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Instructed my solicitor finally – What to expect next?
I'm doing well after the stroke and only had to spend one week in the unit. It didn't affect the part of the brain that handles cognition or speech thankfully. It's left me with mostly sensation, balance and vision issues but they are all improving rapidly thankfully. If your going to have a stroke you want to be having the type I had! I'm all settled at the new place.

Yes, I had the initial hearing on Monday and we will be back in about 9 weeks once cafcass have done the section 7 report. In the meantime they will visit both parents and speak to both children. The ex has a solicitor but I'm self representing.

Currently there is an interim aggrement with the ex whereby I can see my son for a maximum of 4 hours every other Sunday under the supervision of a select few family members. That was only agreed in court this past Monday so I'm super excited to see my boy this weekend! My ex still says that my daughter does not want any contact with me so I havent spoken to or seen her for a year and a half, not for lack of trying. The truth is she is just reluctant to see me because her mother has painted a false picture of my health and has used my daughters reluctance as a weapon.

On the positive side, I have to supply the court and cafcass with a doctors report by a certain date. I know from previous correspondence that my doctor will quash any mental health concerns that the ex claims to have because there are none.

My big worry is that I won't get a chance to submit my evidence that clearly and conclusively proves that the ex has maliciously lied repeatedly in her efforts to alienate me. I have so much documentation, recordings, transcripts, videos, texts and emails that it's impossible for the authorities to look at it all yet if they did it'd be impossible for them to find in the exs favour.

The court have already made clear they want to investigate my health (which is fine by me) and the future child arrangements. Nothing about my exs conduct in lying and forcing me and my children apart on just her false allegations which I can prove untrue. It's as though they will only take into consideration that they are now in a routine and seeing me might unsettle them. Cafcass even mentioned that they have concerns because I've been having only supervised contact.... But that's only because its the only way the ex will let me see my son.

Honestly, I feel like when the time comes I'll just drop a 10, 000 page document on their laps. I just want the full picture to be understood.

Edit: One thing I'd like to know is if I'll get the opportunity to speak with cafcass in person and present evidence before they meet with my children? The only reason I want to do this is because there are specific things I can evidence that prove the ex has maliciously lied and if asked the right questions the children will confirm these things. For example she says I didn't take them to school, that I did nothing at Christmas for them, that I hurt myself infront of them... The list goes on and on and if they are asked about these specific allegations rather than just generic questions they would confirm the claims of my ex are not true. Basically will my evidence/statement influence what is discussed with the children so that it can be shown to be true?
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Hi

It’s good to hear that the stroke you had hasn’t affected your cognitive ability and that you’re doing OK.  I must say that seeing my son go through the Family Court system and being a member of this forum for some time now, I’m so cynical that I wouldn’t put it past your ex’s solicitor using your ill health to put doubt on your ability to look after your children.  Only you and those close to you know how apparent it is, but I think I’d not mention it in any documents at this stage (probably teaching grandma to suck eggs there, as I’m sure you’d no intention of mentioning your recent ill health).

Having said the above, I’d also say that on the forum there have been some really good results lately, so, as Charlie says, just hang on in there.

As for your edit about how your children will be questioned, I’m sure Cafcass have some guidance on this (isn’t there always!), but whether that’s something that the general public can access I don’t know.

Have you thought about contacting Families Need Fathers?  They have a website and can help with legal advice.

Best wishes Sector, we’re here to help if we can.
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Thanks Kate.

I'm going to have to mention my Stroke to the court, they have ordered that I provide details of any recent hospital admissions. But that's OK with me, I'll have been seeing my son on weekends by the time the next hearing happens so they can't say it has had any effect on my parenting skills, but yes, I'm sure they'll try.

Someone mentioned sending cafcass evidence by email. I don't want to be seen to be pestering them but is it an option to start giving them evidence in advance so that it can be discussed at my face to face interview? I am realising that if I want them to listen to what I have to say I'm going to have to push harder - otherwise they will lead and just give her the benefit of the doubt. Being 'nice' and 'agreeable' hasn't seemed to have gotten me anywhere.

