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First Court Hearing - Unsupervised access?
#1
Hi All, 

My wife (soon to be ex) and I went to mediation last year, everything was fine and I was having the whole Saturday with our then 1 years old, and about to go to full weekends when in November she withdrew access completely saying that we couldn't stand in the same room together without arguing. As I'm sure you can imagine it's been a nightmare and I decided to focus on the divorce and then fight her for access later. 

In February we talked at court and agreed that I would have access restored (I implied she could have all the equity from the house), we went to soft play together, (me, her and our little boy) and after the 3, very nice, hours together, I told her I couldn't give her all the equity. 

She the completely withdrawn my access to our son. Her solicitor told me to be assessed by a contact centre which I did last month. 

I completed my Form C100 and have a date for next month. Now my wife is refusing to attend the contact centre until after the Court has made an Order. She now completed another form saying I have mentally abused her, there is zero evidence to back this up and I have responded accordingly to the Court.

For the fist Court hearing I am was really expecting the judge to give me full weekends or at least a whole Saturday almost immediately, but now I'm starting to think they are going to make me go the contact centre for what could be months - is it likely I am going to get supervised visits of 2 hours one a fortnight?
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#2
Finance should never be linked to access - which is what I am seeing here.

As you have had previous access, there may be a little time where your required to go to a contact center for a short period of time.

Just relax you WILL get the access you want - its just going to take a bit of time.
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.
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#3
(04-10-2017, 01:26 PM)invisibleintellectual Wrote: Finance should never be linked to access - which is what I am seeing here.

As you have had previous access, there may be a little time where your required to go to a contact center for a short period of time.

Just relax you WILL get the access you want - its just going to take a bit of time.

You're right about the money and the access, it's completely shocking that she's using him as a weapon to get more money. 

Thanks for your response, i guess am living in the false hope a Judge will give me the full access on the day.
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#4
I think we have all hoped for that - I know I did - but deep down I knew it was now going to follow a proscribed course.
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.
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#5
StillSmiling,

Keep all the evidence , emails texts, where she denies contact due to finances - you will need them
What you need to show here is mediation worked... you got access while he was 1... she withdrew it on a whim.... then as he approached 2 you agreed overnight access in court... then she withdrew it over a financial issue... you get the picture?

How old kid now?

You should not have gone to the contact center to be assessed ... only reason is that her solicitor said? But don't worry so much about that now.

Remember all the false allegations are for her to prove ... not for you to defend... in court you can ask for a finding of facts... I assume she has a perfect copy of your health records detailing your non existent mental health issues? NO? ;-) Ok so if her solicitor asks you to get some sort of mental health check up... your answer is going to be .... you guessed it ... NO! Only do such a thing if ordered by a court... and they won't.

Good luck

On a side note about mental health - have a watch of this - very clever guy and this is quiet funny and worrying - it has nothing to do with your story just if you have a spare 20mins
https://www.ted.com/talks/jon_ronson_str...opath_test
Its about how easy it is to label people ... and how easy it is to get normal behavior labelled as 'mental health'
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#6
(04-10-2017, 01:09 PM)StillSmiling Wrote: Hi All, 

My wife (soon to be ex) and I went to mediation last year, everything was fine and I was having the whole Saturday with our then 1 years old, and about to go to full weekends when in November she withdrew access completely saying that we couldn't stand in the same room together without arguing. As I'm sure you can imagine it's been a nightmare and I decided to focus on the divorce and then fight her for access later. 

In February we talked at court and agreed that I would have access restored (I implied she could have all the equity from the house), we went to soft play together, (me, her and our little boy) and after the 3, very nice, hours together, I told her I couldn't give her all the equity. 

She the completely withdrawn my access to our son. Her solicitor told me to be assessed by a contact centre which I did last month. 

I completed my Form C100 and have a date for next month. Now my wife is refusing to attend the contact centre until after the Court has made an Order. She now completed another form saying I have mentally abused her, there is zero evidence to back this up and I have responded accordingly to the Court.

For the fist Court hearing I am was really expecting the judge to give me full weekends or at least a whole Saturday almost immediately, but now I'm starting to think they are going to make me go the contact centre for what could be months - is it likely I am going to get supervised visits of 2 hours one a fortnight?

The age of the child is important here. If under 2, the normal is 4-6 hours, over 1 or 2 days.

There is no legal reason for your ex to be present. If you have PR, you have the same legal standing as your ex. When a Child Arrangements Order is made, you make the decisions on what to do, in time the child is in your care.

Where is will make a legal differance in your case, is if her claims of abuse taking place pre date when she allowed contact, as in law, when she allowed it, she had considered everything up to that point. Have her claims set out for a "Finding of Fact" Hearing. Either she proves it, or they can not be considered.

From 2, you would normally get Friday till Sunday, every 2 weeks, and half school holidays.
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.
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#7
Thanks guys.

He's 2 today actually. I only went to the assessment centre as I thought the court would order it anyway and I didn't want to delay seeing him any longer, but moreover, I could see him which I can't at the moment.

