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In desperate need of advice
#1
I’ll try to make this as short as possible but include the key facts.

I have now not seen my kids in 1 1/2 years due to my ex stopping all contact. Her excuse is because I was not interested in seeing them even though I’ve tried mediation to which she refused to attend and send recorded letters to her address but she is saying she never received any even though they have been signed for.

I had no other option than to take her to court but due to length of process it was a year after seeing my kids that I got my first court date. The court ordered 2 contacts in a contact centre, the kids are 9,10 and 12. I turned up on plenty of time but the kids refused to see me. I then went to court again and asked for it to be at a better venue, my ex objected this and made an offer of letterbox contact only. I won this fight and the court ordered contact at the local bowling. Again kids refused to see me but I managed to speak with them while they sat in ex’s car. They basically said they did not want to see me and would not say why but did speak to me when I was asking about school and what they had been up to etc I eventually talked one of them into coming into bowling to get a slush while ex came along.

After the bowling it was back to court and court have decided now to have a final hearing with no contact in meantime. I have an evidential heading on Thursday but now wondering if I should be contacting ex’s solicitor and seeing if letterbox contact can be agreed as worried that court will decide that I get nothing at all.

There was a bar report done with the kids and in it there was no safety issues and kids had said they were not sure about seeing me just now but would maybe want to see me in the future. I don’t have a solicitor as unable to get legal aid and can’t afford the legal bills
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#2
I'd ask for the direct contact but a gradual build. You can start with Sunday morning football pick up and drop off perhaps Sunday lunch, something fun and playful for the children, something to bond with you and also something your ex can't do on her own. Also something court will see as something safe. Children will see thru your care over the time. I would never accept just the indirect contact.
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#3
My worry is the fact that the last few contacts arranged that the kids have totally refused to even get out the car, I can’t see how any proper contact now can be enforced and this why the court has not granted anymore contact while awaiting next hearing date.
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#4
It’s a difficult situation to give advice on, which is why you may not have had many replies.  As you know, it’s all down to the “best interests of the child” in the Family Court, which gives the Judge a lot of discretion in his/her decisions. The Court granted you access once (albeit supervised), so they’ve considered that it’s in your children’s best interests to continue to have a relationship with you. Nothing has happened on your part to change that, so I wonder what reason the judge would give in the summing up if it was decided to reverse this?

I suppose one good thing is that in the Bar Report your children have said that they may want to see you at some point in the future.

I think on the day at court there will be a Court Welfare Officer who will liaise with you and may try to come to some agreement before you go into court, so you’d probably have the opportunity then to say about possible indirect contact for the immediate future. Do they have review hearings in Scotland? That’s where if an order is made there’s a further hearing a few months later to check how things are going with the order.
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#5
I would pick them all up from school during week so ex cant alienate them against you
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#6
This sounds very difficult. Sounds like the Mother is alienating them and telling them to say they don't want to see you. And they will do what she says because she is the only parent they have to look after them if you've been pushed out - and their basic instinct is survival and approval of that parent.

Could you ask the court for psychologists reports on both parents? Or a court guardian? To see how the kids are at their Mum's before they come for a supervised contact. Or for someone else to organise the supervised contact? Pick them up and take them to the contact centre?

To be honest it does sound like they have been alienated and the only way to reverse that is if they have regular staying time with you. Even then she may keep trying. The only route I know to proving that, leading to a change of residency, is via psychologists reports on both parents. They psychologist can make recommendations to the court and they are a higher expert witness than Cafcass etc. So a Judge would usually accept findings and make an order on it.

Don't give up. And don't let them get lazy and give up either and just offer indirect contact.

The bowling alley story sounds to me like, if away from their Mother's influence they would be normal with you. And the way you describe just talking about normal things they chat to you. But they have been told to repeat a line - that they don't want to see you. And like good trained little kids they repeat the line but it doesn't actually mean that. So when you got them on another topic they talked normally.

Put that in your statement for court and decide what to ask for. Sorry that isn't much help - it's late.
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#7
As much as it hurts to say it but I can understand the judge refusing direct contact as it’s already been tried before and if it was to be granted again then I can’t see any way that kids can be forced to leave their mum. Can’t exactly drag them away screaming as that won’t work.

I feel best I’m going to be able to get is indirect contact but worry is if judge gives me nothing then ex can wipe her hands of me.

I had considered just walking past them while out playing.
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#8
Cant you pick them up from school instead ?
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#9
I've adapted a post that I saved from another forum - very relevant to your case.
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"Whilst your children's thoughts should be taken into consideration, they shouldn't have the burden of making such important - and adult - decisions placed on them. You and their father are the parents and should be the ones making such decisions.

What are the issues your daughter is having with her father? Did they begin before you separated? What is your relationship with him like (As a co-parent)?

If your 10yo said they didn't want to go to school, or wash their hair, or eat their supper, what would you say? This is what the President of the Family Division, Lord Justice Munby, said recently about children who are reluctant to have contact with a non-resident parent, in Re H-B (Contact) [2015] EWCA Civ 389, a case which had run for six years,

[75] …There are many things which they ought to do that children may not want to do or even refuse to do: going to the dentist, going to visit some “boring” elderly relative, going to school, doing homework or sitting an examination, the list is endless. The parent’s job, exercising all their parental skills, techniques and stratagems – which may include use of both the carrot and the stick and, in the case of the older child, reason and argument – is to get the child to do what it does not want to do. That the child’s refusal cannot as such be a justification for parental failure is clear: after all, children whose education or health is prejudiced by parental shortcomings may be taken away from their parents and put into public care.

[76] … what one can reasonably demand – not merely as a matter of law but also and much more fundamentally as a matter of natural parental obligation – is that the parent, by argument, persuasion, cajolement, blandishments, inducements, sanctions (for example, “grounding” or the confiscation of mobile phones, computers or other electronic equipment) or threats falling short of brute force, or by a combination of them, does their level best to ensure compliance. That is what one would expect of a parent whose rebellious teenage child is foolishly refusing to do GCSEs or A-Levels or “dropping out” into a life of drug-fuelled crime. Why should we expect any less of a parent whose rebellious teenage child is refusing to see her father?

Have you considered you, your ex and your children attending family counselling together to try to get to the bottom of the issues troubling your daughter, and work together to resolve those issues, with a view to both children having regular time with Dad."
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#10
Have moved this thread to Contact and Residence issues, which seems more the appropriate topic. And deleted your other thread asking for this topic to be responded to. It was a bit hidden away under "Rights".
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