Home > The Court Process > Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself

Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself

By: Clare Birtles - Updated: 3 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Litigant In Person Self Representation

A few changes in family law have recently taken place or are imminent. We thought you'd like to know the details so we've asked Celia Conrad a former specialist family solicitor and author of Fathers Matter - the essential guide to contact on separation and divorce - to cover it in a guest blog for us.

The term LIP or should I say litigant in person is used to describe an individual who exercises his/her right to conduct legal proceedings on his/her own behalf. In other words self-representation, although (according to Lord Dyson's Practice Direction of March 2013) the correct terminology continues to be litigant in person rather than self-represented litigant!

Withdrawal of Public Funding for Children Applications

Many parties, particularly fathers, have had no choice other than to become litigants in person after the withdrawal of public funding for the majority of private law children applications. This is a direct consequence of:

(1) The controversial Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which came into force on 1 April 2013

(2) The ever-increasing cost of legal fees, many parties start off with legal representation but end up as litigants in person due to prohibitive legal costs

The emphasis is to keep parties out of the courts and, since the Family Justice Review in 2011, the Government has been focusing on funding dispute resolution services such as mediation. The aim is to direct parties in private law cases to mediation rather than funding them to proceed to court. Despite all the funding for mediation however, there is no guarantee that it will work. So if a case does proceed to court, the likelihood is that at least one of the parties will be a litigant in person whom the courts will have to accommodate.

Of course with the abundance of free information on the Internet and websites such as this one, more and more parties have made a conscious decision to act as litigants in person.

Using a McKenzie Friend

Sometimes parties act alone and sometimes with the 'right to reasonable assistance' of a McKenzie Friend. There is a presumption in favour of allowing a McKenzie friend to sit in on court proceedings so as to be able to provide that reasonable assistance. This ties in with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which directs that "those who need assistance with the presentation of their case" should receive it.

Assistance means offering moral support, taking notes, helping with case papers and quietly giving advice on any aspect of the conduct of the case. But assistance does not extend to conducting litigation or acting as an advocate - and McKenzie Friends do not have a right to audience in court, unlike solicitors and barristers.

In exceptional cases, where a litigant in person is inarticulate or has severe health problems and is unable to present the case, some judges have allowed McKenzie Friends to address the court directly. The latest guidance in relation to McKenzie Friends is set out in a 2010 Practice Direction.

Equal Treatment is an Entitlement

The fact is that litigants in person often feel overwhelmed by the court process especially where the other party has legal representation. Litigants in person MUST be treated equally before the law and have equal access to justice. Judges have a duty to ensure a fair trial by giving them due assistance to achieve this. But that duty does not extend to giving legal advice. Nor can a judge be seen to favour one party over another, even if that party is a litigant in person.

Litigants in person should bear in mind that a judge's role is to determine both the facts of the case and the law applicable to those facts and presenting a case involving difficult points of law is no easy task for lawyers with many years experience, let alone a litigant in person. Which is why it is expected that with the increasing numbers of litigants in person, judges will need to be exceptionally proactive in managing cases where litigants in person are involved, particularly where the other party has legal representation, to ensure that the litigant in person is not disadvantaged in the proceedings.

There are some significant and imminent changes to family law with which litigants in person will need to familiarise themselves:

(1) Single Family Court for England & Wales

The 22nd April 2014 was a key date in the family law calendar. On that date there a new Single Family Court for England & Wales came in to being. There are actually two tiers of court:
  1. The Family Court
  2. The High Court
It was recognised that it was necessary to preserve the High Court's status in relation to its international work and inherent jurisdiction (which includes matter such as wardship) - but there will be four levels of judges:
  • Lay bench
  • District Judge
  • Circuit Judge
  • High Court Judge
The idea is that the creation of a single family court will facilitate the wider reforms being implemented to enable the more efficient use of court resources, and more effective administration of proceedings.

(2)The revised Public Law Outline (PLO)

The revised Public Law Outline will also come into force. In terms of changes it is not significantly different from the PLO from July 2013 but it clearly defines how care applications will be dealt with in the future.

