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Advice please
#1
Hi everyone I am need of some serious advice on what to do.

My ex-wife absconded with our children in February and I hadn’t seen them for 7 weeks due to her deciding she had the divine right to decide I should not have contact, and she had relocated 300 miles away to Stoke on Trent. She applied for a Non-Molestation Order that was resolved by means of an undertaking on my part. I’m not allowed to contact my ex-wife directly or indirectly because of that undertaking.

I had also applied myself for a Child Arrangement Order as she had taken the children away without consent and more importantly to be around her Step-Father who she accused of sexually molesting her.
We had the preliminary hearing last Thursday which was the Other Directions Hearing to arrange for me to have contact between now and the FDHA. There were proposals that were put forward by my ex-wife which I found completely unreasonable given the fact I had not seen my sons in 7 weeks.

So I put forward the proposals as follows:
- Face to face contact for a maximum duration of 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday by means of a contact centre.
- FaceTime calls on Saturday at 18:00 and Sunday 13:00.
- Additional FaceTime calls to be arranged between myself and my sister in law around her working hours throughout the week.

These proposals were agreed to by my ex-wife, but so far I have only had the two FaceTime calls the first was on Saturday which lasted an hour and Sunday for 28 minutes where my sister in law either hung up or her phone died.

I attempted to call back on the Sunday but the call went unanswered and I didn’t even so much as receive an update saying “sorry phone died”. So I didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye to my sons. The other thing here is that my ex-wife states she wants no contact with me and that she is fearful of her safety (all evidenced to disprove her claims) yet she found it appropriate both days to be in the call and directly speak to me. Naturally I did not reply as I did not want to breach the NMO, but the fact she has the audacity to make false claims in a sworn statement to get the order in the first place, then goes against her own non-contact clause is a bit irritating.

My sister in law is also refusing to allow any additional contact as agreed in the other arrangements hearing that was agreed by the judge.

I also have done everything required to book the contact centre so I can see my children, but I was informed that they are not open on a Sundays nor can I see my sons for 4 hours on Saturday as the centre is only open between 10am and 1pm. Surely this should have been checked beforehand and my 4 hours face to face contact not agreed to by my ex-wife and her solicitor?
To further add fuel to the fire, I wanted to book the centre this Saturday 7th April as I haven’t seen my sons face to face since February, only to be told that my ex-wife has refused to conduct her pre-checks today or tomorrow in order to allow contact Saturday. I know the reason for this is because her birthday is on Saturday so she obviously doesn’t want me seeing our sons interfering in her plans, which surely goes against my children’s rights and my parental rights?
Now I am being told that I am looking at “potentially” being next Saturday, which means that if this is not allowed to go ahead I will not see my children face to face before the FDHA on the 25th April.

I am due to speak with Cafcass on the 12th so do I have any legal rights? Is she breaching the order?
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#2
Sounds like dirty tricks. They probably knew the contact centre wasn't open on Sundays. I am not clear. If the first directions hearing is on 25th April what was the previous hearing at which this interim contact was agreed? And is it actually in an interim order? Some interim orders just "record" what was agreed regarding interim contact, rather than order it, and it seems unlike a court would order contact in a contact centre for those hours on a Sunday.

Anyway - unless interim contact is in an order then it's not a breach. But you should keep careful records of any agreed contact not complied with. And you're right it sounds like your ex is trying to get you to breach the undertaking by talking to her. Are you allowed to contact her at all?By email eg? Or is it no contact at all.

To be on the safe side I would send a brief email to Sister in law and ask why the Facetime contact is not happening. If you do it in writing and she responds in writing then it's evidence. If she doesn't respond at all it's still evidence (the email you sent querying witheld contact was not responded to).

To be honest, if you have a hearing on 25th, 20 days away, I would go with the flow for now and focus on the Cafcass phone call, which is quite important (although I realise how hard it is not seeing the kids and easy for me to say).

