy for your child. Do some sport, eat good stuff and stay away from booze. Someone suggested to take a cheap Ryanair flight from time to time to go travelling a bit. Great idea. Back to youth hostel time! Why not.

Your child is still very young and you will need a clear mind to fight mum's attitude. So, take care yourself and do not get dragged into emotions with the ex. Keep everything short and simple to the point.

With a non-mol order already in play it is to my thinking not a good idea to contact her or her side of the family directly. Communicate with her lawyer or take things to court.

2. Legally
I would advise you to sort the arrangements for your child via the court. You have a long way to go with your child and you need legal stability or backing for your contact to happen. Nothing worse to find after 5 years nothing is in place and your ex moves to Australia with your child.

So, whatever your situation is now you would need to progress things through court.

You do not accept the position of your ex that contact needs to happen through a contact centre or that you need whatever classes.

Write to the lawyer and suggest that contact can take place at your parents house (if this is an option) or that maybe a mutual friend can do the handovers.

Do not do a self-referral to a contact centre without having court proceedings in place, it will not help you long term and you may be stucked there for a long time.

Parallel ask a mediation organisation to invite your ex partner to a MIAM.

Your ex will refuse or the mediate people tell you straight away that your case is unsuitable for mediation. You will get a certificate from them which then gives you permission to settle things via the court. You can also say that you wanted to work things out amicably in mediation but it got refused, this is a bit of psychology to show the court you are sensible in your actions.

You then need to apply for what is called a child arrangement order (Form C100).

You need to know what you want the court to do in terms of
- determination of resident/visiting parent
- in case you want your child to life with mum you need to come up with a contact plan e.g. how much contact you want to start with and how this should progress over time
- any other issues such as change of surname, disclosure of GP details, passport issues etc.

Along with the C100 which determines who resident and who visiting parent is you can apply for a specific issue or prohibited steps order. Generally a Specific issue order is used if you want your ex to do something and prohibited steps to prevent her from doing something.

You may ask as a specific issue order that your ex needs to send you pictures every 3 weeks as long as you have no contact or that she needs to give you information about how baby is sleeping and feeding and if her immunisation is up to date. You may also request access to the red book.
The C100 will cost you Gbp 215.

Your ex will then reply to your application along with most likely a C1A which is used where allegations of domestic violence is involved.

The court will ask Cafcass to undertake safeguarding checks and to write a report. Cafcass will call you and your ex to find out what the situation is and they will look up your records with the police and social service.

At the end of their report the will suggest a way forward for the judge to consider.

You will then have a first hearing where the judge is going to consider all informations and must determine a way forward. It is important that you ask for a interim contact order at this point if you still have no contact.

You basically deny all allegations and if this is not already considered from Cafcass and the judge you ask for a finding of fact to determine that the allegations are all made up.

Most likely the judge will then order supervised contact in a contact centre or via family members if this is suitable.

This is direct contact with your child but with a social worker being present and taking notes about your interaction with your child.

It will be supervised as long as the proceedings are ongoing and until the judge determined you are no harm to your child.

Much will depend on how your case develops from the fact finding if there is one and we can advise you from there onwards.

So your gameplay to my thinking would be

1. Mediation, not to bother too much as I am sure your ex will refuse anyway.
2. C100 application to court
3. Request interim contact at first heraring and deny all allegations and ask for a fact finding.

Hope this helps to get you started.

Come back if you need further help or advise.

F.
Reply
#3
(03-12-2017, 11:15 AM)Frisbos Wrote: Hi,

I am sorry to read about your situation and the way it took it's course over Valetines Day.

Sometimes beak-up's like yours happen with a velocity hard to control and things quickly turn nasty and get out of control. In a situation like that it's more likely that fathers have to fight for their children's rights for contact to both parents through the court system.

The system is (I feel) somewhat working but extremely slow and expensive and it can be frustrating from time to time and it can wear you out emotionally very quickly.

There are unbelievable stories on this forum here but they are also stories about passionate and devoted dads testament to their commitment to fight this through the system. So, welcome to the club and I hope you find some inspiration from all the other dads here.

You really have 2 areas to focus on at the moment.

1. Emotionally
The relationship with your ex partner is over - being a parent is not.

Try to give yourself a break from your bad situation and focus on yourself. You need to stay mentally and physically healthy for your child. Do some sport, eat good stuff and stay away from booze. Someone suggested to take a cheap Ryanair flight from time to time to go travelling a bit. Great idea. Back to youth hostel time! Why not.

Your child is still very young and you will need a clear mind to fight mum's attitude. So, take care yourself and do not get dragged into emotions with the ex. Keep everything short and simple to the point.

With a non-mol order already in play it is to my thinking not a good idea to contact her or her side of the family directly. Communicate with her lawyer or take things to court.