(3)The Child Arrangements Programme

The Private Law Programme, which essentially sets out and governs the procedure in relation to private law applications under the Children Act 1989, will be replaced by the Child Arrangements Programme. The emphasis here is on the needs of the children and ties in with the amendments to the 1989 Act by the Children and Families Act, which received Royal Assent on 13 March 2014 and which among other things:

  • Makes it a requirement for separating couples (with certain exceptions such as where there has been domestic violence, for example) to attend a meeting to find out about mediation before being permitted to apply to court
  • Makes it clear to separated parents that the court will take account of the principle that both parents should continue to be involved in their children's lives, the caveat being that it has to be safe and consistent with the child's welfare for that involvement to continue. The presumption that so many parents were seeking did not make it into the statute book!
  • Ensures that any expert evidence in family proceedings concerning children is to be permitted only when necessary to resolve the case fairly and taking into consideration factors which include the impact on the welfare of the child.

Amended Court Form C100

There will also be an amended Form C100 - this is the form currently used to make an application under the Children Act for a residence, contact, prohibited steps or specific issue section 8 order or to vary or discharge a section 8 order. The Form is to be amended to incorporate the introduction of the new child arrangement order (CAO), which replaces both a residence and contact order and is to be the standard post-separation order. A CAO is defined as an order regulating with whom a child is to live, spend time with or otherwise have contact with. Form C100 will also be amended to incorporate FM1, which is the Family Mediation & Assessment Form.

The crucial question is whether family mediation will divert parties from the courts given the requirement that an applicant will have to meet with a family mediator before filing a court application.

What impact this new reform will have? On the basis that it has already been a requirement since 6 April 2011 that applicants have - needed to 'assess' whether mediation would be a better way of resolving their disputes instead of going to court and have been expected to attend a Mediation & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to find out if mediation would be right for them - it remains to be seen

What is clear though is that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of litigants in person since public funding dropped off in April 2013 and there are now more litigants in person who represent themselves in private law Children Act applications than in any other area of family law, if my reading of data from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is correct!

Celia Conrad is a former specialist family solicitor and author of Fathers Matter - the essential guide to contact on separation and divorce.

This article is for information purposes only. The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily the views of the owners of this website and should not be considered as legal advice.

** NEW** Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum

The Separated Dads Forum is a place where you can discuss relevant issues and concerns including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or just have a general chat with other dads.

Please help us launch it and make it a great resource for dads going through difficult times. We hope to see you on the Forum soon....

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi I was seeing 3 of my five children three nights a week (the other two are older and would rather play with there friends) of which I did not mind,I'd collect them after I finished work on a weds and drop them back on a Thursday morning, then I would collect them on a saturday when I finished work and have them until Monday morning and drop them back before school. This would happen twice a month, then from the Sunday till the monday the other two weeks of the month. This was all goin good I gave her money each weekend when I collected them and she was happy for them to meet and stay with my new partner on Saturday night as I worked the door, up until my new partner became pregnant! she stopped all contact for me, saying some nasty things about our new child, she had police at my door sayin I said threatening things to her and was unproven by the police. She got a non molestation order off the back of that and said a lot of untrue things of which I could not disprove as I didn't have the £5000 solicitors fees and she got her for free claiming domestic violence! (unproven) so I went to court and said I'm not bothered about the molestation order as I didn't want to be around her, it's my kids I want to see and they kept the non molestation order in place and my ex said no to direct or indirect access. so it's now a yr on I have seen one of my kids in the street a couple of times and sat a talked played with him for an hour I have been to mediation of which she ignored along with my messages and letters for amicable discussion and time for me to see my kids I have made an application to the courts at a cost of £215 of which I have not got! And just wanted a bit of advice on where I go from here I can't afford a solicitor and she gets hers for free on the back of some wild allegations that have never been proven so I'm guilty until I prove myself innocent! I thought it was the other way round in this country. Please a little advice
Kaos1 - 3-Feb-17 @ 9:48 AM
Hiya I have split up with my ex and he has took my daughter and will not let me see her I went round and took some Christmas presents and he would not take them even tho we spoke on the phone and said I will be coming round with them and he said he is going to move away with my daughter and sending me nasty messages and saying he going to take me to court and say the he is going to legal aid for my daughter and that he going to take her away from me and said that he going to say that I should not be called the mother of are child what do I do and how much would it be to go to court on my own please can you help me out....
Ashbaby - 11-Jan-17 @ 5:19 PM
Hi I have recently divorced. I have contiued to pay the mortgage and a loan since separating two years ago. My ex is refusing to contribute towards making any payments. Where would l stand in a court of law if applying for her to make a contribution.
Tiggy - 7-Jan-17 @ 10:23 AM
hicksy - Your Question:
Hi ive been separated from my wife for 2 years now after she accused me of being violent to her which I wasn't,she continued to accuse me and had me arrested 8 times and she was moved with my son to a refuge and then proceeded to get me evicted from my house that we own and she has been living there ever since and I'm private renting as I'm on benefits as I cant work,she gets all the help going because she planned this for 6months before she started getting me arrested,again there is no legal aid and I have to go to court and represent myself,we are now at a final sitting as she wants everything and I want the house sold so I can move on,where do I stand,will I get something as there is a mortgage on the house but a lot of collaterall as well ,please advise what to do as shes stopped me seeing my son whos 11