When speaking to Cafcass it's important to be calm, and not show any anger about anything, or say anything negative about the ex. What they are trying to ascertain is whether you have the right parenting attitudes. So the mantra is, you just want the children to enjoy time with both parents and both families. You can tell them that the agreed contact isn't being kept to and you are not sure why. If they ask you any questions, answer them honestly - on the other hand you don't have to tell them things you think it's best not to mention, but do answer questions. Give your view on the situation - that the marriage was breaking down and then your wife left without notice, taking the children.

Are you still in the former marital home? Have you had legal advice? It might be an idea to get a free half hour's legal advice. How did you receive the information that the next contact is "potentially" next Saturday? Was it from her Solicitor. If so reply to that in writing and say you wish contact to go ahead every Saturday as agreed between 10am and 1pm and ask for an explanation as to why it didn't take place this Saturday (even though you know why!). Let them put it in writing.
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#3
(04-05-2018, 02:56 PM)Charlie7000 Wrote: Sounds like dirty tricks.  They probably knew the contact centre wasn't open on Sundays.  I am not clear.  If the first directions hearing is on 25th April what was the previous hearing at which this interim contact was agreed?  And is it actually in an interim order?  Some interim orders just "record" what was agreed regarding interim contact, rather than order it, and it seems unlike a court would order contact in a contact centre for those hours on a Sunday.

Anyway - unless interim contact is in an order then it's not a breach.  But you should keep careful records of any agreed contact not complied with.  And you're right it sounds like your ex is trying to get you to breach the undertaking by talking to her.  Are you allowed to contact her at all?By email eg?  Or is it no contact at all.

To be on the safe side I would send a brief email to Sister in law and ask why the Facetime contact is not happening.  If you do it in writing and she responds in writing then it's evidence.  If she doesn't respond at all it's still evidence (the email you sent querying witheld contact was not responded to).

To be honest, if you have a hearing on 25th, 20 days away, I would go with the flow for now and focus on the Cafcass phone call, which is quite important (although I realise how hard it is not seeing the kids and easy for me to say).

When speaking to Cafcass it's important to be calm, and not show any anger about anything, or say anything negative about the ex.  What they are trying to ascertain is whether you have the right parenting attitudes.  So the mantra is, you just want the children to enjoy time with both parents and both families.  You can tell them that the agreed contact isn't being kept to and you are not sure why.  If they ask you any questions, answer them honestly - on the other hand you don't have to tell them things you think it's best not to mention, but do answer questions.  Give your view on the situation - that the marriage was breaking down and then your wife left without notice, taking the children.

Are you still in the former marital home?  Have you had legal advice?  It might be an idea to get a free half hour's legal advice.  How did you receive the information that the next contact is "potentially" next Saturday?  Was it from her Solicitor.  If so reply to that in writing and say you wish contact to go ahead every Saturday as agreed between 10am and 1pm and ask for an explanation as to why it didn't take place this Saturday (even though you know why!).  Let them put it in writing.

I am still in the marital home and have had legal advice from a solicitor which I am still awaiting my legal aid to be granted. 

When speaking with Cafcass I know I will be ok as I do not actually have any bad feelings towards her or have any intention of point scoring and making her out to be bad. However I am obviously concerned to the environment she has taken my sons to live in as her Step-Father is an extremely controlling and abusive individual, plus her own claims of being molested. So naturally I am going to call into question her judgment of taking the children there, but also the fact that she is continuing to domestically abuse me by issuing false claims and obtaining a court order by deception (I confirmed with the Police that this is DV). Which given all of the evidence should clear my name with Cafcass and deem me as safe because they would be able to evidence her lies.

The worst thing is the marriage wasn't even breaking down, everything was absolutely fine, in fact the day she left we were planning a romantic 10 year anniversary trip. But since then it has been all lies, deceit and broken promises.

It was the contact centre that told me it would be "potentially" next Saturday as they had spoken with her. Her solicitor is also not responding to my correspondence and my sister in law had replied saying "I will not agree further contact, you will have to go through Xxxs solicitor about that" which I have as a text and even an email to her solicitor asking for her to follow it up with no reply. 