There is such blatant lying going on about me but I'm worried that past allegations will be overlooked because the focus will be on the current situation. The trouble is the past allegations are why I am in this situation, it's blatant and deliberate alienation. Now it seems she is likely to be rewarded for lying and alienating me for almost 2 years.

Right. I'm going to bed... I'm in danger of making this thread into my own personal blog! Good to vent a little though to people who understand. You can feel very alone at times like this, so even a post on a forum to strangers can help a little.
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Well, we may well be strangers, but we have things in common, and the general consensus on the forum seems to be that it’s best to let the authorities just get on with their jobs (ie, go with the flow as Charlie said), and not try too hard in the early stages.  

I do notice the hypocrisy of the media when I see items about schemes to alleviate the effects of bereavement or imprisonment on young children, but never a mention of children who lose their connection because of separation or divorce.

Please do have a look at the Families Need Fathers Website. 

https://fnf.org.uk/
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Hi Sector,

Just wanted to say I'm sorry to hear about your stroke and I'm pleased to see you are recovering well. Make sure you look after yourself, you have to also think about your own well-being so you be can fit/healthy and well to look after your children, although it's instinct to put them first sometimes you need to take stock and put yourself first and that is difficult! I hope it all works out for you and keep doing what you're doing! Smile
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Hi Sector - good to hear from you again and sorry to hear about your stroke but equally good to read you are recovering well and still fighting fit. As Astroman has said - it's important to look after yourself so you can ensure you are there for your children. It's why airlines tell you to put on your mask first so you can help others. Make sure you take great care of your health. I am determined to be around for when my Grandchild grows up - solely to spite his mother and her mother. I am losing weight and at present feeling fit and strong - where as her mother is grossly overweight and has health issues.

I follow your story with hope and prayers that you get a fair hearing and those with the power see through all the lies and falsehoods. I also hope your children realise what a great Dad you are and how lucky they are. Keep strong x
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Don't have much time to post right now, but just wanted to say, you can submit plenty of evidence at final hearing. It was me mentioned about sending something to Cafcass, but not yet. You want to be very careful what and how you show them - while exonerating yourself you could come across as being hostile to the ex. And very important not to do that. They are used to ex's making allegations. Be yourself and be honest when you talk to them and the best thing to say is - no that's not true. How you come across is important as well - they judge attitude and behaviour. Just remember that although it feels like a friendly chat, they are analysing you, so don't slip into going on about all the things the ex has done, focus on how you want your children to be able to have regular and significant time with both their parents. And answer the questions honestly as you have on here. So if they ask why contact is supervised say there is no need for it but it is all ex would allow/agree to.

Try not to worry about everything she says - at final hearing your statement is your evidence and you can say what care you gave before separation then, give examples, and attach any evidence that backs it up. It's final hearing that is important. Let Cafcass do their section 7. If you want to show them anything when they talk to you, run it by us first!

Many of us, myself included, have desperately wanted to counter the allegations - but ultimately when it comes to final hearing it is all about evidence not words. So your ex can and probably will present a statement full of allegations and no evidence whatsoever - it will be classed as mudslinging. Your statement will back up everything you say with evidence and be credible. If the Cafcass report isn't as good as you think it should be you can also cross examine them at final hearing.

I am just concerned that you may need some support at final hearing - but one step at a time.
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Thanks - Yes, I'm thinking I'll definately need the input of others. I've been watching YouTube videos about the cafcass process to give myself an understanding of what's coming.

The difficulty for me in this case is that she has lied repeatedly so that she can give herself a 'justification' to keep me apart from the children while relying on saying 'it's in the best interest of the children'. Now she says I've been absent and uses the fact I've not seen my daughter for so long as evidence despite the fact I've made it very clear I want to see them regulary. So the catch 22 is that I feel like I have to show how manipulative she is and prove she's lying otherwise all the courts will look at is that there's been little to no contact and I've not been bothered. I get that I don't want to appear to be mud slinging and I'll be careful not to appear that way, but I've surely got to address her lies of which I have evidence of. I feel like I took the softly approach last time and it backfired somewhat. I want to get across the truth and that is that the ex is on a smear campaign. I'm feeling like fighting fire with fire so to speak.

