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Statement for contested final hearing
Evening Dad's
Is anyone able to give me some pointers with regard to what to put in my statement / document bundle for a contested final hearing.
I have a week or so to get one submitted.
Was planning to include a letter from my employer confirming that they are happy with me working flexible hours around the days I have my boy.
Some photos of good times.
Didn't know whether to include some texts showing the unreasonable nature of his mum or just to purely focus on the best interests for the lad.
It is worth mentioning relationships he has with my family and friends.
Any pointer would be very much appreciated and hopefully this thread will come in handy for lots of other dad's in a similar position.
I've been advised to use c120 form to as a template.
Aware that I should be aiming for 4-6 pages for the statement but heard some bundles can go into a couple of hundred page. What supporting evidence should I also submit.
Would really appreciate all of your comments as feel I have a hell of a lot riding on this.
Maybe some of you who have already written statement for final hearing would be kind enough to share what you put in them.
Thanking you all in advanced.
Most important thing i can see is getting a letter from nursery that you were taking your child there on a regular basis 3 days a week for 2 years. they dont take much notice of your working hours as when u asking for certain contact they assume u are available to do this. wouldnt hurt to get a letter to say your boss will work around you though. they wont really take any notice of texts she sends so probs best left.
you probs wont get 50 -50 but may get up to 12 nights which includes half of holidays and every other weekend
I have just completed my final hearing in January so I can give you a few pointers regarding the write up of your statement.

Keep it factual - the reason is that you will get cross examined by the other side and if there is anything in there not true then your ex would have advised her legal representative of this and they will go after that point. Also, make sure it does not include any mistakes as again here, the other side will pick up on this and question everything else in your statement

Welfare checklist - you need to ensure that you refer to this throughout your statement, the welfare checklist is what the courts place a significant amount of emphasis on when considering child arrangements. I used the various headings and then added a narrative under each. For example, Meeting the childs physical, emotional and educational needs: you would need to state how you have already been involved in your sons life to date. Emotional needs met through being hands on since birth (nappy changing, bottle feeding, bedtimes etc...) and also state how you would continue to meet these needs for your son going forward.

- Child focussed: I cannot stress the importance of avoiding any tit for tat with the ex, if you do start attacking your ex then the courts frown upon this and just see it as two parents being petty, you need to convince the courts that you are 100% focussed on the welfare of your son. It seems like you have been heavily involved in your son's life so just be honest, include what you have done for him thus far.

Statement from Otherside: Be prepared and make sure you are sitting down when you first go to read this. She will be hell bent on portraying you in a bad light and will focus on your lack of parenting capability as my ex did. I kind of pre-empted this from my ex and included a paragraph in my statement suggesting how my ex is confident in my parenting capability and the fact that I can meet the emotional needs of the children given she has given me regular and significant over night contact since separation. I would go through her statement and highlight anything that is infactual, if you can back it up with evidence then that is even better.

Exhibits - the reference from employer that you mention will be referred to as an exhibit. You would make the point in the body of your statement and refer the reader to the exhibit. Absolutely I would obtain a reference from your employer, I would also ask the nursery to write you a reference confirming your involvement, this worked a treat for me too.

Statement Length - 5-6 pages would be sufficient as that is the right level to keep the reader engaged. Within your statement you would provide a background of your case, what the current arrangements have been, what you are requesting and how your schedule would work, I also attached a draft order at the back of my statement which my barrister was able to use through negotiations with the other side. If you can include a couple of photos of you with the kids then that humanises the statement, but only a couple and don't go overboard.

I would also stress the importance of how important it is for your son's sense of identity to continue to have relationships with family and friends.
Warwickshire and leader thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I am hugely appreciative. You have both made some extremely valid points which have been well noted. I will be speaking to the nursery asap to request a reference letter from them. I just hope they will be happy to do this for me.
I'd love to hear from anyone else, be it from personal experience or just opinions.
I'm afraid this kind of thing is not my strong point and I'm so scared it is going to affect the final outcome and my son's future.
I'm so glad I found this wonderful resource.
More info here

Quite a lot of info here - especially under "Tips about structure" - although I was advised not to include photos as my legal team said courts don't like it.

You really want your Solicitor's help with it if you have a solicitor. Mine asked me to send all documents (ie evidence./exhibits) like emails to and from ex, other letters and documents and tell her what the main issues were. She then constructed a draft statement, referring to the exhibits, and laid out correctly and emailed it to me. I went through the draft and edited anything to make sure it was 100% accurate, and sent it back to her along with a piece I had written in my own words. She put the whole thing together, sent it back to me again, and I went through it all again to make sure it read right. Her wording was more experienced than mine in places and made points better. I also drew up a draft order with everything I wanted in an order and sent that to solicitor. She re-did it in the correct format, and that was used attached to the back of my statement. So instead of, at the end, saying I respectfully request the court to make an order as follows: (and then the schedule). It said - I respectfully request the court to make an order as per the attached draft order.

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