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Courts really are on mother's side

Kyle

Well-known member
Does anyone know what I can do to bring the children's stepmother to the contact centre with me to see the children? The contact reports show how much my boys miss her and my wife really misses them and she starting to feel it now more than ever.

Have you had a look at the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC) website? Or better still, sent them a message to put your situation (and question) to them?

https://naccc.org.uk/

Googling the question; "Can my new partner come into contact sessions with me?" brings up a few search results directly from their website.

https://naccc.org.uk/faq/can-my-new-partner-come-into-contact-sessions-with-me/

And their advice is that "Seeing your child at a contact centre is a very emotionally provocative event for you and your child. Initially, it is best if these sessions are used for you and your child to build and strengthen your relationships in this very unfamiliar environment" but this is not taking into consideration that this is not just your new partner or a new person to your children, it's your wife, who clearly plays a role and has an established relationship with your boys.

I may be worth a shot to find out where you stand.
 

Ash

Administrator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Something suggested to me once by my solicitor was to say "As I've had no response to my letter/email of x date I am taking that as acceptance".

ie you could write to her solicitors again and say "Following my emails of x date and x date, as I have had no response to proposing the childrens stepmother comes to the contact centre with me, I am assuming there is no issue with this and she will be attending the next appointment. We both miss the children and they will be pleased to see her".

That will probably get a response. It might be a no we don't agree to that. But then they'd look bad - which is maybe why they haven't responded. If you get no response to the "taking it as acceptance" email then just do it.
 

Ash

Administrator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Do you have to only deal with her solicitor or can you email her direct? Another Dad did that - emailed his ex and copied in the solicitor - this was to bring another child with him (half sibling) pointing out that as the ex's partner regularly saw the children, presumably there was no objection to child's half sibling meeting them. She agreed (possibly because it was part way through court proceedings and she wanted to look good - which is another consideration!).
 

Da7thSon

Active member
I have only read the initial message so if some of my comments have already been stated please accept my apologies.

Unfortunately, you are dealing with Practice Direction 12J (PD12J) which the courts use as a guide. I have been in a similar situation but not to that extreme (assaulted by the mother but had to see my kids at a contact centre) and PD12J is completely one-sided, and as soon as anyone mentioned abuse it states that protection should be given to the children and the person with whom they reside.

I have engaged with my local MP to talk about PD12J and how this needs looking into as it's open to abuse and doesn't take into account the father being the one abused. He's raised it with the Solicitor General and as of yet, I am still awaiting a reply around this.

All I can say is keep playing with a straight bat and do not lower yourself to her level. Its going to take time to go through the system. My kids were taken away from me in Jan 2021 (with the process starting back at the end of 2020) and I'm only going into the final hearing in August this year so cannot state for sure what the outcome will be, but I have confidence and have been told by my legal team that the truth will come out in the end.
 
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Dadoftwo

Active member
Wow, guys, lots of support here and thank you everyone for your input. I'm sorry for the delayed response, I have been unwell for the last 2 weeks and I am only now starting to recover.
So as you know I initially emailed her solicitors and I had no reply, I chased it again a week later and her solicitor tells me sorry we can't reply to your email within 24 hours so please lower your expectation (the email was sent 7 days ago). Also, I tried finding a closer and cheaper contact centre and they keep declining the new arrangement and kept delaying further contact with my children (5 weeks I hadn't seen them) and they tell me by email that because I was on holiday for 5 weeks that caused delays in seeing them, basically they're making BS up. She then replies, MOTHER replied the following:
Dear (ME),



It is not always possible to respond to emails in less than 24 hours. This is an unreasonable standard to meet. We have now had the opportunity to take our client’s instructions and respond as follows :



At present the Order only provides for you to have contact with the children and given the limited time with you our client believes that this time should be spent with just yourself and the boys to solely concentrate and bond with you given the fact that you have been away for 5 weeks on two separate holidays.



To clarify, in our previous email we inadvertently asked for contact to be on Monday, we of course were meant to write that contact should contact on a Sunday to give the boys continuity.



To summarise contact should continue on a Sunday, at present with yourself present only.

The mother and obviously solicitor clearly trying to exclude the stepmother.

