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Any guides/advice to writing a CAO statement.
#1
I have been putting together a statement bit by bit, day by day - I'm representing myself.

I was wondering what the best websites or places are offering advice on how to best put this together. My issue at the moment is when I read back what I've written it sounds rather scathing toward the ex - I kind of read it back to myself in the voice of Jeremy Kyle!. I get that it should obviously be child focused but I also have to get across the games and unreasonable behaviour of the ex as that has had a direct result on my relationship with my children. Her plan has been to demean me with lies of which I can prove are not true. I don't feel as though it's enough to just deny her allegations - I want the court to understand her motivations.

Also, I have a huge amount of evidence that I would like to show - I don't want to leave any stone unturned, but I am concerned I could be submitting too much.

In my previous statement to court my solicitor told me I didn't have to address each and every allegation but this backfired and the judge made some findings on things I could easily have proven to be wrong. I don't want this to happen again.

It all feels like a big balancing act. I'm concerned that in defending myself against lies, I will be accused of not being child focused. But to be child focused I need to defend myself... Catch 22.
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#2
Just my opinion, but what I was advised and what worked perfectly for me was this:

If you really need to acknowledge the lies and accusations in your statement then start it with a paragraph that does this but looks to take the high ground, something like this:

“I have read and been made aware of the allegations and negative statements made against me and I refute them all. If these do indeed need to be discussed in our hearing I would welcome the opportunity to address and refute them.  However, it is my intention today to focus on the children in order to help establish for them a clear and supportive structure that allows them to grow into happy healthy young adults with the love and support of both their parents.”

Then proceed with your statement being focused on the children outlining the following as clearly as possible:
  • What you want
  • How it will work
  • The benefits to the children
If anything is already happening, or a precedent has been set that goes in your favour then include this.

Try and finish on a really positive paragraph that shows you as the loving supportive father I am sure you are.

Now, once this is done get another a new blank document open on your laptop and list each and every one of the incidents she has thrown at you, and then under each one your reason for why they are nonsense, trying always to have as much fact and evidence as possible.

Try to set it out clearly so if you are asked in court you won’t be flustered, and your look prepared and calm which is just what they want to see.

Finally, in my experience and a few others I am aware of, the family courts REALLY HATE having to deal with parents who just want to attack each other, they want to see you both be focused on the children so a lot of the time they won’t want to have these discussions. If they do however have or need to address 1 or more of her lies, wait your turn to speak patiently and start by saying:

“Thank you, your honour. Before I provide my response, I want to reiterate that it is my belief these lies are simply attempts to try and defame my character in a hope to try and influence the court’s opinion against me rather than what we should be doing which is finding the most positive way forward for our children. It is my firmest hope that with a fair court order in place, in time tensions will ease and both of us will be focused on providing our children with a positive future.  In response to [insert accusation and retort here]”


Despite awful lies and hatful actions against me, I have shared care over my children. Keep calm and good luck.
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#3
Sector, I can't seem to tell from your post, at what stage your children access is from court process wise ? But when I started from C100, I had some really good advise here - http://www.separateddads.co.uk/forum/thread-7180.html

By the way I completely agree with reference to balancing act and the immense urge to throw ex under the bus ( i have felt the same) but what I have learnt from my own personal experience is slow(but calculated) pace wins the race.
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#4
This is what I am concerned about...

"Finally, in my experience and a few others I am aware of, the family courts REALLY HATE having to deal with parents who just want to attack each other, they want to see you both be focused on the children so a lot of the time they won’t want to have these discussions."

The big issue is she is trying to make me look the absent, non caring father but she is the one putting restrictions in place and telling lies - She manufactures situations. If I don't show how unreasonable she has been there is a good chance the court will see it that way. She has blatantly alienated me and surely I am entitled to demonstrate that. I haven't spoken or seen my daughter for over a year because the ex has said multiple times in solicitors letters and in court that she requests no contact whatsoever with me. Because of this I wrote a solicitor letter saying asking if my daughter aware of the fact that I have been instructed to have no contact with her - She replied that she's never said I cant contact her and had always encouraged it. Now because I have followed instructions she is having a field day saying I've been absent, not supporting them in school nativities etc. I'm scared to not address each and every thing for again being seen as the way she is trying to portray me.