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely the court would force your ex to sell the house, as a court will always opt for what is in the best interests of your child, which is as minimum disruption as possible. As a rule, the court would allow the resident-parent to stay in the house with your child, until your child leaves home, or full-time education (around aged 18). The court may then request the house is then sold and the equity split between you. However, this is pure supposition and I cannot predict what a court may decide, as other factors may be considered. Much also depends upon who is paying the mortgage, if your wife has continued to pay the mortgage since you have left and will continue to in the future, the court will invariably take this into consideration when deciding any future financial split.
SeparatedDads - 5-Dec-16 @ 12:49 PM
hi ive been separated from my wife for 2 years now after she accused me of being violent to her which I wasn't,she continued to accuse me and had me arrested 8 times and she was moved with my son to a refuge and then proceeded to get me evicted from my house that we own and she has been living there ever since and I'm private renting as I'm on benefits as I cant work,she gets all the help going because she planned this for 6months before she started getting me arrested,again there is no legal aid and I have to go to court and represent myself,we are now at a final sitting as she wants everything and I want the house sold so I can move on,where do I stand,will I get something as there is a mortgage on the house but a lot of collaterall as well ,please advise what to do as shes stopped me seeing my son whos 11
hicksy - 4-Dec-16 @ 6:16 PM
Hi my son is having problems in trying to see his two little boys he tryed to get into contact with his X wife but she blocked him of Facebook and her phone when he was seeing the children they was telling my son also of thing like mummy boyfriend was calling them names had ago at the little one has he had problems walking so my son had a word with his X wife she didn't like it so he went to social service they went to see her and said every thing was ok he also told them he want to see his children they have offed no mediation at all and now we are stuck my son don't earn a lot of money so things are really tight can any one please help his X wife has sent nasty hurt full text messages to my son and his girlfriend and gets away with it we need help please
Eve - 18-Nov-16 @ 10:19 AM
why has child support gone up so much my ex left me some forteen year now for someone take with her the house kids and penshon ,i am now 63 trying to make a life but she is still after money from me i have not seen my kids in all thos years i have sent cards to them but never had anything back i have now been told i got to pay £625.12 a month
janfi - 25-Oct-16 @ 7:22 PM
I need some advice I'm due to attend a court hearing where I have asked for leave of court before another hearing to have contact with my Grandaughter who my daughter her mom has stopped I helped bring my Grandaughter up and in the past raised her with mom and help with social services Grandaughter was on a child protection plan which we all worked on mom has a history of domestic violence against myself and has refused mediation for us to see my Grandaughter for me and her grandad the new social worker knows my Grandaughter wants to see us and he says there are no safeguarding issues for us not to have contact like I had before just worried what the cafcass will say and worried if we don't get access as mom lies and I've got edvience to support this and I worry for my Grandaughter any help or advice would be appreciated
Tigger - 13-Oct-16 @ 7:50 PM
Skanda - Your Question:
I've been separated from my partner for about 3 months now since she stopped letting me see my daughter who turned 3 last month. I've been to see a few lawyers and they told me it have to pay £1200 just to start the proceedings and another £400 for each hearing. I can't afford this im on benefits I've been told I can't get legal aid. I just wanna be able to see my daughter I can't understand how I can be just kept from my daughter. I feel helpless it's affecting my day to day life. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you

