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Enforcement - what happens now.

I've posted quite a few times over the last 3 years about my other half and his daughter. His daughter is almost 4, and he has been back to court multiple times.

The years have not gotten easier. She remains as combative as ever. He has a court order for EOW, a weekly contact for dinner (with the stipulation that this will become an overnight when child ready) and half of all school holidays. This latest order was made at the end of February. By early March she was trying to argue what 50% of school holidays actually were. It took the barrister to speak with the judge and have it clarified that she wasn't allowed to just give notice she was taking the child away now (as was in the previous order - 28 days notice of holidays for either party). Then whilst he was still trying to negotiate actually having half of the Easter hols, covid hit.

As expected, she stopped all contact. DP, after many discussions agreed to stop contact - he felt that the court would feel she was reasonable and he was the unreasonable one. He didn't willingly consent to the contact stopping, but forced agreement if you will.

It took until 18th July for her to agree to re-start contact. It was the summer hols by then, so he should have been having 50% of them. But obviously due to the prolonged time he suggested shorter but more frequent contacts, building up to perhaps the last week of the holidays with him. She all but refused to come to any agreement, so it ended up with him having 2 days in the first weekend, then no contact for 2 weeks as the 2nd week she said was was her week. Then 3 days in the 3rd week. Again the 4th week she said was her week, then the 5th week she said he could have 4 days. So that was it. Holidays over. Back to term time arrangement. He then had every other weekend, until half term. She had the extra day in half term as she said she was taking the child away. So he had her for 4 days.

Then.... the allegations began (again). On 3rd Nov DP had a phone call from social services saying that she alleges the child disclosed that one of my children had put something in her bottom. Luckily for me and DP, we knew that nothing could have happened as I won't have the children left alone together at all - for this exact reason - I have always been very concerned she would target my children in her campaign to get contact either to an absolute minimum (or stopped which I'm quite sure is her preference).

Unfortunately the child went on to repeat this allegation to the social worker - but named my other child. Which in itself should ring alarm bells. The child went through a physical examination which concluded no concerns at all.

Whilst it was investigated, DP was told he could still have contact, but at his house, not mine. The mother was told the same too. They had no concerns for DP's care of her, and no safeguarding concerns. They informed the mother of this too. She still refused contact.

Unfortunately at the time all of this started, DP got bloody covid. So it delayed things somewhat. Last Thursday, whilst DP was still in isolation, she presented their child to a&e claiming that she had pain vaginally and anally. This triggered yet another physical forensic examination. This time she made accusations to the social worker that DP tells her not to tell mummy things. She also claims that DP tells her not to hug her grandparents. The social worker by this time had already mentioned parental alienation and talked about how the a&e presentation was suspicious.

The social worker advised that it was now going to a strategy meeting. We weren't sure what exactly was happening at this point, but the conversations with the social workers had reassured us both that they seemed to have the measure of the mother.

After the strategy meeting DP was called and told that they would be working with the mother to address her anxiety and control issues and putting pressure on her to re-instate contact. Basically, they were aware the allegations were malicious in nature, and the issues lay with the mother, not the father. They said they would support my partner in court and strongly advised him to seek enforcement.

He has done the enforcement form. But what now? This should have been DP's first Christmas with his daughter. We both strongly feel that the timing of these allegations was done in such a way so that she would get Christmas day again. This was the first order where he would have any part of Christmas (having 2pm Christmas eve - 2pm Christmas day). She knows it won't get to court before Christmas. So she will get her way.

This whole situation is exhausting. My children have now become collateral damage in her wish to exert control. I'm pretty fucked off with it all now. So if anyone can offer any wisdom, positive thoughts, whatever... please do!
Unfortunately there is not much you can do until you get a family court hearing. If social services are involved isnt daughters father able to attend any of the meetings there are if there is any. When enforcing you could of actually submitted a C1a form in that your daughter is suffering emotional harm as social services would be able to confirm this. Repeated false allegations and subjecting daughter to un necessary examinations .

The only thing i can say is that things will get better in time as daughter being only 4 doesnt help either . Once she attends school which i assume will be september 2021 you could change midweek to overnight and every other weekend to pick up from school friday drop off to school monday as well as half of the holidays so u dont see mum at all .

Daughters dad could offer whilst waiting for family court hearing to have daughter at his but this does leave him open to more false allegations until it goes back to family court.

If there are no meetings at moment ie child protection conference there will be if contact not re instated with dad soon
Neither parent have been at any meetings so far. The strategy meeting is a professionals only meeting. Generally parents aren't informed these are happening in advance. We think the mother was not made aware of this meeting.
The social workers have been to see the child during the examinations, and at her school. But the mother was present. They are arranging to see the child without her mother present.

Partner is a teacher, and at the moment he is unable to accommodate the morning drop offs - well, he could, but he and cafcass both felt it wasn't in the childs best interest to be getting home at 5.45pm, thrown her dinner in her before bed at 7pm. Then up at 6am to leave at 6.15am to be dropped off pre-7.30am. It just wouldn't be right at such a young age. DP hopes that he will be able to work closer to to where her mother lives, especially as she gets older and not such a fixed bedtime. Teaching jobs are like gold dust, so it is something that will take time.

He has certainly offered to have her at his place - this was refused. That's when she started making allegations against him and claiming emotional abuse. She had hoped that social services would recommend no contact. When they didn't, she had to keep going as she doesn't want to breach the order without reason. She will try and try and try until she thinks she looks justified.
Once you get to asocial worker on side and identifying for themselves the false accusations like this they should start to look at the Psychological Abuse route, this is what happened with me, along with my applying myself for a change of residence order.