2. Legally
I would advise you to sort the arrangements for your child via the court. You have a long way to go with your child and you need legal stability or backing for your contact to happen. Nothing worse to find after 5 years nothing is in place and your ex moves to Australia with your child.

So, whatever your situation is now you would need to progress things through court.

You do not accept the position of your ex that contact needs to happen through a contact centre or that you need whatever classes.

Write to the lawyer and suggest that contact can take place at your parents house (if this is an option) or that maybe a mutual friend can do the handovers.

Do not do a self-referral to a contact centre without having court proceedings in place, it will not help you long term and you may be stucked there for a long time.

Parallel ask a mediation organisation to invite your ex partner to a MIAM.

Your ex will refuse or the mediate people tell you straight away that your case is unsuitable for mediation. You will get a certificate from them which then gives you permission to settle things via the court. You can also say that you wanted to work things out amicably in mediation but it got refused, this is a bit of psychology to show the court you are sensible in your actions.

You then need to apply for what is called a child arrangement order (Form C100).

You need to know what you want the court to do in terms of
- determination of resident/visiting parent
- in case you want your child to life with mum you need to come up with a contact plan e.g. how much contact you want to start with and how this should progress over time
- any other issues such as change of surname, disclosure of GP details, passport issues etc.

Along with the C100 which determines who resident and who visiting parent is you can apply for a specific issue or prohibited steps order. Generally a Specific issue order is used if you want your ex to do something and prohibited steps to prevent her from doing something.

You may ask as a specific issue order that your ex needs to send you pictures every 3 weeks as long as you have no contact or that she needs to give you information about how baby is sleeping and feeding and if her immunisation is up to date. You may also request access to the red book.
The C100 will cost you Gbp 215.

Your ex will then reply to your application along with most likely a C1A which is used where allegations of domestic violence is involved.

The court will ask Cafcass to undertake safeguarding checks and to write a report. Cafcass will call you and your ex to find out what the situation is and they will look up your records with the police and social service.

At the end of their report the will suggest a way forward for the judge to consider.

You will then have a first hearing where the judge is going to consider all informations and must determine a way forward. It is important that you ask for a interim contact order at this point if you still have no contact.

You basically deny all allegations and if this is not already considered from Cafcass and the judge you ask for a finding of fact to determine that the allegations are all made up.

Most likely the judge will then order supervised contact in a contact centre or via family members if this is suitable.

This is direct contact with your child but with a social worker being present and taking notes about your interaction with your child.

It will be supervised as long as the proceedings are ongoing and until the judge determined you are no harm to your child.

Much will depend on how your case develops from the fact finding if there is one and we can advise you from there onwards.

So your gameplay to my thinking would be

1. Mediation, not to bother too much as I am sure your ex will refuse anyway.
2. C100 application to court
3. Request interim contact at first heraring and deny all allegations and ask for a fact finding.

Hope this helps to get you started.

Come back if you need further help or advise.

F.

Thank you for your reply! Appreciate it massively! 
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and the last month has made me realise that the relationship was destined to end at some point, and with the kind of person she is, badly! There were always threats of restraining orders and making my life hell (regarding my son) if we ever split up, love is a very strange thing I suppose and regardless I carried on with the relationship having to basically sacrifice my own life, friends, family, worklife was affected, to the point where she'd isolated me to it being just me, her and my lad, so now it's over I'm completely alone. 
Mutual friends are non-exsistant, and family from either side acting as drop off/pick up will be impossible as her mum will be pulling the strings with the ex.
The non mol order was extended for 6 months, so September 1st this year. I understand all the terms and conditions, with no intention of breaking the order. 
So I'm basically stuck with going through the courts to get a definitive in all this then? I understand that the child arrangements order is something I need to be doing as it sets concretely my access to my boy. 
As far as I'm concerned I'd like to get this sorted amicably and let the heartbreak heal its self, but she knows that me not spending time with my son will destroy me and is using it to good effect currently!
Reply
#4
Hi,

I have edited your post and took out your child's name to protect the identity of you.

Yes, pursue this through the courts as there is no other way. You may not even need mediation now since there is already a non-mol order in place. I am not sure on this one.

You need to get a grip on the C100 pretty fast to get this into the court arena.

In my case it took 6months until I could hold my baby girl in my arms. Also in a contact centre. I now see her regularly unsupervised.

One of the greatest moments for me so far was when I attended the Christmas play in pre-school for my son last year.

My ex attended with my daughter also and I asked if we want to sit together as parents. She spit at me and insisted to sit alone.

Ok, no problem. The play started and the whole room went quiet apart from a seat back in the 6th row. My daughter had spotted me and demanded from mum to let her go. She got so restless that people in the room turned heads and my ex had to let that little girl go. She came across to me with a big smile.

