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Family Assistance Order
#1
In January I started proceedings and took my ex to court to get contact with my then 3 year old son (he's 4 now).  At the start of September, there was a final hearing and the court ordered a Family assistance order.

I've got to do indirect contact for 3 months (that will have been 6 months of letter writing every 2 weeks, which I have kept up with) and from the start of December the FAO should kick in and then the court order states "parents should consider direct contact in some form" which sounds to me like something useless.  Unfortunately, when the order actually arrived I was out of the area as my baby daughter from my new relationship was having major surgery and so I stayed a couple of hundred miles away with her and her mum whilst she was in there and missed the court mailing and missed the appeal time.

So FAO I suppose has to go ahead.

Problems with this:
I have tried to contact my cafcass officer over 20 times in the past 3 months.  I speak to her answer phone.
I have contacted the regional office.  They just joked that lots of people call every day because they can't contact their officer so why do I think I'm so special.
I contacted my ex asking for access to school and medical records to try to be amicable and she wrote back to me stating that as direct contact was only to be considered, she's considered it and won't allow it.
I will start a separate thread for this, but I have found out she has fraudulently submitted a "deed poll" to the school to change my child's surname.

I have PR.

Can I discharge the FAO and request an actual contact order as I can't get hold of the cafcass officer?  It does say on the order that the cafcass officer should refer the case back to court if the fao isn't suitable, but I can't even contact her to tell her any of what is going on.

I just want to see my son  Sad
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#2
That's a pretty poor situation. Someone else will come along to advise but basically, the court was saying that you (both of you) should be reasonable. The ex isn't. I would write formally to CAFCASS (your officer) and copy it to someone more senior and say you're giving them seven working days to respond on the basis that you've contacted then repeatedly with no success. Send it recorded delivery. Then file a C100 at your local court seeking to vary the Order. You haven't seen your kid, you're party to the FAO but you've heard FA (!) from anybody, what else are you supposed to do! I don't think you need to discharge the FAO. It has failed. It's time for court again.

Oh and she can't change the child's name by deed poll or any other way when subject to a child arrangememts order when you have PR.
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#3
Do you have evidence that she has changed the child's name by deed poll? I know deed polls aren't registered anywhere. Does the Family Assistance Order have the bit on the bottom that no-one is allowed to change the child's name? If so she is in breach of the order and you could maybe try and enforce it and apply for a variation at the same time or a new Child Arrangements order.

If it doesn't have that bit on the order you could do a specific issues order as an urgent application requiring the court to make a specific issues order that no-one is to change the child's surname without the consent of both parents, and that the deed poll is null and void and she must continue to use the child's proper name. At the same time as applying for the specific issues order you can apply for variation/ Child Arrangements order and ask for the hearing for the specific issue to be considered as the first hearing for the Child Arrangements.

I think the only way you could get evidence of it is a) if she has told you in writing she has done it or b) The school is prepared to confirm they have seen a copy of a change of name deed poll and the child's name has changed.

You don't have to ask your ex for school records. If you have PR you can write directly to the school and ask them to keep you informed. There's a page on this site somewhere with letter templates. I just did something like

Dear Mrs Headteacher name

I write to introduce myself as the Father of Joe and Jane Blogs. I have equal parental responsibility with their Mother and request that you keep me informed of any problems they may have in school and of their progress. Please could you send copies of school reports and school newsletters directly to me, either by email at the above email address, or by post. I am happy to provide a supply of envelopes and stamps if email is not possible. I would also be grateful if you could keep me informed of the dates of any school events such as sports day and school plays, and any parent consultation dates.

I request that you communicate separately with both Joe and Jane's Mother and myself as communication between us is difficult at this time.

I am happy to come in to meet you if you wish, but meanwhile enclose evidence of my parental responsibilty, by means of a certified copy of my driving licence for identification, certified copies of Joe and Jane's birth certificates, showing my name is on the birth certificate. I automatically have parental responsibility by means of having been married to their Mother (and/or they were born after 2003 if not married).

I understand their Mother has recently changed their surnames by deed poll and request that you send me a copy of the deed poll. Thank you.

