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Instructed my solicitor finally – What to expect next?
'Our clients primary concern is to re-establish time with the children and therefore we will not be dealing with any issues relating to the property, jointly owned by you both, until the children matters have been resolved'.

Absolutely love this, way to set boundaries.

It seems completely reasonable that child arrangements come first. "Putting the child first" covers all manner of sins, but in this case is perfectly true. No one should be made to make considerable decisions while their children are held to ransom. Thats tantamount to kidnapping for ransom and Im sure your solicitor would slice her apart in court if she doubles down.
Does she have a solicitor?
Agree, that paragraph is very powerful considering she's regularly texting asking about the property and if I'll accept her offer (despite her not having even had a valuation done!) I hope when she reads that paragraph at the breakfast table she's drinking coffee - her parents will need new clothes!

She doesn't have a solicitor, I only know this because she told me so after I requested any future correspondence was made between our representatives. She text me earlier today again about the property and I simply told her my solicitors would be in touch shortly. She must be thinking she's going to get a letter regarding her ridiculous offer so it should come as a surprise. Hopefully it will dawn on her that her own unreasonable behaviour is infact putting more distance between herself and her objective.

I couldn't have put it better myself, now you mention it - it does feel akin to kidnap and being held to ransom in many ways.
I used to be a stay at home dad sharing child care. My ex reduced time to a few hours a week with my youngest (the eldest wouldn't stand for that from her lol). I took it to court and ended up with 50/50 care which is what I wanted. So it does happen!!

Getting CAFCASS on your side is vital though.
(02-15-2018, 09:52 AM)Sector78G Wrote: Thanks everyone. It's all really useful information - and yes, it is extremely difficult to not feel bitter. I can say hand on heart even if I fell out of love with someone I would still be very compassionate of their feelings, even moreso if they stood to loose a home and 80% of their time with the children. It's not just the kids and home but people I spoke to and saw everyday have stopped contacting me because of her false accusations. Difficult times.

Quick update: Yesterday my solicitor wrote to the ex regarding her 'unilaterally denying regular unsupervised time with the children'.

They then go on 'You will be aware that our client holds parental responsibility for the children and it is essential for the welfare of the children that he maintains regular, quality time with his children. Your attempts to alienate the children and suggest that our client is unable to care for the children are unfounded. Our client provided the day to day care of the children since April 2017 without issue'.

'Our client has contacted his doctor who supports his assertions that his health condition has no impact on his ability to care for the children.  Our client is also in direct communication with the children’s school to inform them of the false accusations that have been made against him and to correct any inaccuracies in their records'.

'The ex keeps texting me saying she wants to get the property signed over asap even though we have never discussed any options. So they then say...

'Our clients primary concern is to re-establish time with the children and therefore we will not be dealing with any issues relating to the property, jointly owned by you both, until the children matters have been resolved'.

We would propose that the children’s time with our client be re-established, unsupervised, without delay on the following basis:

Alternate weekends from Friday evening until Sunday evening. Our client will collect the children from your address, with you collecting the children for return on Sunday evening.
One evening during the week, every week.
Half of all school holidays.
Phone / video calls at times agreed by both parties on a dedicated device to be provided by our client
Such further and additional contact as can be agreed.

She has 14 days to respond. It is not my motivation to anger her but she will be livid. She cannot stand the fact that I have even seen my son for 3 hours in the last 5 weeks and not seen my daughter once. For the first time she faces not being in total control.

In the meantime the solicitors have made a CAO application and are sending it to me to sign in the event that the ex does not respond.

Does this all seem standard practice? My only concern is that she will argue that until the property is sorted we cannot make reasonable child arrangements.

*Deep breath*

(02-15-2018, 02:59 PM)marwood Wrote: I used to be a stay at home dad sharing child care. My ex reduced time to a few hours a week with my youngest (the eldest wouldn't stand for that  from her lol). I took it to court and ended up with 50/50 care which is what I wanted. So it does happen!!

Getting CAFCASS on your side is vital though.

Could you give us some info on the kind of thing CAFCASS ask in the telephone interview? and also, do they make a recommendation at the fhdra after just one telephone interview? or is it just safety checks and recommendations come later.
Hi Naive, the initial telephone interview is just a chat really to discuss the situation, what has happened and why you are going to court. They will ask you about how you see the situation etc. They usually speak to the mother first i find so be prepared for any allegations to come out at this point, even things you never knew about, they will ask you about them.

Do not slag off or put down the mother, just be truthful and explain anything calmly and remain focused on the child or children. Make sure they know you are doing it for them and you believe it is in their best interest to have both parents involved in their life. They may well be biased or seem that way at the time. They will just make a report for the court based on what you have both told them. They will do basic background checks for safeguarding but if there are allegations of DV against you they will probably recommend a section 7 report to be done. Depending on the circumstances and contact you are or are not currently getting they will decide if there should be interim contact. I was denied contact and wasnt seeing my daughter and because of her allegations i was denied interim contact even in a contact centre.