Things like this with false accusations using a child they will need and should act on.

You may not know until the morning it happens that they are doing this as i found out in my case.
What happens at an enforcement hearing. Will he have legal representation or be self repping? Either way a good position statement submitted the day before or on the day will help (although if it's a videolink hearing it may need to be submitted well in advance). At the end of that he can either "respectfully request the court enforces the order" or he could make suggestions for amendments to the order that he thinks will help. Eg - I respectfully request the court consider that my daughter may be better off living with me and spending time with his Mother on a near 50/50 basis, as I would support healthy relationships with both parents.

If you ask for anything other than a straight enforcement (which will probably just be a fine or community service or a telling off) then it effectively becomes a variation hearing and will almost certainly lead to another hearing and possibly Cafcass involvement and a section 7. However, as social services have already been involved they may not do a section 7 and it is very helpful that they will back him up.

At this stage he may not get residency, but a Judge can do anything at an enforcement hearing - they can amend the order to something they think will work better. They may add the extra night or order 50/50 shared care. Or they may just give her a telling off and try to deter her from doing it again. Some depends on the Judge, some depends on how good a case is put forward. Hence if not using legal representation then he definitely needs a good position statement and ideally the social worker to be present to give evidence (although that is not likely at a first hearing).

It can be sorted on the day at one hearing - eg a telling off or minor amendment to the order and a Judgement possibly. If there is a Judgement he wants to send off for a transcript of that asap as it will help with any future applications as evidence. If they are considering changing residence or doing 50/50 then it will almost certainly go to a second hearing.

I think you have to be careful with Cafcass though. When I enforced and claimed emotional harm of son, and it looked like there may be a chance of change of residency, Cafcass officer took a very strong side with the Mother and was hostile with me. Depends on the Cafcass officer - but as usual - any phone call with Cafcass pre-hearing needs to be handled carefully and a lot depends on how clever his ex is. In my case it was a fairly minor breach and I had already alleged emotional harm in the application and the officer on the phone had already spoken to ex who had made allegations that muddied the waters - so classed it as both parents accusing each other. The Judge saw straight through it though when he saw the position statement. Every situation is different but if the ex has legal representation they will be pushing for a lesser order and even supervised. Although hopefully social services would counteract that. So he might need legal representation.

The allegations are very serious but also quite cleverly vague. Seems more to keep you out of the picture than your partner by accusing one of your children. The ex is probably all out to stop you two living together full time. It's good social services are working with her on her anxiety but if it is sheer malice they won't get far - she has an agenda. Hence the legal stance of saying that your partner will encourage healthy relationships with both parents.
Thank you for the responses so far.

He put the enforcement order in on 18th Nov. Nothing received as yet. He hasn't asked for a variation. He is happy with the contact he has. The only change would be to go for full residency. As this would mean the child being separated from older sibling, and a change in nursery - DP feels this is highly unlikely this time around.

Interestingly, the mother has engaged a solicitor this time. DP recieved a letter telling him they were making a c100 application and denying contact on the recommendation of social services. Given that social services aim is to get contact re-started, I find that interesting that she is lying to a solicitor and now social services have another piece of proof of her lies (social worker asked for copy of sols. letter when DP told her of it).

Social worker has come up with a plan. She has been to see her at nursery. The child was asked if she wanted to see daddy. She said no. She could not and would not give a reason why. So social worker tried a different tact. Asking if she would like it if daddy came to see her at school - yes, she would! (Mummy obviously hasn't trained her well enough on that one).

So the social worker is planning to speak with the mother tomorrow and ask to do an assessment with my DP and child at the school setting. She doesn't need to do the assessment (she said). But she is wanting to see how the mother will react to the suggestion. If the mother still refuses, social worker has said she will be speaking to her about parental alienation. That her report to court will be about how the mother is attempting to alienate the father.

Bloody jackpot. It has taken 4 years for a professional to see it, accept it, and write it. Hallelujah. It will be interesting to see what the mother says tomorrow....

On a side note - should DP reply to solicitor letter to acknowledge but to state that social services have not recommend contact to stop (and are actively trying to persuade the mother to recommence)?
I don’t think he needs to reply to that letter. Good social worker is on the ball.
How did it go?
Believe it or not, still waiting for the first court date. Cafcass call on 22nd Dec was great. Parental alienation was talked about as an issue and the officer was supportive of his enforcement application. She said she was going to be telling the mother she needed to recommence contact. Recommendation was straight for a s7 and final hearing. No need for additional hearings.
Unfortunately the mother put a cross application in early Jan which confused matters. DP managed to get legal aid (finally, after 4 years of trying!) so his solicitor took over at this point and was told the court had 13th May as a date. About 4 weeks before he was told oh no, cafcass need more time. So now it will be 9th August. That's 9 months to a first hearing!
We still haven't heard from cafcass (although it isn't likely to be cafcass doing the s7 as they did say they would be asking the social worker to do it).
She finally agreed to re-start contact on 21st Jan. The day after little one's birthday (it was also his year to have her for her birthday... coincidence?!). However she refused midweek contact still and said she would only agree to contact that was not at my house. A couple of months of back and forth emails from the solicitors eventually got her to back down further and now it is "child not allowed to stay at my house". This is causing no end of financial issues as well as practical issues.
I just hope the s7 is good, the issues are seen, and the matter is resolved quickly. We can't even have a family holiday because he can't risk contact being stopped again if we all go away together.
That is a heck of a long wait.

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