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Self-Litigant or Representation?
#1
Hi All,

You may already know some of my story from my previous threads, however, to cut a long story short I am due to attend an FHDRA in a couple of weeks following a child arrangements order - I am essentially requesting 50:50 access as this is pretty much what I had before.

The Cafcass Officer called me and noted that the Mother is making accusations of domestic violence against her in our previous relationship and also that I am abusive towards our child. None of this is true and I explained that since my contact had been restricted I had asked the Mother what concerns she had as to his safety when with me unsupervised - she has never once acknowledged any. I also mentioned that I have had our child unsupervised for nearly 16 months and she had never raised any concern or grievance. The Cafcass Officer at the end did state that she would be issuing a report with no safeguarding concerns, however, I am yet to receive this yet.

I am wondering if I should look into representation or continue self-litigating? I do not believe she has any evidence of domestic violence/abuse, however, at the same time I do not know what she will produce to use as evidence. Would a solicitor/barrister help in determining this and how to move forward?

Thanks
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#2
As long as you can remain calm and ignore ex partners claims I would carry on self representing for now. A cafcass officer quoting she has no safeguarding concerns is a huge positive for you. It will be now down to her to produce factual evidence which may be ordered at the FHDRA hearing to back up her claims. A final contested hearing will be ordered and if one hasn't been done a s7 report. unless you have had one done for FHDRA hearing coming up.
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#3
(02-11-2020, 06:11 PM)warwickshire1 Wrote: As long as you can remain calm and ignore ex partners claims I would carry on self representing for now. A cafcass officer quoting she has no safeguarding concerns is a huge positive for you. It will be now down to her to produce factual evidence which may be ordered at the FHDRA hearing to back up her claims. A final contested hearing will be ordered and if one hasn't been done a s7 report. unless you have had one done for FHDRA hearing coming up.
Thanks warwickshire1 - much appreciated.

Will it be a definite that there will be another hearing or is there any possibility it could be wrapped up at the FHDRA?

Thanks,
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#4
It will almost certainly go to a final contested hearing. Its then that you may choose to carry on self litigation or to instruct a barrister to wrap things up.
Only you will know at FHDRA the best way forward if you will need representation or not depending how it is going. Only way be finalised at FHDRA if ex suddenly wants to negotiate a child arrangements order before or during hearing which doesn't normally happen generally


UPDATE: I went through your previous posts , your ex is mad so final hearing definitely coming. you wont get 50/50 but go for it anyway. I would focus on getting a midweek day overnight (very important) and asking for half holidays ( routine) . then finally ask for Friday pick up from school drop off to school Monday. if she creates a storm at final hearing don't let her tackle your midweek but offer to drop kids off sunday pm instead of Monday am. if she plays up you can return later and get that in court order as supposed to midweek contact which is hard to obtain. anything she says before final hearing ignore especially after looking at your posts Cool
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#5
Good luck, I often feel that it’s best to go into hearings cautiously optimistic. I got a really good court result in the end and probably if I’m honest much better than I thought, just been firm but fair and get your points across in a calm manner especially around cafcass, my cafcass Officer was absolutely useless and didn’t have any comebacks for my suggestions.
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#6
(02-19-2020, 07:00 PM)warwickshire1 Wrote: It will almost certainly go to a final contested hearing. Its then that you may choose to carry on self litigation or to instruct a barrister to wrap things up.
Only you will know at FHDRA the best way forward if you will need representation or not depending how it is going. Only way be finalised at FHDRA if ex suddenly wants to negotiate a child arrangements order before or during hearing which doesn't normally happen generally


UPDATE: I went through your previous posts , your ex is mad so final hearing definitely coming. you wont get 50/50 but go for it anyway. I would focus on getting a midweek day overnight (very important) and asking for half holidays ( routine) . then finally ask for Friday pick up from school drop off to school Monday. if she creates a storm at final hearing don't let her tackle your midweek but offer to drop kids off sunday pm instead of Monday am. if she plays up you can return later and get that in court order as supposed to midweek contact which is hard to obtain. anything she says before final hearing ignore especially after looking at your posts Cool

Hi Warwickshire1

I got the CAFCASS Report back today and it seems you were right; 

s7 Report
Letter from GP as to Mental Health (her also - she has claimed she is suffering from depression)
Contact in a supervised contact centre to assess my son's behaviour with me

She is claiming that apparently two health visitors advised to stop contact with me (she never told me this) and also that I was emotionally abusive post-separation.

I am due in tomorrow and have already submitted a Position Statement addressing these allegations and further setting out my position, but am going to put some further evidence of pictures, whatsapp conversations, medical reports and proof of finances to back up the points I made.

Crazy.

(02-19-2020, 08:14 PM)Tigre Wrote: If I understood right you are having contact atm? If yes, then be prepared that if it does go to further hearings and especially if a section 7 or some kind of report is ordered to be completed in between, your ex will try to stop all contact until the next hearing. Be sure you have evidence to say that there has been no issues so no grounds for stopping contact in the interim. It's best you keep contact as normal for now, until she has proven her allegations, which she cant. It will be a lot longer and stressful if you have to go without your kid and then start up supervised for months for no reason other than a spiteful ex. Best of luck mate

Hi Tigre,

Thanks for your response - yes I will have to do contact in a contact centre until the s7 report is done.