Yours sincerely, Me

If she won't give you details of medical records, I had a good tip from my local GP surgery, which was - there are only so many GP surgeries in the catchment area of the Mother's house - write to each of them individually and see which one replies! My first letter got sent back "not our patient". The second one replied and was very helpful. I wrote a similar letter to the one above to the school, but asking to have my name added to the child's medical records in case of emergencies, and asking to be kept informed of any health issues or diagnoses for child. I didn't ask for a copy of medical records at that stage, but kept it as an introductory letter and had similar wording re dealing with ex and me separately and confidentially, and the same ID etc and also said I was willing to go in and meet them. I asked about a specific diagnosis and was given information about it (when ex said he had xyz that prevented him doing something, and it wasn't true).

I think asking for medical records straight away could be an issue. I believe GP's don't have to provide medical records, so it may be better to introduce yourself first and start slowly with requests for information.

Edit: You could always email her about the deed poll and see what she replies. Her response may be the evidence you need. eg Dear EX, I understand you have changed the children's surnames by deed poll. Please can you confirm if this is the case, because by law any change of surname requires my consent, and therefore the childrens surnames should not be changed by deed poll.

If she doesn't reply, your email could be evidence along with - no response to this email. Although if you can get the school to confirm it would help.
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#4
(11-22-2017, 01:04 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: Do you have evidence that she has changed the child's name by deed poll? I know deed polls aren't registered anywhere.  Does the Family Assistance Order have the bit on the bottom that no-one is allowed to change the child's name?  If so she is in breach of the order and you could maybe try and enforce it and apply for a variation at the same time or a new Child Arrangements order.

If it doesn't have that bit on the order you could do a specific issues order as an urgent application requiring the court to make a specific issues order that no-one is to change the child's surname without the consent of both parents, and that the deed poll is null and void and she must continue to use the child's proper name.  At the same time as applying for the specific issues order you can apply for variation/ Child Arrangements order and ask for the hearing for the specific issue to be considered as the first hearing for the Child Arrangements.

I think the only way you could get evidence of it is a) if she has told you in writing she has done it or b) The school is prepared to confirm they have seen a copy of a change of name deed poll and the child's name has changed.

You don't have to ask your ex for school records.  If you have PR you can write directly to the school and ask them to keep you informed.  There's a page on this site somewhere with letter templates.  I just did something like

Dear Mrs Headteacher name

I write to introduce myself as the Father of Joe and Jane Blogs.  I have equal parental responsibility with their Mother and request that you keep me informed of any problems they may have in school and of their progress.  Please could you send copies of school reports and school newsletters directly to me, either by email at the above email address, or by post.  I am happy to provide a supply of envelopes and stamps if email is not possible.  I would also be grateful if you could keep me informed of the dates of any school events such as sports day and school plays, and any parent consultation dates.

I request that you communicate separately with both Joe and Jane's Mother and myself as communication between us is difficult at this time.

I am happy to come in to meet you if you wish, but meanwhile enclose evidence of my parental responsibilty, by means of a certified copy of my driving licence for identification, certified copies of Joe and Jane's birth certificates, showing my name is on the birth certificate.  I automatically have parental responsibility by means of having been married to their Mother (and/or they were born after 2003 if not married).

I understand their Mother has recently changed their surnames by deed poll and request that you send me a copy of the deed poll.  Thank you.

Yours sincerely, Me

If she won't give you details of medical records, I had a good tip from my local GP surgery, which was - there are only so many GP surgeries in the catchment area of the Mother's house - write to each of them individually and see which one replies!  My first letter got sent back "not our patient".  The second one replied and was very helpful. I wrote a similar letter to the one above to the school, but asking to have my name added to the child's medical records in case of emergencies, and asking to be kept informed of any health issues or diagnoses for child.  I didn't ask for a copy of medical records at that stage, but kept it as an introductory letter and had similar wording re dealing with ex and me separately and confidentially, and the same ID etc and also said I was willing to go in and meet them.  I asked about a specific diagnosis and was given information about it (when ex said he had xyz that prevented him doing something, and it wasn't true).