At my non mol hearing which thankfully wasn't granted, there were still alot of findings that were made against me - Things I had evidence for but were ignored completely. For example the judge said in her report that on one occasion the police visited the family home - she ruled that the incident happened as my ex stated and that I had lied. She even said she cannot assertain the date or year that it happened as my recollection and the exs were a year apart. This is ridiculous because infact I provided the court with a police CAD number which includes the exact date and time and full report. Still the judge decided to believe my ex over a police report.

The ex said I demanded money from her aggressively but if you look at her statements she also says I had a payout from my work (I have a letter saying I didn't) and was secretly transferring £400 a month into my Co op bank account (I have never had a Co op bank account and equifax have sent me evidence of this!). I get that these kind of issues are not directly related to the welfare of the children but these are the kind of eronious, made up reasons I've been alienated and they're not true - Surely to paint the whole picture these things need to be understood by the court?

As I mentioned before, my solicitor advised me that we had addressed a sufficient amount of my exs allegations in the non mol hearing. Only when I was in court the judge said I should have addressed every one and it came back to bite me. I don't want that to happen again.

The things more directly involving the children's welfare I'm not so worried about. I have letters from the school saying the exact opposite that the ex does regarding my presentation, attitude, interest in the children etc. And I have a whole selection of doctors letters confirming my health and my not being a risk to anyone including the children. I have videos and phone recordings which prove her lies.

As I left the family home I made a video showing the condition I'd left it in - the ex claimed I damaged it on purpose and charged me to redecorate stating that it took 2 months before they could move back in as it was unlivable in the state I left it. She didn't know I had made a video and she sent photos of the property which she claimed was how I left it... She literally went into the children's bedroom and messed it up and said that's how I left it for them to return to. Again things like this are not directly related to the children's welfare but it shows what a nutcase she is and how she attempts to manufacture evidence to alienate me. Anyone looking at the video I made would see clearly that the flat was left in a good condition.

I think my biggest concern is how I can present my evidence in a way its easy, simple and clear to understand whilst including everything.
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When you get to final hearing, a couple of weeks before that you will need to submit a full statement. That is your evidence. Attached to it are exhibits - ie documents you refer to in your statement as evidence. Mainly it wants to focus on your positives and relationship s with your kids. But any evidence that show the ex being obstructive etc can be referred to to show how she is not supportive of the children spending time with you.

It took ages doing my final statement - it went to and fro between me and solicitor. She did first draft and worded things cleverly. I edited for 100% accuracy and added a bit in my own words about history of relationship with son and my views on wanting son to enjoy time with both families.

It is the one thing where it is often recommended that you use a solicitor to help write it. But not everyone does and we can help on here. It will take a few drafts.

This will be very different from a fact finding hearing. If you get to final hearing it is already accepted that there are no welfare issues. The most important thing at that stage is that everything in your statement is 100% true and factually accurate. Because the other side’s job is to try and prove you are lying by cross examining you on your statement - if they can do that then the rest of your statement is undermined. So you are in a strong position if everything you say is correct, truthful and backed up with some evidence. If the ex’s statement is full of made up mud slinging not backed up be evidence then hers can be undermined and it can be proved she is lying st cross examination time.

Final hearing is also called a contested hearing and a strange process - about showing a judge who is telling the truth. A quiet calm demeanour is essential. They will try and wind you up and push your buttons but if that happens you don’t have to say anything it can say no that isn’t the case - I just want my children to enjoy regular time with both parents. That is the mantra to say and repeat. It is all it’s about. Why shouldn’t they spend time with both parents? No welfare issues.

It’s a process and there’s a need to jump through hoops and play the game. Seeking justification won’t help.

So see what section 7 report says. By all means send Cafcass a copy of a positive school letter about you and a letter from your GP.
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Thanks Charlie.

Just out of interest, can I ask how long your statement was?
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