Our Response:
As suggested in the article, you would have to self-litigate which many non-resident parents do and are successful if they prepare their cases well. You may also be able to get assistance with court costs, see link here and in court, please see link: Using a McKenzie Friend in Court here . Our Separated Dads forum may also help as many of our dads have been through the same situation and have come out the other sidehere . Citizens Advice may also be able to help with free legal advice if and where you need. My main advice is to read as many of the Separated Dads sites as you can in order to arm yourself with knowledge, as this is the key to getting the access you need. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 24-Aug-16 @ 12:07 PM
I've been separated from my partner for about 3 months now since she stopped letting me see my daughter who turned 3 last month. I've been to see a few lawyers and they told me it have to pay £1200 just to start the proceedings and another £400 for each hearing. I can't afford this im on benefits I've been told I can't get legal aid. I just wanna be able to see my daughter I can't understand how I can be just kept from my daughter. I feel helpless it's affecting my day to day life. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you
Skanda - 23-Aug-16 @ 5:20 PM
Hi my question is that my partners ex who she's not divorced yet is in Poland and and she lives in UK with me and her daughter age 3 now (with him) and her husband was charged assaulting her but run away to Poland from uk and didn't appear in court and this year my partner went to Poland for holiday and so he can see his daughter but he took her ID and burnt it and decided not to let her daughter go so she went to police who didn't do anything then I contacted the lawyer in UK she said she can make her ID own her own now as the law has changed and she doesn't need his signature so she made her ID and managed come to England after 6 weeks and lives with me now with her daughter who is happy here and calls me dad as she has spent more time with me then him and now he has put a case to court saying that she has abducted the child and stole money from his house but didn't mention to his lawyer that he run to Poland because of assaulting her and didn't appear in court instead he said he went to Poland because she was having affair so I was wondering if anyone can give me advice on this. Thanks. P.S he does call her sometimes and talks to her which i didn't tell her mum to stop from the day one I met her
Ali - 13-Aug-16 @ 1:57 PM
Hi my question is that my partners ex who she's not divorced yet is in Poland and and she lives in UK with me and her daughter age 3 now (with him) and her husband was charged assaulting her but run away to Poland from uk and didn't appear in court and this year my partner went to Poland for holiday and so he can see his daughter but he took her ID and burnt it and decided not to let her daughter go so she went to police who didn't do anything then I contacted the lawyer in UK she said she can make her ID own her own now as the law has changed and she doesn't need his signature so she made her ID and managed come to England after 6 weeks and lives with me now with her daughter who is happy here and calls me dad as she has spent more time with me then him and now he has put a case to court saying that she has abducted the child and stole money from his house but didn't mention to his lawyer that he run to Poland because of assaulting her and didn't appear in court instead he said he went to Poland because she was having affair so I was wondering if anyone can give me advice on this. Thanks. P.S he does call her sometimes and talks to her which i didn't tell her mum to stop from the day one I met her
Ali - 13-Aug-16 @ 10:07 AM
I have been separated from x partner and have never had contact with my 3 children as their mother says no for. 12 years my eldest child has contacted me on Facebook recently she is 15 I would like communication access with them they have a social worker who visited family at school etc I want to go to court and represent myself have got forms but don't know how to fill them do I have to do mediation as my x partner will not agree at all and money is tight. Can I just fill in forms as children social worker is trying to get a case together as problems as to where they live now with there mother neglected etc I just don't know where to start and they can't help me with my forms etc. Hoping someone can help me
Graham - 12-Aug-16 @ 6:19 PM
Finder - Your Question:
Hi, I have a 6 years old daughter live with her mother when we spilit up April 2015. She used to stay with me every week end and all bank holidays. I used to pay for her everything and some money to my ex as well every week. My name is on her birth certificate. Suddenly 3 weeks ago she telling me that my daughter don't want to see me or want anything to do with me but she went to Child maintenance Agency for child maintenance. I am happy to pay for my daughter no problem here but she is refusing to let me see her. As she is seeing another man he is advising her to get my money but not to keep any contact with my daughter. Please could you kindly tell me what rights I do have. While she used to spend every single week end and bank holidays now she is keeping her away from me but want full money. I am not sure what can I do? Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Firstly, child maintenance and child access have no bearing on each other, which means that whether you see your daughter or not, you are still responsible for supporting your child directly. Your main aim now is to try to gain access to your daughter again. If you have had continual access, then should it go to court, the fact you have been constant in your daughter's life will help. The court will always rule what it thinks is in the best interests of the child and consistency and a stable upbringing are seen as important. In the first instance you should suggest mediation to your ex, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. The court will expect you have to considered mediation before you apply to court. If your ex refuses and/or mediation fails, then your option will be to take the matter to court by applying for a C100 form. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jul-16 @ 10:18 AM
Hi, I have a 6 years old daughter live with her mother when we spilit up April 2015. She used to stay with me every week end and all bank holidays. I used to pay for her everything and some money to my ex as well every week. My name is on her birth certificate. Suddenly 3 weeks ago she telling me that my daughter don't want to see me or want anything to do with me but she went to Child maintenance Agency for child maintenance. I am happy to pay for my daughter no problem here but she is refusing to let me see her. As she is seeing another man he is advising her to get my money but not to keep any contact with my daughter. Please could you kindly tell me what rights I do have. While she used to spend every single week end and bank holidays now she is keeping her away from me but want full money. I am not sure what can I do? Thanks in advance.
Finder - 21-Jul-16 @ 12:42 AM
mjc191- Your Question:
Hi im just after some advice me and my ex partner split up we have 2 children together, I work in a busy pub chef and barman once I couldn't see the kids on my weekend as I had to work and the 2nd time I woke up 2 mins late to pick them up due to working till 3am,now all contact has been stopped I used to call the kids 3/4 times a week and now I cant speak to them never mind see them so in the time I've been stopped seeing them I refused to pay her money but ive been keeping the money in my bank for when I am to see them what can I do ???