I then decided to write a reply and this time I added the Social care worker: (BARE IN MIND I CHANGED NAMES FOR OBVIOUS REASONS - IN CAPITAL)

Dear (MOTHER'S SOLICITORS),

Please note that the email was sent on 21/06/22 at 15:06, 1 week ago, I am not sure why you state that I requested a response within 24 hours.
I have CC'd @SOCIALWORKER to this email for 2 reasons:
1. To have a genuine second opinion on the matter I have raised, I have been advised to contact either Cafcass (which has now closed its case) or the allocated caseworker
2. To keep SOCIAL WORKER in the loop for future reference as there is a probability that she may be assigned to complete the S7 report.

Dear Cath, I would really appreciate it if you could advise further or guide me in the right direction, the children have gone through significant changes in the last few weeks, some that leave them confused, and they miss their stepmother (HERNAME), she has been mentioned in a number of contact reports, (MOTHER)(the mother) has refused the children to have communication with their stepmother and wider family such as my uncle and cousins (who are my immediate family) with no real reason for the obstruction. I have asked for STEPMOTHER to attend the "family time" session and the contact centre has no concern, and they would encourage her presence in these difficult times. As we all know, court proceedings can take a long time, so it is in the children's best interest to keep in touch with both sides of their families. STEPMOTHER and the children share a positive relationship, as you may know, the children used to see her 5 days a week.

SOLICITOR, your client responded that I was away for 5 weeks on 2 holidays (as per your last email), as much as I'd love that to be true, I was only away for 4 days in Spain which was only booked after the contact centre in Barnet said they wouldn't be able to arrange "family time" the same week as they were waiting for a response from you, which I only find out last week that you declined the new arrangement at the contact centre. You also found the contact centre in Chingford which is 13 minutes away, too far. I am running out of options. Also, I can't help to think how your client knows about my 2nd holiday which was only 2 days long and this was never disclosed, I hope my privacy isn't an issue here, there is a non-molestation order in place.

At the very least, if we can't come to an arrangement, I will have to make further court applications, which in my opinion isn't what MOTHER and her family need at the moment, especially, with MOTHER and her partner going through criminal court proceedings (14th July), I would hate to add more stress, as per Cafcass' website, No matter how hard you try, children usually pick up on the negative feelings expressed by parents during their separation. This can make your child feel anxious or distressed. It has become apparent that the children are experiencing strong emotions, a few days ago, ELDEST SON expressed that he was being punished because he smacked mummy in the face, this isn't like him. It is clear that the children will feel the added pressure. So I ask again, to reduce further parental conflict, put aside feelings about their stepmother (and/or each other) and focus on the children's needs.

You mentioned something about focusing on bonding with the children, I'd appreciate it if you could read the contact reports, the children and I have, and always had a close relationship, and the contact reports are overwhelmingly positive. I'm happy to extend the contact hours (up to 3 hours weekly as per court order) to add more quality time, of course, the cost is a challenge here but I am simply trying to find a solution for the children's best interest.

I hope we can resolve this amicably, one day or another MOTHER and I will have to co-parent and work together to raise the children, it will take a long time to adjust but changes start now.

I do apologise for the lengthy email and I would really appreciate your input.

Kind Regards
Basically, SOCIAL WORKER told me she will be in charge of making the report, that the only real issue is the parental conflict between ex-wife MOTHER and Myself - and that when she makes the S7 report she will look into who isn't co-parenting or causing conflict. SOCIAL WORKER was always nice to me on the phone and gave me advice on trying to make it work, so I am trying to show her that I am trying my best to accommodate the children and MOTHER. SOCIAL WORKER also said to read CAFCASS online advice, so I am trying to show her that I took her advice and reading stuff. (Although we all know MOTHER is a psychopath and co-parenting will never work with her)

Now the children will be starting school in London very soon and that was the point of me taking it to court so they could live with me (1-hour drive away), I think this has gone down the drain. So I have made an important decision... To move back to North London (that where Mother currently lives back to her parent's house rent-free!) House prices are ridiculous, but I was just working things out, If I ask the court to give us 50/50 care:
1- I won't have to pay child maintenance (Currently about £800 a month!!)
2- I will get to see my children and take care of them equally!

Yes, my mortgage will be a lot higher but I'd rather pay a higher mortgage than pay her child maintenance!! and I will be close to all my family again (all in north London!)

Now the best part... I found a house for sale 5 minutes away from the school they're going to in September 2022.
 

Dadoftwo

Active member
I have only read the initial message so if some of my comments have already been stated please accept my apologies.

Unfortunately, you are dealing with Practice Direction 12J (PD12J) which the courts use as a guide. I have been in a similar situation but not to that extreme (assaulted by the mother but had to see my kids at a contact centre) and PD12J is completely one-sided, and as soon as anyone mentioned abuse it states that protection should be given to the children and the person with whom they reside.

