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Section 7 - long delay?
#1
Hi all,

Had my last hearing in early part of April and it was requested by the judge to have cafcass carry out a section 7 report. This was some 7 weeks ago and having read my interim order it states this must be completed and submitted to the court no later than 4pm on 20th June. Is it normal for cafcass to leave it this late? Bit concerned that we are now just over 3 weeks away and I’ve still not heard a thing. My son is 6 coming up 7 and my step daughter is 10. I know the judge indicated that my step daughter would be asked her thoughts on if she wants to see me (I think alienation has taken its course with her) but I was wondering what approach they will take with my son as he’s some years younger? Are they likely to ask him outright if he wants to see me more? And is it likely that the children will spoken with at school? I’ve been tempted to phone cafcass and ask what’s happening but don’t want to look like I’m pestering. Any advice would be great. Thanks.
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#2
(05-30-2019, 04:12 PM)Astroman Wrote: Hi all,

Had my last hearing in early part of April and it was requested by the judge to have cafcass carry out a section 7 report. This was some 7 weeks ago and having read my interim order it states this must be completed and submitted to the court no later than 4pm on 20th June. Is it normal for cafcass to leave it this late? Bit concerned that we are now just over 3 weeks away and I’ve still not heard a thing. My son is 6 coming up 7 and my step daughter is 10. I know the judge indicated that my step daughter would be asked her thoughts on if she wants to see me (I think alienation has taken its course with her) but I was wondering what approach they will take with my son as he’s some years younger? Are they likely to ask him outright if he wants to see me more? And is it likely that the children will spoken with at school? I’ve been tempted to phone cafcass and ask what’s happening but don’t want to look like I’m pestering.  Any advice would be great. Thanks.

Its normal for Section 7 to be filed either last min, or even late. This is often done intentionally by Cafcass, in an attempt to limit how long people have to file a responce to it, if its one sided.

If this happens, contact the Court to put back the next hearing, to enable a responce to be done. Note that each Court has its own rules on how late things can be filed, but the normal is anything needs to be filed by 4pm, 2 working days before, as a Judge will often read a case the day before they hear it.

You will also have the right to put the Cafcass Officer in the witness box, and ask questions on how they formed any options, and what evidance of it exists.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#3
Thanks MarkR. Absolute crazy to think that cafcass are supposed to be impartial but clearly not. Re the section 7 would I expect to get a letter outlining when they want to speak to me? Thanks again for replying.
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#4
Cafcass will contact you In June somewhen . I would Imagine within next 14 days . Do not criticise them , its normal for them not to do report immediately. Be child focused , try not say too much about step daughter/son. Concentrate on your biological one. Reason I say this is they will be requesting his wishes and feelings. It would be good to say positive things if u mention step son/daughter and u respect his/her wishes . If u had a great bond tell them but dont mention ex in a bad light. Cause it's your step son /daughter it wont be as easy as getting access to you own son/daughter. Remember cafcass u need to have in your side as courts nearly always follow their recommendations
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#5
Thanks Warwickshire. Fingers crossed I hear something shortly. The next hearing isn't until July.
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#6
The timings are normal, nothing to worry about. My S7 meeting took place 3rd week in September and the report was published by Cafcass 2nd week of October with a Directions Hearing due end of October.

All correspondence with Cafcass would be through their Egress system
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#7
Thanks Leader, I guess I'll continue the waiting game.
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#8
The delays are not acceptable. Cafcass have a tendency to push through reports at the last minute ,leaving parents very little time to file a response to any inaccurate information that may have been recorded. Often see delays used as a way of delaying contact ,which leads to the pendulum swinging away from you in re any chance of an order where shared care or contact exceeding the standard every other weekend.
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#9
Thanks for the reply - Whats more concerning for me is that they haven't even arranged to visit me yet and they've only got 14 days from today. No idea what they're doing.
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#10
They will come up with some excuses and ask for an extension from the court. That’s what they did for mine.
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