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, please be aware that financial support for your child in the form of child maintenance has no bearing on whether you see your children or not, meaning you are legally responsible for paying towards the upkeep of your children regardless. It seems that you and your ex have come to a stalemate position and which is one that you need to rectify. I can only suggest you either seek mediation in order to try and resolve the issue, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here . If your ex refuses to attend mediation, your only option would be to apply to take the matter to court in order to attempt to gain access via a court order. If you cannot afford the hefty legal fees, then self-litigation is an option that many fathers are having success with, if they prepare their cases well. A court will always decide on what it thinks is the best interests of your children and is not interested in the spats you and your ex may have over money/access. The children are the main concern here and your best option is to try and resolve these issues between you first and foremost with court only viewed as a last resort.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jul-16 @ 11:17 AM
hi im just after some advice me and my ex partner split up we have 2 children together, i work in a busy pub chef and barman once i couldn't see the kids on myweekend as i had to work and the 2nd time i woke up 2 mins late to pick them up due to working till 3am,now all contact has been stopped i used to call the kids 3/4 times a week and now I cant speak to them never mind see them so in the time I've been stopped seeing them i refused to pay her money but ive been keeping the money in my bank for when i am to see them what can i do ???
mjc191 - 18-Jul-16 @ 11:55 AM
Hi, I have recently lost a court case regarding my 2 babies I have to my ex partner. She ran off with someone else with my babies, and somebody tipped her off that I was looking for them. She then made a false allegation of domestic violence, thus getting me arrested and locked up for 23/half hours. No further action was the result of that. I applied through the courts, to have access to my two babies. Anyhow got to court and when I was in the courtroom it was all going OK for the first few minutes, then cafcass opened their mouth and stated that I was arrested for dv. Even though nfa became of it, they ripped me to shreds and then the judge became one sided away from my half of the field. The social services then got involved and told me I can't go anywhere near my other children until this is sorted. I was disgusted by that. My other ex (who has my oldest son with who is 10) was appalled by this, she flipped out and said that she doesn't believe that I was any risk to anyone and that she knows me best. They didn't listen. I was really upset by this all over one false allegation. I went inot srevere depression over this. Went to see my doctor to get help.When It went back to court, cafcass said that I was restricted now by the local authority and I now have a mental illness which made things a whole lot worse. At this point I was feeling suicidal and knowing I didn't have a leg to stand on. Then there was a final hearing 2 weeks later.. in that time my ex applied for a non molestation order to boost her chance more and was granted it. Temporary ones are given out like retail flyers. Then she had me arrested 3 times all in case where I was proven innocent, and then one more the night before our final hearing. In which I was taken 20 miles away to a police station in the town where she lived and kept in. I was still locked up when the final hearing was due and I missed it. I did stress to the police that this was all occurring and for them to contact the court. They tried but it was too late. The officers felt really sorry for me and they voluntary sat with me in my cell and gave me advice. Because I had been there 3 times before and they knew what was going on that it was a stunt. They even gave me a lift home after I was released for another nfa. I got home and I found out I lost the court case and any custody of my babies due to social services recommendations. A few weeks went by and I was reading through the statements. And I noticed a lot of errors on my exs where it all contradicts itself, the court failed to see this. I applied to the courts again and stressed this but was rejected. I also shown that there was hard evidence that there was no domestic violence within the statement. This was also rejected. I shown the police the evidence and they said they can't do anything to her, as it may put her off contacting them again. The social services had lifted the restrictions on me seeing my oldest son after seeing that. But it is still on
Sean1982 - 26-Jun-16 @ 10:16 PM
Hello. My boyfriend is currently in prison. He has a son with his ex partner. He wants to be able to see his son and has tried to call her, sent her letters and also have friends talk to her. She said she will not let him see the baby. She will not take him to prison nor send him with friends. What can he do to be able to see his son? He is one year old. Thanks.
Fran22 - 20-Jun-16 @ 4:24 AM
Considering that these legal aid cuts are totally corrupt and unfair, I was just wondering when they are going to be revearsed? I will lose all faith in humanity if they are not reversed considering how unfair they are? Seriously it makes me wonder how stupid people are to vote in these Neo Darwinist.
Jsamson - 18-Jun-16 @ 5:20 PM
My grandsons ex girl freind is pregnant and saying that he can not see the child unless he is with her but they don't get on and then she says that none of are family can see the child do we have any rights
Bez - 18-Jun-16 @ 12:43 AM
Princess - Your Question:
Thanks you so much for the time taken to answer my questions.But I needed to clarify this point you made in my last posting, as in the previous posting you included a link which I have a look at the various pages.You did mention." While this is not legally binding, it is on record and signed off by the courts"When you say ".this is recorded on record" is this ONLY with the solicitors office or will the solicitor send a copy of the Agreement to the courts to get it signed off?If so, is it at this point that the Agreement will be signed off by the courts and a copy be kept, but a signed off copy by the courts sent back to my friend and his ex?If not, how or what is the process of the agreement been sent to the courts and signed off by the courts?