Edit: Not just for the court, I want my evidence and story to be documented so that if she succeeds in turning my children against me when they are young adults, I at least can show them the truth. I hope it doesn't come to that, but if I don't refute and prove her lies it's as though whatever she says is fact.
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#5
What stage of the process are you at? Are you at a final hearing or earlier? Do you have to write a witness statement or is this just a position statement / earlier hearing?
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#6
I would channel your energy away from what the ex is trying to do i.e. prevent a loving relationship between you and the kids.

The aim here is not to show how your ex has alienated you or how unreasonable she has been, the onus is on you to continue to be reasonable. Take small steps at a time and all will end well.

At all costs avoid getting in a tit for tat where you end up trying to disprove anything the ex is throwing at you, trust me when I say this, the courts are well versed in all these allegations being brought up once child proceedings have been initiated. You need to remember the end goal...securing good time with your children. Ultimately, the courts will make an order which is in the best interests of the children, not what you or the ex think is best.

I understand from your previous post that you are preparing a statement, is this for a final hearing and if so, refer your statement to the Welfare Checklist, anything outside of this is irrelevant and won't have a bearing on the outcome.

I had numerous allegations thrown at me including DA and being controlling and coercive, the courts listened to my ex but then ordered in line with Cafcass recommendations which doubled the time I was spending with the kids. It is critical to come across as being child focussed and thinking about what is best for them. Avoid getting involved in a mud slinging match, this will not go down well and will annoy the courts.

If you need any assistance with your statement then feel free to PM.
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#7
(05-16-2019, 07:48 PM)Leader1978 Wrote: I would channel your energy away from what the ex is trying to do i.e. prevent a loving relationship between you and the kids.  

The aim here is not to show how your ex has alienated you or how unreasonable she has been, the onus is on you to continue to be reasonable.  Take small steps at a time and all will end well.  

At all costs avoid getting in a tit for tat where you end up trying to disprove anything the ex is throwing at you, trust me when I say this, the courts are well versed in all these allegations being brought up once child proceedings have been initiated.  You need to remember the end goal...securing good time with your children.  Ultimately, the courts will make an order which is in the best interests of the children, not what you or the ex think is best.  

I understand from your previous post that you are preparing a statement, is this for a final hearing and if so, refer your statement to the Welfare Checklist, anything outside of this is irrelevant and won't have a bearing on the outcome.  

I had numerous allegations thrown at me including DA and being controlling and coercive, the courts listened to my ex but then ordered in line with Cafcass recommendations which doubled the time I was spending with the kids.  It is critical to come across as being child focussed and thinking about what is best for them.  Avoid getting involved in a mud slinging match, this will not go down well and will annoy the courts.  

If you need any assistance with your statement then feel free to PM.

I actually take a slightly different tack here. If you have been stopped from seeing your children by your ex despite your efforts, and you have it evidenced, I would certainly want to point to this in any statement you give and submit it. You will want to frame it in a positive way though and say that you acquiesced to her in order to produce a long term positive co-parenting relationship, as any alternative wasn't feasible.

This will provide a defense against any bullshit in the hearing about you being opportunistic, to minimise CMS payments, blah blah, etc.

I certainly did in my final hearing and I got a 50:50 ruling lives with both order. Cafcass weren't involved though at all, the magistrates just went off their own judgement.

What are you actually looking for? What is your desired outcome?
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#8
Courts don't usually like to order 50:50 due to the implications on the benefits entitlement. It would depend on how much contact their is currently, are Cafcass involved, whether the ex is willing to agree by consent etc...

Sector 78G - can you provide some more info so that we can advise more specifically
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#9
I've had a couple of messages in my inbox offering help and advice - many thanks. I think perhaps the best thing I can do at this stage is write things up in my own words, get it out of my system however scathing it may seem, and then have someone with experience of the court/Cafcass look it over and tell me what is worth keeping/omitting/changing. I'm not the best at putting things into words, so am conscious of shooting myself in the foot.
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