I thought it can't be and I am dreaming but here I was with my child on my arms watching a my sons Christmas play. Mum was sitting all alone.

I felt a bit for mum as this must have hurt her massively but the moment was just unbelievable....

It's this what will keep you going.

It is hard to start with but once you have access to your child it will work out somehow.

F.
Reply
#5
Okay, thanks a lot for your help, gotta get the funds together sharpish and get this sorted then.
I'm still in shock of how someone who only a matter of weeks ago looked into my eyes and was telling me how she loved me and couldn't see herself without me, turn out to be so venomous and vindictive!
I do hold out hope, I do, it's just hard to see a positive outcome right now, other than being at work I have spent every single day with her through the pregnancy, then her and my lad when he was born, im now alone and missing all the milestones, I've seen a picture of him today and he looks to have grown so much already!
What are your views on representation for the court hearings?
Like I've said I'm in contact with a mckenzie friend currently, is it wise to carry that on or is a solicitor a better option?
Reply
#6
(03-12-2017, 01:56 PM)SamB Wrote: Okay, thanks a lot for your help, gotta get the funds together sharpish and get this sorted then.
I'm still in shock of how someone who only a matter of weeks ago looked into my eyes and was telling me how she loved me and couldn't see herself without me, turn out to be so venomous and vindictive!
I do hold out hope, I do, it's just hard to see a positive outcome right now, other than being at work I have spent every single day with her through the pregnancy, then her and my lad when he was born, im now alone and missing all the milestones, I've seen a picture of him today and he looks to have grown so much already!
What are your views on representation for the court hearings?  
Like I've said I'm in contact with a mckenzie friend currently, is it wise to carry that on or is a solicitor a better option?

A McKenzie Friend does not have right to even go into Court, let alone speck for you.

It is very risky, as you could end up with them not being able to come in, resulting in you being on your own.

Either Solicitor or Self Representing is better.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
Reply
#7
Hi,

I remember me being in the same situation as you are right now. It was tough to come out of this place and even today I depend on my family to carry me through emotionally and financially from time to time. But things improve and I have settled somewhat. I now look forward to springtime when life returns to this planet after winter.

Embrace yourself for a rocky journey over the next couple of months. Your ticket is a no return one and you need try to learn from your mistakes. If they make you fall over something get back up and jump over whatever they throw your way.

They will learn in time that you ain't going away and that they have to deal with you.

Start writing a diary or start a photoalbum take pictures from you and date them. Create something memorable for your child in the times you can not be with him. One day he might want to know how you did it - your fight.

I had hearings in Germany and there because our lawyers can only charge as per set table was represented all the way through to a court of appeal. When things came to the UK I was confronted with a hell of nasty allegations and I was scarred I would never see my children again. So, I opted for representation.

I remember me paying a flat, child maintenance, a lawyer in Germany, a lawyer in U.K., a barrister in U.K., flights to the U.K. and a contact centre monthly. It was stupid and I did that until nothing was left on my bank account.

The lawyers helped of course as I had no idea about your system here but on the other hand they will rip you off until nothing is left of you.
Gbp 300 per hour and Gpb 20 per email or phonecall it's just out of this world.

Every pound not spent on a lawyer you can better invest in your child. However, it also depends on how severe your case is.

If you get confronted with a lot of bad crap it is important to get your case under control quickly. So, a barrister may be a good idea.

Personally I would wait and see how things go. A mckenzie friend may be a good alternative.

Up to the first hearing you can't really go wrong. It is unlikely that a judge makes an order for your child to which you are tied for the rest of your life because your child is so young.

In my case my son is 4 and my daughter 1.5 and I only got a very unprecise contact order. I am still in court about it but what I am trying to say is that you will have a chance to get it varied later on when your child is at least 2-3 years old.

A tip with concerns to the DV allegations and their demand for courses. Depending on how severe the allegations are and depending if you can disprove them it may be worth that you attend the SIPP course from Cafcass or any other short term cours like a parenting course voluntarily.

This is a bit of a gamble but the judges like to order DV programmes just to be on safe side and the argument is that it can not harm you but only help the situation.

This is shit for you because this will then stick on your records and the programms run for a long time.

A way to attack this is to show the judge that you have tried to address the concerns of your ex and that you voluntarily did a parenting course already.

Again this is a bit of a gamble and you would need to try to get a feeling on how the judge ticks on your first hearing.

Try to listen carefully what they say and try to read between the lines. They give messages like that.

Best of luck!