Our Response:
The article: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here may be able to answer your question more fully regarding how the mediation process works. Once an agreement is reached it is sent to the court and when approved by the court both parties are given a copy of the agreement. The agreement is what the parents are advised to keep to once the mediation process has finished.
SeparatedDads - 13-May-16 @ 2:35 PM
Thanks you so much for the time taken to answer my questions. But I needed to clarify this point you made in my last posting, as in the previous posting you included a link which I have a look at the various pages. You did mention..." While this is not legally binding, it is on record and signed off by the courts" When you say "...this is recorded on record" is this ONLY with the solicitors office or will the solicitor send a copy of the Agreement to the courts to get it signed off? If so, is it at this point that the Agreement will be signed off by the courts and a copy be kept, but a signed off copy by the courts sent back to my friend and his ex? If not, how or what is the process of the agreement been sent to the courts and signed off by the courts?
Princess - 12-May-16 @ 8:51 PM
Princess - Your Question:
Hi, thank you for your response. But I'll like to clarify the issue about getting a binding contact order as this cannot be done through the Mediation centre.Does it mean that because my friend and the mother of his children are on good terms and he currently sees and has contact with his now children, they wouldn't be able to apply for a contact order? Or if they apple the courts would reject it? Or reject their application? Is this correct?Because the purpose why my friend want to get it legalling bind, is because him and the mother of the children are not married and this is unlikely to happen. But he does fear that if something happens like him meeting someone new or decides to get married, then she may at that point start making it very hard for him to see the children, or may just not allow him to get involved with the children any more. So now that things are good, even though they have never lived together, he just wants ti put something in place that is legalling bind, preadvanture, things change. So what may be his best option?

