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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34288
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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I have been going to court for 2 years now over a contact dispute.

Resolved Question:

I have been going to court for 2 years now over a contact dispute. I am the respondent. My daughter is 9 and does not want to see her father anymore. She is scared of him. Cafcass say there is no reason for contact not to go ahead. I am told I must continue to encourage her. There is no solution in sight. I have done everything I can and asked for a solution. My daughter feels no one is listening to her wishes and her behaviour and health are now starting to suffer.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 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.
What contact should she currently be having and why is she scared of her father?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

At the moment every Sunday but this has been postponed as it is not working as she refuses to go.

I believe she is scared of him because she has been bullied by him over the contact dispute. Just an example of many similar he has said she "has to" stay a week, go abroad with him etc and he asked her once whos fault she thought it was and she told me later that she said "mummys fault" because she did not want to upset him.

I am trying to keep this brief. I hope that example is ok?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Clare,

Will I have a reply shortly?

Regards,

Charlotte

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
When did CAFCASS last speak to your daughter?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Last Thursday, when I took her screaming, kicking and hitting me to see her father at the cafcass office. I encouraged her to go into the office alone with the cafcass officer in order to see her father. She refused. He left. They spoke to her. Sundays have been suspended pending an urgent directions hearing. My daughter is becoming more anxious. They just seem to have no solution but put the responsibility on me to make her see her Dad when she does not want to. She was very angry that cafcass had not listened to her the 2 times she had met with them before saying she did not want to see her father. They told me she did not say this.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Is there anyone else who could tae her to contact - other than you?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She refuses to go with anyone else and I have tried that with my Dad already

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Has the CAFCASS officer tried ?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, as I said in my reply above about when she was taken to the cafcass office and the cafcass officer was going to had her over to her Dad

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
My apologies - what I meant is have they tried the option of someone else collecting her from home?
Please do not think I do not believe you - I am just exploring the options
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She has been told about this option and she refuses point blank to see her Dad via any means - 3rd party collect, 3rd party drop off(as was done with cafcass), mediator in the same room, her counsellor that she has been seeing since last October she does not even want in the same room with her if she were to see her Dad, but it will no doubt be suggested by the court at the next hearing. The fact is she does not want to see her dad and they are saying there is no evidence to suggest why she does not want to see her Dad, but I cannot force her. He has bullied her and spoken inappropriately to her about me and my family for the past 2 years. All things she has said have been scribed. They do not want to know. My daughter is completely fedup now. She has really had enough.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Tell me a little about the counsellor
Has your daughter explained her feelings to her counsellor?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, she has explained her feelings and her counsellors recommendations were for supervised contact which I have suggested, but now my daughter does not even want that especially after the incident as I explained where she nrefused to see her father even with the cafcass officer. There is an emergency directions hearing due in November where the cafcass officer may request to see the reports written by the counsellor.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
has anyone spoken about your daughter having separate representation?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She has separate representation by a solicitor since the middle of this year I have a solicitor since 2 months ago. I just wanted to get another opinion on the rights of the child when they do not want to see their father for the reasons I have given

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Ah I see.
Has collection from school been suggested?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My daughter does not wish to be collected from school by her father and that has already been explored.

She is refusing all means of contact with her father and the cafcass officer has recognised that she cannot be forced as she will become too distressed. As per my original question I see no solution in sight. Do you have one?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
My deepest concern is that you will be seen as the cause of the problem and the court will consider the ultimate sanctions
At nine there is still an expectation that children do what the adults require - they do not dictate what they will or will not do where they will or will not go and who they wish to collect them from school.
It is you who decides where she goes to school and when she goes to the Dentist - and Judges do tend to see the issue of parental contact in the same light.
Having said that your daughter has separate representation and a counsellor - there are few if any other options to consider.
It would be easier if she could give her Counsellor a clear explanation of her feelings on the matter - and safer for you if you step back as far as possible and simply let them get on with you.
I will be frank - if I were acting for you I would be asking for your daughter to be collected from school by someone other than you and taken to contact - so that it is crystal clear that her reluctance is nothing to do with your presence -
Until you can illustrate this you will still face the blame - and that is the cycle that needs to be broken
Since there are few ways you have not tried with regard to the actual contact you need to change the focus to making it clear that this is NOT something that can be linked to your presence
Not great news I know - but changing the focus may help a great deal
Clare
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