The case on the 25th is what I have been told is the final ruling and the decision that will be made by the judge in regards to residency. The interim contact was agreed to by the judge last week and put in place as an order to allow safe contact and communication until the next hearing. 
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#4
Ok. Am still confused. Usually the Cafcass phone call is before the first hearing. At the first hearing interim contact is decided and Cafcass have the letter produced after the phone calls, and decide whether a Section 7 report is needed or not (investigating any claims of abuse etc).

It seems strange to have a final hearing in 20 days when a Cafcass letter hasn't been done yet.
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#5
You raise a good point there. I haven’t had any further paperwork to say that there is any further dates upcoming past the 25th April.

My wife’s solicitor is the one who told me that the 25th is the final decision hearing where everything is closed and finalised.

Yet as you said Cafcass have only scheduled the phone call. I’m not sure whether to have all relevant evidence to hand for the phone call to send to them?
My wife lied considerably in her sworn affidavit, while I doubt Prison is on the cards, I would hope that a section 7 would be conducted so that I can disprove her claims and also see if the allegations regarding her Step-Father will be raised as suspicious when she denies them due to level of her already ridiculous lies.

At least that is how a perfect world works. I have evidence from her laptop of a document she typed when she found her Step-Father on a dating site and entrapped him to try and prove his affairs along with screenshots she took from his emails.

Because I have no doubt that her Step-Father will deny the allegations and that my wife will, if I could get her to deny speaking online with him as well and searching his emails, that proof would show how she is willing to lie about him.
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#6
If you have any evidence that this step-father is an abuser then it would be best to go to social services with the concerns and tell them your children are with him. If social services investigate they may put some measures in place. Unless he is on the child offenders register social services are unlikely to remove the children and place them with you. But if you have concerns about them being there, then contact social services.

Everything else you say is par for the course. They lie. What you need to do now is negotiate the system to get to see your children. And that isn't about proving anything about her (at this stage anyway) but about behaving like a reasonable Dad who wants to see his kids.

The family courts don't deal with child protection or send people to prison for crimes or lying. They are used to both parents slagging each other off and it's all classed as "he said, she said" unless there is clear evidence. And if there is clear evidence of risk or welfare issues they will say - why didn't you go to social services.

So try and stay cool and get organised. Don't trust what her Solicitors tell you. I would suggest getting a free half hour's legal advice. I don't think you can have a final hearing on 25th April when Cafcass haven't even done their safeguarding checks (they do this as part of the phone interviews - during and after). Do mention to them your concerns that the children are staying with her stepfather and she had told you this stepfather had sexually abused her as a child. But seriously if you have concerns about that, you should contact social services. Whether he had affairs or not won't be of interest to anyone. Unless it was with underage females.

What Cafcass will be looking at is - should you have contact with your children. You are up against a system where Mothers make false accusations and Cafcass take that seriously until they have fully investigated. If they do a section 7 you could be stuck with infrequent contact at a contact centre for another few months before a final hearing.

What you could do is ring the court and ask them what the hearing on 25th April is listed as. Could be a fact finding hearing?
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#7
Unfortunately there is no evidence that he actually did it other than the numerous times that my ex-wife told family and friends along with her own biological father.

Do you think the evidence that I have to disprove her allegations Cafcass would be interested in? Not to mud sling but to prove that her claims are unjustified?
That should hopefully help Cafcass decide on safeguarding concerns.

I’ve checked the paperwork and the hearing on the 25th is the FHDRA and the paperwork is listed as Part B - Case Management & Section 8 Orders if that helps?
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#8
If you have any evidence to disprove her allegations, then yes you could email it to Cafcass. What kind of allegations and what kind of evidence though? If emailing anything to Cafcass be very polite and fairly formal in communications and don't let your anger and frustrations get into anything you write to them. They judge you on how you come across.

Yes that sounds like the first hearing which comes after the Cafcass phone call and letter. No idea what your earlier one was - was it actually at court? Or just an agreement reached with her Solicitors?