I think asking for medical records straight away could be an issue.  I believe GP's don't have to provide medical records, so it may be better to introduce yourself first and start slowly with requests for information.

Edit:  You could always email her about the deed poll and see what she replies.  Her response may be the evidence you need.  eg Dear EX, I understand you have changed the children's surnames by deed poll.  Please can you confirm if this is the case, because by law any change of surname requires my consent, and therefore the childrens surnames should not be changed by deed poll.

If she doesn't reply, your email could be evidence along with - no response to this email.  Although if you can get the school to confirm it would help.

I have contacted the schools admissions board and they have confirmed that she submitted a deed poll with a declaration stating that she was the only person with PR.  So not just the school but the actual local education authority have changed his LEGAL name on their systems to reflect Mr new husband who my son calls daddy to please his mother.  I have informed them that I have not agreed to this and submitted the birth certificate naming me and the court order stating that no person is to cause a child to be known as a new surname.  They are addressing this with thier legal team.

I shall put in the enforcement order and request to vary the order at the same time.  It's so confusing to know which forms they want.  I'll fill out the enforcement order request form and the C2 and shall just go to the court to file everything in person and see what they say.  At the moment, my partner is on maternity leave so we qualify for help with fees so now is an ideal time for me to do this anyway.

I'm also putting in a formal complaint to CAFCASS.  I can't believe that they are still ignoring me even though my ex is clearly disregarding the order and attempting to alter my son's identity to wipe me out of the picture entirely (not that he had my surname, but she's trying to give him another man's surname!)
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#5
The forms you need are a C79 for enforcememt and a C100 to seek to vary the Order.

I'm afraid this matter is simple. In English law you don't have to change your name by deed poll (that it is just one method) and you can just announce you want to be called something else tomorrow and it's job done. That's why the court Order says, "cause to be known....". However, no-one can just say I want my child to be called X because they libe with them if a Child Arrangements Order is in place. So she is (very clearly) in breach of the Order.

If you are in doubt with the forms, you can phone the court and ask to speak to the magistrates legal adviser and ask if you need to submit other forms. Frankly, this is horrific and I've never heard anything like it.
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#6
(11-22-2017, 04:26 PM)Chi21965 Wrote: The forms you need are a C79 for enforcememt and a C100 to seek to vary the Order.

I'm afraid this matter is simple. In English law you don't have to change your name by deed poll (that it is just one method) and you can just announce you want to be called something else tomorrow and it's job done. That's why the court Order says, "cause to be known....". However, no-one can just say I want my child to be called X because they libe with them if a Child Arrangements Order is in place. So she is (very clearly) in breach of the Order.

If you are in doubt with the forms, you can phone the court and ask to speak to the magistrates legal adviser and ask if you need to submit other forms. Frankly, this is horrific and I've never heard anything like it.

Thanks for your advice.  It's really useful.

So the order I have states that CAFCASS can refer us back to court if they don't think the FAO is working and the case has not been officially closed.  Would I still need to submit a C100 or would it be a C2? 

My local familycourt is a shambles. I've emailed them numerous times about this and they haven't got back to me and refuse to discuss anything over the phone.  So I think I'll do what I did when I filed in the first place and go to the county court.  I'm going to fill in all the forms and go overkill and take everything with me in 4 copies and then they can take what they will from that.  I had about 4 different forms filled in when I initially applied because numerous McKenzie friends who had advised me were so misinformed on the information to give.
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#7
The way the Form C2 works is like this. If you are a parent you don't need permission to apply for an Order so you don't need to fill out a C2, it's for people who can't automatically apply for an Order (ie a parent) and who must therefore first seek the permission of the court. Frankly it sounds as if CAFCASS have been Sat on their arse so I don't think you need to be concerned about them. When they get the papers you might be surprised at how quickly they become responsive.

You need every form in four copies, one for you, to be sent to the ex, for CAFCASS and the judge. And if your ex and the children live in the same place, send the forms to the court that did the most recent Order. If they have moved, it's whichever family court is nearest to where they now live.
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