I have engaged with my local MP to talk about PD12J and how this needs looking into as it's open to abuse and doesn't take into account the father being the one abused. He's raised it with the Solicitor General and as of yet, I am still awaiting a reply around this.

All I can say is keep playing with a straight bat and do not lower yourself to her level. It's going to take time to go through the system. My kids were taken away from me in Jan 2021 (with the process starting back at the end of 2020) and I'm only going into the final hearing in August this year so cannot state for sure what the outcome will be, but I have confidence and have been told by my legal team that the truth will come out in the end.
@Da7thSon , So sorry to hear this, I was told when they are parental conflict and domestic abuse physical or emotionally they tend to let the children stay with 1 parent (of course mother in this case - or always?!). I think this is disgusting, especially like you said the father is the victim, it is almost as if UK laws and courts have never seen any female criminals and that prisons are just full of men and all women are innocent.

Please keep us updated on the outcome, and I do hope it goes in your favour. @Da7thSon do you have your Scott Schedule statement by any chance? I do need a good template since I am representing myself. This would be well appreciated.
 

Ash

Administrator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Keep us posted .....Sorry can't answer in more detail right now - a bit busy.
 

FRAM

Active member
in my recent experience the family courts and CAFCASS can discriminate against men. In 46 years of my life I never felt discriminated before. We have to keep fighting to change this
 

Ash

Administrator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Just catching up on this. Good news you will be living nearer the childrens school. This is a very stressful process - especially when you're only getting to see the kids in a contact centre (and from your recent info have a long wait for the next hearing).

It's important to be careful with communications with ex's solicitor though. Keep it brief and formal. No point getting into arguments with them about anything - they'll just ignore you - they're acting for their client. Or they might try and use it against you and say you are vexatious or something.

The other reason is - to keep your cards close to your chest. Anything they think you might be doing, they will try and disrupt. So if they think you have a good relationship with the social worker and want her to do the section 7 - they may ask the court to get Cafcass to do it instead - that kind of thing.

Find ways to channel the stress (on here) and anything you want to send, put to one side for a day or run it past one of us. It helps I found. It's like banging your head against a wall dealing with an ex solicitor.

Fundamentally they are saying no we don't agree to Stepmum going to contact centre. Nothing you can say will make them say any different. BUT - it could be grounds for an urgent directions hearing - and bearing in mind your recent thoughts about specific issues to speed things up - that could be a route into getting things moving a bit - an urgent directions hearing regarding family attending contact centre (and then bring up the rest - the fact that the next hearing isn't until next year etc).

A tip though - always be courteous when dealing with the courts - don't take frustrations out on them. The court clerks have some power! Not saying you did, but sometimes the frustrations can come out at people who could help the case along.
 

Dadoftwo

Active member
Yes I am getting frustrated with her solicitor, but I am keeping it calm, everything can and will be used against me. I think the only time I wanted to p***** her off is when she said "the children barely know your wife and they never used to see her 5 days a week unless it is when you retained them" etc.... I replied something along the line, "I suggest you spend more time on your client's case, clearly you have missed some important information".... Basically the arrangement for the last 2 years has been the children were with me Wednesday till Sunday afternoon. It's even on the court order.

The other reason is - to keep your cards close to your chest. Anything they think you might be doing, they will try and disrupt. So if they think you have a good relationship with the social worker and want her to do the section 7 - they may ask the court to get Cafcass to do it instead - that kind of thing.
Ah no I didn't think of that!! That is my worse nightmare now.

Yes, you're right, I've finally realised it's like talking to a brick wall. But yes I thought that only would have been enough for an urgent hearing / specific issue then use that hearing to try to persuade the judge for community contact / overnight stay since there is no real reason for supervision. A prohibited step order could easily prevent me from retaining them if that's what they're worried about. It's not like I took them abroad away from UK juridisction.

Yes, so far I have kept a good relationship with everyone around. I do not want to come across as aggressive, that's all the mother wants! I'll keep you updated with the outcome of the hearing etc... fingers cross that next time I post it'll be better news. To be fair it can't get any worst it can only get better. 1 hour at a contact center supervised I'd like to believe I can't lower ?!
 
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Ash

Administrator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Hang in there, but yes you're doing the right thing trying to get an interim hearing, whichever you go for because the delay is ridiculous and no you shouldn't be in a contact centre that long.
 
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