F.
Reply
#8
It's just awful!
Don't get me wrong I've had plenty of shit to deal with in the 24 years I've been on this godforsaken planet-
Growing up with no dad myself
Reoccurring medical problems from birth to 16
A serious illness that very nearly killed me at 14
Lost my mum suddenly to a brain tumour at 18 and became guardian to my two younger sisters and takin on the responsibilities of being the mainstay of our family
But this is up there! Absolutely soul destroying to say the least. Sorry sound like a drama queen.
Financially things are tight, but if it's going to be worth having representation there then that's what I'll do, like I say I'm just unsure as to what extent, my mckenzie friend is really helpful but is obviously more of an advisory role rather than somebody who is going to help me fight if that makes sense.
Regarding the courses- would me attending these not be me accepting the allagations to some extent or is it something that shows my intent to prove myself otherwise? Would it be worth waiting for the judge to tell me to do this or beforehand?
I had this conversation with my mckenzie friend, how do I disprove what she is alleging? If I were to keep a record of arguments or instances (she is claiming multiple occasions) then surely I would of been doubting the relationship then and would of ended it there and then, if you know what I mean. Thing that gets me is everything she is claiming is ultimately done to myself, often locking me in the house after I would attempt to diffuse the situation, she would get physical and leave me in cuts/scratches and bruises/black eyes, in one instance she attacked a friend of mine because she didn't want me talking to him!
I stayed with it because I adored her and believed if I proved myself to her then it would change...
her allagations are twisted versions of true events- he would often grab me and push me around= during an argument it got to the point where she'd punched me once and was going for me again, I held her arms so she couldn't do it again as I walked to the exit to get the hell out... also followed up with absolute nonsense claims about my personality, please inform me how you can be smothering of your own child?
Again thanks for the help, I'm working on getting funds together for both cold arrangements order and contact center with progress on at least one front this week!
Reply
#9
Hi,

* With regards to supervised contact and a parenting course.

You will find that the opinion on this subject are somewhat different on this forum. Some people say that you automatically agree to a certain need or accept a partial guilt if you were to take supervised contact / attend a parenting course voluntarily.

I am more of the opinion that you can also use this to your benefit in court. You want contact with your child, that is your main focus. If only supervised contact is on offer than I would always take that to start with.

My reason for it would be that you can start a relationship with your child while things go through the courts.

If you deny supervised contact you will have to wait until you are done in court. That may take a year and guess what they say then. They will say father has no relationship with his child and he needs carefully introduced to it. That is going to happen in a contact centre under supervision.

If you deny such form of contact it may also weaken your case for contact. Is is ridiculous but they may turn this against you for not being able to see the bigger picture. The lawyers crap bucket is deep...

They can't come up with this if you already have supervised contact and at that point a progression of contact would needed to be discussed. You also get contact reports which you can show to the court that you are a good dad.

It is illusional that any judge in a case with a young baby and allegations of DV will order unsupervised contact straight away. And no, it doesn't matter if the allegations are all nonsense, the judge just doesn't want to be in the newspaper for a potential risky decision. So, you will find that they will always order supervised contact to be on safe side. It sucks but that is what it is.

I argued that I took this form of contact to establish a relationship with my child and made it clear that I don't need any supervision. That was also the tenor of my German orders, German social service reports, German child guardian report and Cafcass S7 and the people from the contact centre. It still was not enough for this judge here and it had to be supervised to start with. You could see that the judge did literally everything by the book.

Still, in the end I felt the judge honoured that I had played along.

Same with the course.

Regardless of what the outcome of fact finding is the judge would always require you that you can address mum's concerns or allegations also.

If on edge, I believe it would make the decision harder for a judge to put you on another course if you already have done something to this effect.

This is my personal feeling and as I said before this is a bit of a gamble. You would need to get a feeling for it how your judge ticks.

* with the allegations

This is easy and your ex will most likely file a C1A and claim for DV. This already makes sense as she would most likely want to try to qualify for legal aid.

She will write hell about you in that C1A.

The judge will look at it and in court depending on how many things there are will cut this down to 5-10 points. The big ones.

When this selection is done you must try to take the big ones out already. For example if she alleges you raped her (and if this is a lie)

You would then argue if that was the case she would have gone to the police already. She has not done this so this is obviously a lie.

Or if she alleges that you were shouting all the time. You would then argue that this was not done in front of the children and stayed between parents. This is about your child and not about your relationship to her.

Once the court has determined the points for fact finding your ex needs to come up with a scott schedule and witness statement.

All allgeations she must try to proof with evidence such as medical certificates, police reports etc.

You can also submit a witness statement and your evidence.

Then there will be a cross examination. This is a tough one and here you definitely need a good barrister with you.

After that the judge must decide what allegation on the balance of probability has happened and what not. That means what allegation is more likely to have happened than not.

Whatever is left on your list will then determine how your contact will be and if they send you on a course,

F.
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