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Advice needed
When you filled the C100 in, what did you put under who do the children live with? I fell foul of that on my first application as I put that they lived with their Mother and her address and basically ended up giving her a residence order! She then became totally megalomania once she had an order with "Child lives with Mother" on it, and I ended up having to go back to court to get a defined order - and got it changed to "lives with both parents" - which was the case before we went to court in the first place!

Anyway - it may have been the way you filled the C100 out or it might be one of those mistakes based on their massive assumptions that children live with their Mother.

Do you have your copy of the form handy? On page 3 where it says "Who do the children currently live with" point 1d there are three tick boxes - respondent, applicant and other.

Did you tick both respondent and applicant boxes? If you did then you ticked to say the children live with both of you. If you only ticked one box then that might explain it.

If you did tick both boxes, then I would email the court and say to them that there is an error in the court papers as it states the children live with the Mother, and that is not the case,the Children live with both of you. I am not sure what they can do now the papers have gone out, but you need to have it in writing so it goes on the file that you have pointed this out, and I would cc the email to your ex;s solicitor - or your ex if she doesn't have a solicitor.

Or you could ring the court first and ask them to reissue the court papers stating these are the correct amended version. If they agree to do that, then confirm by email that there is an error on the court papers and as per your discussion today, the court will be reissing the court papers. And cc that to your ex.

I think it's quite important to get that detail noted in writing right now.
I have ticked other, and commented ' lives with both parents'
AK - without allegations that should make things a bit more streamlined in a sense, be interested to see how it goes and good luck Smile
That should be fine - if you've put lives with both parents. Ring the court ask to be put through to the families section and politely request that the court papers be amended as there is an error regarding who the children live with - a matter which needs to be clear from the start. If they say they can't issue new papers or change it now, ask them to send a supplementary form correcting the first one. If they still say they can't do it, then write an email confirming that you have informed them there is an error in the court papers and that on your application it is clear that the children live with both parents, and request your email be placed on the case file. And cc your ex/her solicitor.

That is pretty bad and just shows the ingrained mindset. I had exactly the same issue with a Cafcass letter last year when they "mistakenly" said that child lived with Mother and spent time with Father when the actual court order says he lives with both parents! Thankfully they also contradicted themselves by then saying it was a shared care order. So not clear what was what!
Phoned court asking to change with whom child is currently living. Was told to email them, so I guess it won't be an issue to correct it.

First hearing is scheduled in 2month time for 1hour. Was told by stbx that she will be represented by solicitor. Not sure is she getting aid support. Divorce decree nisi will be announced in April, absolute 6weeks late. In my opinion absolute won't be announced if finance and child arrangements not agreed.
Have asked my stbx what will happen during decree nisi, was told that court will to split on finances..

What shall expect ant court? 1hour sound long for me. How to prepare for hearing?
Do I need solicitor?
Any advice how to deal with Cafcass interview? What to say and what not ?
So email the court politely - eg Dear Sirs, Re: Case number -xxxxxxxxxx. Thank your for sending the court papers which I received on x date. I wish to formally have noted that there is an error, in that on my application I stated that the children live with both their parents, which is the case, and both parents currently live in the same house. I request this be noted on the file, and, if possible, amended court papers sent out to rectify the mistake, to avoid any confusion for all involved. Yours sincerely .........

An hour before the hearing is minimal - I was told to get there an hour and a half before once. It's expected that there will be negotiations before the hearing, to try and reach agreement for a consent order. However, if you don't have a solicitor, you don't want to be agreeing to anything if it involves compromises - I would stick out for 50/50 but that may depend what Cafcass letter says before the hearing.

The first hearing is mainly with Cafcass who try and help broker agreement and make their recommendations to the court. It is also the time when you want an interim order, so you have something clear that needs to be kept to, until the date of a final hearing (assuming no agreement is reached). Did you ask for an interim hearing on your application? If not, you could do so on a brief position statement to be handed in on the day.

The Cafcass interview is really important and can affect what happens next. Advice on here is usually to never say anything remotely negative about the ex during this phone call - resist the temptation to offload and get your side across or tell them all the bad stuff she is doing. All they are looking for is to see if you will be a good parent, and if you are the positive parent re co-parenting. It's a bit of a game and hoops to jump through. If anything, see if you can find something positive to say about the ex - eg - she is a good Mother and organiser or whatever. Focus on "parenting" and not all the arguments and nastiness due to the imminent divorce. You could mention that you're getting divorced but how to formally separate is being held up due to being unable to agree on child arrangements and that your ex declined mediation (if that is the case). That is a relevant fact rather than a distinct negative comment about her.

It seems like a friendly informal chat but they are analysing what you say and sussing you out. So be yourself, answer any questions - but be careful not to slip into complaining about her. If you find a question difficult just say "I'm not sure about that" or something. IF you get a leading question like "so do you have problems with the ex's parenting" - don't come out with all the stuff about how she goes on holiday and lets you do everything, just say, no she's a good parent. Grit your teeth! Try and talk about your kids and say how great they are and what kind of things they are into - general stuff - eg son is very keen on football and I take him to football club every saturday or whatever. We have a lot of laughs and banter. Daughter is very into whatever and is full of enthusiasm about it. Try and focus it on the kids and what you do together.

Cafcass for some reason, usually talk to the ex first by phone. So some of the things they put to you, may be things the ex has said, so be careful again not to get riled and get defensive - just be calm. So if they say - ex says you get drunk every week-end and she has to put you to bed in front of the kids. Say - that isn't true, in fact I rarely have a drink except on special occasions. TTry and get in some history of parenting if you get the opportunity - eg - we have always shared the childcare - nappy changing, getting up in the night etc - I think it's important the care is shared and have always been hands on. If that is the case or find something similar to say. If it's not the case, say ex has historically done most of the nappy changing and feeding but you often bath them and do all the school runs at present - or whatever.