Our Response:
Court is only ever usually used as a last resort and when the two parties cannot agree. If your friend is on good terms with his ex, they can write up a mutual agreement between them, either through mediation or through a solicitor. While this is not legally binding, it is on record and signed off by the courts. Therefore, this will show the amount of input he has into his children's lives and this would stand up well in court should anything go awry. Plus, it will cost a lot less than taking the matter to court. It also means that if mediation does break down, he will then be able to take the matter directly to court. The court hopes that couples can decide between themselves and work through any issues through mutual negotiation. If your friend still feels he would rather the issue went to court then he would need to seek legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 12-May-16 @ 2:26 PM
Hi, thank you for your response.But I'll like to clarify the issue about getting a binding contact order as this cannot be done through the Mediation centre. Does it mean that because my friend and the mother of his children are on good terms and he currently sees and has contact with his now children, they wouldn't be able to apply for a contact order? Or if they apple the courts would reject it? Or reject their application?Is this correct? Because the purpose why my friend want to get it legalling bind, is because him and the mother of the children are not married and this is unlikely to happen.But he does fear that if something happens like him meeting someone new or decides to get married, then she may at that point start making it very hard for him to see the children, or may just not allow him to get involved with the children any more. So now that things are good, even though they have never lived together, he just wants ti put something in place that is legalling bind, preadvanture, things change. So what may be his best option?
Princess - 12-May-16 @ 12:09 AM
Princess - Your Question:
I've been heping a friend has he has children, but is not married to the mums children. But both are on good terms, but though it best to have a Parent Responsility Agreement legalling binding, which includes the fact that the mother and father will share equal responsibility for the children amongst other things. They have already seen a mediation, but wanted to take out a contact order so it can be legalling binding, as the mediator adviser did inform my friend that the document they have received from the mediator center is not legalling binding. In order for my friend to get a legalling binding contact order. This is also to safe guard seeing his children if things change between him and the mothers children, as they are not married. Can he apply directly to the courts using the form C100 for a contact order? Also does he need to get the social services involved?

