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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33826
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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My mother and her husband, not my paternal father, is taking

Customer Question

My mother and her husband, not my paternal father, is taking me and my wife to court to obtain a contact order to take my daughter away for weeks at a time and weekends. We cannot afford legal representation and fear our children would not be safe in their care. We already have a date for a court hearing and don't know what to do!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How old is your daughter and what contact has she had with her grandparents until now?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


I was surprised to see that my response to this question has not reached you! Can I ask where you are located as the time difference seems huge and I thought I was dealing with a UK based expert?


 


To answer your question again, my daughter is 8 years old but is around 2 years behind her peer group and has special learning needs. Her brother is just 2 and they are very close. My mother lives in North Devon while we live in Bristol. My mother moved their when she married her husband (not my father) when I was 14 years old. I have always lived with mt grandparents and until now my mother always seen my children during her visits to Bristol.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Whilst the site is US based I am a solicitor in the East Midlands.
How often has she actually seen the children - in say the last six months - and what is she actually asking for/
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has seen the children once at Christmas & she cancelled a visit at the end of March. My mother is asking for weekend visits to her home for 1/2 weeks in the summer plus 6/8 weekends during the year.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
How often has she actually seen them in their lives?
Has she ever seen them without you?
Why has she decided to make this application?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Three to four times per year during visits to Bristol. She has never seen them without us due to her complex medical condition. She has poor concentration and can barely look after herself let alone a small child. We don't know know why she has done this now but it has caused terrible upset for my family. My mother's husband is very vindictive and seems set on sitting up our family.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
When is the first hearing date?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1st May in Devon
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


1st May in north Devon.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Sorry - just to check - she has applied in Devon when you live in Bristol?
Amongst the paperwork is there a form where she ask for "leave" - permission - to make the application at all?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


My mother lives in Devon but we live in Bristol. We received the letter from the my mother's Solicitors with forms C100, C2, C6 and C7. We understand the forms are permission to make an pllication for a Contact Order.


 


We have requested of the Court that this hearing be transferred to Bristol as we cannot afford the trip to Devon or sort out childcare for the children, one who is at school the other being just 2.


 


Does her husband have any access to our children legally or otheriwise?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
have you also informed the solicitor that your mother has NEVER been alone with the children before now?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If you mean her solicitor no. Clare when can you answer the questions I have asked or do I get one complete letter or email?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
My apologies for the delay - and yes i will indeed give a full response at the end - but before I do what response have you had from the Court?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We are waiting for a response. We had the date last Thursday and sent a letter the same day asking if it could be heard in Bristol.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Ok thats fine - and just to check was Family mediation ever mentioned to you?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We were not aware she was unhappy with her current arrangements until we received a letter from her solicitor saying she is unhappy. This is completely vexatious .
I cannot speak during the day but my aunt knows what is going on and will discuss with you on the phone if that helps you understand more detail.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
As a starting point write to the solicitor pointing out that your mother has had limited contact with the children and has never seen them other than for brief visits in your presence
Point out that you have not denied your mother the chance of ongoing contact when she visits Bristol and that this remains on offer despite the distress that she is causing.
Say that if the application continues then you will require a medical report confirming your mother's current health and ability to care for a child
Confirm that you remain willing to discuss contact with your mother using Family mediator in your area.
You have already done the right thing in asking for the transfer of the case to Bristol - it should be heard in the area closest to the child not to the applicant
Your mother needs the permission of the court to bring the claim.
usually this is given as a matter of course - but you are entitled to challenge this - and on the basis that there has been no withdrawal of contact and the application that has been made bears no relationship to the previous contact you can also challenge the granting of permission - but do expect to lose.
you will receive a telephone call from CAFCASS where you can outline your concerns about the application
and the needs of your child.
I would suggest that you say that you think future contact between your mother and the children should be at a Contact Centre in Bristol so that you do not have to spend time with her
I suggest that you take a letter confirming your daughters special needs to the court in case this is queried
I am certain that you will be able to fight this successfully - but appreciate that it will cause you great distress first
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33826
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Clare


 


Your response has been helpful and given a little reassurance about the way to approach this.


 


Can you clarify if my mother's husband has any legal rights or other that will make us hand our children over to him? He is controlling and caused terrible problems with his own family in the past.


 


My mother cannot drive so he would have to collect the children from Bristol if a Contact Order were awarded and we do not want him to see our children.


 


They live in a one bedroom flat in Ilfracombe so quite where our daughter is expected to sleep if she were forced to visit them goodness only knows! Thank you for your time but a response to this would be a massive weight off our shoulders!

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What contact has she had with her step grandfather in the past?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The same as she has with my Mother, infrequent!


He is not my stepfather by law and has never provided for me even as a child. When they married almost 20 years ago my mother moved away and she has never maintained much of a relationship with me. Until recently she would phone my wife and never ask to speak with me, even if answered the phone, she would say 'is kerry there' without so much as a 'how are you'. She is incredibly selfish and we have tolerated her behaviour for years due to her illness but she has gone too far this time and it is now affecting our family life and that of our children.


 

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
what is her illness?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


very complex but the most pressing is end stage renal failure! Two of her sisters went through tests last year to try and be 'live doners' but neither could give.


She has a stoma bag and colostomy. When I was 9 she had cervical cancer. She survived the cancer but the treatment caused severe damage to many of her internal organs.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It is so unlikely that she will be successful that you should not let it worry you at all - it simply isn't going to happen.
Indeed given the situation and the distress caused I would suggest that you make it clear than any future contact does take place at a contact centre and that you do not wish her to phone your home again!
If the husband has seen the children as often as your mother has then it would be expected that he could take part in whatever limited contact is awarded
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Clare


 


Thank you for your advice. It is a shame it has come to this but we have to protect our children and our family unit going forward so seeking your advice has given us reassurance that our reasons are not unreasonable for not allowing unsupervised access to both our children.


 


Many thanks,

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You are most welcome I hope all goes well
Clare

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