The letter Cafcass produce will basically report what you both said - and sometimes it doesn't seem accurate to what you said - because they put an interpretation on it, which is why you need to be careful to only say positive things about the ex or at least not say anything negative about her - so you are classed as the nice normal parent who will co-parent well and puts the kids first.

So it will say things like - Mother says xyz - Father says he doesn't do that. Mother says Father has never done anything with the kids and she does everything, Father says he takes his son to football and does all the school runs. Father says Mother wouldn't go to mediation. Mother says she wanted to go to mediation but Father applied to court. No social services records for the children.

That kind of thing. But you say the slightest negative thing about her and you end up both tarred with the same brush. Cafcass said to me that ex had said I was controlling. Until then it had been going really well, friendly chat and even the odd laugh. I had slipped into a bit of a sense of security and said - I had known her for x years and she had a strong personality and liked to be in control.

That came out as "Mother says Father is conrolling. Father says Mother is controlling". ie tarred with the same brush in terms of accusing each other. They then put it down to you both being as bad as each other, which isn't good.

Anyway often people find there is something in the letter that isn't exactly what they said - because Cafcass interpret things and make a bit of a Judgement - they analyse you - if you say negative stuff about her you're classed as hostile to her - then you can get labelled as possibly aggressive and that just backs up any allegations she makes that you are violent etc - get the picture?

At the end of the letter they make recommendations for what time they think you should have or anything else they think should happen - eg mediation, SPIP course etc. If it has gone well they may well recommend what you've asked for in your application.

At first hearing, although there is a lot of stuff going on (and in my case Cafcass really pressured to get agreement between us and went backwards and forwards between us - sat in separate rooms), generally what will happen, if there is no agreement for a consent order, which is usually the case, but not always - then Cafcass will make their recommendations to the court and it will go to a final contested hearing later. And an interim order will be made. You need to be careful to read that - I found that the only thing that was actually ordered n the interim order was mediation and SPIP course (mediation to try and narrow the issues before next hearing) and that the child arrangements were just "agreed". Of course if she doesn't agree to anything it may well be ordered.

But you should have a good idea by what's written in the Cafcass letter before the hearing.

There are plenty of Dads who have done this themselves. I got nervous when Ex had a solicitor so I got one as well, thinking I may be railroaded by her solicitors at first hearing. The Solicitors and Cafcass try to come to agreements.
Charlie: thank you for your advise. I prefer to prepare myself now, instead of waiting for the last minute.
And, yes I am nervous and stressed once she said she will be represented by a solicitor thinking that I will get a pressure from them to agree on something, that I may need to get legal advice on. I am afraid to say something that this can be used against my case, I don't have knowledge in family law.

I have requested an interim order to be made on child arrangements. Shall I bring 50/50 schedule to the court that I have proposed? Do I need to bring emails from her agreeing o
50/50 with a condition that house will be put on the market, and when she is refusing to agree because house is not on the market, etc ... Position statement is it the same as I have attached to C100?

Can you explain the below:

#However, if you don't have a solicitor, you don't want to be agreeing to anything if it involves compromises - I would stick out for 50/50 but that may depend what Cafcass letter says before the hearing#

Shall I stick with proposed 50/50 childcare plan. Or shall I focus only on 50/50 childcare and schedule can be agreed later? Can draft order be done,so I could take it to solicitors to see if it is fair.

Is it good idea to take SPIP course before first hearing, it's £100 in my area, or shall I wait for Cafcass recommendations?

Have noticed different behaviour from my stbx. She doesnt leave family home overnight, started to take boys to swimming classes instead of me
Yes she will behave differently now and then claim she does everything with them and you do nothing probably. That is par for the course that they lie and manipulate.

Yes it would be good to do the SPIP course first - it could help your case and court's view of you.
You don't take anything to the first hearing - unless it's been asked for in the court papers - did they ask you to submit a parenting plan by the next hearing? You can take a position statement on the day though.

No evidence can be submitted until a final hearing. On the other hand if you take a few emails in a folder it might not do any harm - I did that and had them to hand when ex lied about something and accused me of harrassing her (pot calling kettle) over an issues when she was just obstructing contact. Cafcass woman seemed to believe her and got funny with me - so I said - that isn't true - I have the emails here if you'd like to see them. She said no she didn't want to see them - but it made clear I was telling the truth!

You have said everything in your application. Any parenting plan should mirror what you've asked for in the application ideally (in terms of time with each parent) although can have a lot more in about all kinds of parenting issues/agreements that you think should be in a parenting plan.

You'd be looking to get an interim order at the first hearing. That isn't usually the same as what you've asked for for the final order, but is usually the same time you get now. Which is a bit unusual with you both living there.
Oh well... Wife approached me and again accepted 50/50 shared care , I have agreed on finance split 40/60, I will get deposit back on house and cc will be paid off used on her. Have not mentioned 10k house improvement yet..possible could get few % more.

I have two days to find solicitor to put above in consent order, so she won't change her mind again.

I have first hearing in two month for child arrangements also Cafcass call in a month, can it be cancelled if we are in agreement. Can consent order be issued if C100 is in court?

Thank you
Had an appointment with solicitor to discuss consent order and it was total waste of few hundreds.
It will cost £800-900 +Vat each order. But it is huge saving if it will go to court. Hope stbx can contribute half of it.

Any other options to cut the cost, but make child arrangements legal? Any recommendations?

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