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Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself

By: Clare Birtles - Updated: 3 Jun 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.

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[Add a Comment]
Ash - Your Question:
My ex partner stops me from seeing my daughter every now and then. The contact is 2h every other week in a contact centre as she has an injunction against me. I can't contact her, and whenever she doesn't show up the only way to get her back to contact is to stop the money. I've been told she does drugs while with looking after the kid(there is proof of this) that the state of the house is disgusting, and she is back with an ex partner that is been convicted for beating her up before. they live together and my kid lives with him too.I don't know what to do, I don't want her to use the injunction against me, but I am tired of the intermittent contact and not be able to do anything about it. I have been from a few weeks to 5-6 months without seeing my daughter. It's worse since she found out I'm woth my new partner.Also I want to take the contact out the contact centre, we only do the exchange there and then I can take her on my own, but it limitates my time with my daughter and my parents hasn't see her for a long time. I want proper access, overnights included with time.There is any way around this without expending a fortune and taking her to court?

Our Response:
If your ex has breached the contact order, please see link here . If you stop paying child maintenance, you will be liable for arrears. In time contact should be awarded outside of the contact centre, much depends upon what the court order specifies. Once a regular routine has built up, then you can seek legal advice about applying for overnight access. As specified in the article, you can self litigate in court which will save on legal fees.
SeparatedDads - 16-Jun-17 @ 4:18 PM
My ex partner stops me from seeing my daughter every now and then. The contact is 2h every other week in a contact centre as she has an injunction against me. I can't contact her, and whenever she doesn't show up the only way to get her back to contact is to stop the money. I've been told she does drugs while with looking after the kid(there is proof of this) that the state of the house is disgusting, and she is back with an ex partner that is been convicted for beating her up before... they live together and my kid lives with him too. I don't know what to do, I don't want her to use the injunction against me, but I am tired of the intermittent contact and not be able to do anything about it. I have been from a few weeks to 5-6 months without seeing my daughter. It's worse since she found out I'm woth my new partner. Also I want to take the contact out the contact centre, we only do the exchange there and then I can take her on my own, but it limitates my time with my daughter and my parents hasn't see her for a long time.I want proper access, overnights included with time. There is any way around this without expending a fortune and taking her to court?
Ash - 3-Jun-17 @ 12:27 PM
Hi. My children have been removed from the family homem in unsual circumstances. I came home from work to find my house had been trashed. I traced their mother to a far away town. The Police have told me to wait for the social worker get involved. I have left several messages with the social worker offices and have been told to contact a solicitor. I am very worried about the state of their mother's mental health. Their mother has threatened to make the children disappear. Its been two weeks and I do not know anything about my children and no really from social worker or the police. I believe she made some false accusations against me. She already moved my children from school without my consent. The Police and the social worker are not listening to me she for mental issues and I have paperwork to prove. I am really worried with my children safety and wellbeing.
Bneca - 26-May-17 @ 7:34 AM
Mo - Your Question:
Hi,l have got two children a boy and a girl,but the thing is there mother is married to another man,which l never knew because she would always come to be with me,have a child than leave him,but the kids know am there father.the last time she left me is when l founds that l was not the one on the birth certificate of the boy and it was her husband who was.when l found out that she left with the kids and went back to her husband and she has not let me see the children, it's now one year.so what can do.the fact that am also not on the birth certificate of the children.

Our Response:
If the mother of your children does not agree to access or mediation in order to try to resolve these issues, you can apply to court. If you want the parentage of your children to be officially recognised you can apply for parental responsibility and to be registered through the courts (despite the fact another man is registered as the father of your son). In this case, your ex can be asked to help to provide a DNA test to prove paternity, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 24-May-17 @ 1:56 PM
Hi,l have got two children a boy and a girl,but the thing is there mother is married to another man,which l never knew because she would always come to be with me,have a child than leave him,but the kids know am there father.the last time she left me is when l founds that l was not the one on the birth certificate of the boy and it was her husband who was.when l found out that she left with the kids and went back to her husband and she has not let me see the children, it's now one year.so what can do.the fact that am also not on the birth certificate of the children.
Mo - 24-May-17 @ 10:49 AM
Dello - Your Question:
I would like more time with my daughter

Our Response:
If your wife refuses this, then in the first instance you would have to suggest mediation, please see link here. If your ex refuses to attend mediation, or the mediation process fails then your option would be to apply to court. The court will always decide what it thinks is in your child's best interests when making a decision regarding access.
SeparatedDads - 15-May-17 @ 2:57 PM
I would like more time with my daughter
Dello - 15-May-17 @ 1:37 PM
Lasaint - Your Question:
My partner and I split up a few months ago and I have not Seen my daughter since My ex had me arrested for criminal damage And now is taken me to court for a child arrangement order How dose she manage to get legal aid when I can't and I am unemployed