The abuse she alleges is pre-mediation so I know that won;t stack up, but I really want access as soon as possible, I just want to see my little boy.

I've not heard of Finding of Fact, I guess I just ask for it in the Court?
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#8
Hi,

There is basically 2 ways to approach your situation.

1. You deny the use of a contact centre, after all why should you need any supervision.
Problem: You will most likely not see your child until the court has made arrangements for you which may take a couple of months.

2. You do a self-referral to a contact centre so that your children do not suffer a breakdown of contact.
Problem: There is a certain legal implication with a self-referral in that you may admit you are in need of supervision.

I opted for 2 and because my ex decided to go down the dirty road was stucked at a contact centre for almost 2 years until my case was through the court. My case was complex and usually that should not take as long with a more straightforward case.

I still believe I have made the right decision because all the evidence I got from the contact centre supported my case and most important I never lost contact. I firmly believe my relationship to my children would not be the same today if I had a contact break for a couple of months. My children are also very young - similar age than your child.

The problem I see with option 1 is that if your ex is spiteful and comes up with a lot of crap even by just saying you don't know how to change nappies and how to settle your child the court is most likely to investigate that.

That means you will have to go through a supervised session anyway.

Or the court process usually takes 6-12months and they will say at the end that contact needs to be re-established under supervision since you have been out for so long.

It's disgusting but that is what it is from my experience.

I would write to your ex'es lawyer and tell them that you see withholding contact to your child -even under supervision- unlawful and ask for a suggestion to be made how contact can keep going during the legal process at court.

You can suggest contact at your parents or with friends or to continue at the centre.

Make it clear that you deem contact in the child's best interest hence you are prepared to have temporarily supervision.

If she denies any contact as I read it then throw this in her face at court.

If you can continue in the contact centre make sure you feed and change nappies and let them write this in their report also.

Use this as evidence in court to show that you are a competent father and that contact can quickly progress to overnights.

If you opt for 1 let us know here as I would be interested if you really can avoid contact centres choosing this route.

Regardless, at your first hearing you will have to prepare a position statement. It is important that you ask for a decision to be made on interim contact straightaway. The judge may be reluctant to order this at the first hearing depending on how much mud your ex is throwing but latest at the second hearing the judge would need to look into making an order for interim contact.

Regarding fact finding:

Cafcass will be ordered to write a safeguarding report on your case. They will call you and your ex to hear both sides. They look at the national police records and social service for traces of you or your ex.

Cafcass should then recommend a fact find on the allegations or recommend to proceed straight to a dispute resolution hearing / final hearing.

If there is a lot of mud and the judge does seem to consider this you can ask for a fact find to settle the issue.

The problem with fact find is that it is downright ugly and will only delay things. You will have a cross examination by her lawyer and hell that can be ugly. I have been through this and the Schmock of barrister I faced was a disgrace.

Take it step by step.

Good luck.

F.
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#9
Thanks Fribos.

I have been assessed, but the contact centre said they do not supervise, they simply enable fathers to see their Children.

I have written to her 4 times since I was assessed on 25 March asking for clarification as to what days we're going and she hasn't responded to any of them. Neither of us are using solicitors with regard to the access of our son as its so expensive. Just the divorce alone has already hit £25k and we're not even close to getting divorced.

She doesn't respond, if I turn up at the FMH it'll just look bad on me and she'll spin it. I even took a serving police officer with me who video taped it and she even turned that around to me bullying and harassing her. Any thoughts on this point would be most welcome - as far as I can see, I just have to wait for the court date in May and I guess the Judge will order the contact centre as I haven't seem for so long. (last whole day was November 2016, 3 hours with him and her on 9 February 2017 and 5 minutes 25 February when I managed to see him at the house, with the serving police officer).
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#10
Hi,

I really feel for you as I like so many on here have been forced to go through this.

It is heartbreaking and turns life into misery but a year ago I was in Germany and my children were in the U.K. I just had battled my case for contact through the courts in Germany and had contact every 3 weeks for a couple of hours in a contact centre when my ex took me to court in the U.K. and deja-vu it started all over again but this time even more nasty. The financial loss and emotional hurt you can not sum up.

A year on I have relocated to the UK and get to see the kids every other weekend and for holidays. The relationship with mum is still bitter and we are still in court over contact but I am taking this right through to the end.

I guess I want to give you hope and you will have to endure misery over the next couple of months but there will be an end to that tunnel. There always is.

I would advise not to contact mum directly anymore for the moment as you will get nowhere with that. It only goes against you and she will claim harrassment.

I would start a last try and ask the contact centre to contact the mother to arrange a play date.

If they don't do this or if mum refuses try to do something for yourself. There is nothing else you could do and you have tried everything. It is not your fault. Try to create some memories during those days for example start a Photoalbum to show your children when they are older and for yourself when you hit a shit situation again.

If you manage to go through this what else can bring you down? Nothing!

Let us know how you getting on and if you need any help on the paperwork.

F.
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