Before hearing on 25th you should have the Cafcass letter back and you can see what their view is on the situation and what they're recommending. All they are really interested in is whether parents can speak positively about the other one because they think you're good if you do that! Rather than be defensive when they ask you on the phone about things the ex has accused you of you can just calmly say something like these allegations are as a result of high feelings due to the separation. I would tell them the thing about the stepfather and that you are worried about the children being with him and this person can corroborate that the abuse happened (her Dad or someone else). I am sure they will look into it.

You should know whether Cafcass are going to do a section 7 or not when you get the letter.
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#9
(04-06-2018, 01:19 AM)Charlie7000 Wrote: If you have any evidence to disprove her allegations, then yes you could email it to Cafcass.  What kind of allegations and what kind of evidence though?  If emailing anything to Cafcass be very polite and fairly formal in communications and don't let your anger and frustrations get into anything you write to them.  They judge you on how you come across.

Yes that sounds like the first hearing which comes after the Cafcass phone call and letter.  No idea what your earlier one was - was it actually at court?   Or just an agreement reached with her Solicitors?

Before hearing on 25th you should have the Cafcass letter back and you can see what their view is on the situation and what they're recommending.  All they are really interested in is whether parents can speak positively about the other one because they think you're good if you do that!  Rather than be defensive when they ask you on the phone about things the ex has accused you of you can just calmly say something like these allegations are as a result of high feelings due to the separation.  I would tell them the thing about the stepfather and that you are worried about the children being with him and this person can corroborate that the abuse happened (her Dad or someone else).  I am sure they will look into it.

You should know whether Cafcass are going to do a section 7 or not when you get the letter.

Hi Charlie,

Sorry I was typing all prior messages on my phone. I have sent a further text message to my sister in law, also attaching a copy of the agreed order that shows that she is to arrange additional contact with me around her working hours. She has read the message but has decided to yet again ignore it.

I have also emailed my wife's solicitor about the situation in an attempt to get their party to adhere to the agreements put in place last Thursday. Please see below:
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hi Amanda,


I would rather not have to keep emailing you in regards this and taking up your time. But can you please remind Names and Names as to what was agreed in court and put in place with the judge? 


I have attempted to contact Names now multiple times regarding her workig hours so that I can arrange FaceTime calls throughout the week as directed on your own notes. I am instead being ignored and not replied to regarding her hours to allow me additional contact. 


By the same token of respect I have also not heard from yourself in regards to confirming with your client, Names, has spoken with her mother to allow for daily FaceTime calls as was discussed in court. 
This was again told to the judge directly that you would be in contact to confirm whether this was to be agreed to, yet a week later and I have had no response regarding this. 


I would also like to question why your client, knowing the outcome and the agreement that was made last week and being within the local area had not booked herself in with the contact centre to have her own pre-checks conducted knowing I would be looking to arrange visiting my children in the contact centre as soon as possible? I would then speak with the contact centre who advised your client was to have pre-checks conducted but refused to do so either yesterday or today to allow me contact starting tomorrow, conveniently the day of your clients 29th birthday. 


At this time it appears that your client and her family seem to be obstructing the agreed order that was put in place last week in court, therefore still forcefully denying my rights to my children against the agreed order in court. 


I will be speaking with my solicitor for further legal advice as I am under the impression that your clients party are in direct breach of the agreement and have no intention to adhere amicably to the agreement.  


Kind Regards,




Ashley
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So I am hoping that this email will begin triggering them to reply and start complying with the agreements.
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#10
[UPDATE]

So this is the reply I had from her solicitor following my email I posted:

Quote:Dear Names
 
The order was for the two Facetime contacts on Saturday 6.00pm and Sunday 1.00pm.
 
a.      Each Saturday at 6pm;
b.      Each Sunday at 1pm;
 
And if possible
c.       On any other occasion that is agreed between Names and the Applicant Father taking into consideration Ms McKenzie’s working hours.
 