Our Response:
A parent can usually access Legal Aid if they have been a victim of domestic abuse of violence, please see link here. This means the 'criminal damage' your ex may have had you arrested for has allowed her to claim for Legal Aid.
SeparatedDads - 10-May-17 @ 11:43 AM
My partner and I split up a few months ago and I have not Seenmy daughter since My ex had me arrested for criminal damage And now is taken me to court for a child arrangement order How dose she manage to get legal aid when I can't and I am unemployed
Lasaint - 9-May-17 @ 9:23 PM
Hi I am not married to my children's mother however I am on their birth certificate. Me and the children split up sometime ago and even when we were together she would not allow me to take the children out on their own unless she was there so really I only saw them when I went to her house. We are not together anymore and I would like to pick my children up take them shopping to the park spend time with them and then bring them back home to there mother when I have spent time with them. But because I am not with her anymore she won't let me be a dad and see them she will not even answer my phone calls or voice message I heard that she wants me to deliberately spend lots of money to fight her legally to see my kids and I don't have that type of money I don't want to go through mediation because she has been so evil to me it has stressed me out and we will not get anywhere with that can I skip mediation and apply directly to the courts so I can see my children if so how much is that and what form do I need?
Haz - 31-Mar-17 @ 12:30 PM
bill - Your Question:
Hi I have been with my wife and married for 5 years, and been in my step daughters life for 7 years and , my daughters biological father has been in and out of prison, as of 2014 he had seen her twice in a contact centre and we were in court for a contact order but then for some reason he withdraw his legal aid and contact order and has not been in touch since. I am now going for a step parent adoption but was wondering he has legal representation would this be legal aid again or has all legal aid been withdrawn? what is the likelihood he could stop this adoption going through he hasn't seen her in 3 years or paid any money towards her upbringing.

Our Response:
Your wife would have to request consent from the biological father and much depends upon whether he refuses or not. If he does, you would have to follow this issue up in court. It is highly unlikely he will be granted legal aid, as most legal aid has been withdrawn except in cases of domestic abuse. We can't predict what a court may decide - you can see more via the Family Lives link here.
SeparatedDads - 3-Mar-17 @ 12:39 PM
Bob - Your Question:
Hiya after some advice !!my ex stopped me seing my daughter 2 years ago due to getting with her new boyfriend with no real reasons of stopping me seing her. She is now saying her new partner is her dad. Also I have some concerns as I've bin told her and her partner does drugs plus both have a criminal record o have no record and have never done drugs o bin in trouble how do I go about getting full custody/part custody? Please help

Our Response:
If you have not seen your daughter for two years, then there is no likelihood a court would opt to take your child from her resident parent and hand her over to you. The best you can hope for if you apply to court is initial supervised contact to start with (while you build up a relationship with your child) leading to unsupervised contact after a period of time. I'm afraid there is no easy answer to your question, the court will want to know why you did not apply two years ago when access was first stopped. If you would have applied then and been awarded contact to your child, you would be in a much better position to go for increased access now.
SeparatedDads - 2-Mar-17 @ 3:04 PM
Chell - Your Question:
My daughter split up from her baby's father when the baby was six weeks old. My daughter and her baby moved back home to live for the first year of my granddaughters life. She then moved out and went to live with a new boyfriend for about eight months. That didn't work out so she moved back home again with my granddaughter. After about three or four months we got my daughter and granddaughter a place of there own to live. To which she moved another boyfriend in and got pregnant with in a couple of months. Drawing all this time my granddaughter would spend most of the time at my house or her natural fathers house. My granddaughter is four years old now and still spends two to four nights a week at mine and the same at her fathers most weeks she only spends one night at her mothers house. Her father and myself have great difficulty getting my granddaughter to go with her mother. She will say she doesn't want to go her house because she just gets sent to her room and shouted at. There has also been time when she has said her mother and her mothers new husband had smacked her. This obviously upsets her father and myself but we are both to scared to say anything to my daughter in case she stops us from seeing my granddaughter. My granddaughters father has always paid maintenance through the CSA and between the two of us we buy all my granddaughters cloths and anything else she may need. It's getting harder and harder each time my granddaughter has to leave one of us. If her father was to say to her mother that his daughter is going to stay with him and my daughter called the police would they take my daughters side or would they say they are not getting involved as it hasn't gone to court and I know for a fact that my granddaughter would be saying she wanted to stay with her father or myself. As we are scarred to do this if the police will take my granddaughter away and give her back to my daughter as we don't know what she will be like to her