How long typically do you think these things take?
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#7
(02-27-2020, 06:03 PM)MarisDad Wrote:
(02-19-2020, 07:00 PM)warwickshire1 Wrote: It will almost certainly go to a final contested hearing. Its then that you may choose to carry on self litigation or to instruct a barrister to wrap things up.
Only you will know at FHDRA the best way forward if you will need representation or not depending how it is going. Only way be finalised at FHDRA if ex suddenly wants to negotiate a child arrangements order before or during hearing which doesn't normally happen generally


UPDATE: I went through your previous posts , your ex is mad so final hearing definitely coming. you wont get 50/50 but go for it anyway. I would focus on getting a midweek day overnight (very important) and asking for half holidays ( routine) . then finally ask for Friday pick up from school drop off to school Monday. if she creates a storm at final hearing don't let her tackle your midweek but offer to drop kids off sunday pm instead of Monday am. if she plays up you can return later and get that in court order as supposed to midweek contact which is hard to obtain. anything she says before final hearing ignore especially after looking at your posts Cool

Hi Warwickshire1

I got the CAFCASS Report back today and it seems you were right; 

s7 Report
Letter from GP as to Mental Health (her also - she has claimed she is suffering from depression)
Contact in a supervised contact centre to assess my son's behaviour with me

She is claiming that apparently two health visitors advised to stop contact with me (she never told me this) and also that I was emotionally abusive post-separation.

I am due in tomorrow and have already submitted a Position Statement addressing these allegations and further setting out my position,

Crazy.

(02-19-2020, 08:14 PM)Tigre Wrote: If I understood right you are having contact atm? If yes, then be prepared that if it does go to further hearings and especially if a section 7 or some kind of report is ordered to be completed in between, your ex will try to stop all contact until the next hearing. Be sure you have evidence to say that there has been no issues so no grounds for stopping contact in the interim. It's best you keep contact as normal for now, until she has proven her allegations, which she cant. It will be a lot longer and stressful if you have to go without your kid and then start up supervised for months for no reason other than a spiteful ex. Best of luck mate

Hi Tigre,

Thanks for your response - yes I will have to do contact in a contact centre until the s7 report is done.

How long typically do you think these things take?

From what I remember it can take a few months for a s7 report to be done. your ex is not going to let you have contact so supervised is a good thing as better than none at all. 
you are only going to a FHDRA so I would say simply that what your ex is saying is untrue and not factual. A medical report will likely go against her. As for 2 health vistors advising stuff, she probably slated you off and they advised something on the basis what she was telling them. 

but am going to put some further evidence of pictures, whatsapp conversations, medical reports and proof of finances to back up the points I made. i wouldnt bother with any of this as its a FHDRA hearing and they wont look into it. you may decide later if there is any need to use it. If there is no fact finding it will just be a contested final hearing where you just focus on getting contact. you should have a good s7 report by then and supervised centre will of given a good report too. dont get involved in playing tit for tat , just strongly refute about the emotional accusation. being calm and child focused gets you a long way in family court and accepting the supervised 2moro will put u in good stead. its all a game where you feel upset and frustrated but generally everything works out in the end if u stay calm and dont react
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#8
Yes Warwickshire is spot on there with all those points, I would even suggest strongly against taking any evidences sort of thing to FHDRA as
a) courts won't look into it in this round
b) you would have exposed your hands way too early on.

You can certainly talk about and pass on the evidences to CAFCASS during their section 7 report creation. Also you should aim for ducking the finding-of-fact hearing.
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#9
Hi Guys,

So in coming out of this hearing it was ordered that:

1) s7 Report ordered to assess son's behaviour with me, if he is at any risk of harm and to recommend level of contact and whom child should live with
2) Supervised contact fortnightly for 3 hours to assess son's behaviour with me
3) Letter from GP to confirm if either of us have been diagnosed with mental health issues (she has, I have not)
4) Letter from GP as to son's sustained injuries (suffered a disclocated elbow by his mother previously)

The next hearing is on 21st May. Feel a bit shafted tbh =/, do you guys have any thoughts on this?
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#10
It appears that the magistrates on day have just literally acted on err of caution and practically followed all the cafcass recommendations.

A positive is at least you got contact as many people get nothing as mum would just refuse. You have supervised 3 hours every 2 weeks , theres clearly going to be no issues and nothing but a glowing report. letter will confirm you have no problems but she has . The dislocated elbow incident could be an interesting one depending on what is said, I guess it will be put down to an accident.

Before you instruct a barrister I would recommend really ideally that you wait until you receive s7 report as that will have the recommended contact in from cafcass officer.
If it is all in your favour I would definitely instruct a barrister to finish off proceedings as there could be cross examination and also he/she will likely know what you may be able to get. Of course a big pat on the back for representing yourself so far. some people represent right until end , I have done both and just edging to towards the idea that you should have representation at a final hearing as you always walking into the unknown. if other party self representing then I would seriously consider self representing as well as you could get a lot of help on this forum before hearing.

If you want to stay positive just think of the warm weather ahead and summer holidays when you will have plenty of contact . 3 months will soon fly by before you know it
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