When you have a section 7 report you will both be invited to an interview with a cafcass officer for about an hour or so. They will do all the checks with social services and the police etc and do the report with recommendations for contact. You could also have a finding of fact hearing as well though.
my advice would be keep away from her. number 1, if she makes a dv. issue , then she gets solicitor free, its wrong , but thats how some ov them roll, i no, best of luck, we all on here need some of that,
Sector 78G - your Solicitor sounds like they are doing a good job! Don't move out of the house. Agree with Avadad - I would not contact her directly at all now - even by text. And be very careful not to get into an argument. It sounds to me like your Solicitor is using the fact that you are still in the family home, to strengthen your position with the amount of time the kids come and treating it as equal care by asking your ex to be involved in the pickups/dropoffs. If you do see her, have someone with you, as a witness, so you can't be accused of anything.

Cafcass phone call comes after the application goes in. Be yourself, don't say anything bad about your ex. Just say it as it is - you came home and found your wife had moved out and taken the children and gone to her parents. You have been a stay at home Dad looking after the kids and have a loving relationship with them. Maybe talk about the kids a little bit - their personalities and what they're good at. How you think this is a permanent split and you want the kids to spend equal time with both parents and be able to still enjoy their home where they were happy with you. It can sound very informal the chat, but what they write often isn't quite what you said, so be careful not to say anything negative about anyone! They are judging your attitude and outlook really.

Get a big lever arch file and stick anything in it you have, organised into sections. Every time something comes,stick it in. Makes it easier for your solicitor later. So it's partly for you, partly for the Solicitor. Also particularly helpful if you change solicitors at some point, but sounds like you have a good one.

Its good to accumulate things like the GP letter to knock allegations on the head.

I think what you write on your inital application can help as well, gives you the opportunity to say some of the things you want about your lifestyle/relationship with the kids and being a hands-on Dad.
Hi everyone.

I plan on keeping this thread updated incase it helps anyone else in the future.

So a quick update: My ex has obviously received the letter from my solicitor by now - I have not heard anything from her in regards to confirmation of receipt but it was sent last week. Interestingly, she is still insisting that I only see my son supervised. She has until the 28th February to respond to my solicitor - If no response I'd made the CAO forms will be sent off.

I'm trying to do all the right things but it is very difficult. Last night I went to my daughters school parents evening. It was an appointment where you are supposed to bring your child with you but obviously I cannot do that, so I went alone. It was lovely to see her school books with activity photographs showing what she has been up to over the last 6 weeks since we last spoke. I held it in, but I almost broke down crying in front of all the other parents.

Quick question - Once the CAO forms are sent off, how long have you guys had to wait until the first hearing?

Like all if us, I'm so desperate to see my children and get this resolved one way or another - I've seen my son for 3 hours in 6 weeks and haven't seen or spoken to my daughter at all. I sent them presents and wrote her letters (via Royal mail and whatsapp) but haven't had any reply or acknowledgment, I don't even know if their mother is showing them to the kids.

During the last six weeks I have called many times to speak to my son and if a call is missed sometimes I will get a call back from him. But unless I make a call I do not hear from them, infact I have not received a single call unless it is a return. It's harsh, if tables were turned, I would be making sure the children called their mum on a regular basis - I have trouble getting through and have suggested making a set time but my request was not met with a response. Is it unreasonable to suggest that because so many of my calls go unanswered that it might be easier if the children call me at set times?
I must say, big big respect for going to parents evening alone, seriously, well done you. Im not sure I could do that.
Not getting responses in any situation is disrespectful, more so when it comes to your children. Just keep walking the fine line between reasonable effort and "harassment"

You're in this for a long term fix, standing your ground, its hard but youve got light at the end of the tunnel and you'll get there.
Ouch – So I received a long response from the ex's solicitor.

I expected a difficult reply but it was even more painful than I had anticipated. Lots of comments saying she was forced to leave because of my unreasonable behaviour and deteriorating health – But no specifics, just 'my behaviour'.

I've been asked to write a response to my solicitor but there's so much I don't know where to start.

As if that wasn't bad enough, last night I called my son to see how he is. I asked him if he'd been to school and he said 'no I went to the doctors'. I then asked if everything was ok and he said he had gone to the doctors because of 'his feelings'. I replied asking 'what is wrong with your feelings, are you ok'. He said 'It's none of your business anymore'....That was hard to take. He's 5.

One thing it did say in her response was that my daughter wants 'no contact'. It just doesn't make the six weeks since they left I've spoken to her once on WhatsApp and she was begging me not to go.

Not sure I can do all this.

Edit: that was the first time I have spoken to him since the ex received my solicitors letter. His whole attitude toward me had changed from being excited to hear from me to...well, saying that. It seems very clear to me that she has been influencing him in some way...all my phone calls are recorded and the difference is night and day.

Is there a number for people to call where you can speak to someone that has been through this kind of thing before rather than a solicitor or helpline? I think that might help, I'm feeling so lost right now.

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