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Court Date & Cafcass
I have now had my court date finally come through at the beginning of May. I am scheduled to have a cafcass phone interview a week before.

Can someone just advise what they ask during this telephone interview? Nice to be prepared!
Hi Marios,

Please look at the "Cafcass" area on the forums, that should give you a good idea - they are ALL different.

Do not slag the mother off or be abusive in any way about her
Keep child centric
Keep calm
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.
Marios, be aware (this just happened to me) that if CAFCAS have not had adequate time to perform all there safeguarding checks before the court date then its likely that the judge will just adjourn the case till a later date.
I'm not saying this is the case, but if they are only interviewing you a week before, its unlikely that the court will receive the safeguarding report in time.
I get the feeling one week before court is the norm.
Apply for court
FHDRA set for 4-6 weeks ahead.
CAFCASS do all checks ready for interview one week before court.
Receive CAFCASS report 3-4 days before court.

CAFCASS then ignore all attempts to correct the factual errors.............. COURT
I had mine about 2 weeks before but they had already done all the checks before speaking to either of us. They do tend to take everything on board that mother says and pretty much nothing on board father says though so be aware of what you say and how you act. Just keep calm and child focused. Even going through court they all seem to take notice of what mother says but are not interested in much father has to say.
I might be way off base here but I reflected on something I said to CAFCASS officer which could have saved me.

At the end of the interview he asked if I had any questions. I very humbly said I have one but wasnt sure if he would be prepared to answer this, he said go ahead ask anything.

I said to him,

"theres no way in this world ex can ever claim abuse or violence, but since this has started she has had a witness at handovers, did ex tell you why?"

He seemed a little surprised that I asked this but I genuinely had no clue [I knew it was just to intimidate me and build a case]
His answer was she claimed you were aggressive and I laughed it off, "never even raised my voice"
Anyway the report wasnt in my favor, or ex's really, just reported what we both said.

So, Im pretty certain this is a major reason why they didnt even turn up to the FHDRA and want nothing more to do with my case.

Bear in mind though, ex made no mention of abuse in mediation, C1a, CAFCASS, FHDRA but suddenly popped up with it in the statements for final hearing.
Pls be careful to how much you share with CAFCASS.
Keep it short and child focused.

The more information you give the more chance they will use it to discredit you.

I respect professionals I am one too but in the family courts CAFCASS are no experts.
You cannot simply conclude your findings on how a parent is with their child by a telephone conversation or by a 2hour face contact.
Just try and be yourself and calm and polite and answer any questions but avoid saying anything negative about the ex and focus on saying you want children to have time and good relationships with both parents and families. If there is a question that throws you you can always say "I don't know". The only thing I said in response to them asking what I thought about ex's accusation that I was controlling (which she thought up after getting my application!) was to say she had always had a strong personality and liked to be in control herself. This was then interpreted as both of us accusing the other one of being controlling! Otherwise my letter was more positive towards me. They will also talk to the school and check any police records etc so may have had opinions from others too which may help if you've had a good relationship with the school. But sometimes schools are very vague and don't want to be involved. Just be careful not to say anything negative about the ex. And if something isn't true, say it isn't true and you feel these accusations have just come up recently.

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