Additional contacts would be if  Names could accommodate these due to her working commitments, she does not need to contact you in regard to these working hours or produce of evidence of her working hours and she is finding the multiple messages too much. She has asked that you do not contact her daily with messages and she will contact you if she can accommodate any additional Facetime calls. Please be mindful that family members do not have to assist with arrangements in respect of this and it may result in a breakdown in relation to this agreement if Ms Names decides she is no longer willing to facilitate this due to the additional issues it is creating for her.
 
Please ensure any messages to her relates to the Facetime contact only and are not directed at our client.
 
We understand that the YMCA contact will start next Saturday.

This is then my reply to her solicitor following this email:

Quote:Hi Amanda,


I have not been messaging Xxx daily, as evidenced via my text messages. In fact I have only messaged once on Sunday, Wednesday and then today. Please see attached.


I have also not directed any contact towards YYYY. So the claims of daily messaging is completely unfounded. 


Also as per the notes from the order, again attached they read that contact should be arranged between myself and XXX, not that I will receive no correspondence at all until she is willing to facilitate a call. The notes directly state that 


“Any other occasion that is agreed between XXXX Blogs and the applicant father taking into consideration Ms Mckenzie’s working hours.”


At no point in the notes or agreed order does it state that I am not allowed to contact Xxxx directly to find when she is free to facilitate additional contact. As you yourself explained that this order superceeds the Non-Molestation Order, I have the right to contact Lara directly, as Xxxx had expressed on Sunday that she suffered a car crash and is suffering from whiplash and soft tissue damage, to which I would expect she is signed off work in which if this is the case then why has Lara not attempted to facilitate additional contact? Even if she is at work then again my question stands as to why Lara has not been willing to facilitate additional contact? I understand it is around her own working hours, but I am still entitled to know if any additional contact can be facilitated within that week so I can speak with my sons.


If Xxxx wishes for me to not message her then that is fine, but under the order that was agreed in court I feel it  unfair and a direct breach of my rights and my childrens rights to speak to each other. Surely a text at the start of the week saying “Sorry cannot make additional contact this week due to working late” is acceptable and favourable to having no awareness as to the landscape of the current situation. As no contact implies that they are intentionally withholding contact because they deem it that they do not want to allow contact. 


This at the moment is all very biased and one sided towards your client and I am doing everything that I can to have contact as much as possible with my sons, as they have the right to see both parents not just one. They have the right to both families not just one, and your client is intentionally blocking this along with her family due to her own personal issues against myself. 


Contact in the contact centre next Saturday is fine, but my question again remains. Why did your client not ensure that her own pre-checks were done following the order to allow contact as of tomorrow? But instead has decided to withhold this due to her birthday falling on the same day? 
Both my rights as a parent and my childrens rights to see me superceed your client’s own personal plans and should have made all the necessary arrangements to allow contact starting tomorrow at the contact centre following the implementation of the order.


Sorry for being abrupt but I feel as though everyone involved is directly attempting to withhold my access against as whats has been agreed.


Again I will be seeking legal advice further to this. I will also be raising the blatant disregard to allowing my parental rights and my childrens rights to Cafcass on the 12th as it is unfair and in fact should be your clients top priority that the children see me as much as possible along with herself and her own family, yet is insistent in preventing this due to her own feelings towards me.


I am doing everything I can to remain in contact with my sons to promote a healthy relationship between both parents and families but your client and her family are deliberately and intentionally obstructing this. 

I personally do not see anything wrong with the emails and think that I have made everything relevant, I haven't been threatening but I have instead put about how it is that my wife and her family are deliberately ignoring the agreed order and withholding my contact when all I want is to promote a healthy relationship with my sons. As it is I hadn't seen them for 7 weeks because she had decided I should have no contact because she was applying for a Non-Molestation Order, in one of my wife's emails before she stopped talking to me I asked if I could see my sons and she replied "Sorry but that is not my top priority at the minute I hope you understand." That was the second week after she left.

I get that she may have her problems with me, but you do not take it out on the children and ruin their relationship. My eldest didn't even recognise me when I saw him on the phone! How is that beneficial for a child?
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