Our Response:
If there is no residence order involved and the child's father has parental responsibility, then he can keep your granddaughter without the police getting involved, please see link here. However, it is a precarious move as it can backfire. If you think your granddaughter is being ill-treated or neglected then please see NSPCC link here . You or the father can call the NSPCC for advice on what to do in such circumstances and its advisers can decide on the information you give whether social services should be involved - or what options you have. The fact the father and you have your granddaughter most of the time anyway is an arrangement that for the moment you should keep to until something occurs that you feel your granddaughter needs safeguarding. I'm afraid there is no clear advice I can give here as the situation is tricky to navigate. The fact you both have the child more than the mother could go in your favour if the matter goes to court and when Cafcass gets involved, please see link here. However, because of Cafcass's involvement it is difficult to say in whose favour it could go. Taking professional legal advice is also an option.
SeparatedDads - 2-Mar-17 @ 2:09 PM
Hi I have been with my wife and married for 5 years, and been in my step daughters life for 7 years and , my daughters biological father has been in and out of prison, as of 2014 he had seen her twice in a contact centre and we were in court for a contact order but then for some reason he withdraw his legal aid and contact order and has not been in touch since. I am now going for a step parent adoption but was wondering he has legal representation would this be legal aid again or has all legal aid been withdrawn? what is the likelihood he could stop this adoption going through he hasn't seen her in 3 years or paid any money towards her upbringing.
bill - 2-Mar-17 @ 1:47 PM
Hiya after some advice !!my ex stopped me seing my daughter 2 years ago due to getting with her new boyfriend with no real reasons of stopping me seing her . She is now saying her new partner is her dad . Also I have some concerns as I've bin told her and her partner does drugs plus both have a criminal record o have no record and have never done drugs o bin in trouble how do I go about getting full custody/part custody? Please help
Bob - 1-Mar-17 @ 9:57 PM
My daughter split up from her baby's father when the baby was six weeks old . My daughter and her baby moved back home to live for the first year of my granddaughters life . She then moved out and went to live with a new boyfriend for about eight months . That didn't work out so she moved back home again with my granddaughter . After about three or four months we got my daughter and granddaughter a place of there own to live . To which she moved another boyfriend in and got pregnant with in a couple of months .Drawing all this time my granddaughter would spend most of the time at my house or hernatural fathers house . My granddaughter is four years old now and still spends two to four nights a week at mine and the same at her fathers most weeks she only spends one night at her mothers house. Her father and myself have greatdifficulty getting my granddaughter to go with her mother . She will say she doesn't want to go her house because she just gets sent to her room and shouted at . There has also been time when she has said her mother and her mothers new husband had smacked her . Thisobviously upsets her father and myself but we are both to scared to say anything to my daughter in case she stops us from seeing my granddaughter. My granddaughters father has always paidmaintenancethrough the CSA and between the two of us we buy all my granddaughters cloths and anything else she may need . It's getting harder and harder each time my granddaughter has to leave one of us . If her father was to say to her mother that his daughter is going to stay with him and my daughter called the police would they take my daughters side or would they say they are not getting involved as it hasn't gone to court and I know for a fact that my granddaughter would be saying she wanted to stay with her father or myself . As we are scarred to do this if the police will take my granddaughter away and give her back to my daughter as we don't know what she will be like to her
Chell - 1-Mar-17 @ 4:40 PM
Steph - Your Question:
I need some advise asap please. My kids live with there great aunt on a residence order made by court social was invold due to domestic violence. I was ment to see them twice a week but due to a fall out over the fone my aunt changed it to once a month.my girls was removed from my care 5 years ago in September. I am taking it back to court to see if I can get them home as I have recently had a little girl who is now 1 years old and she lives with me full time I had a assignment and everything was fine I have no involvement with them with my youngest.just want to no if I bring my past back up will they take my youngest of me as I'm scared I haven't bin in trouble o had domestic violence around her I have a partner and we have bin together 3 years now and had no problems just want my oldest girls home were they belong. There 9/10 years old and keep asking to come home can anyone advise me please thanks

Our Response:
You will be assessed on your present parenting skills, not your past. Your past may be brought up in court by your great aunt's defence - however, if you have been assessed as having changed your ways this will go in your favour. The court will never remove a child from the resident parent/primary carer unless the situation warrants it and it is absolutely necessary for the child's safeguarding welfare.
SeparatedDads - 1-Mar-17 @ 1:58 PM
I need some advise asap please . My kids live with there great aunt on a residence order made by court social was invold due to domestic violence. I was ment to see them twice a week but due to a fall out over the fone my aunt changed it to once a month.my girls was removed from my care 5 years ago in September. I am taking it back to court to see if I can get them home as I have recently had a little girl who is now 1 years old and she lives with me full time I had a assignment and everything was fine I have no involvement with them with my youngest.just want to no if I bring my past back up will they take my youngest of me as I'm scared I haven't bin in trouble o had domestic violence around her I have a partner and we have bin together 3 years now and had no problems just want my oldest girls home were they belong . There 9/10 years old and keep asking to come home can anyone advise me please thanks
Steph - 1-Mar-17 @ 1:24 AM
Darren - Your Question:
My children are in my name and my ex is taking me too court to remove me from the birth certificate under abandonment rules I pay every week which is about to change to monthly as she is taking me to the csa, and up until recently I've see them every Sunday but she is now refusing to allow me to see them. Moo

Our Response:
If you have not abandoned your kids and have previously had regular contact, then it is highly unlikely a court will remove your name from the birth certificate.
SeparatedDads - 27-Feb-17 @ 12:03 PM
My children are in my name and my ex is taking me too court to remove me from the birth certificate under abandonment rules I pay every week which is about to change to monthly as she is taking me to the csa, and up until recently I've see them every Sunday but she is now refusing to allow me to see them.Moo
Darren - 26-Feb-17 @ 3:28 PM
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
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