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Final Hearing Order - Get it sealed on the day
#1
Just wanted to give you all a heads up regarding the importance of having the final court order agreed and finalised on the actual day. 

My final hearing took place in the final week of January and here we are 25th Feb and there is still no sealed court order. 

During the day of the final hearing the other side were more occupied with throwing mud at me throughout the proceedings rather than accepting what is fact and has been recommended by Cafcass.  The magistrates made a judgement but nothing was thrashed out in a court order on the day. 

I was given half the school holidays on a phased basis whereby; February half term I would have 3 consecutive nights, Easter holidays would be 4 consecutive nights and May half term would be 5 consecutive nights. 

During February half term I've had endless issues trying to agree the 3 consecutive nights as proposed by the court, the ex nor her legal team (apparently) agree the holidays were from February, they were under the impression they would start from the Easter holiday period. 

Anyhow, I suggested to my ex that I would keep the kids Friday through to Monday morning inclusive which would give me the 3 consecutive nights as recommended by the court.  She challenged this and suggested I would be violating the court based agreement (I know, it's laughable). 

I kept the kids for the 3 consecutive nights and made the ex aware that they've had a copy of the draft order for two weeks now and if there were any issues with it, the should have communicated these by now.

I know Charlie keeps going on at us about the importance of having the order sealed on the day, follow his wise words otherwise, it gets really messy and creates more hostility which is not good for the kids.
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#2
Yes I had issues with this too. There is a difference though. Orders do take some time to come through. Getting it sealed on the day was if it was for a consent order, but if it was an order made by the court, they will write it up and seal it and send it when it's ready.

The main thing though is - the order stands and is in place from the day of the hearing, whether you have received a sealed copy of not, so they are in breach if they don't follow it. If you have a copy of the draft that is going to be sealed then it is clear.

I think it's very common for them to try this on and breach until the sealed order arrives - because I think you can't enforce until you actually have the sealed order. I was advised to just fudge it until the sealed order came through and let this one go. But you could email the court and ask when the order is likely to be through as it is not currently being followed by your former wife regarding the holidays. They should reply and give you a timescale. In my case it was an apology saying the Judge was on holiday and everything had been delayed by about six weeks. But they did seem to speed it up at that point and it came through quicker.

If you email them, quote the case number and attach a copy of the draft order and say - the draft order attached is what was sent for sealing. Belt and braces, so they know exactly what the order should say! Because that is another fiasco when the order comes and there is a mistake in it!

You should have it sorted before the Easter Holidays. Meanwhile I would just write a short polite email to her solicitor, attaching the draft order (even though they already have it) and say that you have been advised the order stands from the date of the hearing, regardless of whether the sealed copy has been received or not, and it clearly states that the children will have 3 consecutive days with you over February half term. (If it does clearly state it).

But as half term has gone now, as long as term time contact is going ahead ok, Easter hols are another 5 to 6 weeks away and hopefully it will be settled by then. Some is a psychological thing I think. My ex kind of denied to herself it had all happened and she wasn't in control, until she actually saw the order in black and white, and sealed.

So don't go accusing "breach" etc as there isn't much you can do about it until the order comes through. But do email the court as mentioned above.
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#3
Thanks for clarifying Charlie. My barrister was given the responsibility by the court of producing a draft order based on the recommendations that were provided by Cafcass and the court. The draft order was sent to the other side on 8 Feb for review and my legal representative has chased an update on numerous occasions. we have still not heard anything back, the court is also chasing my legal representative for an update.

I kept the kids for the 3 consecutive nights over the weekend just gone. My thinking was that if they were not in agreement then they have had two weeks to come back and challenge. I think these sort of issues would probably happen at the start as the ex is still trying to face reality.
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#4
Ok. So the other side (her solicitors) haven't approved the draft order for it to be sent off for sealing. That's what happened to me. Ex wanted to try and change all sorts of things and wouldn't agree it. Your Barrister should maybe write to the court with a copy of the draft order and say this is a true record of what was decided at court and the other side have not agreed/approved it and request the Judge seal the order anyway. That is what my Solicitor did. But - Judge wrote back indicating she wanted agreement reached. Fiasco. And if it couldn't be reached then go back to court for a prescribed order (ie not along the lines of the terms we agreed but a standard order - still not sure what would have happened because we thrashed out agreement in the end - only thing I gave up was court ordered phone contact in holidays).

But each situation is different. Her solicitors should have been given 7 days max to approve the order. Suggest your legal representative writes a short letter stating that they need approval of the draft order by 11am on Thursday 28th, to submit the order for sealing and if they have not had the approval by then the matter will be drawn to the attention of the magistrates.

Then if they don't approve it for sealing by Thursday am, get your Barrister to write to the court and ask for the order to be sealed anyway. They might. Or they might say - sort it out within a week and get back - as with me - or they might say if not sorted out within a week come back for a further hearing for the order to be writtten up.
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