Our Response:
Your friend can arrange contact through Mediation, but while this is approved by the courts, the arrangement is not legally binding. The courts want parents to organise access through Mediation first and only if this falls through and as a last resort will your friend be allowed to apply to court. With regards to Parental Responsibility; if he is named on the birth certificate then he naturally has PR. If he isn't on the birth certificate he can apply through the court for PR, but this doesn not give him shared-care of the child, it merely gives him 'some' rights, please see link here. He does not need to involve Social Services unless there is safeguarding issues. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 11-May-16 @ 2:19 PM
I've been heping a friend has he has children, but is not married to the mums children.But both are on good terms, but though it best to have a Parent Responsility Agreement legalling binding, which includes the fact that the mother and father will share equal responsibility for the children amongst other things.They have already seen a mediation, but wanted to take out a contact order so it can be legalling binding, as the mediator adviser did inform my friend that the document they have received from the mediator center is not legalling binding.In order for my friend to get a legalling binding contact order.This is also to safe guard seeing his children if things change between him and the mothers children, as they are not married.Can he apply directly to the courts using the form C100 for a contact order?Also does he need to get the social services involved?
Princess - 10-May-16 @ 9:47 PM
Adam - Your Question:
Hi, I am looking for some advice,My ex partner of 9 years and I have been split for 2 years now. I was working 160+ miles away and after the split decided to move where I worked, recently my ex went to see a solicitor as our son had told me he wanted to live with me and didn't want to stay there as he was being bullied by her new partners child that is older. when I had told his mother what was said and stated we needed as parents to come to a conclusion she stopped me seeing him and lied to her solicitor on various things, when I had responded rather well to her solicitor I was granted my access back. however this is where it turns sour, I saw my son 3 out of 4 weekends a month Friday evening to Sunday lunch time. totalling less than 48hours per weekend, I am now being told that I'm being further restricted to just every other weekend so that's just less than 48hours a fortnight. is there anything that will allow me to have my contact as previous as she says her solicitor has told her but not told me, only thing I was told was to complete and respond to allegations made and provide address proof which I had done then access would commence as per normal. so I'm getting different stories from both her solicitor and my ex herself.Anyone with a bit of advice on this matter. as I do all the travelling both to and from visitation I wouldn't see there would be an issue.Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
Your ex's solicitor is obviously working for what is in the best interests of your ex, so has no right to inform you what you can and can't to with regards to access to your son. If you disagree with your ex and her solicitor then your only other options are to either suggest mediation and/or take the matter to court. You don't say how old your son is, but if he is aged over 11, then his opinion and preferences will be taken into consideration by Cafcass, should the matter go to court. I suggest in the first instance you take legal advice in order to find out what your options are. Any court order made through the court will be official and your ex would not be able to chop and change.
SeparatedDads - 10-May-16 @ 12:19 PM
Hi, I am looking for some advice, My ex partner of 9 years and I have been split for 2 years now. I was working 160+ miles away and after the split decided to move where I worked, recently my ex went to see a solicitor as our son had told me he wanted to live with me and didn't want to stay there as he was being bullied by her new partners child that is older. when I had told his mother what was said and stated we needed as parents to come to a conclusion she stopped me seeing him and lied to her solicitor on various things, when I had responded rather well to her solicitor I was granted my access back. however this is where it turns sour, I saw my son 3 out of 4 weekends a month Friday evening to Sunday lunch time. totalling less than 48hours per weekend, I am now being told that I'm being further restricted to just every other weekend so that's just less than 48hours a fortnight. is there anything that will allow me to have my contact as previous as she says her solicitor has told her but not told me, only thing I was told was to complete and respond to allegations made and provide address proof which I had done then access would commence as per normal. so I'm getting different stories from both her solicitor and my ex herself. Anyone with a bit of advice on this matter. as I do all the travelling both to and from visitation I wouldn't see there would be an issue. Thanks in advance.
Adam - 9-May-16 @ 4:58 PM
Okay so I separated from my ex! We was married now devorced. We have a 8 year old girl together she lives with her mother! I have her every fortnight...but in between this she will not allow me to talk to her on the phone just to how her day has been!or even pop out side just so that I can see her! She tells me I have to stick to agreements which are only by what she has said not through court! I used to be allowed to talked to her and even pick her up from school but now I have a baby and a partner she has stopped it all! I just want to Be able to ring my daughter and speak to when I want!!! Do I stand a chair of representing myself in court
Sparky - 29-Apr-16 @ 8:36 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SeparatedDads website. Please read our Disclaimer.